How to Get Rest with a Colicky Infant
For parents struggling with a colicky infant, sleep may seem like a distant memory. Fortunately, there are some options for parents dealing with this difficult time – colic, while frustrating, is not a rare event. Colic newborns may require adjustments in scheduling, but with a little compromise, you can have rest, even if your baby’s fussy nature continues. The two basic approaches to getting the rest you need both involve scheduling – for both you and your baby.
Colic newborns typically cry at the same time each day or night, and the duration of the crying can be anywhere from several minutes to several hours. Once you know your baby’s colic schedule, you can begin to adjust your own to maximize the rest you are able to obtain, provided that you are the at-home caregiver for your child. Do you have a fussy baby in the evenings? Plan extra nap time during the day for yourself while baby is quiet and restful.
Does your baby fuss in the whee hours of the night? Temporarily adjust your schedule so that you can be more wakeful at night, and sleep more during the day. Keep in mind, newborns don’t sleep more than 4 hours at a stretch, generally speaking, so you’ll need to learn the art of napping in order to remain refreshed.
If you work outside the home, don’t worry – working parents of colic newborns can get rest too. It just takes more creativity. If your baby is typically fussy at night, you can ask the daytime caregiver to make some adjustments to the baby’s schedule, which may provide for better rest.
Encouraging shorter daytime naps, and developing a consistent routine that encourages sleep will benefit your child both now, and in the long term. Taking turns with your spouse or significant other can also maximize the amount of sleep you are able to get on any given night.
Regardless of which options are available to you, there is one thing that parents of colic infants should not do: you should not let your baby grow to depend upon your presence in order to sleep. Help your child settle into a sleep routine, but do not become his or her security blanket. If you are always around as your child drifts off to sleep, he or she may not be able to get back to sleep if you are not present in the middle of the night. Coupled with colic, this is a recipe for disaster.
There is no one solution to the problem of colic newborns. You must be willing to take charge of the situation and explore what works for you and your family, as a whole. Regardless, you can take comfort in knowing that colic is temporary, and the adjustments you make now, will help your child’s sleep patterns in the future.