While chiropractic care treats specific joint issues and needs to be done by a professional, baby massage is something you can do at home and is more about learning to feel comfortable with your baby and understand her cues. "Over the past two years, there's been a dramatic increase in interest in infant massage to improve bonding and treat fussy or colicky infants," says Betsy L. O'Hara, occupational therapist and certified infant massage instructor in the neonatal intensive care unit at Cook Children's Medical Center, in Fort Worth, TX.
Why it may work for you: In one study, 28 percent of parents who practiced infant massage said they felt they understood their baby's needs better, which, in turn, seemed to help curb the crying. Another 2009 review of studies echoed these findings. "The baby can relax enough to focus on feeding, sleeping, and growing instead of crying," notes O'Hara. Find a local massage instructor at Lovingtouch.com.
I spent six weeks going to birthing classes and a grand total of zero minutes attending any "so-yeah-you-have-a-baby-now-what?" classes. And that's part of the colic problem, says Shawn Patrick, Ed.D., assistant professor in the professional counseling program at Texas State University in San Marcos. In a recent paper she coauthored, published in the journal Families, Systems & Health, it's noted that early-parenthood education -- including learning baby-soothing methods -- can significantly ease infant irritability and the stress of parent-kiddo relationships. Post-counseling, moms perceived their infants as less difficult.
Why it may work for you: If parents recognize colic and have some background understanding of it, that can reduce some of the stress of the situation. "With help, parents can learn strategies for coping. When they are less stressed and more confident, babies can sense that," notes Patrick. Then they can feel better, too.