Swaddled Baby Staring at Camera
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Swaddle Them

To you, swaddling might feel like being in a straitjacket. But to a crying, fussy baby, it’s like being back in the womb. How tight do you wrap this baby burrito? Snug enough so they can’t wriggle their arms and legs free. Make sure to always place them on their back. Stop swaddling when they are able to roll over on their own.

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Father Holding Newborn Baby In Arms
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Shift Positions

Parents tend to cradle a colicky baby face-up, but that may not help. Instead, hold their face down -- with your hand under their belly and their head on your forearm. The pressure on their tummy can help relieve uncomfortable gas.

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Baby Lying Down
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Turn On White Noise

A little white noise can help your baby feel like they are back in the womb. There was a lot of whooshing and background noise in there. To re-create these soothing sounds, turn on a fan, put the bassinet near the dishwasher, run the vacuum, turn on the shower, or tune a radio to static. You want a constant, low-level sound.

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Sleeping Baby With Pacifier
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Pacify Them

Infants have a strong sucking instinct, so a pacifier can calm your colicky baby. Bonus: Studies show binkies may help prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

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Mother Holding Baby
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Shh!

Make this sound right in your colicky baby’s ear. Don’t be timid. Shh loudly enough so that your baby can hear you over their own racket.

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Baby Sleeping In Car Seat
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Take a Ride

Babies in the womb get used to a lot of motion. Get your baby moving and they may go right to sleep. Put them in a swing. Cradle them in a rocking chair. Lay them in a vibrating infant seat. You might even set out for a drive in the car, but don’t hit the road if you’re too tired.  

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Mother Massaging Baby's Foot
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Baby Massage

The soothing power of your own touch can work wonders on a colicky baby. Many babies love skin-to-skin contact. And studies show infants who are massaged seem to cry less and sleep better. Just undress your baby and use slow, firm strokes over their legs, arms, back, chest, and face. It may calm you down as well. Check with your pediatrician before using any oils or lotions on your baby.

For a gassy baby, rub their tummy in a clockwise motion, or bicycle their little legs to relieve some pressure.

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Smiling Newborn In Mother's Rebozo
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Wear Your Baby

In many cultures, infants spend much of the day in slings on their mothers' backs or chests. When you put a colicky baby in a sling or carrier, they can snuggle close and -- with luck -- may be lulled to sleep by your movement. Slings can also give your aching arms a rest or free a hand to fix a sandwich. just remember that there should be no cooking, eating, or drinking anything hot while carrying baby in the swaddle.

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Father Burping Baby
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Give Them a Burp

A crying baby can gulp down a lot of air. That can make them gassy and bloated -- and make their crying worse. Burp them with gentle thumps on their back. The classic position -- with the baby’s head over your shoulder -- works, but can leave a trail of spit-up down your back. Switch things around: Lay your baby face down across your lap, or sit them up. Support their chest and neck with one of your arms.

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Woman Relaxing In Shower
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Take a Breather

Night after night with a colicky baby is hard on parents. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and not up to the job. If nothing seems to work, take a break. Hand the baby off to your partner, a family member, friend, or sitter. When that’s not an option, remember that it’s OK to let your baby cry in the crib for a little bit while you collect yourself.

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Doctor Examining Baby Boy
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See the Doctor

If you’re concerned about your baby’s crying, take them to the doctor. Your pediatrician can give you guidance and rule out any medical causes. Odds are there’s no special reason. Some babies just cry more than others. So the next time your baby’s wailing makes you wince, remember two things: It’s not your fault, and it won’t be like this forever.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 05/14/2021 Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on May 14, 2021

IMAGES PROVIDED BY:
(1)        Seth Joel/Photographer’s Choice
(2)        Cristian Baitg/Photographer’s Choice
(3)        Image Source
(4)        Imagewerks
(5)        Karan Kapoor/The Image Bank
(6)        Charles Gullung/Photonica
(7)        Photolibrary
(8)        Mark Powell/Flickr
(9 )       Stockbyte
(10)       Image Source
(11)       Ian Hooton/Science Photo Library

 

SOURCES:

Karp, H. The Happiest Baby on the Block, Bantam Books, 2002.
Murkoff, H., Eisenberg, A., Hathaway, S. What to Expect The First Year, Workman, 2003.

Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on May 14, 2021

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.