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Calming Your Breastfed Baby

Crying is often related to hunger, and feeding is the obvious solution. However, periods of crying, with no obvious cause and no ready cure, plague many parents.

Here are a few suggestions for calming your breastfed baby. Give several a try. One may work today and another may work tomorrow. Be flexible, and know that “this too will pass”.

Symptoms: Possible causes: (may be more than one)
Periods of inconsolable crying Immature gastro-intestinal system
Clenching fists Sensitive nervous system
Drawing legs up to abdomen Excessive gas or over-feeding
Stiffening as if in pain Formula intolerance
Passing gas Reaction to foods the breastfeeding mother has eaten
Grimacing Over-stimulation

Possible remedies

  • Hold your baby skin-to-skin several times each day
  • Motion in any form
    • Walking
    • Baby swing
    • Rocking in rocking chair
    • Rocking side to side while standing
    • Ride in the car or in a stroller
    • Carry baby in infant sling
  • Over-the-counter gas-relief drops (discuss with MD)
  • Singing, humming
  • Take a break, let someone else try for awhile; babies sense your tension
  • White sound nearby (running water, vacuum, clothes dryer, hair dryer)
  • Commercially available recordings with strong beat designed to simulate intrauterine sounds
  • Swaddle your baby snugly when crying
  • Undress your baby and allow complete freedom of motion
  • Avoid over-stimulation from noises, lights or motion
  • Distract the baby with different sounds, sights or places
  • Place pressure on your baby’s abdomen (gently)
    • Hold baby in the “colic hold” (facing floor, supported by your arm, heel of your hand putting pressure on the abdomen)
    • Hold baby over your shoulder or over your knees
  • Bicycle your baby’s legs
  • Take an infant massage class
  • Keep a food diary to determine if a particular food bothers your baby (takes 4-6 hours for most foods to reach baby)
  • Consult a Lactation Consultant who may suggest feeding on only one breast per feeding or other techniques to balance the “foremilk” and “hindmilk” your baby obtains while feeding
  • Contact your physician for other medical explanations and solutions
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