11 Colic Survival Tips from Moms Who’ve Been There

mother comforting crying babyIf the screaming in your home seems to never stop, you’re not alone. When a healthy, well-fed, and well-cared-for baby cries inconsolably for more than three hours a day, more than three times a week for more than three weeks – and there aren’t any health problems causing the crying – a doctor will diagnose it as colic.


An estimated 20 percent of all babies under 4 months old have colic. That’s a lot of tired, stressed-out parents currently in the trenches. And a whole lot more who’ve made it through.

Though it seems like a colicky baby is in pain, no one is really sure they are. Some think colic could be the result of the naturally immature nervous system making some babies extra sensitive to stimuli; others suggest a hormonal reason. It’s a misconception that colic is caused by gassiness -- it's actually quite the opposite. Most docs agree that in fact many colicky babies become excessively gassy as a result of swallowing so much air during their screaming episodes.

More from CafeMom: 6 Natural Ways to Treat Infant Gas

So without an explanation, many parents dealing with colic feel helpless in soothing their babies. The good news is that most cases of colic (which tend to start when the baby’s around 3 weeks old) resolve on their own by the fourth month. So if you’re a parent struggling with this phase, know that it will get better soon. In the meantime, here is some advice to help you through it from moms who’ve been there.

Feed On Demand

“I quickly learned that feeding on a schedule wasn’t going to happen with my son. He was most at ease when nursing.” -- Barbara R., Bergenfield, New Jersey

Ask the Doctor About Probiotics

“When my second baby was just as colicky as my first, I started her on infant probiotics right away. They helped tremendously.” -- Liz L., Orlando, Florida

Wear Your Baby

“I carried my little guy upright in a baby carrier 99 percent of my day. It was a lifesaver and the only way I could get anything done. Nothing else worked. Even putting him down in a bouncy seat or swing was almost impossible.” -- Allison M., Shamong, New Jersey

More from CafeMom: The Babywearing Safety Test: Can You Pass? (TRIVIA)

Take a Dip

“My daughter loved being in water, so she took lots of baths and we went swimming every chance we got.” -- Teresa S., Stamford, Connecticut

Make Some Noise

“Also, white noise would sometimes calm my girl. The most helpful was our old 1960s bathroom fan. It was very loud.” -- Teresa S.

Sing Your Heart Out

“When all else failed, I’d belt out one of my favorite lullabies or pop songs.” -- Michelle O., Barrington, Rhode Island

Record Your Voice

“I used Garage Band to record myself reading my little lady’s favorite books. I’d play them for her at bedtime so she could still hear my voice after I left the room. Those recordings were a big help on long car rides, too.” -- Lena N., Bedford, New York

Get Some Air

“Sometimes during a crying fit, I’d just pop my fussy guy in the stroller and head outside. The change of scenery would distract him, and the fresh air did me good, too.” -- Michelle O.

More from CafeMom: 11 Reasons Your Baby Might Be Crying

Can’t Get Out? Order In

“I avoided taking my cranky baby of the house by ordering most of what I needed online. Grocery deliveries were my best friend.” -- Scarlet P., Greenville, South Carolina

Ask for Help

“I had a group of friends that helped me maintain my sanity. They somehow didn’t mind the screaming. A few of them even offered to take the baby while I did things alone with my older daughter. I’m so grateful to them.” -- Sari B., Pound Ridge, New York

Know When to Walk Away

“It is absolutely necessary to walk away sometimes. It’s not your fault that you can’t get your baby to settle. There were many times I would just hand my son over to my husband and go upstairs to have a good cry or take a shower.” -- Allison M.


Karissa O'Reilly is a freelance writer and work-from-home mom. She lives in Westchester County, New York, with her husband, two children, and two dogs.

Photo via iStock.com/sdominick

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