Oh boy did we suffer from colic – heart-rending screams from about 4 weeks for 3 or 4 hours every evening!
The good news is in almost all cases it suddenly vanishes around 12 weeks*.
But, as time seems to turn at a completely different speed for new mothers, 8 weeks can seem an awful long time.
When it struck, I spent far too much time – in between total despair – googling for any tips I could find that might possibly help.
It would have been really helpful to have a totally comprehensive list all in one place – so hopefully that’s what this post does.
You can’t possibly try everything on the list!!
And if you do you’ll turn into an obsessed nutter – I was that mummy! – and the poor little one will get an uber over dose of “mad mummy” hormones.
Choose your tips
The trick is to pick a few tips from each area e.g. changing your diet, baby’s routine, calming tactics and stick with these. Jumping around from one thing to another won’t work – any change to your diet or anti-colic treatments need at least 3 days to see real effect.
The most important tip of all is not to beat yourself up about it – over 20% of babies have bad colic.
Seeing your baby cry in pain for 3 hours at a time is horrible and exhausting and so do ask for help and get someone else to look after baby for at least some time during the colic attack so you get some time out.
I do hope these tips and if you’re looking for more baby advice from real mums do check out all our other baby lists which are chock full of great tips.
Top Tips to Reduce Colic
- Wind them, wind them, wind them! All through the day.
- Wind them in different positions e.g. sitting on your knee, over your shoulder, over your lap, over your forearm (“tiger in the tree”)
- Try to keep them upright after feeding
- Drink fennel or chamomile tea … you can get nursing teas containing fennel from Traditional Medicinals and Yogi
- Cut out / cut down caffeine
- Cut out / cut down chocolate 🙁
- Cut out / cut down sugar … I know it’s getting worse by the moment!
- Avoid gassy foods e.g. cabbage, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, onions
- Avoid acidic foods e.g. citrus fruits & tomatoes but get vitamin C elsewhere
- Moderate dairy
- Get as much rest as you can to reduce stress
- Relax with yoga or breathing exercises to calm hormones
- Baby massage – learn special anti-colic techniques; a lot of mums really recommend Vimala McClure’s book which has special routines for colic
- Anti-colic bottles/teats … opinions on bottles vary greatly but lots of mums have had success with Comotomo, Dr Brown’s, MAM and Tommee Tippee
- Gas relief drops – brands include Mylicon in the US and Infacol in the UK … you need to give for 3 days to see effect
- Gripe water – supposedly breaks down air bubbles in gut … Wellements, Mommy’s Bliss, and Colic Calm all have popular versions …
- Teething powders – reduces acid from saliva … we used Teetha but Boiron Camilia is also very popular
- Colocynth crystals – add to milk or put on tongue
- Baby wearing … this is heavily advocated by the very popular Dr Karp in his Happiest Baby on the Block book. Having seen the success friends had with his advice I really wish I had read the book before my daughter was born.
- Strict routine – some “gurus” claim babies on strict routine don’t get colic! Personally, I am not a fan of experts who say it’s “my way or the high way” but they do seem to work for some babies and some mums!
- Adapt routine – others say adapt routine so not trying to bathe/sleep during attack
- Cranial osteopathy – sounds extreme but some swear by it
- Hypoallergenic formula – brands such as Similac, Nutramigen, Puramino are all gentler on baby’s tummy and many mums find they help with colic – they may be particularly helpful if there is a history of cow’s milk allergy in the family
- Tiger in the tree – hold baby tubby down on your arms and rock
- “Shusshing” – supposedly reminds them of noise in womb
- Something to suck – you may not be keen but dummy or pacifier may help
- White noise – washing machine, hoover, humidifier etc
- Car / buggy – if it helps them get to sleep – do it!
- Cut out stimulation – hold them over shoulder facing white wall
- A rectal thermometer that relaxes the muscle that is preventing the release of the gas – e.g. The Windi from FridaBaby
- Homeopathic drops … e.g. from iBaba
- Get someone else to help! You don’t have to do it all on your own!
***If your baby cries for more than 4 hours a day or if other symptoms don’t fit classic colic see your doctor or health visitor.