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Colic and colic relief ideas

Baby cryingSometimes your baby cries for seemingly no reason at all.

Often called colic, persistent crying of this nature usually occurs between 3 weeks and 3 months of age and usually takes place in the late afternoon, evening or at night.

Your baby may seem calm and healthy during the day, but at night they can become hard to comfort, cry for hours and appear to be in discomfort or have stomach pain.

There are many opinions as to what causes colic – one theory is that trapped wind is causing stomach pain, another is that the crying often causes wind – and so the problem makes itself worse, and others say that ‘colic’ doesn’t really exist at all.

But whatever it’s called, persistent crying is tiring and upsetting for parents and babies.

If your baby seems to have stomach discomfort at other times of the day, the issue may be reflux or lactose intolerance. If you are in anyway concerned about your child’s health, you should seek professional advice from your child health nurse or doctor.

Ideas for Colic Relief

  • Try to comfort your baby and check that their crying is not due to other reasons such as:
    • hunger
    • dirty nappy
    • temperature
    • thirst
  • Hold your baby and try comfort techniques such as:
    • rocking in a rocking chair
    • holding baby over your arm, face down, and gently rubbing their back
    • soft, rhythmic music
    • putting baby in a baby sling and going for a walk
    • whisper to divert their attention from crying
    • soothing sounds, such as “rainmaker” toys
    • if you are getting anxious or frustrated, pass your baby to a partner or support person – baby can pick up on your feelings and a fresh carer could calm them down
  • If the crying happens regularly at the same time of day/night, make sure that you are prepared with help at hand or dinner finished already so that you can relax and just spend time with your baby, if needed
  • Baby massage – particular massage techniques on the stomach area in particular, can help calm baby down and remove any discomfort. We suggest seeking professional advice from a local baby masseur to get the technique correct. You can also find guides online, but seeing a professional is usually best.
  • Feeding – some people think that colic is caused by air being taken in during feeding – check your breastfeeding technique or, if you are bottlefeeding baby, try an anti-colic bottle.
  • Visit a local chiropractor – some cases of colic have been associated with spine misalignment caused during the birth process. Chiropractors have had success in treating colic in infants through gentle, painless, spinal adjustments.
  • For breastfed babies, observe if the colic seems to be worse with certain things in mum’s diet – in particular, caffeine in coffee, tea, cola drinks, and energy drinks.
  • Try herbal ‘colic relief’ preparations or ‘gripe water’ available from pharmacies. These products are generally based on the assumption that colic is the result of gut issues and these preparations seek to calm down gut irritations and trapped wind (always discuss the symptoms with your pharmacist before giving any remedy and ensure that you follow the manufacturers’ usage instructions) – see our directory page of colic relief products
  • Read what other parent’s are doing to help relieve colic in our forum discussion area

Colic usually seems to cure itself at about 3 months old. If you have any concerns about your child’s health, see professional medical advice.

If the crying is getting you down, ensure that you get support and take a break from the crying, by sharing care with a partner or, if necessary, placing the baby down in a safe place, such as a cot, whilst you take a quick breather.

 Image credit: subbotina/123RF Stock Photo

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4 comments so far -

  1. My son was extremely colicky and wasn’t getting soothed even after getting Zantac, Karo syrup and colic drops. He was constipated as well and I was going crazy to handle the situation. I decided to visit different forums to get some useful advice. Most of the remedies were being tried by me but I found something new there and it was babies magic tea. I checked this product that was good in reviews on Amazon. So, I started giving this tea to my LO and it did the exact what was being told. My baby is now no more constipated and colicky.

  2. According to my parents and other relatives I was a chronic colic baby.
    I would scream by the hour with colic. Local Dr. wasn’t very helpful as he had only just come out of medical school and had no practical ideas. My parents took me to the local childrens’ hospital. No suitable frormua available, only gripe water was suggested. My parents found it hard to make me burp, until my Dad sudfdenly discovered he could sometimes feel the “lump” of wind in my tummy. If he very gently pressed on the spot with his little finger, he could usually move it and I would get rid of it. Sometimes I would be given an extra feed, burp and sleep for several hours. This went on for several months before I finally settled. We moved house and apparently I started getting colic again, not for as long that time. However, I have to alert you to the fact that you can get it as an adult too. Admitted to hospital once, and treated at home twice. Unable to travel at all, not short distance either for a few days.

  3. My baby started screaming for long periods from 6 weeks for no apparent reason. Everyone told me it was colic! She is breastfed and does not have formula. So it wasn’t a formula issue. My mother went to a health food store to see if they would recommend anything. They went on and on about this product that works instantly and is all natural called ‘infant coleze ‘ by zifam. I was sceptical. But I now can’t live without it. She loves the taste. It calms her down so she can feed then she usually sleeps. I can’t live without it. And had to share with any other mothers looking for relief. It saved me and I hope it can help others.

  4. Our second son suffered colic terribly from about a week old, screaming every evening from around 6/7pm until midnight. He would act hungry but as soon as the milk hit his tummy he would arch his back and scream, pushing the bottle out of his mouth. He would also wake every 2-3 hours at night and be quite difficult to feed.
    We tried all the brands of milk (Aptamil, SMA, cow and gate, HIPP) various types of teat and bottle (including NUK and Tommee tippee) and infacol, gripe water, boots gripe mixture, dentinox colic drops and colief. All with no real effect.
    Finally, after about 14 weeks, I tried SMA lactose free milk and to our immense relief, the colic stopped almost was immediately! Hardly any screaming and in the space of 4 days he went from waking every 2 hours at night to sleeping 10 hours solid (although the 10 hours of sleep was something of a one off, but 6 to 8 hours a time at night became the norm). I am so grateful we tried it and wish we had tried it sooner, I may now have a few less grey hairs and wrinkles! It is available straight off the shelf in boots and most Asda stores. Aptamil also do a lactose free version.
    Boots gripe mixture, which is an antacid, also helps after a bottle, better than the other colic remedies. Colief helped too, but was expensive and basically reduces the lactose content in milk before the baby drinks it, so is the same principal as lactose free milk.
    We weaned him back onto regular SMA at 6 months with no problems.
    By the way, they recommend you consult your health visitor before making any changes to your baby’s feeding schedule.

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