How is colic treated?
Colic isn’t treated, but rather managed. Try to soothe your baby as much as possible so they can get past their colic symptoms. If your baby has colic, they will probably cry for some time every day, so try to remain patient. Different techniques will work better than others and you will likely need multiple strategies.
Here are some techniques to soothe a colicky baby:
- Gently holding, cuddling or rocking your baby
- Using a pacifier
- Walking with your baby
- Going on a walk or car ride
- Giving your baby a warm bath
- Making sure your baby is fed until they don’t show interest in eating
- Talking or softly singing to your baby
- Changing your baby’s position as you hold them
- Softly rubbing their stomach or back
- Playing white noise or other soothing sounds
Talk to your pediatrician about other techniques they suggest to help soothe your baby. It’s helpful to know what your baby’s normal crying pattern and sound is. If you feel their crying is significantly worse than normal, you might want to call your doctor or seek other medical care.
Along with these temporary soothing measures, you may consider other changes.
Changes in bottle-feeding to avoid colic
If you're bottle feeding your baby, feed them in an upright position. Take frequent breaks to burp them both during and after feeding. Talk to your pediatrician about what kind of bottle might help with colic. Sometimes curved bottles help relieve colic symptoms. Your doctor also might recommend a non-milk-based formula.
Changes in diet to improve colic
If you’re breastfeeding your baby, they may be crying due to a food sensitivity or allergy. Talk to your pediatrician to see if changes in your diet might make your baby more comfortable. Your doctor might recommend that you temporarily stop eating common allergens like dairy, gluten, nuts or eggs to see if it provides your baby relief.
Take care of yourself
Taking care of a baby with colic is hard and it’s OK, even necessary, to think of your own needs as a parent during this time. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of your baby. Take the following steps to manage your stress and exhaustion:
- Take turns: If possible, take turns soothing your baby with your partner or trusted family member or friend.
- Maintain your health: Eating healthy foods and exercising and sleeping whenever possible will help you feel more rested and refueled for caring for a colicky baby.
- Place your baby in their crib: If you’re overwhelmed, put your baby safely in their crib for a short break. It’s OK to let them cry while you collect yourself and take some deep breaths.
- Be kind to yourself: Colic isn’t something you can prevent or cause. Know that your baby’s crying doesn’t reflect your ability as a parent and colic is temporary.
- Talk about your feelings: Tell your partner, family, friends or other members of your support system about how you’re feeling. Being frustrated, sad, tired or guilty is normal for parents of colicky babies, and it can help to talk about it with those close to you.