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Parental Guidance

Try Car Trips to Soothe Colic

March 29, 1999

We asked you about colicky babies, and here's what you said:

Our three sons cried from 6 to 10 p.m. until they were 3 months old. We found that making ourselves into giant heating pads relieved their pain. We would lie down and let the baby lie on us.

I also remember passing the baby around to whoever was dummy while we played bridge. Just holding him next to us helped.

What also helped was knowing it lasted only three months!

--SHIRLEY KLEIMAN

Los Angeles

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Having been the mother of a colicky infant, the only sure cure I found was patience--despite what you do, it eventually ends. Some techniques that I found helped some of the time:

1. The colic hold--drape the baby over one arm with his head by your elbow and his torso resting on your arm. Use the other arm to pat or rub his back.

2. Turn on the vacuum cleaner.

3. Put the baby in his car seat on top of the dryer and turn it on. (Hold on to the seat so the vibration doesn't knock it off.)

4. Go for a car ride.

5. Mylicon drops--gets rid of gas.

6. Put the baby in the crib and let him cry for five minutes or so--sometimes he will fall asleep.

7. Use a baby swing.

8. Take the baby outside for a few minutes, especially in cold air.

9. Have someone watch the baby for an hour so you can get a break.

10. Pray.

--ELAINE PERSHING, Los Angeles

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One of the nicest gifts a friend can give to a mom with a colicky baby is a break.

Take her baby, put the car seat in your car, and go for a nice, long drive. Most babies will fall asleep with the steady motion of the car, your friend will get a couple of hours of much-needed sleep, and you'll know you gave her a chance to restore some energy before perhaps lashing out at the baby or others from sheer exhaustion.

--JAELLINE JAFFE, Studio City

Once the new mom has eliminated allergies, tried Mylicon for gas and altered her baby's routine to provide good naps, it's time to consider reflux esophagitis. Additional symptoms include waking up from a nap covered with spit-up, sleeping only in swing, bouncer or car seat, or sucking hard at feeding time but stopping, screaming and arching back.

We were fortunate that our pediatrician diagnosed our son with reflux when he was 5 weeks old. It made all the difference in the world!

--KELLEY BARTON

Seal Beach

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My son was born colicky and cried for hours. Our pediatricians recommended goat's milk--which did help.

My wife also noticed that he was very serene while riding in the car. From then on, whenever he did not feel well, we hit the road for an hour or two.

--MICHEL PECK, Rowland Heights

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I believe three things matter--diet (mom's and baby's), physical contact and appropriate stimulation. My baby's gas (and screams) disappeared within a day when I changed my diet based on an "alternative health" nutritionist's suggestions.

Counting his sleeping in our bed, we held our baby 24 hours a day initially, and we were still holding him about 22 hours a day at 3 months. I arranged my schedule to keep him in the house most of the time initially; the three meltdowns he's had were after being out for several hours.

--KAREN SMITH, La Can~ada Flintridge

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The next question: Bed-wetting--in the elementary school years. What should--and shouldn't--you do?

Please share your strategies with us in 75 words by Friday of this week. Send to Parental Guidance, Southern California Living, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053; e-mail socalliving@latimes.com; or fax (213) 237-0732. Please include your name, hometown and phone number. Submissions cannot be returned. No telephone calls, please.

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