Colic and colic relief ideas
Sometimes your baby cries for seemingly no reason at all. Often called colic, crying of this nature usually occurs between 3 weeks - 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 he/she 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.
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 they crying is not due to other reasons such as:
- dirty nappy
- too hot / too cold
- hold your baby and try comfort techniques such as:
- rocking in a rocking chair
- holding baby over your arm, face down, and gently rubbing his/her back
- soft, rhythmic music
- putting baby in a baby sling and going for a walk (or walk around your house)
- whispering can divert baby's attention and stop him/her from crying
- soothing sounds, such as "rainmaker" toys
- pass your baby to a partner, or support person, if you need a rest - sometimes just doing this can calm a baby 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. There’s also an online guide here
- 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 missalignment 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 with high caffeine
- 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 break.
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