Category Archives: Family

Family

Ouma Tjivikua: Namibia’s most successful grandmother turns 85

She must lean against the wall of her Katutura house (in Marula ) to support her legs to walk. Her health is not the best, she is asthmatic and lately, walks with difficulty due to her swollen legs brought by old age.

“Being old is good, but it has challenges. The good part is that I have no worries in life, not a single regret. The only problem are the legs that swell up here and there and stop me from going to church,” Ouma Tjivikua explains as she throws herself with a brief sigh, on a wooden chair, “Ouma’s chair”, where she automatically seems to have gathered all the energy.

Her smile is wide, infectious, it’s a winning smile. There seems to be a connection between the energy she assumed since sitting on her chair and the smile. On the 7th of October, she turns 85.  She speaks so immaculately in the Queen’s English as if it is her mother tongue.

Royalty defines Ouma Tjivikua. Of her 13 children, she has lost two, the first and the sixth-born. Her success lies in the products of her womb, she says.

A retired nurse, Ouma Tjivikua credits her children’s success to the family values that she has embedded in them since childhood.

“When my husband died in 1985, three of my children were outside Namibia, namely James, Tjama and Michael. It needed a certain strength from the Almighty to keep and protect my children as they grew and matured first into men and women, then into national leaders. Family values and preservation of culture became the secret. I learned that by sending my children to school. Education is important. If the Tjivikua name will stand the test of time, we need to keep sending our grandchildren to schools across the world, and keeping them within the values of our culture,” she says.

All but one of her 10 remaining children are married and have taken up the aspect of the family as a key facet of growth.

Today’s parents must teach their children those same family values. They are fundamental to nation building and preserving of our culture. Look at me, my skin is lighter than yours, but I want all my children and grandchildren to understand our Herero culture and appreciate family. That is who we are and that has been the secret.

Secret to Long-Life

She recalls how some people rejected her, especially in the late-70’s and mid-80s. “I was ‘too-SWAPO”, they said. But I did not lose focus. Till today, I have never smoked, I have never touched alcohol and I read my bible twice a day. There is no other secret. Why I mentioned my husband’s death is because it was a trying time for me where I could have lost it and done things I would have regretted. But I remained consistent.”

Born Kutuai Kaura at Okaundja, in the Okakarara area, Ouma Tjivikua moved to Swakopmund with her half-German mother to complete Standard 2. By then only Windhoek had three schools reaching Standard 6 (now Grade 8). Upon completing Standard 2 in Swakopmund, she was made to stay in the same grade for two more years as her mother contemplated moving to Windhoek.

The family eventually moved to the capital in 1945 where she enrolled to complete her studies (Standard 6) at the Rhenish Mission Herero School. There she became one of the first netball players of Namibia in 1947.

“By then I had an edge over my classmates because of the two years I had spent repeating Standard 2 in Swakopmund, for there was no higher school grade. “I completed my Standard 6 in Ongombombonde, Waterberg because the government had opened a new school there. I went into nursing in Otjiwarongo in 1950 and by 1952 at the age of 20, I got married,” she recalls.

When her husband Festus Tjivikua, a teacher, was transferred from Otjiwarongo to Ovitoto, there was neither a hospital nor a clinic, thus she was forced to abandon her nursing passion.

Much later in 1984, she was requested by a medical doctor, Dr Withun, to undertake Nursing studies.  Instead, she volunteered to become Administrative Assistant at the Katutura State Hospital, where she served in Administration and then in the Pharmacy until 1993 when she retired.

“Because my father was an Evangelical Lutheran Priest, I spent time reading the bible to students at the school where my husband was teaching.”

She has been an active member of the SWAPO Party since 1964. As the interview drags on, it becomes obvious that Ouma Tjivikua has thrice my age but, twice the energy. In between, one of her great-grandchildren interjects us by demanding attention. She attends to him and upon her return to our interview, is eager to offer our team breakfast—all the while chatting away about her life and her family.

Ouma Tjivikua talks about family more than anything else. And no wonder—she has made children the focus of her life.

“I have lived in this house for 34 years. They have brought me offers to move to better suburbs but I have a life here. This is the house of the Tjivikuas first, she says, staring blindly at an old Panasonic boxed TV.”

“Everything has been easy for me. Not because of money, no. I have never chased money or the joys of this world. Why seek luxuries when you have the joy of the heart? I do not have the regrets of the past, they will keep me hostage,” she continues.

Every day she whiles away the time on her needle-work.

“I knit for my family. All of them have worn what I sew. I do not want to do it for the money. The money will kill me because thinking about it makes me weak.”

Every weekend her sons, daughters, and grandchildren gather at Ouma’s house.

“I wish everybody could have the opportunity to reach my age.  We are all different. Some are so poor, some live very different lives than me. But when you are my age, it is not about poverty or riches, it is love. We all love our grandchildren and we want to prepare our journeys, clear the road for ourselves and our families when we’re gone. It boosts me when they are all here.”

As we bid farewell, we joke at her insistence that ‘no photos today, come when I am properly dressed for photos.’ We agree she maybe 85, but when you look at her you’d never believe it.

She’s an energetic worker and she loves joking. She’s wise and loves telling stories of the old days, but she is not an old woman. She remains Super Woman!

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The Namibian Mourning process

Death rituals in Africa are deeply rooted in the cultural beliefs, traditions, and indigenous religions of the continent.

They are guided by Africans’ view of existence after death and the power and role of the deceased ancestor.

Rituals evolved through the infusion of Christianity, Islam and modern changes, but traditional themes survive in Namibia’s diverse cultural and tribal groupings.

Funeral and burial customs in Namibia vary from village to the city, from tribe to regional settings.

When a person dies in Namibia, there are customs that are practiced that combine the traditional and the modern that makes a funeral uniquely Namibia or rather African.

As soon as the person is pronounced dead, the immediate relatives of the deceased will inform the network of all the close relatives in the city as well as villages in the rural areas.

A close relative will go to the nearest NBC radio to request a public announcement, the address where the funeral is taking place and any burial arrangements.

Virtually every day on NBC radio, death announcements with sombre organ music are made.

The grief-stricken closest relatives, host or hosts of the funeral (who could be parents or mother and father of the deceased, uncle, aunt, sister, brother, surviving spouse) sit on the sofa or couch crying, mourning, and sobbing in the living room of their home.

The relatives who arrive by foot or by car start mourning aloud as soon as they arrive or get out of the car in front of the house. They will cry as they enter the house. By this time all the neighbours can hear the mourning and all will show up at the home at some point during the funeral period.

After a few first minutes, the female relatives go to the kitchen to begin preparing meals, accepting food contributions, mealie-meal, and money for buying food and other funeral expenses.

They all begin making arrangements to make sure the coming mourners will be fed and relatively comfortable.

Men close relatives gather outside to begin to make arrangements for men’s responsibilities at the funeral.

As mourners arrive they make donations for food, for fuel used to run errands.

Some men will be assigned to get a truck and to go and get some firewood from the bush for the all-night bonfire funeral wake outside the home.  In other tribes, some will even go slaughter a beast at a nearby farm. Some of the men will offer or are assigned to drive the women from the kitchen to go to the grocery store for bulk shopping for the evening gatherings.

The men and women close relatives will coordinate when and where the funeral church service was going to be, burial time and place and the cemetery, through the pastor, who mostly liaises for a memorial services of the deceased.

The mourners sing funeral songs all the time and majority weep and mourn. Large crowds gather at the funeral home and line up for body viewing of the open casket at the funeral home. Then the funeral procession goes to Church for a funeral service, and last to the cemetery for the burial.

Some especially in the coloured community will rush to arrange City police escort for the funeral procession, which can have up to 50 vehicles.

The men go to arrange for the purchase of the casket, when the body would be moved from the hospital morgue or mortuary to the funeral home to be prepared for public viewing and burial. They also will obtain the Death certificate from the City Council.

Typically, among the urban middle class, burial takes place about the third day. The three days give enough time for most of the relatives travelling from remote areas to arrive in the town. On the day of burial, the funeral procession or convoy of cars of mourners starts from the house to the funeral home.

During the burial at the cemetery, men who are least close to the family of the deceased grab shovels and take care of the physical burial rituals at the grave site.

They lower the casket into the grave. All close members of the deceased are asked to throw dirt or soil into the grave.

A priest says last prayers, people will make some last-minute comments about the deceased and some of the comments can be so funny and some very serious.

Crying and mourning aloud at this last point for departed loved one is expected as some relatives may get so out of control with grief, that other relatives physically restrain and console them.

The men then shovel the dirt into the grave and the grave is covered and a mound is created.

After the burial is complete, most mourners disperse and go home. The closest relatives and friends are the only ones who return to the house of the deceased. The following morning, the house yard and the house are cleaned and swept. Some of the relatives leave but the closest people to the deceased relative are never left alone for almost two weeks. Some relatives stay with them to support, cook, feed them, and console them.

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Restoring relationships with mother-daughter brunch

Mother and daughter relationships are some of the most strained relationships, especially for teenage daughters.

For Juelma Malaquias, a senior administrator at VO Consulting in Windhoek, her strain in the relationship stretched half her life.

As a rebellious teen, arguments with mom, coming home late was the order of the day, and it slowly drove them apart.

“After counselling with my mother at Pator Fernando Chimuco of Full Gospel Church, we were able to reconcile and now my mother is my best friend,” says Juelma.

That sparked a passion in her to restore the broken relationships of mothers and daughters.

It is not an impossible task, she believes.

Last year, she successfully founded and hosted the Mother Daughter Brunch, and on 13 May this year, the second edition launches.

She says, “The brunch will be a chance for mothers and daughters to spend a day to reconcile.

We will have manicures, pedicures and other activities that will allow mothers and daughters time to bond.”

The day will be hosted under Full Gospel Church, which has been existent in Namibia for 67 years.

Mothers and daughters who are interested can book a place for N$600 per couple.

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So, Why Do Mothers and Daughters Fight?

Currently, mothers and daughters are suffering from an epidemic of relationship conflict. Mothers and daughters of all ages are struggling to listen to each other, respect each other’s differences, honour each other’s boundaries, and emotionally support each other.

I hear on a daily basis how hurt and frustrated mothers and adult daughters feel about the lack of emotional connection between them, and how their relationship is being defined by incessant arguing, unwarranted criticism, and a general lack of mutual support.

Why is this happening? What is causing so much misunderstanding and conflict in this vitally important female relationship?

The answers I hear all-too often to these questions is that mothers and daughters fight because their relationship is highly complicated, or their personalities are too different or too similar, or it is hormones that are making mothers and daughters angry with each other.

Yes, I still hear the age-old sexism of hormones being used to blame women for being angry. And from colleagues I hear how mental health diagnoses are used to explain why mothers and daughters fight.

It is true that differing personality traits and mental health issues will influence how well a mother and daughter relate to each other. They are however, not the root cause of why mothers and daughters fight.

And they also do not explain why mother-daughter relationship conflict is such an epidemic today.

What I have learned over the last twenty-plus years I have listened to thousands of mothers and daughters talk about their relationship issues is that there are two main explanations for today’s epidemic.

The first is the changes in women’s lives and roles over the last few generations that have increased women’s opportunities, choices, and freedom. And the second is women’s generational experience with sexism.

Women’s lives have changed dramatically over the last two or three generations.

When my grandmother was a teenager in Holland, women got the right to vote.

When she married, my grandmother had to leave her job because the law dictated that married women could not work in government jobs.

My mother did not get the educational opportunities I did, and she also became a mother during a time in New Zealand when mothers were criticized and shamed for taking paid employment.

My life looks entirely different to my mother’s, which is where the rub lies. For some mothers and daughters, change is embraced as a challenge.

They incorporate the increased opportunities, choices and freedoms women are winning into their lives and relationship as they grow and change together.

But for other mothers and daughters change feels like a problem. In the past daughters would step into their mother’s shoes and walk a repeat of their mother’s life. Similarity was the mainstay of the mother-daughter relationship.

But today, mothers and daughters have to navigate their different lives, opportunities, and views about being female, and for some mothers and daughters this causes conflict, as they fight over who is right and who is wrong.

This dynamic is complicated by women’s generational experience with sexism.

One of the key issues I see over and over again is how our female history is defined by how women have been silenced.

In our mother’s and grandmother’s day women were not asked what they needed, felt, thought or wanted. This conversation was entirely silent.

I see in my clients’ mother-daughter history maps how our mothers were not heard or emotionally supported, and how this theme causes conflict and misunderstanding, and how it is passed down from mother to daughter.

What I see happening between mothers and daughters when women’s needs and feelings are not heard or honored by their family and culture, is that mothers and daughters are being set up to fight.

Finding the reasons for mother-daughter relationship conflict requires a much deeper exploration than women’s personality traits, mental or emotional health issues, and hormonal problems.

It requires an understanding that it is between mothers and daughters that we see the harm sexism and gender inequality inflicts on women.

We see how sexism is internalized and passed on from mother to daughter, and how this disempowerment causes conflict.

We see that mother-daughter relationship conflict is a symptom of families and societies that do not care-for and support women to be fully voiced and free.

And we see how powerful the mother-daughter relationship is to challenge and change sexist beliefs and harmful cultural practices.

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The Slamets share family racing legacy

Serene, orderly, and quietly stern, one would not believe they were seeing the same man who roared down the race track like a lion. Distinctively humble, you would not believe you were seeing the same man who at one point owned 18 cars, many of them high end. Currently, he’s down to 10.

Meet Richard Slamet, Namibia’s most recognized race track professional. A drifter and professional racer, he comes from three generation of a racing family. The first and only in Namibia to date. The Slamet family is the first family in Namibia to have three generations of racers. The first racer of the Slamets was Richard’s father Ronald Slamet, followed by Richard and his siblings.

His brother Ronald jr known as the Red Baron in the Western Province Championship is well known bike racer on the Cape Town racing circuit and has raced multiple times in Europe.
Richard’s sister Ronel Slamet-Underhill is the first and only female motor bike racer in Namibia. Richard’s son, Richard Slamet jr is the latest in the family of motor sport racers to join the sport.

Despite professionally racing since he was 13 years old, it could have all turned sour for the young family last year when Richard sustained severe injuries in a crash during a rally, breaking two ribs off at the spine, a collar bone, raptured intestine and a torn liver.
“It was one of our most difficult moments as a family,” Soroya, his wife of 12 years and high school sweet heart of 16 years tells Us.

“It was especially hard for me because my grandfather, the man who raised me, died two days after Richard’s accident and our new born baby, Ziara, was colic. Just the year before, 12-year-old Richard jr had crashed during the Western Province Championship and dislocated his shoulder.”

In retrospect, Richard snr says it was not quite a surprise that the breaks of his Nissan Pulsar failed, a N$ 70 000 car he turbo-charged and upgraded from a B class to an A class, when it was strained chasing his opponent’s BMW M3 worth N$ 350 000.

After six weeks of recovery, it was back to the swing of things for Richard and Soraya; raising four children and handling the family business at I-S Freight as chief accountant and general manager, a local courier company started by Richard’s mom, Irene in her garage while he was studying Law in South Africa.

After joining the ranks, Richard saw the company grow from four employees to over 60 staff compliment with cargo transported all over the country and beyond. Richard jr, a Windhoek Gymnasium student owns the Namibian record for the fastest lap on the Go Kart circuit. The Go Kart circuit he races in is of course for high powered racing machines that go up to 190km per hour and are not like the recreational vehicles at the SKW track.

Like any mother, despite already knowing this, Soraya’s eyes still bulge when Richard snr quips that he once overtook a city golf with his Go-Kart. That is the speed her 12-year-old races in monthly.

Last year he was moved to an age class two years ahead in the Maxterino competition because he was lapping his opposition, some years older than him, in the second lap.

While his eldest child Tzaria is not quite as keen on cars and racing as the males of the house, Richard snr says he’s prepared to buy her a racing car the moment she feels like it.Dating for over 16 years last year, Richard surprised his wife with a trip to Italy.

“It was lovely because we hired a car and drove ourselves to all the lovely places from Venus to Rome. We stopped at some lovely sea side inns, it was very romantic,” says Soraya.

Together they’ve also travelled to Portugal, USA and Cape Town even though Swakopmund remains a family favourite vacation spot. Usually, Valentine’s Day is celebrated at home, with a three-course meal all prepared by Soraya’s hands.

With an elegant home in Hochland Park, and seemingly every desire of her heart at her finger tip, it is the handpicked roses that she says are her favourite Valentine’s Day gift because of the thought that went into it. For Richard, it is a little closer to the man’s heart.

“The first car I ever owned was a Ford V8 Sapphire,a gift from my father in 1998. But I sold it later on, which I regretted. 12 years later, in 2011, Soraya bought me almost the exact same car for Valentine’s Day. It was a newer model of the Ford Sapphire, which is the first car I ever used to drift.

We eventually tracked down the first car she bought me to an old German couple living in Tsumeb but they refused to sell it to us.” Quietly, the Slamet family is planning to dominate the local race circuit for another year.

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Being Sidney Martin’s son

Not so long ago in 2013, Sidney Martin rolled in a then 458 Spider Ferrari, the first in Namibia. His family trust was a multi-million dollar empire, and the sun was shining brighter.

Back then Martin would occasionally drive to his Witvlei factory with his only son, Tuundja-kuje. Here, young women would hi-5 Martin as he walked around, Tuundja-kuje would witness how older women would at times approach his father, and nearly swooning. Others would grasp his father’s arm and lay their heads on his chest, as he patted their backs, murmuring thank you in Afrikaans.

By millionaire standards Martin lives a modest lifestyle. Married to one of Namibia’s most glamorous women, Petronella Karuaihe-Martin, Chief Executive of Namibre, their only son is readying to grow the Martin name. For being a Martin, life for 23-year-old Tuundja-kuje is about learning from the apple he fell from.

One of the beneficiaries of the multi-million dollar Family Trust, Tuundja-kuje rolls in a Jeep Wrangler, although being an adrenaline junkie, it is the Porsche and Ferrari that he prefers most.

Upon completion of his undergraduate in the Bachelor of Social Science, Majoring in International Relations and Economic History at the University of Cape Town, he recently took a vacation in the Maldives.

And has just settled in Johannesburg at Wits for his post-graduate LLB. “Growing up as Sydney Martin’s son is like growing up with a fountain of knowledge.  It is not the money, it is his wisdom and character that gets you going. My father is an exceptional leader that has the life experiences of an 80-year-old. As a child, I always wondered how he always knew what to do when difficult challenges came his way. My dad has written my manual of life,” he says.

Having watched his father build up a multi-million-dollar empire, Tuundja-kuje has adopted his own life-motto—things don’t just happen overnight—and is prepared to outlive his father’s legacy.

A multi-sport disciplinary fellow, Tuundja-kuje is active in soccer, squash, swimming, karate, hockey and has received numerous sporting merits over the past years, in particular, a bronze medal at the Karate World Championships in 2010, coupled with being his High School’s 2011 Sportsman of the Year.

“You do not need to be smart academically alone. One needs to learn to use their hands and showcase other talents they have. There is a thin line between working hard and working smart. I practice both,” he says.

Tuundja-kuje is mentored by Frank Fredericks, thanks to a symbiotic love for sport, and the two also have a father-and-son relationship.

Yet, it is a fishing excursion with Founding President Dr Sam Nujoma at Terrace Bay that he holds dear to.

“My parents inspire me equally however in different ways. My mom inspires me to keep working hard academically as there’s always a reward in the end.

My father inspires me through his abilities to help and better the lives of other Namibians in the best of his abilities, but when I am an accorded an opportunity to spend the day with Sam Nujoma, the man from our history books, in real life? That is unforgettable.”

Tuundja-kuje is pondering life in property development, once he is back in the country.

“I am interested in the housing developing market. I am a strong believer in property. Trying to aid and find a solution to the big housing epidemic in Namibia. It has to come from a Martin,” he says.

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Spice up your Christmas Season with Garnish

If you want a new authentic, unfamiliar dish, and tongue-tingling flavour, try out the taste of Indian cuisine which can be both exciting and intimidating. Indian cuisine uses the whole palette of flavours; spicy, sour, sweet, and hot all at the same time, making it something that wants to jump off the plate.

One of the popular restaurants in Windhoek and Swakopmund, Garnish serves the finest traditional Indian cuisine and the celebration of this exotic and colourful culture. Garnish restaurant offers world of Indian traditional food which comes with a complete world of taste and served in a traditional way.

Co-owner of Garnish, Harsh Akheniya,”Garnish is a casual fine dining restaurant, offering eclectic Indian cuisine and warm hospitality, it specialised in various Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian Indian cuisines.” Chefs combine all the techniques from other cuisines and add magical spices to get a titillating food experience. “It’s important for a Chef to put inconsideration of understanding the various dishes and flavours that make up Indian cuisine. It’s all totally different, and the only thing that connects it is a judicious knowledge of the use of spices,” says the Co-owner of Garnish.

The food is sourced from top quality seasonal ingredients featuring a high percentage of organic products from India and South Africa.

Garnish’s menu offers diversified and healthy options to choose from and defined as a main stream casual dining restaurant that caters to the community and local businesses. However, it provides a friendly, attentive service in a warm environment.

There are basic 20 to 30 spices that are used in many dishes; cumin, coriander, turmeric, and ginger, to name a few and there are an infinite number of ways of using them.  “Every spice has a reason for being there. They have health benefits, and they make the food more exciting and flavourful, says Akheniya. Contrary to common belief, not all Indian dishes are curries. However, “curry” has become a catch-all name for any spice-based meat or vegetable dish with a sauce.

Curries can be watery, dry, red, green, hot, or really, really hot—it’s completely up to the chef in charge.  In fact, a popular dish of chicken curry is one of the ordered cuisine, that basically attracts the President of Namibia, First Lady, Ambassadors and High Commissioners to the restaurant. Serve it with a side of dal (a stew made of lentils, peas, or beans) and some roti (a tortilla-like wheat flat bread) and you’ll feel as if you’re halfway around the world.

Come to Garnish for the authentic taste of Indian recipes in a fine-dining restaurant. Offering a wide selection of appetisers, starters, desserts and drinks, Garnish really goes above the traditional Indian food restaurant.

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What is colic?

baby-crying

All babies cry, of course. But crying is excessive if it totals three hours a day and happens more than three days a week for at least three weeks.

Whatever you call it, excessive crying can be upsetting. Trying to comfort an inconsolable baby over many hours is still hard work. At times, you may feel helpless. It may be enough to drive you to tears of your own. But you’re not doing anything wrong, and your baby usually won’t be crying for any particular reason.

This phase of crying is very common and it will pass. It usually starts between two weeks and four weeks and will probably be over by the time your baby’s about four months old.

How can I tell if my baby has colic?

If your baby cries excessively, but is otherwise healthy and feeding well, it’s likely that he has colic. Your baby may be diagnosed with colic or persistent crying if:

he has frequent bouts of intense and inconsolable crying

he pulls his legs up to his tummy and arches his back when crying

he cries most often in the late afternoon or evening

Should I take my baby to the doctor?

Yes, it’s recommended that you seek advice from your GP if your baby cries excessively. Try to keep a note of his bouts of crying and any other symptoms, and his feeds. Take this with you when you visit your doctor and whenever you see your health visitor.

Your baby may have symptoms that indicate something more serious is causing his crying. You should seek immediate advice from your GP if your baby:

has a high-pitched, abnormal-sounding cry

vomits green fluid

has blood in his poo

takes much less fluids than usual or is having fewer wet nappies than usual

Even if your baby shows no obvious signs of illness apart from his excessive crying, it’s still a good idea to see your doctor. She will either confirm colic, or she may diagnose another problem such as:

An allergy or temporary intolerance to formula milk or breastmilk.

Reflux, when your baby brings up feeds or vomits after feeding.

Difficulty latching on properly. If your baby’s breastfed, and he cries and pulls off during feeds, he may need a different breastfeeding position.

In these cases, your GP will advise the best course of action to help you ease your baby’s symptoms. Colic is just as common in breastfed babies as in formula-fed babies. It affects girls and boys equally too.

There are various theories about why colic happens.

For example, your baby could be persistently crying because his gut is still maturing. So indigestion and wind are temporarily causing a problem. It’s possible he may just need a cuddle too. Babies who have less physical contact from birth (less than at least 10 hours a day whether awake, feeding or sleeping), tend to cry and fuss more.

There no proof that these or other theories about the cause of colic are true. Rest assured that it’s unlikely your baby’s in pain or that you’ve done something wrong. While it may be hard to cope with, he may just cry for no obvious reason at all.

How can I soothe my crying baby?

The persistent nature of colic means that there are likely to be times when your baby cries, no matter what you do. Be prepared for soothing methods to work well one day, but not the next.

If your doctor has ruled out a treatable cause for your baby’s crying, you’re back to coping with the colic however you can. Although this can be hard, there are plenty of tips to test out:

Feeding your baby whenever he seems hungry, rather than trying to time his feeds. This is called feeding on demand.

Allowing yourself time to tune in to your baby’s signals may help you to recognise his pre-cry cues. You can then offer a feed or sleep before his crying gets more intense. However, your baby may move straight into full-blown crying without giving any signals. If so, try calmly holding him or giving him skin-to-skin contact before he settles to feed.

Burping your baby after every feed. Hold him over your shoulder, sit him upright on your lap or place him face down on your lap. Then gently pat or rub his back to bring up wind.

Massaging his tummy gently with clockwise movements to help move along trapped wind and poo.

Using a dummy. He may be soothed by sucking. Some babies use their fingers or a thumb to suck on instead.

If you’re anxious, your baby may pick up on this too. If your baby gets very windy, you could try to prevent him from getting indigestion:

If you’re breastfeeding, try to keep your baby as upright as possible. Make sure he is fully emptying one breast before moving on to the other, especially if he’s producing green poo.

If he is bottle-fed, make sure he isn’t swallowing air from the bottle.

Try to sit him upright and tilt the bottle enough so that the milk covers the entrance to the teat. You could try an anti-colic bottle.

Ask your health visitor about a simple over-the-counter treatment. You could try an anti-gas medication (drops containing an ingredient called simeticone), gripe water, or lactase drops.

Some parents have found probiotic drops containing lactobacillus reuteri helpful. However, the evidence is mixed about their effectiveness.

Is colic harmful?

No. Colic won’t harm your baby. It may actually be more painful for you and your partner to cope with your baby’s constant crying. The best thing to do is to stay as calm as possible and remind yourself that he’ll grow out of this phase.

High-pressured situations caused by relentless crying can lead to frustration and anger or depression. In rare cases, some parents have been known to take actions that they regret, such as shaking their baby.

If you’re struggling to cope, don’t be afraid to seek help from your GP or talk to your health visitor. Remind yourself that your baby’s crying is not your fault, and that he won’t hurt himself. This phase will pass. Just give it time.

You aren’t alone. Talk to other mums coping with colic in our community and discover tried-and-tested ways of comforting your baby.

Approved by the BabyCentre Medical Advisory Board

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