4 Strategies to Get Through Colic

baby bathtub
image via flickr user shannonpatrick17

You've paced the floor for two hours. You've tried to feed, change, and even bathe her to no avail. The crying continues. Colic. This word is a curse word to new mothers who would do anything to have a respite from the daily crying that comes for no apparent reason. There has been plenty written on things you can try to help get your baby through it. But all too often, our focus on getting our little ones through their time of colic leaves us feeling burnt out, stressed, and overwhelmed. We feel like we're failing. Aren't mothers supposed to be able to quell their babies' crying?

As much as it feels like this is him looking at you and saying, “I reject you, and I will never love you,” I promise you that it isn't. This too shall pass.

These thoughts and feelings can lead to a mom who is in complete despair and has lost all of her sense of self. Try to remember that this won't be forever, and in the meantime, here are four suggestions to help get YOU through.

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image via flickr user Wickerfurniture

1.  Get Support!

After you brought your bundle of joy home from the hospital, there were probably lots of visitors who came bearing gifts for baby and casseroles for Mom. They were happy to congratulate you and get their baby “fix,” and then they left with an “If you need anything, let me know!” LET THEM KNOW! You officially have a need—even if they can just come over for an hour and let you take a shower. Sometimes you just can't listen to the crying anymore. Knowing you're nearby enough that if you're really needed, you'll be there, but having a moment of respite can make a big difference.

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image via flickr user kennymatic

2.  Talk to Someone Who's Been There

There is a woman from my church who, to me, is super mom. Her kids are polite and respectful, they love their mother, and they are just an awesome family. I was convinced she was the perfect mother with perfect children, so it was a complete shock when she told me that three of her four children were colic babies. She told me that there were days when her children were infants when all she would do that day was pace the floor and think what an awful job she must've been doing. Yet here she is 10 years later with happy, well-adjusted children, who adore their mother!

There is something hard-wired in us that says, “My baby is crying. I have to do something to fix it.” Well, it's been four hours. You've done a complete and total “systems check” about twelve times. There's nothing left that you can do. 

This gave me great comfort. It helped me to see the light at the end of the dark and treacherous tunnel of colic and gave me someone who I knew “got it.” If you don't have someone you know personally who's been there, the EverydayFamily forums are a great place to find someone who you can relate to!

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image via flickr user BozDoz

3.  Don't Take it Personally

I loved my babies, but during those “witching hours,” I didn't always like them very much. It's hard to feel all warm and fuzzy toward a sweaty ball of screams! I often felt resentful that I was getting jipped out of those wonderful baby “moments” you see on all the Johnson & Johnson commercials. I never had a baby that smiled and jabbered after a bath. My child wailed! The infant massage that I had read about calming my baby only seemed to infuriate her. I think I may have even said out loud a few times, “I am being nice! This is supposed to be relaxing!” Apparently she didn't get the memo.

Of course, we take this personally. This is what we worked nine months and LABORED for? Your time for bonding and having that intense maternal connection with your child will come. There will be time in the future when your 3-year-old will look at you in the eyes, put his hand on your cheek, and say “I love you, mommy!” and it will MELT you. As much as it feels like this is him looking at you and saying, “I reject you, and I will never love you,” I promise you that it isn't. This too shall pass. It is NOT you! It's important to remember that babies don't attach emotion to crying like we do. It's their only way to communicate. Just think of it as your baby having a lot to say!

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image via flickr user David Salafia

4.  Stop Trying So Hard

There is something hard-wired in us that says, “My baby is crying. I have to do something to fix it.” Well, it's been four hours. You've done a complete and total “systems check” about twelve times. There's nothing left that you can do. Make sure your baby is safe and walk away. Your baby just spent nine months in a peaceful and tranquil water environment with very little outside stimuli, and you've thrown them into a world of lights and sounds and movement that their little bodies are just trying to get used to. How scary! We tend to over stimulate them when all they really might need is to just be left alone. And if not, they were crying before anyway, so there's no loss in trying, right? Put them in their crib, turn out the lights and turn off the stimuli, and go read a book or watch a TV show. If after you've done that, you feel like you need to return to them, then at least you've had a moment to recharge your batteries for another round with colic.

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What have you done to make it through an evening dose of colic? What support did you have from family or friends? Any advice to moms suffering now?

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What do you think?

4 Strategies to Get Through Colic

Jeanna Strassburg is a wife, and mother of three, who enjoys kitchen dance parties and summer time! Jeanna received her bachelor’s degree in Education from Brigham Young University-Idaho in April of 2007. She enjoys spending her time cooking, cleaning and tending to the proper duties of a stay at home mother… NOPE! Truthfully, she enjoys eating the food, but not making it or cleaning up after it. She likes to have a clean home, but loathes laundry and dishes. Loves her children, but coul ... More

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11 comments

  1. Adah says:

    I have been coping with severe colic issues in my newborn since the first week of his birth and was at my wits end due to all the time crying of my LO. I tried every possible remedy but still the bug was there. Thank God, someone suggested babies magic tea that worked for the first time since the symptoms started and within two days he became soothed.

  2. Gina says:

    Hmmm or you could just give in and take your child to a GI Specialist, find out they have MSPI, and stop messing around. I’m serious, our family has a history of MSPI and it’s no joke! You could do some serious damage to your baby if you just assume it’s colic! More and more families are finding out their children have this and without help, parents are just beside themselves. Viral activity also increases after 4 pm, so if your child is a little bear at night, think about it. MSPI (milk, soy, protein intolerant) babies also are more susceptible to illnesses and viruses, so keep people out of their faces if you can!

  3. Jordan says:

    We use Ranitidine for reflux and simethicone for that

  4. eno says:

    Leeya loved water from day 3 so when colic started by week 2, we would give her some water to drink so she could burp and let out the wind. This would provide a 30-minute break then it would start all over again. Then we tried a warm bath, that worked for another short period. I had big sister with me and husband was useless, so yes a lot of support is key! Dentinox was a huge help. It was over before she was 3months old.

  5. Heidi says:

    Great advice! I tried everything for my little one- cut everything out of my diet, both took probiotics, pumped milk in special gas-reducing bottles, gas drops, colic water “gripe water”, the 5 “S” from HBOTB, even chiropractor treatments for my baby. All that really worked was time. She finally came out of it around 4 months and life slowly started getting better for everyone. Now she is 15 months and the light of our lives! I wish I had read this 15 months ago to realize I needed to give myself more of a break. As bad as it sounds, you just have to get through it and make the best of it- colicky babies are the happiest toddlers!

  6. Cherish says:

    Can a baby develop colic as they get older? My son is 6months old. We breastfeed. He is my third child. Lately he has started to become very fussy when he eats, & his little belly gets hard like a rock. The doctor says there’s nothing to worry about but I know he can’t be comfortable. Anyone have some advice?

    • Megan Klay says:

      Hi Cherish – Colic isn’t the hard stomach as much as the non-stop crying, not just during eating. Here’s some advice from another EF mama: I’m thinking it’s something else. Maybe gas? My babies liked to have their legs bicycled or to lie across my knees on their bellies while I gently bounced them. Helps to release some of the air in there. If it continues or worsens, it might be worth a return trip to the doc to rule out other issues like food allergies that can cause discomfort from eating.

  7. Gina says:

    It makes me really sad when I hear about parents going through this as I went through it the first time with my son and started to have this with my daughter but then got real help. What made a dramatic difference within two days was:

    1) I stated pumping for 3-5 minutes before breast feeding her. This would reduced the very sweet and sugary foremilk and allowed her to get the himdmilk. It was shocking the difference. She went from crying after the feeding to being satiated and happy. I did this for a week and now I’m not having to do this and we don’t have anymore of the colic or spitting up either

    2) We also incorporated a baby probiotic that would help her get more good bacteria in her stomach to balance out the yeast that contributed to creating the bloating, gas and reflux. We were able to find a probiotic that didn’t have all the fillers called Ther-Biotic Infant Formula by Klaire Labs. We try to incorporate this daily too. I am also on a probiotic and have incorporated more cultured foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, etc. I have almost eliminated all processed sugars too.

    The sleepless nights, frustration and feeling of helplessness are something of the past. I really hope this helps you too so that you don’t miss out on that special bonding time with your little one.

  8. liz says:

    help is so important, tnx good, i got my mom, dad, grandma and brother with my because that was a very difficult stage,

  9. Serene says:

    Keeping your son intact can also help you avoid colic, as circumcision pain VERY closely mimics colic. There is no reason to circumcise anyway, so make it easier on you and him, and keep your whole baby!

    • Birha says:

      My baby underwent circumcision at 5 days and he barely knew what happened…if the specialist does their job right, your child should have little to no pain afterwards, with minimal change in routine. The trick I think us also to get the procedure done as soon as you are sure your baby is gaining weight and the doctor gives you the go ahead. He’s 6 weeks now and thankfully still colic free though we do have our gassy fussy moments.

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