22 Ways You Can Ease Your Colicky Baby’s Discomfort

If you suspect your baby has colic, your life may feel like, well, you know – a living hell. You might feel sad, depressed, frustrated or even angry. You may begin to feel like you hate being a parent and wish you’d never decided to have a baby. This may make you feel guilty or shameful. Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. If you suspect your baby has colic, you may want to speak to his or her doctor to evaluate their health and make sure that there is nothing else that could be causing the crying. If your baby cries for 3 or more hours for 3 or more days per week, colic is a real possibility. If your baby has colic and your doctor confirms this, you may feel overwhelmed and not know quite what to do.

Here are 22 tips you can use when trying to calm down your colicky baby. Keep in mind that not all of these will work for your individual baby, so try a few.

1. Examine your bottle. Sometimes there might be something wrong with the bottle you are using, which may cause your baby to gulp more air. You may even try a different kind of bottle if possible.

Check the nipple of the bottle to make sure the hole in the top is not too small – however, do not poke the hole yourself to make it bigger. Try going to the store and buying a different nipple with a bigger hole (the next stage up should work).

You might also invest in bottles specifically made to ease fussiness and prevent gas. You can get a curved bottle or bottles that are designed to reduce the amount of bubbles that may appear in the liquid after shaking.

2. Hold your baby in an upright position while feeding. This will allow the food to smoothly go down into your baby’s stomach without trapping air.

3. Feed your baby when he or she starts to get hungry – not when they are starving. Wait until your baby shows the first signs of hunger – lip smacking or licking, sucking noises or rooting may all be signs that your baby is ready to eat. This way your baby will not start eating too quickly, gulping large portions of air with their food and causing stomach discomfort.

4. Burp your baby frequently during feedings. Don’t wait until the end, pull baby off the nipple and burp him or her, then return them to the nipple. Do this every 3-5 minutes.

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5. If you are breastfeeding, change your eating habits. What you eat while breastfeeding can cause some stomach discomfort for your baby. You should keep a log of what you are eating versus when your baby is fussy – this may allow you to determine what it is in your diet that bothers your baby, then you can avoid these foods.

6. Switch to a different formula. This doesn’t often work, but sometimes it does. Ask your pediatrician about switching to a sensitive or lactose free formula if the regular formula seems a likely culprit.

7. Give your baby a natural herbal tea. Be careful when doing this – always seek the help of a professional before introducing your baby to herbal teas, etc – but you may look into trying one to benefit your baby. Chamomile, fennel and dill are popular choices. Just make sure they are really weak, and of course consult with your baby’s pediatrician first. If you are breastfeeding you can try drinking the tea to see if this helps.

8. Use over the counter medicines. You can try using gripe water (an herbal solution) or gas drops if you suspect gas is what’s causing your baby to be fussy. Make sure that the solutions you use are meant for babies and ask your doctor for the proper dosage and the “go ahead” before using these medicines.

9. Give your baby a gentle massage. You can gently rub your baby’s belly to help guide gas out of the body, or you can lay your baby on his or her tummy across your knees and rub his back gently. This will help relax your baby and might even put them to sleep.

10. Use a warm water bottle. You can fill up a warm water bottle with warm water. Make sure the water is not too hot. Put the water bottle in a towel and then place it on your belly. Then place your baby on top. Be careful though, as baby’s sense of touch may be more sensitive than yours and even though it may not feel too hot to you doesn’t mean it isn’t for your baby.

11. Use sound to your advantage. Your baby might enjoy it if you run the vacuum, place him in front of the noisy dryer or leave him in the bathroom in a baby bouncer with the fan running. These noises remind baby of being in the womb and may comfort and soothe them.

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12. Play music. Whether you sing to your baby or you put on a CD for them, many babies enjoy the sound of music and it may comfort them to hear your voice (or familiar songs they may have heard while in your womb). Additionally you can buy music that is specifically meant to calm a fussy baby that may work as well.

13. Use motion. Buy a rocker, a baby bouncer, a vibrating baby seat and a carrier for your baby to sit in. The rocking motion may help your baby get to sleep. Carrying your baby around in a baby sling or carrier may remind him or her of the womb and may soothe them.

14. Use baby exercises. A popular way of getting rid of tummy aches in babies is the lay the baby on his or her back. Take their legs and gently move them in a bicycle fashion. You can use this several times throughout the day and you can do it while changing their diaper.

15. Take your baby for a car ride. Many parents report that their babies calm down when they go for a car ride together. Of course, don’t forget to keep your baby safely in his or her car seat and buckled while in the car.

16. Change the scenery. If you have been inside all day and baby is fussy, it may calm and relax your baby (and you!) if you take him or her out for a walk for a while. You can put baby in his or her carrier, or stroller, and go for a walk around the block a few times or to the park. Looking at all of the fun things outside may distract your baby and the walking may soothe him or her into going to sleep. It might also relax you if you’ve had a stressful time inside with the baby.

17. Alleviate excess stimulation. Many babies do not respond well to all of the activity of a regular day, so when they get fussy – bring them into a dark quiet room and rock them.

18. Swaddle your baby. If you swaddle your baby it may help them get to sleep faster and they may stay asleep for longer time periods. All you need is a blanket (or you can buy a specialty swaddler). Ask the nurses at the hospital to teach you how to swaddle your baby or use instructional videos you can find online that will teach you how to properly swaddle your baby.

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19. Use scents. You might think of using a chamomile scent or a lavender scent to ease your baby. Any scent used to calm and comfort may help your baby (as well as you).

20. Give your baby a bath. Baths are relaxing and soothing, so give your baby a bath if he or she is acting overly fussy. For added soothing, you can use a lavender scented baby wash and shampoo. Additionally you can try turning on the shower and letting the shower hit your baby on his or her back. Many babies love this and it instantly soothes them – but be careful, a wet baby is a slippery baby who is easy to drop. To prevent injuries, wrap baby in a towel and hold them close to you when doing this. You might even think about getting a detachable shower head and use it on your baby’s back while you hold them against your chest in the bath tub.

21. Use a pacifier. You might think of giving your baby a pacifier to help soothe their fussiness. Don’t do this until your baby is 4 weeks old if he or she is breastfeeding. Sucking on something is baby’s way of soothing themselves, and it’s often the best way to help your baby relax.

22. Get baby into some sort of routine. Schedule times when baby will be woken up each morning, times when baby will take naps, time for bath, etc. You don’t have to schedule in meals, and the times don’t have to be exact – but a certain time frame you are able to stick to will help your baby.

Coping with a colicky baby is one of the hardest parts starting out as a parent, but using these tips should help you. Remember that not everything works for every baby – you may have to try a couple or even all of these tips before you find something that works for your baby.