Coping with a colicky baby

Young mother kissng her small sleeping newborn baby - indoors

It’s 3 a.m., and you’re finally in a deep slumber when suddenly the wailing starts … again. Trying to pacify an inconsolable baby in the middle of the night is one of the most difficult challenges that exhausted new parents can face.

The feeling of helplessness, frustration and guilt escalate with each prolonged crying spell, as you desperately seek out ways to alleviate your child’s pain.

According to, up to 25-per-cent of all babies between two weeks and three months of age develop colic. Doctors don’t know precisely what triggers the condition, but there are several theories, such as immature digestive systems, excessive gas and tummy aches.

Colic is more the reaction your baby has, rather than a problem or condition they’re suffering from. It’s a normal part of development, even if it can be extremely difficult for parents and the baby.

How do you know if your child has colic? Here are some common signs:

  • Loud crying, often for two to three hours, and the baby can’t be comforted.
  • Crying at roughly the same times, either late in the afternoon or night, and usually once or twice a day.
  • The baby pulling his feet up under his body and clenching his fists.
  • The baby’s stomach rumbling severely and producing a lot of gas.

Colic can start within two to four weeks after birth and may last for up to several months. There are several things that parents can try to help their children cope including:

  • Rock your child, either in a cradle, a rocking chair or on your lap.
  • Try carrying your baby in a sling on your stomach, as your body heat and movement can help.
  • Help them feel comforted, either wrapped in a blanket or held tightly.
  • Gently massage your baby’s tummy in a circle to ease the pain and pressure.
  • Take your baby for a car ride; some find the movement and sounds soothing.
  • Speaking of sound: music or singing can help calm your baby and you as well.
  • Remember to burp your baby often.

Photo: © valuavitaly