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Colic - Colic is common in babies - but that doesn't make it easier for parents to handle.
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Experiment to discover what works best to ease your child's colic. Remember, what works at one time may not work at another. Here are some ideas to try:

  • Offer food. Sometimes a colicky baby is really just hungry. Although it's possible to overfeed your baby, it isn't likely. Babies usually spit up or throw up what they don't need. If you think your baby may be hungry, it's fine to offer a feeding.

  • Offer a pacifier. Even if you're breast-feeding, it's probably OK to try a pacifier. Some babies have a more intense urge to suck as a self-soothing activity.

  • Try plain water or electrolyte water (Pedialyte). For some babies, plain liquids can be soothing.

  • Hold your baby. Cuddling helps some babies. Other infants quiet when they're held closely and swaddled in blankets. Don't wrap your baby too warmly at bedtime though — sometimes colicky babies wake up because they're too warm. Most of all, don't take it personally if your baby doesn't always seem to want to be held.

  • Keep your baby in motion. Gently rock your baby in your arms or in an infant swing. Or lay your baby tummy down on your knees and then sway your knees slowly. Take a walk with your baby, or go for a drive with your baby in an infant car seat.

  • Sing to your baby. Even if lullabies don't stop your baby from crying, they can keep you calm and help pass the time while you're waiting for your baby to settle down.

  • Try constant background sound. Some infants with colic cry less when they hear a background sound that stays at a low, steady volume. When holding or rocking your baby, try making a continuous "shssss" sound. Other tricks to try include running a vacuum cleaner, turning on a kitchen or bathroom exhaust fan, or buckling your infant in a car seat placed next to a running clothes dryer. Never put the car seat on top of the dryer because it may fall off. A fish tank motor or blowing hair dryer turned away from the baby also may help. Or try playing a tape or a CD of environmental sounds such as ocean waves, a waterfall or gentle rain. Tapes are also available of a human heart beating. This sound may soothe your baby. Many babies even seem to respond to classical music. When your baby finally does fall asleep, a steady background sound makes it less likely you'll accidentally wake your baby up. Some sounds, such as a ringing telephone, are too jarring. Turn the ringer off if a phone is in the room where your baby sleeps and put a "Baby is sleeping" sign on the door.

  • Try helping your infant pass a stool or gas. Rocking your baby facedown on your lap may help him or her pass a stool or gas. Sometimes gently massaging your baby's stomach also works. It's best to avoid giving an enema, but taking your baby's temperature rectally can occasionally provide relief.

  • Use gentle heat. Try giving your baby a warm bath.

  • Use gentle touch. Softly massage your baby, especially around the tummy.

  • Experiment with feeding. Diet changes can sometimes be helpful, but it's best to work out a plan with your doctor. If you breast-feed, you might try eliminating certain foods from your own diet such as cow's milk, caffeinated drinks and vegetables in the cabbage family, including broccoli. Nursing mainly on one breast for a single feeding also may help. If you feed your baby formula, ask your doctor about trying a different formula. Feed your baby more often and in smaller amounts. Try switching to a new type of bottle — one with a different nipple, a different shape or a collapsible bag. Finally, adjust your baby's feeding routine and position. Holding your child more upright may help. Burp your baby more often and try to feed more slowly. Adding rice cereal to your baby's diet probably won't help colic, even if you've heard otherwise. If you have a strong history of allergies, be especially careful about introducing new foods to your baby. Stay in touch with your pediatrician, especially if your baby develops allergy signs or symptoms, such as eczema.

  • Allow your baby some private time. Sometimes it helps to let your baby stay alone in a crib for at least five to 10 minutes. If nothing else seems to be working, maybe a brief timeout will help.

  • Call your doctor if your child's condition seems to change. If you're worried that your baby has a problem other than colic, trust your intuition and contact your primary care provider. You can help your doctor by noting in a diary what times your baby cries. Also record your child's sleeping and eating patterns. Colicky babies are irritable, but continue to be interested in feeding — a baby not interested in feeding may be ill. You may want to call your doctor's office every week to let the staff know how you and your baby are doing.

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