Baby Colic Survival Guide: Tips, Tricks & Hope

When baby colic strikes, it’s as though someone has come in and swapped your perfectly beautiful, healthy baby with a screaming, fussing infant who simply can’t be consoled. Colic can leave you exhausted and overwhelmed as a new parent – as if newborns weren’t exhausting and overwhelming enough! If you have a colicky baby, you’re not alone and yes – there is hope.

Affecting anywhere from 5 to 25% of babies, colic can be an incredibly stressful, difficult time for both new parents and baby. Colic is defined when a baby cries for three or more hours a day for more than three days a week for three weeks.Baby colic can show up as early as two weeks old, and tends to peak around 3 to 4 months of age, but can last up to a year. Our son is (hopefully) on the tail end of a run of colic for the last month or so. We’ve tried a number of different tips and tricks to soothe baby and keep him calm and comfortable to give us some relief.

Read more to see my 23 tips and tricks to help soothe a colicky baby.

  • Hang In There, New Parents!

    Hang In There, New Parents!

    As overwhelming as a bout of baby colic may be, there is hope that you and baby will get through this.

    photo credit: Keiko Zoll

  • Soothing Your Colicky Baby

    Soothing Your Colicky Baby

    When it comes to soothing your colicky baby, there are four general types of soothing techniques: movement, sound, comfort and feeding.

    photo credit: Keiko Zoll

  • Soothe With Movement: Rocking

    Soothe With Movement: Rocking

    Whether you stand and rock or take a break and sit in a rocking chair or glider, the rocking motion can be soothing to colicky babies.

    photo credit: Keiko Zoll

  • Soothe With Sound: Shushing

    Soothe With Sound: Shushing

    Mimic the sounds from in the womb by gently “shushing” in your baby’s ear. If your baby is crying particularly fiercely, you may need to bring your lips right to baby’s ear so she can hear you over her crying.

    photo credit: Keiko Zoll

  • Soothe With Comfort: Swaddling

    Soothe With Comfort: Swaddling

    Swaddling has been my first line of defense against colic. Sometimes babies need the sensation of being tightly held and secure as they were in the womb in order to calm down.

    photo credit: Keiko Zoll

  • Soothe With Feeding: Gripe Water

    Soothe With Feeding: Gripe Water

    This homeopathic remedy can be found in most major drugstores. Made from blends of grapefruit, fennel and sometimes ginger, this all-purpose remedy can work wonders for some babies whose upset tummies might be the source of their colic.

    photo credit: Keiko Zoll

  • Soothe With Movement: Bouncing

    Soothe With Movement: Bouncing

    Some babies like the up and down motion associated with bouncing. You can try holding baby and bouncing in your seat, or use a yoga or exercise ball to give you a little extra bounce.

    photo credit: jspaw via photopin

  • Soothe With Sound: Play Music or Sing

    Help soothe your baby by playing soft music or lightly singing or humming to him as you hold him.

    Try the Disney Baby Lullaby CD

  • Soothe With Comfort: Babywearing

    Soothe With Comfort: Babywearing

    Babywearing has been shown to help ease the symptoms of colic for baby; skin-to-skin contact is another advantage to babywearing as well, providing baby with that close comfort she needs.

    photo credit: Keiko Zoll

  • Soothe With Feeding: Dietary Changes

    Soothe With Feeding: Dietary Changes

    If you’re breastfeeding, baby might be reacting to something in your diet. The first dietary change you can make is to eliminate dairy from your diet; some babies are sensitive to the proteins in cow’s milk. Note that it can take up to two weeks for these proteins to fully leave your system.

    photo credit: Stefan Kühn via Wikimedia Commons

  • Soothe With Movement: Baby Swing

    Soothe With Movement: Baby Swing

    Sometimes rocking or bouncing won’t cut it, and maybe your arms just need a break. Try placing baby in a baby swing to help soothe him.

    photo credit: Keiko Zoll

  • Soothe With Comfort: Baby Massage

    Soothe With Comfort: Baby Massage

    Try gently massaging your baby’s back, cheeks, head, arms or legs. If your little one is particularly worked up, this might be more difficult; in this case, just soothe him by rubbing his back and head.

    photo credit: valentinapowers via photopin

  • Soothe With Sound: White Noise

    Sometimes even a simple melody or tune can be overwhelming for baby. Try a white noise machine so baby can zone out to the even, non-overwhelming sound that white noise provides.

    Try a “Dreamy Sounds” Soother from Cloud b

  • Soothe With Feeding: Keeping Baby Upright After Meals

    Soothe With Feeding: Keeping Baby Upright After Meals

    If your baby spits up or has reflux, this can aggravate the symptoms of colic. Keeping your baby upright for 10-30 minutes after feedings can help.

    photo credit: Keiko Zoll

  • Soothe With Movement: Go for a Walk

    Soothe With Movement: Go for a Walk

    Maybe baby just needs some fresh air. The advantage to taking a walk is that if baby is still crying, there are less walls, ceilings, and floors for the sound to bounce off of, so it’s not nearly as intense.

    photo credit: Keiko Zoll

  • Soothe With Comfort: Inclined Napping

    Soothe With Comfort: Inclined Napping

    If your baby has a little bit of reflux, which will only aggravate their colic, try placing them on an incline when they sleep to help ease some of their discomfort.

    photo credit: Keiko Zoll

  • Soothe With Feeding: Smaller, More Frequent Meals

    Soothe With Feeding: Smaller, More Frequent Meals

    Baby’s belly might be getting too full with infrequent, larger feedings, causing abdominal discomfort. Instead of spacing them out, compact them closer together in smaller amounts.

    photo credit: Keiko Zoll

  • Soothe With Movement: Try a Change of Scenery

    Soothe With Movement: Try a Change of Scenery

    Sometimes baby just needs a change of scenery. Combined with a car ride, this might help distract baby enough to calm down for a little while. But if baby starts a meltdown at the grocery store, it might be time to turn around and come back home.

    photo credit: Keiko Zoll

  • Soothe With Comfort: Warm Bath

    Soothe With Comfort: Warm Bath

    A bath can be incredibly soothing for a baby, and sometimes provide enough of a distraction to give you a few minutes of quiet time.

    photo credit: Frédéric de Villamil via photopin

  • Soothe With Feeding: More Frequent Burping

    Soothe With Feeding: More Frequent Burping

    If baby’s got bad gas, this can only make colic worse. Head gas off at the pass by taking more breaks during feedings to thoroughly burp baby.

    photo credit: Keiko Zoll

  • Soothe With Movement: Go for a Ride

    Soothe With Movement: Go for a Ride

    Sometimes the motion of a moving car can help soothe a colicky baby to sleep.

    photo credit: Keiko Zoll

  • Soothe With Comfort: Frequent Diaper Changes

    Soothe With Comfort: Frequent Diaper Changes

    A colicky baby can be extra sensitive to diaper discomfort, so stay ahead of the pass by changing baby’s diaper more frequently.

    photo credit: Keiko Zoll

  • Last Resort: Letting Baby Cry It Out (In Very Limited Moderation)

    Last Resort: Letting Baby Cry It Out (In Very Limited Moderation)

    Sometimes, nothing you try will work. As an absolute last resort, you can make sure baby is safe and secure and let him cry it out. My pediatrician said that our son could cry it out for as long as 20-30 minutes, but no longer. Check with your pediatrician to see what he or she recommends.

    photo credit: VeZoul via photopin

  • It's Okay to Get Help

    It’s Okay to Get Help

    Parents with a colicky baby need all the help and support they can get. Get a friend, family member or a babysitter who can come over even just for a half hour to take care of baby while he cries so you can get out of the house and have a few minutes of peace and quiet.

    photo credit: Keiko Zoll

  • Still Worried? Talk To Your Doctor

    Still Worried? Talk To Your Doctor

    If your baby’s colic seems excessive, talk to your pediatrician, especially if your baby begins exhibiting other symptoms such as fever or a change in diaper output. While there’s not much doctors can do for true colic, you’ll want to rule out any other underlying causes for your fussy baby.

    photo credit: tlillis4 via photopin

What colicky baby tips and tricks work for you and your little one?

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