When Babies Suffer with Colic: Tips & Tricks

Colic is a broad term used to describe prolonged and excessive crying in young babies. All babies cry of course, and colic is not a diagnosis as such, but is used to describe problematic and inconsolable crying in an otherwise healthy infant.

Babies usually begin this phase of persistent crying at 2-4 weeks of age and it can last for several months, which can be a very worrying and stressful time for parents.

It is likely that your baby has colic if their crying lasts 3 or more hours at a time, happens 3 days a week or more, and goes on for more than 3 weeks. The crying is often at its worst in the afternoons and evenings, and sometimes babies will pull their legs towards their tummies or arch their backs.

What to do

If you think your baby may be suffering with colic be sure to rule out any physical problems first. Your family health nurse or GP will be able to check for any illness or pain that may be triggering the crying, and will then be able to offer you reassurance as you move forward with new strategies for coping with colic and settling your baby.

There are lots of tips & tricks that parents can try when settling a colicky baby, but bear in mind that different things work for different babies, and sometimes it is very much a case of trial and error. It sometimes helps parents to remember that colic and persistent crying, as upsetting as it can be, is not caused by anything they are doing or not doing. As long as your baby has had all the appropriate health checks, you may simply need to wait for this common phase to run its course.

Try some of our favourite tips & tricks below:

  • Feed baby if you think they might be hungry
  • Burp baby after every feed to reduce trapped wind
  • Sometimes they just like to suck on something, try a dummy
  • Check if baby is too hot or cold, or needs a nappy change
  • Rock baby or carry baby close to you in a sling to comfort them
  • Sing lullabies or play soothing music (avoid loud environments)
  • Some babies need peace and quiet, others like low background (white) noise
  • Try baby massage or patting
  • A warm bath sometimes settles baby and helps with sleep
  • Try to get into a routine for feeds, baths and settling
  • Try wrapping or swaddling your baby, and always follow the safe sleeping guide
  • Go for a drive in the car or a walk with baby in the pram

Our Cherry Bridge Station Early Learning & Childcare Centres in NSW cater for children from just 6 weeks of age until they are school-ready at the age of 5. We know all about the common signs of colic and the importance of working with families to maintain routines and settling practices. Our highly qualified educators will be more than happy to discuss the individual needs of your baby.