What Is Colic and How Can I Help My Newborn Find Relief?

Colic can be a parent’s worst nightmare when it comes to the health of their newborn. Unfortunately, scientists do not know much about the origin of colic, only that it effects your baby’s digestive system and causes your little one pain and discomfort. Doctors suspect that colic can be caused by the baby’s diet. Perhaps the formula isn’t settling well with your baby. Many formulas are soy-based and your baby could be allergic to soy ingredients. If you nurse your newborn, her body may be responding to something you ate. Whatever the case, you and your family need help and support.

One of the best things you can do for you and your baby is to connect with other parents who have had a child with colic. Whether it’s through an online chat or a group that meets in your area; talking to other parents who can understand your vast range of emotions you experience will encourage you and be a source of comfort. You will not feel alone because you know you have people you can call when you’re at your wits end. Your pediatrician may know of a support group in your area.

Right from the start, one of the most important things you can do for your baby is to change her diet. If you are bottle-feeding your baby, try different formulas. If you started out with a soy-based formula, try a dairy-based formula or better yet, an extensively-hydrolyzed formula or an amino acid-based formula. The last two options are more natural than the other formulas and your infant may digest them easier. However, if you are nursing your baby, be more conscious of the foods you eat that could be causing her gas and digestive issues. Some foods you may want to avoid are garlic, caffeine, including chocolate, dairy, and gassy foods such as broccoli and cabbage.


The following are a few tips that you may want to try with your baby:

  • Use the “colic-carry” – Hold your baby so that her stomach rests on your forearm and her head is supported by the palm of your hand. His legs should be straddled across your forearm as well. As you hold your baby in this position, you are naturally applying gentle pressure against her stomach and stimulating her digestive system. The gentle pressure will help her body move the built-up gasses that are causing her so much pain.


  • Reduce your infant’s stress level, and yours, by limiting outside stimulation. Keep the house dark and quiet whenever possible. Use soft lighting and play quiet lullabies or instrumental music, or don’t play music at all. If your baby prefers listening to your voice, sing to her. Usually baby’s favor their mother’s voice over anyone else’s.


  • You may also want to invest in a baby carrier. This is a great way for your newborn to feel your closeness and security while you can have your hands free at the same time. The baby carrier has a few ways you can carry your baby which makes it easy to change positions. If your little one doesn’t like facing front, turn her around so she faces you, or maybe she likes being in the back or on your hip. The trick is to find a position that works for you and your baby.


  • You may also want to take your baby for a walk in the stroller. the steady motion can soothe your baby and getting out of the house and get some fresh air. It will do you both some good. *(You can also try taking your baby for a ride in the car. The sound of the motor and the constant motion usually quiets little ones and they drift off into dreamland).


  • Try giving your little one a massage. Lay her on her tummy across your lap and softly, rub her back. You may want to apply light pressure to help break-up the gasses in her tummy.


  • You may want to try “pedaling” your baby’s legs. Do this by laying your baby on his back and gently move his legs as if he was pedaling a bike. The movement will stimulate her circulation which will help to ease her discomfort.


Colic is stressful and makes parenting and caring for a newborn very challenging, but you and your family can overcome with these tips and support from other parents. The best part is that colic doesn’t last forever, even if it feels like there’s no end in sight at the time. So follow the steps above to help your newborn find relief until it passes.