Could Your Baby's Crying Be Colic?
Treating Baby's Colic
Based on your baby's needs, your pediatrician can help you devise a strategy to try to help him or her calm down. This usually means trying one intervention at a time to see if it helps and, if it doesn't in a few days, moving on to another one.
Here, in no particular order, is a list of some of the interventions for colic:
- Change from one cow's milk formula to another.
- Change from a cow's milk formula to a soy formula.
- Change from a regular formula to a "predigested," hypoallergenic formula.
- Add Lactase to the formula.
- Avoid eating certain foods (such as caffeine, milk, certain vegetables) and taking herbal supplements if you are breastfeeding.
- Change the type of nipples on your baby's bottle, use bottles with plastic liners, and burp your baby frequently to decrease air swallowing during feedings.
- If bottle feeding, try to limit milk intake, and if that doesn't work, avoid limiting milk intake.
- If your baby is spitting up, keep him or her upright after feeds.
Changing Sensory Stimulation
- Swaddle your baby.
- Try more time in a front baby carrier (the kind you wear over your chest).
- Take your baby for a ride in the car (but not when you are sleepy!).
- Put your baby in the car seat on or near the dishwasher or dryer (be careful the seat doesn't vibrate and fall off!).
- Use "white noise" (such as static on the radio or the vacuum cleaner), classical music, or a "heartbeat tape" next to the crib.
- Try infant massage.
- Put a warm water bottle on your baby's belly.
- Have him or her suck on a pacifier.
- Soak baby in a warm bath.
- Try an infant swing.
- Increase or decrease the amount of stimulation in the environment.
- Anti-reflux medicines, if reflux is suspected, may cut down on acid production and/or help to move the milk downstream.
- Try giving the baby some herbal tea (e.g., chamomile, mint, fennel, verbena, but NOT star anise, which can be toxic).
- Use anti-gas drops
- Try giving the baby "gripe water," but check the ingredients first. Most contain only herbs, but some from Europe may have alcohol or even phenobarbital, which, of course, you should avoid.
- Although there is limited scientific evidence to support the use of homeopathic drops for colic, some parents report they have helped their colicky baby.
NOTE: Make sure to check with your pediatrician before giving your baby any medication, including over-the-counter drugs, herbs, and supplements.
Sometimes parents think an intervention has worked,, but it may be that the colic just got better on its own. And other times, parents don't find an intervention that works well and just have to wait for the fussiness to improve on its own at 4 months or so.
Beware of magic (and expensive) "cures" that are guaranteed to work for all babies. There is no such thing.