Tips to Reduce Colic

Colic can be very distressing both for babies and their parents. Parents often feel their baby’s screaming is an indictment of their parenting ability: there’s something wrong with me; there’s something wrong with my milk, or there’s something wrong with my baby! It’s no wonder that so many feel frustrated, exhausted, guilty, angry, or helpless. If only there were a way to reduce colic!

Many solutions to colic have been proposed. Some remedies have been tested and found not to work (such as simethicone drops, one of the most common given to babies). Most colic solutions help in about one-third of babies, but it’s hard to predict which babies will benefit. Combining remedies is often the most helpful. Here are 10 tips:

  1. Motion. Some families report relief with gentle movement, whether from a swing, a car ride, a ride in a jog stroller, or a parent’s arms.
  2. Massage. Baby massage in general and belly massage in particular. A warm bean bag can be a nice tool for this. Some babies are helped with the addition of one of the infant vibrating products during massage.
  3. Changing mother’s diet. For breastfed babies, eliminating certain foods can help. Cow’s milk, eggs, nuts, or wheat are the most likely to make a difference – especially if there is asthma, eczema or allergies in the family.
  4. Changing to a hypoallergenic formula. For formula-fed babies, the switch is sometimes powerful.
  5. Changing bottles. Any bottle change can produce improvement in some babies. In one clinical trial, switching BornFree bottles with ActiveFlow made a significant difference for 80 percent of babies.
  6. Changing feeding technique. Switching from nursing at both breasts at each feed to prolonged emptying of one breast cut colic in half in one study. Sucking on a pacifier or thumb between feeds can help whether a baby is breast or bottle fed.
  7. Soothing noise. Heartbeat recordings, white noise machines, recordings of babies yawning, or the gentle voices of parents sshhing, humming, or singing a lullaby.
  8. Swaddling. Being wrapped snuggly comforts some babies.
  9. Herbal remedies. Chamomile, fennel and balm mint have appeared effective in some studies.
  10. Probiotics. Compared to placebo, taking beneficial bacteria reduces crying for some.
Published on: August 03, 2011
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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Please share the tips during breast feeding.