6. How can I soothe my baby’s colic?
The techniques can be categorized into five methods: physical, behavioral, environment, dietary and parental support.
- Gentle pressure to the belly
- Skin-to-skin contact
- Use of infant carriers and massage
- Warm baths
Here is a holding technique that may help for colic.1
Example: Belly massage – infant facing downward in one hand, parent starts from the navel and messages abdomen in left to right circular motion
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?
- When during the day was the baby weighed?
- Did the baby have the same amount of clothing on each time they were weighed?
- “White noise” machine
- Apps are also available to download (e.g. white noise free)
- Change of scenery
- Car rides
- Baby swings
- Crib vibrators8
- 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
- If formula changes are made and symptoms do not improve after 1 week, don’t continue it
- Don’t frequently change their formulas
- 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
- Take breaks to relieve stress/anxiety
- Receive expert opinion/support (ex. counsellor) in parent-infant communication skills3
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.