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Colic - Home Treatment

After your baby has started to cry, use comforting and soothing techniques to try to shorten the episode or decrease its intensity. Certain preventive measures may also help. Colic gradually goes away on its own, regardless of what you do.

Prevention

Keep a diary to chart your baby's daily activities, including when he or she cries. The record may help you to notice patterns in your baby's crying and increase your ability to predict when colic episodes are likely to occur. You may be able to help prevent or decrease crying episodes during those times:

  • Anticipate your baby's needs. Pay attention to your baby's natural habits and set a rough schedule for meals, nap, and play. That way, you can predict behavior and respond appropriately. You may also want to try holding and comforting your baby before his or her usual crying time. Use a front carrier or sling so you can do other things while you keep your baby close to you.
  • Create a calm environment. During expected fussy times, touch your baby only if needed, and try to limit visitors, bright lights, loud noises, and chaotic situations. Overstimulation can trigger a crying episode or make one worse.
  • Reduce stress. Babies are very sensitive to the moods of their caregivers and may cry more during times of family stress or tension. Take good care of yourselves to help keep your baby's environment calm and safe. Remember that this challenging time won't last, and know that you have personal limitations.
  • Ask for help when you need it. It may help shorten a crying episode by having another caregiver try to soothe your baby during times when you feel overwhelmed and discouraged. Your baby may respond better to someone who is "fresh" and relaxed. Plan ahead by scheduling help before you need it. Have a list of people to call in case you need help unexpectedly.

Colic is not caused by health problems. But when your baby doesn't feel good, crying episodes may get worse. You can help minimize colicky behavior by taking preventive measures to reduce your baby's risk of illness.

  • If you are breast-feeding, be aware of your diet. The foods you eat may affect your breast milk and cause abdominal (belly) pain in your baby, which may extend a crying episode.
  • Feed your baby appropriately. Very young babies may be hungry 1 to 2 hours after a feeding. Offer food on demand. But to avoid overfeeding, be sure to watch for when your baby is full.
  • Help prevent abdominal gas in your baby. Gas can cause pain, leading to extended crying.
  • Practice good hygiene to avoid illness. A sick baby usually has more frequent and intense crying episodes. To help prevent illness as much as possible, use good hygiene, such as washing hands frequently, including your baby's. Ask visitors to do the same. Avoid being around large crowds during a baby's first weeks, especially around people who smoke. Breathing in secondhand smoke can increase a baby's risk for respiratory problems, ear infections, and asthma.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 25, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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