Colic: 5 Ways to Find Relief

by Elizabeth Peters May 09, 2016

Colic: 5 Ways to Find Relief

You bring your new baby home from the hospital and marvel at how perfect he is. He coos sweetly in his bassinet while you rest, goes right back to sleep after his nightly feedings, and loves cuddle time with Momma. You brag to family and friends about how perfectly well behaved he is. You listen sympathetically to the complaints of sleeplessness and feeding problems from your fellow new moms while secretly patting yourself on the back for a job well done because you don’t have any horror stories of your own to tell. You are the proud mother of the Best. Baby. Ever.

Then a few weeks after coming home, your precious angel draws his legs up to his belly, scrunches his face, and lets out a shrieking cry. And he doesn’t stop. Ever. You try to feed him, but he doesn’t want to eat. You try to console him, but he won’t be consoled. You are at your wits end. After a couple of days of this you finally realize what is happening: your baby has been taken over by a demon. You wonder whether priests still make house calls for this sort of thing.

The good news is, there is a 99% chance that your baby has not been infiltrated by a demon, so you can call off the exorcism. (Seriously, call it off.) His horrific change in temperament is most likely due to colic. Colic is believed to be the result of pain in the abdomen, most likely caused by gas. Luckily, while there is no steadfast cure for colic, there are things you can do to help both you and your baby find some relief.

  • Feed your baby upright. Hold your baby as upright as you can during feedings. Also keep baby upright for the 10 to 15 minutes following a feeding to allow his tummy to settle before he lays down.
  • Change your diet or switch formulas. If you are breastfeeding, try removing foods from your diet that commonly cause allergies such as peanuts, fish, soy, wheat, and dairy. Try this for two weeks and see if your baby’s symptoms improve. If you are bottle-feeding, try switching your baby to a formula that is formulated to be gentle on his tummy, such as Similac Sensitive or Enfamil Gentlease. You should also consider changing bottles or nipples to ones that are designed to lessen the amount of air ingested.
  • Give your baby a warm bath. Give your baby a warm bath and gently rub circles on his tummy with a warm washcloth. This can help soothe any discomfort he may be experiencing.
  • Rock your baby. Motion is soothing to babies, so try rocking your baby either holding him upright, or while laying him on his tummy across your knees. You can also try taking him for a walk or riding him around the block in his car seat.
  • Sing to your baby. A soft lullaby may help soothe both you and your baby. Steady background noise can also be soothing to babies, so try running a ceiling fan or playing a CD of rainfall or a heartbeat. The ticking of a clock can also be soothing. 

Dealing with a colicky baby can be extremely stressful. No matter how stressed or irritated you become, you should never shake your baby. This bears repeating: do not shake your baby! If you feel like you just can’t take it anymore, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Despite what you may think, no one expects you to be super mom. Speak up and ask a parent, in-law, sibling, friend, or neighbor to watch the baby for a while so you can get some rest. And remember that this too shall pass: colic almost always goes away on its own by the age of 3 to 4 months.

Elizabeth Peters
Elizabeth Peters


Elizabeth Peters is a mother of two and freelance writer who specializes in the parenting/family niche. When she is not writing for clients she can be found blogging about parenting on her own blog at She currently resides in Alabama with her husband and two young children. Connect with her on Twitter: @themommyvortex

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