No matter what you try, your baby just keeps crying?
If this sounds familiar it could be that your baby is suffering from colic. Doctors often refer to the rule of 3:
Crying for more than 3 hours a day
Crying for more than 3 weeks
Crying more than 3 days in a week
This sounds simplistic but does provide an idea of just how persistent this form of crying is. For many babies, it can happen at different times of the day, or night and usually develops between the second and fourth week after birth. The good news, it does subside! Normally by about 4 months, the bouts of crying begin to lessen and my 6 months they have gone completely.
What Is Colic?
There is no real medical definition of colic, though most mums will tell you that it is very, very real! It can often be a sign of an issue with feeding, sometimes linked to intolerance in the milk protein, that can affect both bottle-fed and breastfed babies. This does not account for many of the cases though, as in most of the situations relating to colic there does not appear to be any intolerance or deeper medical conditions. There is a great definition on Wiki
Symptoms Of Colic?
As mentioned, the starting point is often the rule of 3, but there are other things that are linked to colic too:
Fussing, at different times of the day.
Feeding, changing or sleep do not ease the crying.
Crying can occur at any time.
Knees are brought up to the chest when crying, indicating pain in the stomach.
Tries to comfort by either the breast or bottle, but then pulls away.
What Causes Colic?
Although it is still a general term for a baby that cry’s for long periods of time, there is still not a clear idea of what causes colic. Some of the issues that are thought to be a factor:
Over-stimulation – Many babies cannot adjust to the stimulation of all of their senses. You will sometimes see that when a baby is in a room with lots of people, where there is constant noise and lights that the crying will be much worse afterwards. I have seen this in Baby Classes, and the only way that the central nervous system can cope is to shut it all out. It does this very effectively by crying until exhaustion sets in. It is a brutal response from the body and can be helped by ensuring that you limit the stimulation to your baby.
Reflux – Linked to the lack of development in the Pyloric Sphincter, this causes the milk to come back up after feeding, bringing acid with it. If your baby is spitting up lots of milk after feeding, it is time to get to your Doctor for some medical assistance. There are medicines that can be given to help and in extreme cases, surgery is needed, though this is rare. Again, for many babies, they will grow out of this as the digestive system matures.
Immature Digestive System – This can really affect the premies, where the digestive system has not fully matured. They can be very sensitive to feeding, both in quantity and time. Again, as the body matures the digestive system will develop and the symptoms will eventually go.
Food Intolerance – This can happen to both breastfed and bottle-fed babies. It is often the milk protein that causes the discomfort but it can really be any foods (if you are breast-feeding). I had one mum who narrowed it down to strawberries! If you think this is an issue, then please do consult your Doctor. If you are bottle feeding there are some great formulas that can help.
Change your feed – One of the first approaches is to try either changing your formula or cutting out dairy if you are breastfeeding. If the pain is being caused by an intolerance you will normally notice a difference in 4-7 days. As always, please do consult your Doctor or health adviser before doing this.
Baby Massage – The techniques on the tummy can really help relieve pressure, trapped wind and ease the discomfort. I have a masterclass, just designed for baby tummy pain. It covers my top baby massage techniques so ease colic, constipation and trapped wind. All of which your baby can be dealing with as part of the symptoms of colic. Constipation often is part of colic, as the feeding pattern can become erratic.
Baby Yoga – There are some great movements that you can do to relieve trapped wind, which can often be a cause of tummy pain. You can watch some great Baby Yoga Videos on my Youtube Channel or yoga moves specific to baby tummy pain are also part of the masterclass too. The Baby Yoga Action Song of The Grand Old Duke Of York is a brilliant one, not only does the mix of song and action distract your baby but the movements help relieve trapped wind and constipation
Get Outside – I found when my daughter had colic that one of the best ways os soothing her was to take her outside. The fresh air and sun always helped, though I also combined this with a particular holding position too.
Holding Pose – I was taught this position when my girls were born (I have twins), and it was one of the BEST SOLUTIONS for colic that combined with these other tips, really did help bring her some comfort and relief. It is called different things, but I know it as ‘tiger in a tree’. You hold your baby in your lap, facing out and then you tip her so she rests along the length of your arm, her body is fully supported by you throughout. This position naturally puts pressure on the tummy, which seems to ease pain from trapped wind (it is also a great way of bringing up trapped wind) and you can also add in movement by rocking or swinging.
Colic Drops – There is no real scientific proof that these work, but I did add them into the routine in those colic weeks. Some mums swear by them, others say they do not make a difference. I think, as with most things baby-related, you can add it into your toolbox and see if they help your baby.
Bonus Tips To Try
Swaddle – Again, some babies really respond well when they are fussing to being swaddled. You can read more on how to do this, and some of the benefits too in a previous blog on swaddling your baby. Although I found it essential for sleep, I did not find it that beneficial for colic. Though again, it is easy enough to try, so worth a go when you are struggling for remedies for colic.
Swings – As I mentioned in the holding pose, movement can really help your baby when they are distressed or in pain. A baby swing is a great way of achieving this and often allows them to also sleep, which is always a blessing when you have been up for hours trying to offer comfort.
Tips For Mums
Nap – Get rest when you can is number 1. With patterns all over the place during these weeks, you will need your strength.
Help & Support – Do not be afraid to ask your partner, family and friends to help. Even if it is to drop off some meals, do the shopping. Or just be around so you can sleep for an hour. You will NEED support during these weeks. I remember these days well, and I was exhausted.
Other Mums – If you are part of any classes or groups then reach out for that emotional support from other mums. Mums are an awesome tribe that will be there for you, and having a friendly ear at 2 am can be a life-line. I know from my Baby Classes that the mums are often up during the night feeding but texting or chatting in a WhatsApp group. It helps get you through those well known ‘witching hours’.
Helping You And Your Baby with Colic
The Masterclass combines my knowledge of 15 years as a baby massage & yoga instructor with being a parent. I know first hand how Colic affects your everyday. It is all well and good people saying it is only a phase, but when you are up for hours rocking your crying baby, those weeks feel like years. I designed this class to offer you REAL SOLUTIONS TO COLIC, that you can use TODAY. It costs just £9.99 and includes full video instructions which you can watch at any time.
There is also an online complete baby massage course, that delves further into infant massage. This course has over 100 minutes of guided videos, with a fully illustrated handbook and full support via my Private Facebook Group too. This is designed for you to watch at your own pace, go back to any of the videos and work through the course when it suits you. It is perfect for parents who are not able to get to physical classes. A full body baby massage routine is broken down into manageable stages, allowing you to learn at leisure. One of my mums, who has been to my classes previously took this course recently as said that it combined all the knowledge from my live classes, it ‘was as if Rachel was in my living room’! It is a very personal touch, one that I hope connects with you too.
Feel free to comment below, ping me an email or connect on Facebook. I love being able to support parents, through the rough and the smooth.
Good luck over the next few weeks, I know how tough it is. Hang on in there, and know that you are doing an amazing job!
Being a new mum – no book can prepare! Overnight your life completely changes. Many women believe when they are pregnant that their life will be exactly the same as before, just with a baby. Oh my, what a rude awakening that can be!
Not only are you suddenly meant to become some sort of ‘baby whisperer’ but cope with your body post-natally too! The trauma of birth becomes a taboo subject and you should now be portraying a glowing earth mother – preferably surrounded by an aura of tranquillity!!
New Mum – The Reality
The truth is very different for most new mums. Even the most ‘textbook’ of births can be exhausting, painful and very, very long. For those babies that arrive unexpectedly and early there is often early onset guilt – ‘was it something I did’, ‘I should have known something was wrong’. Then we add a baby, hospital trip, breastfeeding and that’s all before we even get home.
Sleep deprivation kicks in quickly, combined with coping with a new baby and the pressure to breastfeed and those early days often lead to a massive overwhelm.
So, you are now at home, pass the blur of those first few days and the accumulation of lack of sleep is being to take its toll. Gone are the days when generations lived in the same village and offered support. Now, partners take off 1-2 weeks, parents pop in to cuddle the baby, friends drop of lovely presents and then, we are on our own. Our role as a new mum has begun.
What happens, the guilt kicks in. We should be able to handle our baby, cook dinner, clean the house and of course, look amazing too! You look at Social Media, everyone else looks they are having the most amazing time with their new baby or juggling the family and a fabulous career. Surely it’s just you?
No, it affects all us mums! Honestly, it does. In my classes, where I’ve been teaching baby massage & yoga for 15 years it is something I see all the time. It only takes one Mum to speak up, then they all chip in. The truth is that as a new mum we are all faced with challenges, as individual as our personalities. However, the good news is:
You are not alone
There are things you can do to help yourself
What can I Do?
Find some support, from friends and family but also further afield. Join some baby classes locally, there are plenty of different activities out there. Connect with people in person, do not just rely on ‘virtual support’, the posts on Facebook or WhatsApp. It is important that you find other mums who are going through the same stage as you, support of like-minded mums is a very powerful thing!
Self-Care, I know this is the new current ‘in thing’ but it is so important to take a view on where you are in your priority list. This is something that I know I am really trying to work on. It seems ‘selfish’ to put ourself’s anywhere near the top of the daily ‘to do’ list, but we MUST. If we are too tired, get ill, feel exhausted all the time or risk our own physical and mental health, how can we support our family? You can read about some great ways that I have found to literally sneak in some all essential time for me.
Get out and about. Leave the house, even if it takes you an hour to do it. If you don’t drive, then go for a walk with the buggy. If you can get out to classes, or meet up with friends then do. Getting fresh air is not only good for the body but also for your emotional state. Also, to go out you have to make an effort to get dressed, and sometimes that can seem an unachievable mountain all on its own. You don’t need to be dressed for a night out with full makeup, just not in a onesie!
Try some Mindfulness. I know it is the buzz word at the moment but it can really help create moments where you can feel connected to yourself again. It is also amazing to use with babies! If you are new to the whole Mindfulness thing then I recommend some great apps, cards, and groups below. The thing is to find a way that works for you. You can also check out some useful tips to use with the older kids in the Top Tips Blog too.
Ditch The New Mum Guilt
So being a new mum is not the picture of mother earth delight it is often cracked up to be.
If you have days in your pj’s, realise you have been out all day with baby vomit down your back, have cried over trying to get a car seat out of a car. Well, then welcome to Motherhood! You are part of a tribe that acknowledges your guilt – but can tell you to let that stuff go! You are doing an amazing job!
If you want to learn how to introduce Mindfulness into your family then my book Mindful Moments is available on Amazon.
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No matter what you read or who you listen to, one thing is certain – nothing can properly prepare you for Motherhood. You know you will be suffering from lack of sleep, learning about this new baby and dealing with your body post-birth. The difficulty is, doing it all. So, how can you find some “me time”?
Fill your own cup – This is a variation on a quote that is often seen regarding motherhood. It is the KEY to ensuring that you are able to still give to others. You need to ensure that your ‘cup’ is not always empty. How can you give to others if you have nothing left to give? This is where that all-important self-care routine comes in.
The thing is to acknowledge that in order to still be you and be a mother and partner you need to know that you will need to put some time into your own health. You can read how you can ‘ditch the guilt’ in a previous article. It is not an easy process, every time we even think of doing something for ourselves, the guilt can kick in.
Realising that you NEED to put some energy into your own wellbeing will enable you to be more present in your other roles: Mummy, Partner, Daughter, Employee or Business Owner. So, with that now in the front of your mind, how can you start to find the time and energy for yourself?
Things to try
Take a moment before you get out of bed in the morning to think of something you are grateful for. It does not always need to be the big stuff, sometimes it can be really small such as “the baby only woke once last night” or “it looks like it will be a sunny day”. This Gratitude Practice can often have a profound impact on how we start a new day.
Decide to do one small thing today just for you. Again, it might be to drink a cup of tea when it is still hot! Put on makeup before you go out. Often, just a few minutes needed to complete these small tasks allows us to take a minute – just for us.
Mindful Moments, so when you decide on your one small thing, be present in that moment. Do not make up the next feed while drinking your tea, or talk to your baby when you are putting on your make up. Just enjoy the simple pleasure of completing this one thing, just for you. These Mindful Moments allow our brain some time to rest and re-set and affect not just the brain waves but also our parasympathetic nervous system (the one that controls our involuntary nervous system), so our blood pressure lowers, breath deepens and heart rate slows.
Pick something to read. (Maybe not War & Peace!) Just for the pleasure, whether it is a trashy mag or a book you have wanted to read for ages. Nothing too taxing or large, or you will be defeated and see it as something else you have not finished. This is a great ‘guilty pleasure’ and can definitely take priority over putting the washing on.
Connect with friends and family. It is easy to stay in contact with people over social media but it is really important for your wellbeing to actually meet up with people. Getting out and about is vital for our emotional and social wellbeing. Being a Mum can be a lonely business, being able to chat with other women can really help to reassure us that we are all in the same boat!
Get planning on something bigger, an evening out or meeting friends for coffee or lunch. Book a Massage (great for the body and soul), have your hair cut or maybe even a night away! Just the act of planning allows us to think of something that is not revolving around other people’s needs.
Nap when you can, when your baby sleeps, try and grab some time. The accumulation of sleep deprivation can have a massive ongoing effect on your mental and physical health. The evidence is now clear that a ‘power nap’ can help with brain function (even Google are now promoting power naps for employees!).
Get a cleaner! I know really? Yes, ditch the guilt on the cost. The small weekly outlay will be worth it. You will be at home, baby taking a nap and think “Oh I really should just clean the bathroom, or dust or….” Let’s face it, the list is endless! Knowing that the basics are covered will have a direct impact on your mental health! We are back to the mindset again, remember, your health needs to be a priority too!
Motherhood is the most wonderful thing to enter our lives, embrace it but also believe that you are worthwhile too. Be KIND to yourself. We are often our own worst critics and listening to that voice in our head over the choices we make can be life-affecting. You are doing a marvellous job (yes it is indeed a job – just without pay!). I hope you feel that you can now create your own Me Time with these simple tips.
So, be kind to yourself without guilt. Enjoy your journey with your family and welcome to the ultimate TRIBE – Motherhood!
If you live in Kent, England and are looking to book a massage for some real self-care love then, check out Harmonia Therapies
Pregnancy is like carrying around a hot water bottle with you all the time! Many mums love this but getting overly hot when pregnant is no joke. When the weather heats up, you are likely to feel that more than others. So here are some tips for keeping cool during pregnancy brought to you by Guest blogger Janet Penny.
Top 10 Tips to Stay Cool During Pregnancy
1. Run your wrists under tepid water. This will help cool the rest of your body too by lowering your core temperature. Don’t make the water too cold as it will constrict your blood vessels and send signals to your body to retain heat.
2. If you suffer from swollen ankles and feet, raise them up and drape them with cool wet towels. Also, take advantage of the weather to wear flip flops
3. Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water, 8 glasses a day is recommended. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink, take a bottle of water with you everywhere.
4. Go for a swim. I remember how much I loved swimming when I was pregnant, for one thing, I felt weightless for the whole time. Even if you can’t swim, spend some time submerged in the water at the shallow end, it’s a wonderful relief.
5. If you can, run your errands in the morning, before the sun gets too hot.
6. Wear large airy clothes of natural fibres, during the day as well as at night.
7. Keep your blinds and curtains closed during the day and windows open to keep the air circulating.
8. Invest in a fan and put a frozen bottle of water in front to add moisture to the air
9. If you find it difficult to stay cool at night, check out this cooling pillow
Guest Blog by Family Photographer Janet Penny. Janet is based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England and specialises in baby, child and pregnancy photography. She has lovely blogs for mums and mums-to-be including baby names. She kindly offered some great tips on keeping cool during pregnancy to help all those mums that struggle to get comfortable in the heat.
Janet runs Hushabye Photography, specialising in newborn, older baby and maternity photography. You can see her work on her website.
When Baby Comes
Luckily your amazing body will find its thermometer again! If you are thinking of taking your newborn to classes then have a read of the article that offers some great ideas on what you can look for. If baby massage is on your list of things to do with your baby, you can also purchase the online baby massage course from Rachel. It has over 100 minutes of guided videos and each module allows you to take your time and learn all you need to comfortable massage your baby at home.
Rachel is a Complimentary Health Specialist, running a Wellbeing Centre and is the founder of Buddha Buddies, Baby and Children’s Yoga, Massage and Mindfulness classes. She is the author of Mindful Parenting – 40 Mindful Moments to share with your children. She is currently working with experts in the field of Pregnancy, Child Development and Mindfulness to bring more information to parents everywhere. You can check out her blog on Top Tips to bring in some Mindful Moments with your children.
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The times of popping along to a baby class are currently out of action for many people across the globe. Baby Massage is still such a useful skill to have, but how can you still learn how to massage your newborn baby?
So, the need for great quality online baby classes and courses to impart some great techniques and also keep parents sane is a must. The Baby Massage Course is the start, Baby Yoga Classes will be coming as well.
Baby Massage Benefits
There are soo many benefits to both you and your baby from learning essential baby massage techniques. You can read about many of them in my Top Benefits blog. Though for most parents they need solutions to:
There are lots more, but if these are the ones that you need then YES massage is the right solution for you!
Baby Massage – Why Learn From Me?
I have been teaching the Massage Your Baby baby massage course for 15 years. The last few weeks have seen the closure of classes, with the risk to parents and babies just too high.
New Online Baby Massage Course
It was time to get this course available to everyone, no matter where they are. So, I have created an online course for you. With over 100 minutes of videos, a fully illustrated PDF handbook and clear modules to follow.
Many people are now in a situation where they are unable to get to a class. For others, who are still able to get out and about but perhaps prefer the idea of taking their time and working through all the information at their own pace.
What About Support?
Do not worry, the learn to massage your baby course also includes access to my VIP Facebook Group too! I pop in there with additional tips for babies and development.
There are lovely parents in there to chat to along the way. Offering that additional level of support that will keep you going and answer any questions that you may have.
How About The Baby Massage Basics?
I have put a little video below which not only covers the basics but will also give you an idea of what you can expect from the course too. I hope you enjoy it and please do let me know how you get on.
How Do I Purchase The Online Baby Massage Course?
If you want to purchase the complete online course you just hit the button below. The course is only £57 and includes everything you need confidently massage your baby at home, with video, modules to follow, downloadable handbook and support.
“I love the personal touch, it’s like Rachel is sitting in your living room with your” and “It’s so much more than a massage course!”. You can also see lots of reviews from many of the parents who have attended the live courses over the years on the Facebook Page too
More Baby Classes
There will be lots more resources coming along soon. All online courses are available on the online page and will run via the Online Parenting Platform, This platform allows you to access each course easily and download all the elements. This already has lots of ideas for keeping the older kids busy – all with a mindful approach.
We are all very aware of Baby Massage, however, it has only become so widespread during the last 10-15 years. This is mainly due to the amazing research that took place around 2004 by Dr Tiffany Fields at the Touch Institute, Miami. Studies were run in Neo-Natal Units, where pre-term babies were massaged daily. The results were profound and babies fed more, slept better and therefore left the hospital before there non-massage counterparts. As you can imagine, it has now lead to the integration of Baby Massage into most Western Cultures as we all accept the benefits of Baby Massage.
As parents, we know that although our little baby may not have any verbal language they are able to let us know whether they are happy, unhappy, hungry, tired or content in many other ways. It is one of those amazing skills that parents develop quickly – how to ‘read’ their baby! Other’s will come up to your crying baby and say ‘oh he must be hungry?’ but you know that is not the way he acts when hungry, this time he is tired. How do you know? It’s all about the non-verbal communication, how he cry’s is just part of it. Is he also using his any other parts of his body? Are his eyes closed? As a parent, you learn to read these cue’s very quickly.
How does Baby Massage fit in? Well, how about touch as communication? Parents use it instinctively, we stroke our babies when they are tired or upset, we rock them to soothe them, we pat their back to reassure. Massage is yet another method of adding touch into this language. We call it the power of ‘positive touch’.
Video on Baby Massage Benefits
Benefits of Baby Massage
Every parent assumes that when their baby arrives they will ‘naturally’ feel a connection. That is not always possible, as for many babies they may be taken away from birth due to arriving early or problems during labour. For parents this trauma can be ongoing, they feel they have missed essential moments with their baby. Massage can help every parent with this bond. A time that you set aside just between you, your baby is the only focus. You are both able to develop that connection in a calm, relax environment. The use of repeated strokes can assist you both to allow a sense of security but also activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This is our involuntary system, that regulates heart rate and blood pressure. Massage can help to regulate the heart rate and lower blood pressure, in both baby and parent – both win! You can read more on Bonding with your baby on our Guest post from Parenting expert, Sarah Weller.
Health Benefits for Baby
There are so many different ways that massage actually benefits the physical, emotional and mental well-being of your baby.
Lowers blood pressure
Reduces heart rate
Produces oxytocin (the feel-good hormone)
Decreases adrenaline (one of the hormones relating to stress)
Deepens the breath – deeper and longer breathing
Assists in weight gain due to the above
Health Benefits for Parents
Yes, you to benefit when you are performing a massage on your baby. The repetition of the strokes can also address your para-sympathetic nervous system in a similar way to your baby’s. Including:
Lowers your blood pressure
Increases the emotional bond between you and your baby
Deepens your breath as you tend to breathe more deeply as you perform the strokes
Increases your confidence
At some point in the early months, most parents strive to establish a routine for themselves and their baby. Based around feed times, sleep times and other family aspects (such as an older sibling). Massage is a great way of assisting in setting habitual behaviour. In all classes, I discuss how adding simple things like lighting and music all help ‘set the scene’. Creating an environment that is then always associated with their Massage gives your baby a sense of security which adds to the benefit of the routine. With the security babies often feed and sleep better. Again a great win for parents.
There are lots of other benefits for both you and your baby from regular massage. However, the key is to learn some techniques that you feel confident enough to take home and use regularly. Many more benefits are discussed at the Massage Your Baby Course. Often parents bring up new ideas of how massage benefits their family, as we have plenty of time to chat over a cup of tea at the end of classes.
How Can I Learn Baby Massage?
The days of being able to pop to a live class are for the moment out of bounds to most. The risk for all is too high, and many countries are on lockdown.
So, online is the way to go. You can still gain from all of the BENEFITS listed but know that you and your family are safe. The LEARN BABY MASSAGE AT HOME Course is designed to be as full of information as any course that I would normally be delivered in person.
You can check out all the details including a FREE Basics Of Baby Massage Video too. All created by Rachel, a Mindful Parenting expert who has been teaching parents all the essentials of baby massage and much more for 15 years.
Welcome, I am Rachel Hawkes, owner of Buddha Buddies and mum to twins. I have been teaching baby and kids classes for 15 years and love seeing the connections made and the confidence that builds within classes.
I hope that you will find the advice and tips here useful and that they provide some little ways of helping you on your parenting journey.
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