Caring For A Baby With Colic (and Yourself)

Caring For A Baby With Colic (and Yourself)

Caring For A Baby With Colic (and Yourself)

No research finding long term impacts on babies crying due to colic is of little use when you see their miserable face while being tortured with their piercing screams for hours every day. The fact that all of a sudden it’s over at 3-5 months doesn’t help much either when you’re stuck in the thick of it. What does help is if, at around 2 weeks, your baby ramps up the crying, keep the following in mind:

  • Colic is a descriptive term for a baby that cries excessively, and experts can only theorize what causes it. This makes determining solutions difficult.
  • 15-20% of babies experience colic.
  • Nothing you or mom did caused it; and there is nothing you can do to cure it.
  • The major danger is the added stress and conflict a colicky baby generates on dads and moms.
  • All you can is do is care for your baby as best you can, cope with very tough circumstances, and wait for it to be over.

What You Can Do For Your Baby

While you cannot cure colic, you can help your baby by trying all the crying strategies listed under DEFCON 1-4, and due to the advice of those who have been there, the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play, the Happiest Baby on The Block streaming video and bicycling her legs.

colic symptoms

Then try the following methods, ranked by the % that surveyed mothers said worked (along with the % that tried), starting with the most effective:

Method% Tried% WorkedMethod% Tried% Worked
Swing, Cuddle, Hold98%91%Swaddling93%55%
Motion96%89%The Colic Hold87%48%
Burp During/After Feeds98%76%Pacifiers76%40%
More Feedings92%73%Gripe Water*62%37%
Sound91%68%Probiotics50%37%
Music88%57%Tummy Time91%31%
Massage86%57%Change Nipple, Bottle, or Formula 47%23%
Change Nursing Position 85%55%Herbal Teas36%18%
A Warm Bath84%55%Simethicone**33%17%

*An over-the-counter liquid with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to neutralize stomach acid.
**Used to relieve symptoms of extra gas caused by air swallowing; helps break up gas bubbles in the gut.

Get Informed 

There are many websites with information on colic, but just a few that go beyond repeating each other to provide actually useful information as you confront colic:

What You Should Do If Colic Starts Showing Up

Start by ringing the “all hands on deck” bell and get ahead of the curve on this one, which can include:

  • Talking to your doctor with your wife – there are a variety of reasons why your baby may have colic, and doctors are trained to take a constructive approach to determining what might help. Solutions might include temporarily switching to formula, or experimenting with different formulas. 
  • Trying anything on the crying hack lists you think might help. 
  • Calling in the troops: relatives, friends, or an experienced baby sitter can give you a break by taking care of your crying baby.
  • If the crying has you and mom completely overwhelmed, give yourself a break by putting the baby in his crib, closing the door, and then check on him regularly until you’ve calmed yourself down. 
  • If you need help, call the Fussy Baby Network’s warm-line at 888-431-2229 (click to dial) and leave a message; they will get back to you to help out.

Good luck in finding solutions, and God speed in getting through it.

What Dads Say About Colic

  • “We had a colicky daughter, and it turned into a debugging exercise. There's no one solution that fixed it. For us, the only thing that would keep her from crying was bouncing on one of those exercise balls while holding her. We fed her on that thing, she napped while we bounced, etc. I had thighs of steel by the time she got past it.”
  • “Finding out at the end that there is really nothing you can do - you cannot fix the problem – it took a lot of stress off everything” 
  • “It's a terrible, terrible thing to deal with, so good luck. Just know that it WILL get better.”
  • “He cried for an hour and a half straight and I’m thinking, ‘Am I a bad dad? Did I have a bad baby?’ But they cry because they’re trying to tell you something.” 
  • “And then it was over!”

REDDIT: Colic destroys the souls of parents.

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