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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Try giving your baby a warm bath.
Softly massage your baby, especially around the tummy.
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.
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.