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PLAYING: How to Soothe a Baby with Colic

How to Soothe a Baby with Colic

Got a fussy baby? Infantile colic is characterized by intense, uncontrolled crying or fussing in an otherwise healthy and well-fed baby. About 20% of babies suffer from colic. Learn more about the possible signs of colic and how to soothe a baby with colic.

4 mins to read Jan 1, 2024

What is colic?

When your baby cries excessively or is fussy and there is no obvious cause, it may be colic. All babies cry, but your baby may have colic if they cry for more than 3 hours a day, at least 3 times a week, for over 3 weeks. Colic usually starts in the first few weeks of life and babies may cry more often in the evening and at night.

In otherwise healthy babies, the duration of crying gradually increases from birth to 6 weeks, reaching an average of 3 hours per day. It then decreases appreciably at 3-4 months of age. Colic is a is difficult aspect of parenting, but there are things you can do to help soothe your colicky baby.

If you are worried about your baby's excessive crying, talk to your doctor.

Symptoms of colic in babies

The symptoms of colic in babies may include:

  • Excessive crying (an average of 3 hours a day, at least 3 times a week, for over 3 weeks)
  • Clenched hands
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Cramps
  • Legs drawn to chest
  • Red face
  • Fussiness  

Ways to soothe a baby with colic

Record colic symptoms for your baby’s doctor

Keep a diary of colic symptoms to share with your doctor. When you take your baby to a doctor, ensure they perform a thorough exam to rule out other possible causes for your baby’s excessive crying.

Rock your baby

Take your baby in your arms and rock them. Speak to them softly, sing a lullaby, or play soft music for them. You can also try placing them on their tummy and patting or rubbing their back

Swaddle your baby in a blanket

Wrapping your baby in a warm blanket helps them feel safe and warm. It may also help to soothe them to sleep.

Give them a bath

Giving your baby a warm bath may help to not only relax them but also provides a way for you to bond with them. The sensory stimulation of a bath can also soothe any discomfort they may be feeling. More so, adding a warm bath to your baby’s bedtime routine can help them feel secure and predict the flow of the day.


To soothe a colicky baby, try walking them around in your arms, in a baby carrier, or in a stroller. You can also try taking them for a car ride. The motion, white noise, and vibrations of the car can be calming and comforting to your baby.

Soothing probiotics

The probioticLactobacillus reuteri (L. reuteri) is a probiotic naturally found in breast milk that has been clinically shown to:

  • reduce crying time in colicky babies^
  • support a healthy and balanced gut flora in your baby's digestive system
  • promote regular stools and tummy comfort

Probiotic L. reuteri is available as a probiotic supplement and is an ingredient in some infant formulas.

White noise

White noise from a white noise machine, fan, or recording of gentle waves can offer a constant relaxing background sound that helps soothe and distract them.

Always speak to your doctor before making any changes to what you feed your baby.


^In breastfed infants.

Vandenplas Y, et al. Prevalence and Health Outcomes of Functional Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Infants From Birth to 12 Months of Age.  J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2015;61(5):531-537.

Chau K et al. Probiotics for Infartile Colic: A Randorized, Double Blind, Plscebo Controlled Trial Investigating Lactobacilus reuteri DSM 17938. J Pediatr. 2015;166(1):74-78.

Savino F et al. Lactobacillus reuteri DGM 17938 in Infantile Colic: a Randomized, Double Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Pediatrics. 2010;128: e528-e533.

Cocorullo P et al. Lactobacillus reuteri (DSM 17936) in infants with functional chronic constipation: a double blind, randomized, placebo controlled study. J Pediatr. 2010;157(4):598-602.


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