Pharmacy Corner
Colic and Teething: Irritable, crying, fussy baby and it’s not a fever! Colic - Management Strategies

6. How can I soothe my baby’s colic?

The techniques can be categorized into five methods: physical, behavioral, environment, dietary and parental support.

Physical1
  • Gentle pressure to the belly
  • Carrying
  • Rocking
  • Swaddling
  • Skin-to-skin contact
  • Use of infant carriers and massage
  • Warm baths

Here is a holding technique that may help for colic.1

Baby holding technique

Example: Belly massage – infant facing downward in one hand, parent starts from the navel and messages abdomen in left to right circular motion

Behavioral1 Start a colic diary which includes7:
  • Crying and fussing periods
    • Who was present when the baby was crying?
    • What comfort measures were used?
    • Was the baby being held when the crying began?
  • Sleeping periods
    • Was the baby sleeping alone or in the caregiver's arms?
  • Awake times
    • Was the baby alone and happy or being held?
    • Were bathing, changing, or other activities taking place?
  • Feeding times
    • How much formula was taken?
    • How long did the baby breastfeed?
    • What position was the baby in during feeding?
    • How was the baby burped?
    • Did the baby spit up or vomit after a feeding?
    • If you are breastfeeding, the health professional will want a record of your diet during this period of time.
  • Stool pattern
    • What is the amount, colour, consistency, and odour of the baby's stools?
  • Number of wet diapers
    • What is the colour, estimated amount (small, moderate, or large), and odour of the baby's urine?
  • Weight
    • When during the day was the baby weighed?
    • Did the baby have the same amount of clothing on each time they were weighed?
Environmental1
  • White noise” machine
    • Apps are also available to download (e.g. white noise free)
  • Change of scenery
  • Car rides
  • Baby swings
  • Crib vibrators8
Dietary1Breastfed babies:
  • Continue breastfeeding
  • Maternal consumption of hypoallergenic diet10
    • Remove cow’s milk and dairy products from mom’s diet for 1-2 weeks
    • Remove soy, wheat, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts and fish, cabbage, broccoli, caffeine, citrus fruit and chocolate from mom’s diet for a period of time
Formula-fed babies:
  • If formula changes are made and symptoms do not improve after 1 week, don’t continue it
  • Don’t frequently change their formulas
Feeding techniques:
  • To prevent spitting up and reduce the amount of air swallowed during feeding:
    • Position infant vertically
    • Use correct bottle and nipple size for infant’s age
    • Use curved bottles or bottles with collapsible bags
    • Burp infant frequently in an upright position [baby held over the shoulder or in a gentle chin grasp]: Every 5-10 min or 30-60 mL formula
Parental Support1
  • Take breaks to relieve stress/anxiety
  • Receive expert opinion/support (ex. counsellor) in parent-infant communication skills3

Note

Note

Get advice from a healthcare professional first before you try any of these methods, as there is not enough evidence to show they will work.