What is Colic? & Tips on How to Soothe a Colicky Baby

Posted by Mitchell Melamed on

 Being a new mother is such an exciting time in your life, but what happens when you have a baby who is fussy and cries all the time? If your baby is under 5 months old and cries for over 3 hours in a row, for 3 days or more a week, for at least 3 weeks, your baby is colicky. Although colic isn’t a disease and your baby will be fine, it is usually a very difficult time for babies and parents.

If a baby develops colic, it’s usually between 2 and 3 weeks old. Some symptoms to look out for are:

  • Excessive crying — your baby is crying at the same time of day, usually in the late afternoon or evening
  • Cries that are louder and higher pitched than normal
  • Inconsolableness
  • Episodes of crying that happen out of nowhere for no reason
  • Signs of a gassy tummy

    If your baby is colicky, you may notice that they clench their fingers, arch their back, become flushed, pulls their legs, and pass gas as he/she cries. Your baby might actually feel better after they pass gas or have a bowel movement. 

    Some Tips on How to Soothe Your Colicky Baby:

    • Massage. Giving your baby a gentle massage may be soothing. However, be careful with how your baby responds, they might not like the massage and could feel overstimulated.
    • Noise/Silence. It may be soothing for your baby to hear similar noises he/she heard in the womb, such as a rhythmic heartbeat. However, your baby may feel more comfortable in silence. He/she may feel calm and comfortable when it is quiet, still, and dark.
    • Go for a Walk. If you have been indoors for a while, it might help your baby is you go outside. The different atmosphere may distract your baby from crying and may even put him/her to sleep.
    • Swaddle/Stomach Position/Shush/Swing/Suck.
      • Swaddling helps your baby feel less out of control. Try wrapping them up before their usual colicky period or before it’s time to go to sleep.
      • Hold your baby on their side or stomach to relieve stomach pain.
      • Shushing can mimic the sounds of the womb and soothe babies.
      • Likewise, swinging can also feel like the womb and be soothing.
      • Sucking on a pacifier or even fingers can help calm your fussy baby.
    • Warm bath. If you give your baby a warm bath while they’re crying, it may distract them enough that they become relaxed.
    • Warm water bottle. You can place a warm water bottle (wrapped in a towel) on your baby’s belly.
    • Ease Gassiness/Probiotics. Some babies are colicky because they’re gassy from swallowing air while crying or feeding. You should keep your baby upright during feeding, as well as burping them often to ease the pain. You may also want to ask your baby’s doctor about relieving gas with a probiotic

    Luckily, colic goes away on its own by 3 or 4 months, but these tips will help soothe your baby while both of you are going through this tough time!

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