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How to soothe a colicky baby

Healthy babies cry. It helps them to express their needs and some babies cry more than others. If your otherwise healthy baby is under five months old and cries hard and is inconsolable despite having been fed, changed and cuddled, it could be colic. And it can be as distressing for parents as it is for baby. Here’s a list of things you can try to help a colicky baby.

3 mins to read Oct 6, 2020
  • All babies go through a period early in life when they cry more than any other time.
  • Check to see if your baby needs something. Perhaps a diaper change, feeding or relief from being too hot or too cold?
  • Cuddle your baby when they’re crying a lot. Holding your baby won’t spoil them.
  • Hold them upright during feeds to help prevent gas from getting trapped.
  • Burp your baby during and after each feed to avoid colicky pain.
  • Ask your healthcare provider to check your feeding technique.
  • Try giving your baby a warm bath.
  • Try a very gentle tummy massage with two fingers in a clockwise motion, using a little olive oil or baby oil.
  • Sucking helps some babies to stay calm. Encourage your baby to breastfeed or try a pacifier.
  • Try different tummy-time positions, for example “super baby”, to help relieve pressure on your baby’s tummy. For more ideas, get five fun tummy-time moves to try here.
  • Many babies are soothed by motion. Try gently rocking baby over your shoulder, this can also help to pass gas. Other ways to move your baby are to rock or push them in their stroller or put them in a baby carrier to cuddle and move them at the same time.
  • Ask you doctor about probiotics—research has shown that the probiotic L. reuteri helps promote a healthy gut flora and reduces crying and fussiness in colicky infants.
  • Try to keep calm—colic and crying usually peaks sometime between 3 and 8 weeks and some babies cry more than others.
  • Rest assured, crying and colic are normal and there’s no lasting effect on your baby. It will resolve on its own by the time your baby is around three to four months.
  • Ask you partner, family and friends for help comforting your baby while you take a break.
  • Stay connected to your doctor if you continue to feel worried about how much your baby is crying.
  • Talk to your doctor if you are having negative thoughts or feeling depressed.
  • For more on colic and crying, read our tips for colic relief here.

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