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Baby Tips From Moms and Doctors

Colic: Moms’ Advice

The cause of colic is still somewhat of a mystery. While sometimes blamed on gas or stomach upset, colic refers to unexplained crying that goes on for long periods of time.

Colic is frustrating -- and nerve jangling -- to most parents, but veteran mothers assure new moms that the screaming typically stops at some point in the fourth month of life. In the meantime, moms advise, try keeping your little one on the move. Walk your baby. Use the baby swing. And take your baby for car rides.

One mother, who said she did laps around her neighborhood with her son, urges moms of colicky kids to take personal time outs. “If you need to put your little one down for five or 10 minutes just to take a break from the crying, don't feel bad,” she says. “It's hard work and even a five minute break for you in another room can help you get the energy to go back and try again.”

Doctor’s Take

Barton Schmitt, professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and author of Pediatric Telephone Protocols and the KidsDoc Symptom Checker App for the iPhone, recommends Dr. Harvey Karp’s Five S’s approach to colic. Karp, the author of The Happiest Baby on the Block, says swaddling, side/stomach positioning in your arms, shushing loudly, swinging, and sucking on a pacifier can often soothe the savage crier.

“What’s the most important S?” Schmitt asks. “Swaddling. Every parent needs to know how to swaddle their baby. The second most important S: shushing.” By mimicking the environment of the uterus, he says, you are helping your baby with the transition from the womb to the world.

Fever: Moms’ Advice

When small babies spike a fever, it’s especially worrisome to parents, who fret about everything from seizures to brain damage.

Fevers aren’t harmful by themselves, but serve as a symptom of underlying illness. The problem with common fevers is they can make babies fussy and uncomfortable.

Moms told WebMD they provide relief with over-the-counter fever reducers, fluids, and by encouraging sleep. Most advise a "when-in-doubt-call-the-doc" strategy.

“Just to put your mind at ease,” advises one mom, “I would call the pediatrician. At least then they will have a record of you calling in and you might get a little more info on what to do.”

Doctor’s Take

For infants with fevers under the age of 3 months, they need to be seen quickly, says Schmitt.

Once your baby is older, he says, read your child, not the thermometer. In other words, your baby’s behavior and other symptoms are more important than the number on the thermometer. If your baby is active and alert and has a fever under 102 degrees, he doesn’t advise bringing it down.

“We have fever phobia,” he says. “Fever is working for us. It’s one of the good guys by helping to kill the infection.” For higher temperatures, he recommends infant fever reducers, never aspirin, to make your baby feel better.

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