Every baby cries, but colicky babies can cry for hours on end, worrying and frustrating everyone around them. Colic is when a healthy baby cries or fusses for intense, prolonged periods of time without any apparent reason. These episodes typically peak around 6 weeks of age and happen at the same time every day—often around bedtime when parents are most tired. The crying does eventually resolve itself with time, but until then there are a few things you can do to help soothe your colicky baby.
Babies love white noise. They find it soothing because it sounds similar to the noises they heard in the womb. Turning on a white noise machine can help soothe even the fussiest of babies, but if you don’t have a white noise machine you probably have a few household items that could be used instead. Believe it or not, the hum of a clothes dryer, hair dryer, or kitchen exhaust fan can be soothing to babies. You can also find countless videos online that play hours of continuous white noise.
Wearing your baby in a carrier such as a wrap or sling can greatly reduce crying and fussiness. Many parents today are turning to using baby carriers because of their soothing properties and because they leave your hands free to do other things. The combination of physical closeness, warmth, and motion can do wonders for a colicky baby.
Swaddling has been used across many cultures for years. It consists of wrapping your baby tightly in a blanket, providing comfort and warmth similar to that of the womb. This helps babies feel secure which can be incredibly soothing, especially for colicky babies. Most parents have bought or been gifted a blanket for swaddling a baby, so you might already have one on hand. Try swaddling the next time a colicky episode strikes.
Whether you choose to use a baby swing or simply hold and rock your baby, soothing motions can greatly reduce crying caused by colic. Try walking around with your baby or going for a ride in the car. The motion and gentle vibrations from the car can be calming.
A nice, warm bath is relaxing and soothing to most people—babies included. For some babies a warm bath is distracting and soothing enough that it calms them down during especially tough crying spells. You can also try taking a bath with your baby. The combination of warm water and closeness of a parent might do the trick.
Colic can be stressful even for easy going parents. Luckily, it does not cause short-term or long-term health issues even in the most serious of cases. The most important thing to remember is that it will not last forever and there are things that you can do to calm your baby until this difficult season passes.