Does it feel like your little one’s crying never stops? Does the crying start for no reason and continue no matter what you try? Do they also get a red face, pull their legs up, arch their backs, clench their fists while closing their eyes, widely opening their mouth, and furrowing their brows? If so, it looks like your baby is going through colic episodes. But foremost, please speak to your pediatrician to rule out any other possible underlying reasons.
How can I identify a colicky baby?
There are 3 basic rules to look for:
- The baby cries at least 3 hours a day
- It occurs at least 3 times a week
- It continues for at least 3 weeks in a row
Colic crying is usually defined to be more intense, louder, and higher-pitched than regular crying; sometimes it may even sound like screaming. The crying generally happens around the same time every day. The symptoms start to occur around 2 or 3 weeks of age, peaking around week 6, then usually begin to settle down around 10th to 12th weeks.
Is there a specific cure for colic?
“Colic” is a combination of incomprehensible behaviors. It is not a disease therefore there is no apparent cure for it! You may come across a colic baby in every five newborns. It is also extremely difficult to soothe a colic baby since there is no comprehensible reason behind it.
Am I the only one with a nonstop crying baby?
If you have a baby with colic, please note that you are not alone!! It’s okay for you to feel like crying too. Even though it might sound impossible, do not be afraid to be physically close to your little one until this challenging period ends. They might feel more comfortable and secure when they are closer to you. Keep in mind that with babies, nothing is persistent and it is okay to struggle and feel exhausted when taking care of a newborn. Please ask for help before you become overwhelmed.
You can also check out our tips below on how to help soothe your colicky baby.
10 tips to soothe a colicky baby
1. Try different holding positions:
- Hip hold (placing your baby around your hips and supporting their backs with your hand)
- Shoulder hold (placing your baby’s head on your shoulder and supporting their back and bottom with your hand)
- Belly hold (holding your baby face down, placing your hand under their belly and head on your forearm.
2. Help your little one to swallow less air at feeding times:
- Burp your baby often (during and after each feeding session)
- Sit them up while they are eating.
3. If your baby is bottle-fed, try switching formulas.
4. Swaddling might make your little one like being back in the womb: secure, warm, and comforting.
5. Using a pacifier might have a soothable effect on your baby during or after the crying periods.
6. Applying infant massage, especially practicing bicycle kicks might help your baby to relieve the discomfort.
7. Going for a car ride with your little one will be a change of scenery that will freshen you up.
8. Try wearing your baby during swaying, bouncing, and patting to give your arms a chance to rest.
9. Going out for a walk with a stroller or a baby carrier will be socializing and refreshing for both of you.
10. Also, using different sounds during the crying episodes is found to be comforting and calming for newborns. Here are a few examples:
- Blow dryer
- Vacuum cleaner
- White noise
- Making “Shhh” sound into the baby’s ear.
- “Colic Relief Tips for Parents.” HealthyChildren.Org, www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/crying-colic/Pages/Colic.aspx. Accessed 12 Nov. 2021.
- Colleen, De Bellefonds. “How to Soothe Colic in Babies.” What to Expect, 21 June 2021, www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/health-and-safety/what-is-colic.
- Gibbs, Harriet. “How Do We Cope with Colic?” BabyCentre UK, https://www.babycentre.co.uk/x3160/how-do-we-cope-with-colic.
- NHS website. “Colic.” Nhs.Uk, 17 Aug. 2021, www.nhs.uk/conditions/colic.
- “Understanding Colic: Treatment.” WebMD, 31 Jan. 2002, www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/colic-treatments#1.
- "5 tips for soothing a colicky baby | Video | BabyCenter." BabyCenter, www.babycenter.com/baby/crying-colic/5-tips-for-soothing-a-colicky-baby_10419466. Accessed 12 Nov. 2021.
- “10 Tips to Get Your Baby to Stop Crying.” WebMD, www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/ss/slideshow-treating-colic. Accessed 12 Nov. 2021.