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Living with Colic

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Living with Colic

Jun 21, 2020
baby crying


Colic is when a healthy baby cries or fusses frequently for a prolonged period of time. If your baby regularly cries for more than 3 hours a day, he or she may have colic.   Colic occurs in 10-40% of babies, regardless of gender. This period of time can be exhausting and you may feel like there isn't anything that you can do to comfort your baby.  However, there are some things that you can do to try and make this period of time a little easier.  


How is colic diagnosed?

Your baby’s doctor can diagnose colic by performing a physical exam, reviewing their history and symptoms. The doctor might perform some tests to rule out other possible problems.


Colic treatment

If your baby has colic, there are things you can do to try to avoid possible triggers. There are also things you can try to soothe them and reduce crying.


Feeding your baby

If you are breastfeeding your baby, keep track of what you eat and drink. Everything you consume gets passed to your baby and can affect them. Avoid caffeine and chocolate, which act as stimulants. Avoid dairy products and nuts, which your baby may be allergic to. Ask your doctor if any medicines you’re taking could be a problem.

If you are feeding your baby formula, you might try a different brand. Babies can be sensitive to certain proteins in formula. Try feeding your baby less food more often. Avoid feeding your baby too much or too quickly. One bottle feeding should last about 20 minutes. If your baby eats faster, try using a nipple with a smaller hole. This will slow down their feeding. You can try warming the formula to body temperature. Or try feeding your baby in an upright position.


Holding your baby

Babies who have colic respond to different ways of being held or rocked. You can try:

  • Holding your baby across your arm or lap while you massage their back.

  • Holding your baby upright, if they have gas.

  • Holding your baby in the evening.

  • Holding your baby while walking.

  • Rocking your baby in your arms or using an infant swing.


Comforting your baby

Babies also respond differently to movements and stimuli. Other things that can help soothe your baby include:


  • Providing extra skin-to-skin contact.

  • Swaddling your baby.

  • Singing to your baby.

  • Giving your baby a warm bath or putting a warm towel on their stomach.

  • Providing white noise, such as a fan, hair dryer, or dishwasher.

  • Giving your baby a pacifier.

  • Going for a walk with your baby in their strollers.

  • Going for a drive with your baby in their car seat.

  • Giving your baby simethicone drops. This over-the-counter medicine can help relieve gas.


Living with colic

Colic can be difficult for parents, but doesn't have any short or long term effects on your baby. Caring for a baby with colic can be exhausting, if you feel you overwhelmed or frustrated, ask for help.  Ask someone close to you to help watch your baby. Never shake or harm your child. Shaking a baby can cause serious brain damage and even death. If you feel like you might shake or harm your baby, get help right away.

The following are things to keep in mind about colic.


  • You didn’t cause the colic, so try not to feel guilty.

  • Colic will go away. Most babies outgrow it by the time they are 3 to 4 months old.

  • Just because your baby has colic doesn’t mean they are unhealthy.

  • There are many ways to soothe your baby.

  • Giving your baby extra attention, such as holding them for extended periods, won’t spoil them.

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