There are so many theories on colic, what it is, what causes it, and how to help it. But nothing is really known for sure. My son had colic mixed with a few other things that together created a monster for his first 6-months of life. During that torturous time, some people said hurtful and stupid shit, but others gave us helpful recommendations. Given our desperation, we tried just about everything and a few things did actually help at times. Three years later, I had my third child who turned out to be my second colic baby. Everyone said it wasn’t possible that I’d have two colic babies; everyone was wrong. I’ll give you some recommendations that occasionally helped us with one of the babies, worked for other people and some I didn’t try but wish I had!
Once you rule out other issues (reflux, allergies, other medical conditions), here are some things to try for hopefully at least some temporary relief.
What Helped Us Temporarily at Times
Baby Bump Birth Ball ∙∙∙ Rhythmic bouncing often calmed our colicky babies for short periods of time. I found myself sitting on the ball and bouncing for hours every day. As an added bonus, you can use this without your baby as part of your at-home fitness routine. If you already have an exercise ball at home, you can use that.
Infant Chiropractor ∙∙∙ This idea seemed a little crazy when someone first suggested it, but it was life-changing for us. After being curled up in the womb for so long, their alignment can be off. Your baby’s alignment can impact sleep, digestion and their overall physical comfort.
Lactation Consultant ∙∙∙ If you are breastfeeding, a lactation consultant may be able to recognize a problem contributing to the colic symptoms. For us, releasing my son’s lip and tongue-ties helped alleviate some of the screaming. (Side note: Don’t rely on your pediatrician to identify a tongue-tie. See an IBCLC.) With my youngest daughter, my letdown was too forceful. It was causing her to take in more air when she ate, thus she got gassier and more uncomfortable. Alleviating this did not cure the colic, but it did improve some.
Elimination Diet (or dairy/soy-free formula) ∙∙∙Allergies or food intolerances can create colic symptoms. Breastfeeding moms can look into elimination diets. Formula feeding moms can consider switching to dairy-free formula. If you are a breastfeeding mom, it may make sense to try cutting dairy out of your diet first. It may take a couple weeks of not eating dairy before it is completely out of your breastmilk, so be patient. I know, I know… I’m basically suggesting you cut joy out of your day. Without cheese and ice cream, how else will you cope with a colicky baby?! I asked myself that question many times. Hopefully, I’m not the only one! Cutting out dairy did not have any impact on my son’s colic, but it did help my daughter a little.
Probiotics ∙∙∙ This is the kind we started using with my daughter (my second colic baby, my third child) when she was about 6-weeks-old. It was recommended to us by a pediatrician. We noticed a slight improvement in her symptoms. Nothing significant, but really any improvement is helpful. A lot of people swear by probiotics and the effect they have on reducing colic symptoms. This is a high-quality probiotic brand that comes highly recommended. Here is a more affordable one. If you are a breastfeeding mom, it can be helpful for you to take probiotics as well. According to Science of Mom, there was a study that “found that colic improved in a dramatic 95% of babies given Lactobacillus reuteri once per day for 1 month“. This study is enough to make infant probiotics it worth a try!
Massage ∙∙∙ Infant massage helped our daughter sometimes, for short periods of time. Research infant massage, or try finding a class. Among other infant massage techniques, with baby laying on her back, gently pedal her legs to help release gas.
What Didn’t Seem to Help Us, But Helps Many Others
Gripe Water ∙∙∙ These drops supposedly help alleviate the discomfort often associated with colic. We didn’t notice a difference, but a lot of people do!
White Noise ∙∙∙ The sounds of white noise comforts many babies, colicky or not.
Essential Oils ∙∙∙ This didn’t seem to help us, but many people claim that it helps their babies.
Swaddling ∙∙∙ This is my favorite swaddle for newborns. And once your baby is a couple months old, this is a great transition out of the swaddle. I’m not a huge fan of the ones with velcro, because some babies are sensitive to the noise and will wake up when you adjust the velcro.
What I Wish I Had
SNOO ∙∙∙ This did not exist or at least —I didn’t know about it— when I had my first colicky baby. It is super expensive, but I would have spent every last dollar I had to have some relief. I imagine this would have been helpful. You can now rent this by the month!
Halo Snoozypod Vibrating Bedtime Soother ∙∙∙ Here is another new product that I think would have been helpful. It is much more affordable and something I would definitely add to my Amazon Baby Registry if I could go back in time!
Babo Cush ∙∙∙ According to their website, this comfort cushion is “designed to hug your baby securely in the perfect position for relieving wind, colic and reflux”!