The Zika virus, which has been linked to the birth defect microcephaly and other medical issues, has sent a wave of fear through mothers-to-be across the globe. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to gather data to better understand the extent of Zika virus’ impact on mothers and their babies, women in Brazil are turning to remedies commonly used on colic to soothe babies born with the virus.
Constant crying and fussing are typical of babies born with microcephaly and other issues related to the Zika virus. In Brazil, the epicenter for Zika virus where the largest number of birth defects related to the virus has been seen, a parental therapy group has been teaching mothers of infants born with defects related to the virus, natural techniques to comfort and soothe their babies. Interestingly, many of these are also used to soothe a colicky baby:
- Shantala massage, which is a traditional Indian massage, uses gentle, rhythmic strokes to soothe and calm a baby. Massage isn’t only relaxing, but it also encourages bonding and enhances the baby’s sense of security.
- Warm baths. Warm baths, which are another method commonly used to calm a colicky baby, are taken one step further and given in a specially shaped tub that mimics the womb. This has been found to improve irritability and fussiness, as well as crying.
- Carrying baby in a sling. Mothers of infants with Zika-related issues and colic are both advised to use a sling that holds their child tightly against them throughout the day to help soothe them. Being close to the mother keeps the baby warm and secure, and the mother’s body movements can help the baby settle.
- By swaddling a baby tight in a blanket, they feel warm and protected. This can help to not only soothe a fussy or irritable baby
but also help them to sleep more soundly.
Microcephaly and colic have both been linked to sensitivity to stimulants. These methods of soothing a baby using techniques that mimic the wombs warmth, movements, and sounds have been found to calm babies and reduce irritability.