If you have a colicky baby, you might be searching high and low for answers and remedies. I can almost guarantee that if you have not already been pulling your hair out, you are on the verge of starting to!
Let me tell you- you are not alone! I was at that point just a few months ago, but my baby and I have both made it to the other side, and you will too!
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So First, What Is Colic?
A Colicky baby is a baby that cries 3 hours a day, for 3 days in a week, for at least 3 weeks. These babies are perfectly healthy babies, with no other health conditions that are causing the crying.
I personally like to refer to colic as Constant Overwhelming Little Infant Crying (but hey, that’s just me!).
Colic usually starts a few weeks after birth, and can last up until 3-4 months of age.
What Causes Colic?
I hate to tell you this, but doctors do not know what causes a colicky baby. Some things that doctors think could cause colic are:
- Acid Reflux
- Underdeveloped Digestive System
- Sensitivity to Breast Milk or Formula
If your baby is spitting up a lot, not eating well, arching their back after every feeding, or having trouble swallowing, then your baby might have acid reflux.
If you believe your baby is colicky because they have acid reflux, you should try:
- Burping your baby after every 1-2 oz they eat.
- Keeping your baby upright after they eat.
- Elevating your baby when they are sleeping. Try and infant crib wedge; they work wonders!!
- Give them more frequent but smaller meals.
Learn more about acid reflux in babies here!
Underdeveloped Digestive System
Your baby might have an underdeveloped digestive system if they cannot keep breast milk or formula down, or have trouble having a bowel movement or diarrhea.
If you believe that your baby is colicky because of an underdeveloped digestive system, you should call your pediatrician right away.
Because these symptoms are very similar to symptoms of other help issues, it is important to get ahead of it, if your baby is vomiting, not eating enough, having trouble having a bowel movement, or having diarrhea call your baby’s doctor.
Sensitivity To Breast Milk or Formula
Your baby might have sensitivity to breast milk or formula if they also have hives, small rashes, frequently spitting up, or vomiting.
If this is happening to your baby, and you believe your baby has a sensitivity to breast milk or formula is why you have a colicky baby, you should try:
- Switching the formula you use. This is the best formula for colicky babies.
- Change your diet if you are breastfeeding.
- Some brands have bottle nipples specifically for colicky babies. These nipples are the best for preventing your baby from getting air when eating.
If your baby is jerking around, waving their arms, or clenching their fists, they could be overstimulated.
If you think your baby is overstimulated, and that is why your baby is colicky, you should try:
- Putting your baby down in a dark, quiet room.
- Give your baby an infant massage. This is the best for giving a baby an infant massage.
- Use a pacifier.
- Give your baby a warm bath.
If your baby is squirming around and moving their legs up and down, they might be suffering from gas that they cannot pass.
If you have a colicky baby because of gas, you should try:
- Apply a small amount of pressure to your baby’s belly.
- Move your baby’s legs in a bicycle movement.
- Rub your baby’s belly.
- Give your baby a warm bath.
- Give your baby an infant massage.
- Keep your baby upright.
- Burp your baby frequently.
- Feed your baby in as upright of a position as you can.
- Keep your baby upright after feedings.
- Try these baby gas relief drops.
Things To Keep In Mind
A colicky baby cries A LOT, and it is important to do whatever you can to calm them down as soon as possible, because the more your baby cries, the more air they are swallowing.
When a baby swallows air, it could lead to tummy troubles, which could cause your baby to cry even more.
It Won’t Last Forever
Days and nights can seem to last forever with a newborn, but dealing with a colicky baby can make parents completely lose their minds.
I will not lie to you, dealing with a colicky baby really tests your patience, but I can also tell you, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Just keep up your hard work, because it will eventually pay off.
A Day In The Life With A Colicky Baby
Dealing with a baby that has colic is BRUTAL.
Your morning will start with waking up to a screaming baby. A mom’s first instinct is going to be to feed the crying baby…But a colicky baby will not make this easy on you; they will cry through the entire feeding!
Once your baby is done eating, they will probably launch spit up all over you, themselves, and the entire bed or couch.
So you will change them, and then they will spit up again, and again, and again, and again! (I’m not talking about a little tiny dribble either. It will seem like they are spitting up every single drop of milk they just ate).
After dealing with all of this chaos, you will probably want to go get ready for your day (well at least brush your teeth and use some dry shampoo), but your baby will continue to scream bloody murder if you even dare to set them down.
You can completely forget about all of the housework you had planned for the day, because your baby will not allow you set them down…nope, not even for a second.
Putting your baby down for a nap will be the biggest challenge you will ever face in your life, but when you finally get them to sleep you will feel like you just conquered the world.
Related: The Ultimate Guide To Getting Your Baby To Sleep Through Night
But this will only last for about 15 minutes, because your baby will wake right back up, screaming their head off.
After the long crazy day you just had, you might decide you want to make your family a nice dinner, but your baby will not allow this either. So your family will live off of frozen dinners and take out meals.
A Night In The Life With A Colicky Baby
As night time approaches, you will be so excited to finally get some peace and quiet, but then you will realize there is no such thing as a bedtime with a colicky baby.
Count your lucky stars if your baby sleeps for at least 30 minutes at a time, but then they will just wake up screaming.
Your arms will ache from rocking and bouncing your baby for hours at a time.
Your legs will throb from pacing your house, because your baby won’t even let you sit down.
When you are up for hours in the middle of the night for weeks at a time- you will cry, you think you are a failure, and you will pray for sunlight.
When the sun does finally rise, you will feel like a zombie, but you will then have to face yet another day will a cranky baby.
Light At The End Of The Tunnel
Having a colicky baby is going to be one of the biggest challenges you will ever face, but I promise, it does get better.
You will start to find that putting your baby to sleep will get just a little bit easier, and you will jump for joy when you baby starts sleeping for hours at a time.
In the moment, the days might seem like weeks, and the nights might seem like months, but you will look back on this time of your life, and it will seem like it flew by.
In just a few months, your baby will be a happy baby, and they will sleep through the night without any issues.
When the colicky baby phase is over, you will feel like superwoman, and you should!!
Share your story of dealing with a colicky baby in the comments. I would love to hear it.