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Colic - Home Treatment

Comfort

After a colic episode begins, comforting measures may help.

  • Respond to the crying quickly and appropriately. Quickly assess whether a cry likely indicates "I'm hungry" or "I need to be changed," and so on, and act accordingly. Doing so may prevent your baby from getting so upset that he or she cannot be consoled. For more information on figuring out what your crying baby needs, see the topic Crying, Age 3 and Younger.
  • Burp your baby, especially if you suspect abdominal gas started the crying episode.
  • Reduce the activity around your baby. Overstimulation from noise, lights, and too much attention can trigger a crying episode. Move your baby to a quiet and calm environment.
  • Try infant massage. Some parents use infant massage to try and relieve colic. Research does not show one way or the other whether this method helps babies with colic.1
  • Soothe your baby by helping him or her to be more comfortable. Don't worry that you may be spoiling your baby by giving frequent and loving attention.

If you find that you are losing patience or are afraid that you may hurt your baby, act immediately.

  • Place your baby in a crib to cry while you go into another room and calm yourself.
  • Ask someone to take over for you. If nobody else is home, call a friend who can help you calm down. If you are afraid you cannot control yourself and cannot get other help, call 911.

Call your doctor if you frequently feel overwhelmed or are unable to get adequate support.

Other measures

Do not use unproven or dangerous treatments for colic. Get advice from your doctor before using alternative therapies, which may have unknown effects.

Also, be careful about acting impulsively or using desperate measures to treat colic. For example, do not:

  • Let your baby stay in the crib and cry until he or she is exhausted.
  • Stop breast-feeding your baby. This will not cure colic.
  • Give your baby aspirin or aspirin products, because of the risk for Reye syndrome.
  • Give your baby alcohol (even a pacifier dipped in brandy or other alcoholic beverages).
  • Shake or spank your baby for crying. Serious or even fatal brain injuries may result (shaken baby syndrome).
  • Give your baby medicine unless it is recommended or prescribed by your doctor.

Some doctors prescribe probiotics, which are bacteria that help maintain the natural balance of organisms (microflora) in the intestines. Studies are being done to find out how helpful probiotics are for babies who have colic.

Self-care

It is important to take care of yourself and remember that colic is not caused by poor parenting. Colic is temporary, and it will not affect a baby's general health or future development.

If nothing seems to console your baby, keep trying comforting techniques, but realize that sometimes nothing works. If you are not successful and you become exhausted by these efforts, ask for someone else to take over for you.

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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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