When you become a parent, you’d be forgiven if you didn’t know that “mind reader” was part of the job description. Essentially, that’s what we have to be when we’ve got a fussy baby on our hands. But here’s a little secret: Once you’ve ruled out hunger, a dirty diaper, and sleepiness, you’re left with three likely culprits: colic, gas, or tender gums. Which one is it? And what to do? Here’s your fussy-baby cheat sheet.
Is it colic?
Babies with colic have regular fussy periods, usually between 6:00 p.m. and midnight. What makes colic colic is that it’s exceedingly tough to calm your baby and the crying lasts and lasts. At its peak, crying can go on for three grueling hours. Yikes. You can help by doing this:
- Wear your baby The gentle bump-bump-bump of being walked while nestled in a baby carrier can be a great soother. The combo of close contact and motion does the trick.
- Swaddle up A safe, tight swaddle is comforting for newborns because it reminds them of the close quarters of the womb.
- Try an old-school approach Parents have been using gripe water for colic since the way-way back of the 1800s. While the formulas of yesteryear featured alcohol (oops!), today’s are a mix of sodium bicarbonate (aka baking soda) and soothing baby-safe herbs like ginger, historically known to help relieve symptoms from colic. For instance, Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water is free of alcohol, added sugar, and artificial flavors and colors. Plus, it features organic ginger and fennel—both classic colic soothers.
Is it gas?
Babies are full of toots and burps, thanks to a still-developing digestive system and their habit of gulping air while feeding and crying. If you notice your baby is squirming and pulling their legs up, she’s probably trying to relieve gas pains. You can help by doing this:
- Mimic baby’s moves Help your baby pump their own gas out by laying them flat on their back and moving their legs in a bicycling motion.
- Try gas drops Ask your pediatrician about trying gas drops containing simethicone, a baby-safe medication that breaks down gas bubbles, making them easier to pass. Look for a gentle formula, like Mommy’s Bliss Gas Relief Drops, which is 100% free of sugar, alcohol, and artificial flavors or colors.
- Feed differently Tilt baby’s bottle at an angle so the entire nipple is filled with milk and not air bubbles. Make sure baby’s head is higher than their stomach. Using powdered formula? Let bubbles settle post-shake before feeding.
Is it tender gums?
With a new smile starting to emerge at about 6 months old, your baby may be dealing with swollen and sore gums and drool—like, a lot of drool. You can help by doing this:
- Massage baby’s mouth With squeaky clean fingers, gently rub your baby’s gums. (The pressure eases the ouch.) For even more soothing action, add Mommy’s Bliss Organic Gum Massage Gel to the routine. It contains calming chamomile and vanilla, but no alcohol, parabens, or chemical numbing or cooling agents.
- Offer cold comfort Squeeze a wet washcloth, tie it in a knot, and place in the freezer. Once frozen, give it to your baby to gnaw. The icy temp numbs ouchy gums.
- Try this chew toy Gumming things can be soothing, so give your baby something healthy to chew on, like frozen fruit. Slide ice-cold berries or bananas into a mesh or silicone feeder to keep baby safe.