A colicky baby is one of the biggest challenges to new parents. Hours of crying, topped by the frustration of not being able to soothe or quiet your otherwise healthy and thriving baby can drive even the most laid-back parents to tears.
What is colic?
Colic is a fairly broad term that applies to any baby who is completely healthy, well-fed and clean who cries for more than three hours, more than three times per week for over three weeks.
There are few known facts about colic. On average, colic:
- Begins when an infant is about two weeks old
- Normally goes away on its own by the time your baby is between three and four months
- Is not known to have any lasting effect on the children who suffer from it
What causes colic?
Since pediatricians and other physicians aren’t entirely sure what causes babies to experience colic in the first place, a number of theories have led to various treatments for the condition.
- Many suspect that colic occurs due to babies having an upset stomach. For breastfed babies, it could be that something the mother ate is causing discomfort. For formula-fed babies, it could be from the ingredients in the formula.
- Colic could also arise due to gas, reflux and heartburn, muscle spasms in the digestive system or hormones that trigger irritability.
- It’s possible that oversensitivity and overstimulation could also contribute to colic.
Tips for treating colic
Considering there could be several reasons your baby is colicky, the best way to treat it is to try one calming method at a time to see if it helps, then move to the next method if that one fails. Before you follow any of the methods below, talk to your health care provider to get his or her input.
Steps to take to relieve colic related to nutrition and feeding:
- Discuss the possibility of switching baby formula with your pediatrician
- If breastfeeding, talk to your doctor about taking nutritional supplements
- Use different nipples on your baby’s bottle
- Keep your baby upright after feeding to ease reflux
Steps to soothe your baby
- Lay your baby on his back in a dark, quiet room.
- Swaddle him snugly in a blanket.
- Lay him across your lap and gently rub his back.
- Try infant massage.
- Put a warm water bottle on your baby’s belly.
- Have him suck on a pacifier. If you are breastfeeding, your baby should be at least three weeks old and feeding well before you introduce a pacifier.
- Soak him in a warm bath.
- Try walking, rocking or putting your baby in a baby swing; you may even want to go for a drive or a walk.
Using sound to calm your baby
Some babies respond to white noise, or the gentle hum of a machine. Turn on the dryer, a fan or a white-noise machine. You may also want to try a heartbeat soundtrack.
Colic isn’t just hard on your baby—it can be just as hard on you. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. If you find yourself becoming angry or frustrated with your baby, call a friend or a relative to come and stay with your baby while you calm down.
We are dedicated to providing you with the information, individual care and attention you need so that you can relax and focus on what is most important—the birth of your baby.
Call us about our Pampered Pregnancy Program
We are pleased to be able to offer the Pampered Pregnancy Program to our expectant parents right here in New Jersey. This program has been thoughtfully tailored to provide a family-centered, personal birth experience for each and every one of our patients. Learn more about the individual care and attention we can provide to you so that you can relax and focus on what is most important—the birth of your baby. Call us at 201.821.8819.