The word colic makes me cringe. It gives me a sick feeling in my stomach. If you haven’t been introduced to this word yet, colic is when a baby cries for long periods of time for unknown reasons. I hate the word because it reminds me of the helpless feeling of rocking, snuggling, and singing to my newborn without finding a way to make him feel comfortable. The “unknown” portion of colic also bothers me. I am a researcher, and it feels hard to believe that there isn’t an underlying cause. What is causing my baby’s discomfort and how can I fix it?
My number one bit of advice is to work closely with your pediatrician because there are a number of underlying causes that can be missed. You are your baby’s number one advocate, so never feel bad to ask all the questions you need.
Here are a few causes that are sometimes missed:
- Dairy and Soy Intolerance (Breast or Formula Fed)
- Ankyloglossia (Tongue and or Lip Ties)
- Incorrect Formula (Possible Sensitivities)
- Misaligned Spine or Imbalance Somewhere in the Body
- Plagiocephaly (Flat Head Syndrome)
All of these things can be worked through with the help of professionals. Your pediatrician and other licensed professionals (occupational, physical, and massage therapists, chiropractors, and lactation consultants) can be a huge help while you search for answers. Bodywork and CranioSacral Therapy are terms I learned with my fourth child. I wish I had found our amazing Neonatal/ Pediatric Occupational Therapist with my first baby. She made a huge difference for us!
Let’s talk about what to do for baby’s comfort whether it really is just that yucky word colic or until you find an underlying cause.
Walk, Rock, & Sway
Move around. Every baby is different and each crying fit can need a different motion. Try walking around the room. Put on some calming music and slowly dance and sway. Rock in a rocking chair. Gently bounce baby stomach-down on your knees (support her head and neck), and pat her back. Get out the stroller and go for a walk.
There are a lot of great swaddle products available. Baby is used to feeling bundled in the womb and swaddling will mimic that feeling. The Nested Bean Zen Sack ended up being our favorite because it is gently weighted to feel like your touch. Some babies just want to be held all the time, and this can comfort them so they don’t feel alone. Nested Bean offers a swaddle option, a sleep sack, and footed pajamas.
Gut health is a huge topic right now, and babies are not left out of the conversation. Starting baby on a probiotic can help improve health and overall comfort.
A noise machine is a great way to calm baby. It is also really beneficial if you need to block noise from pets, other siblings, neighbors, or outside noises. Once you get your sweet baby to sleep you do not want anything waking them up!
The classic shhh, shhh, shhh noise can work wonders. Just quietly make the noise as you rock or pat baby.
A warm compress on baby’s tummy can be soothing. I used my Earth Mama Organics Booby Tubes because one was the perfect size for a newborn tummy.
A warm bath or shower can be very relaxing and calming for baby and parent. Get in with your little one to feel all the benefits. Add a little lavender for extra relief.
The Windi by Fridababy is one of my absolute favorite products available for babies! It is a strange hollow tube that is inserted into baby’s rectum to free trapped gas. Massage baby’s tummy from the chest downward, do some bicycle kicks, and then insert the Windi for maximum relief.
Gripe Water is a liquid made of herbs and bicarbonate given orally that can help relieve gas and hiccups. Relieving gas can allow baby to relax and let go of tightening and tension.
Gas Drops are another liquid available made with simethicone. When babies have a really hard and bloated belly, gas drops are a great option.
Many baby products have a vibrate option (swings, bouncers, bassinets, stuffed animals). Think of how great it is to sit in a vibrating massage chair! Babies like it too.
Use baby-safe lotions or oils to massage your little one’s body. Your touch is often exactly what baby needs. We love Earth Mama Organics wash, lotion, and oil for a safe, gentle option for baby.
Wear! The! Babies!! I swear by babywearing! Colic can keep you busy 24/7 for weeks to (I’m whispering this and praying it isn’t the case for you) months. Wearing your baby can give you your hands back. Baby needs your love and touch. If you are wearing baby at home, have baby in just a diaper and leave your shirt off. Skin to skin is great for baby’s overall well-being. There are a lot of really great brands and options available. Ergobaby has been a favorite in our home!
My most important advice is to know that this will pass. Colic can leave you feeling defeated and wondering if this is your new life. You and baby will figure out together what works and what you both need. It gets better! Hugs sent your way!
I am momma to four amazing little ones that have inspired me to share my motherhood journey in the hopes of making other moms’ lives a bit easier. I love sharing tips, tricks, advice, and encouragement because we all need extra love! Check out Megan’s Momology for similar articles. You can find me on Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. Our photographer Brandi deserves a major shoutout for grabbing some real-life photos of our sweet baby girl! Feel free to reach out if you need anything! I always love to help.