Looking for some RELIEF from your baby’s colic symptoms? Here’s what worked to soothe my baby that FINALLY stopped the crying so we all got sleep.
If your baby DOES have colic, I’m sure you’re exhausted (been there, done that!). Let’s talk about the symptoms of colic, what causes it, some super helpful baby colic remedies and above all – how to soothe your colic baby so he/she finally stops crying and sleeps.
Updated on November 11, 2022
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Needless to say, I’m not a doctor, so check with your baby’s doctor before making changes – but I just want to pass along what really helped stop baby colic in our house.
However, one thing does not work for all babies with colic. That would be too easy, right? ha!
While this combo of new formula and colic drops worked for me and MANY other parents, it doesn’t work for ALL babies with colic.
Below is Mike and his wife’s story of dealing with their colicky newborn – and what worked for them.
If you have a baby with colic you may already be at your wits end and the last thing you need is to stay up any longer at night looking for knowledge and answers.
Trust me, I know.
Well the good news is, I’ve already done it for you. The bad news is that that’s were the good news ends. There is nothing good about colic and there is no way to sugar coat it. Maybe I can help ease your mind with some knowledge and experience.
Also there are some good tips and tricks to try that will help with the crying and sleepless nights associated with your baby having colic symptoms.
Let me begin by explaining my experience first, and then we will take it from there.
When our son was born the nurse wheeled him out of the nursery and bragged about how he was the quietest baby in the room. Oh lucky us, so fortunate to get the quiet baby, or at least we thought. We had no idea why was in store for us.
When Does Colic Start?
On the second week of the little guys life our oh so quiet baby turned into a screaming crying sound barrier breaking monster!
Not only was he screaming, but he was screaming for hours on end and it was happening more and more.
We were baffled and confused. How could this be happening to us? He was so quiet when we got him. It didn’t take long before we brought him in to see his doctor. He told us to try switching his formula because the formula they give you in the hospital tends to be rough on some newborns bellies.
Four days later we were back at the Dr again. The new formula had the same effect, but now he was spitting up often to go along with it.
As you can guess they changed his formula again and told us to wait another four days to see how he’d react. This process continued until we were on our fifth formula.
When you’re going through this every day seems like an eternity.
I can’t even explain to you how frustrated and upset we were… and so, SO tired!
Finally, we found THE formula that worked!
We were already losing our minds and we were only parents for a measly few weeks!
Desperate for a better answer my wife and I decided to take it upon ourselves. We weren’t the first couple on earth to have a baby with colic so the answers had to be out there. We were going to do this the old fashion way. Research, trial and error.
What Is Baby Colic?
Studies show that forty percent of all babies have colic, wow! Beginning somewhere between the first two to three weeks of life colic or infantile colic is described as a condition in which a healthy baby cries often for long periods of time without any indication of a reason.
Baby Colic Signs and Symptoms
A colic episode can last one to four hours! The crying is usually extra loud and is sometimes accompanied by clenched fists, a flushed face, distended stomach or flexed/pointed legs.
You will notice the baby is much more difficult to calm during a colic episode. Lots of times the crying begins a short time after a feeding, but it can happen at anytime.
Also, as in our case, a colicky baby usually has its worst time around the early evening. I remember joking about the sun going down and the baby turning into a werewolf! Now keep in mind, all babies cry, especially within the first eight weeks of life know as the “fussy” period. We are talking specifically about excessive long lasting crying that falls into this category.
Don’t assume your baby is colic because they are crying and look uncomfortable.
A good indicator that your baby has colic is the Rule of Three:
Crying that lasts for three hours at a time, three days a week, for over three weeks.
Yeah that kind of crying!
What Causes Baby Colic?
There is no real evidence as to what causes colic. Experts are still unclear in their studies since no actual health problems are present in these babies. The only good thing is that colic usually gets better on its own by twelve to sixteen weeks. Do the math and that puts you at three to four months. So if you can find any comfort in knowing that this is usually a timed event than do so, you’re going to need it.
In our case things started getting better by the end of the second month and by the middle of the third everything was normal. Many new parents are somewhat confused about the symptoms of colic and attribute other symptoms to the colic itself.
Keep in mind a colicky baby is an otherwise healthy baby and all other symptoms should be brought to your pediatricians attention. Diarrhea or blood in the infants stool are not symptoms associated with colic. Also, while it may be common for a baby with colic to spit up occasionally actual vomiting is not a symptom either.
Please don’t be afraid to be in constant contact with your doctor if you are unsure about anything. This is a critical time in your baby’s development and the doctors are aware of that.
After the doctor declares that you have a baby with colic they will usually switch their formula, if they haven’t done so already before they came to this conclusion.
They may change it several times until they find the right fit for your little one, so don’t go buying cases of the stuff until after the doctors trial period is over. I’ve seen that too many times and some of the formula can get very expensive. The last thing you want is to get stuck with a case of the stuff that ended up being no good after a week.
Be patient when the new formula is introduced. Sometimes it seems like its working and on the fourth day everything falls apart. It takes the infant a little time to adjust to a new formula, so wait the correct length of time the Dr tells you to. Check with your medical insurance carrier as some of the more pricey “special” formulas are covered, but not all.
Some babies with colic have or end up with some sort of reflux and the doctor may prescribe a prescription medicine or over the counter antacid.
Another issue associated with colic is gas or air.Bottles like these from Dr Browns brand have air control in them and can prove helpful.
Sometimes these babies also drink too fast and trap lots of gas in their tummies. If your infant is lapping up the bottle at uncontrollable speeds and making loud gulping noises while feeding you’ll have to slow them down. Replace their nipple with a zero nipple or preemie nipple. The holes in these nipples are smaller and will slow the baby down as they cannot suck so much formula through so quickly.
Some new formulas have a sandy or gritty texture added to them to slow the flow through the nipple and the settling in the baby’s stomach. These formulas would have to be prescribed by your pediatrician.
On that note please DON’T switch formulas unless instructed by your doctor.
I’ve seen this done by parents desperate to help their babies with what they heard worked from another mother. Every baby’s digestive system is different and what might work for some might not work for others.
Too many formula switches too quickly can irritate a little one digestive system. Breast fed babies are in the same boat.
Breastfeeding and Colic
The only advice for breastfeeding moms is to make sure the baby finishes the starting breast before switching to the next breast. If they switch breasts before they are done with the first they may end up getting a low amount of fat allowing a lot of milk sugar to arrive to quickly in their bellies making them irritable or colicky.
How to Stop Crying from Baby Colic
With that being said here’s a good method for trying to sooth a baby having a colic spell. If the baby isn’t fed obviously feed them but take care not to overfeed them, its not extra food they’re looking for here. Make sure to burp them more often during the feeding as well, trapped air is never comfortable.
Lots of people recommend vibrating shaking rocking seats, if this works for you then by all means go ahead.
What did work was a super swaddle session.
The swaddle is a godsend to calm your baby!
Some parents report that their babies hate it, if that’s your case than skip it, but if not do it well and snug. Learn to be a master swaddler. A nice snug swaddle will simulate a womb like atmosphere for the baby. A gentle rocking/swaying motion repeated while they are swaddled nicely will add to the calming sensation as well.
If the baby is taking a pacifier then by all means this is the time to give it to them. You can gently hold the pacifier in with your two fingers while you rock. Loud shushing noises made by you or a white noise machine will set the mood too.
Lots of people claim that a ride in the car calms a colicky baby and I agree, it can provide temporary relief. Unfortunately we cant drive around all day, right?
More Help For Baby ColicAs far as literature is concerned there aren’t too many helpful books on this matter.You will mostly find money suckers who claim to cure your baby. These creeps are just feeding on desperate parents who would pay anything for some help, so don’t support them like we did.
The only useful book on colic after sifting through so many was The Happiest Baby On The Block by Harvey Karp MD.
We highly recommend his book. So try it and good luck to you!
Whatever happens make sure not to stress yourself to deeply about this issue.
If you feel like you’re going to lose it, call a friend or relative and see if they can give you a hand or a break for a little bit to compose yourself.
In the end your health is just as important as theirs, and during this tough time your baby needs you healthy.
Always remember, this too shall pass, you are not alone.
Just a reminder…