One of the biggest questions of new parents, and even experienced parents, “Does my baby just have colic or is there some other underlying issue?”
What are the signs of colic?
- Excessive crying, sounds as if they are in pain, for hours a day.
- A bloated stomach.
- Clenching their fists.
- Pulling their legs to their stomach.
- A red face while crying.
- Tightening of stomach muscles.
- Fussiness, even though all needs are met.
We all have heard it, from our mothers, from our in-laws, “If a baby is crying like that; something is seriously wrong…”
But you have gone to the doctor and they say there isn’t anything wrong and it’s just this little thing called colic. Remember, there are a lot of issues that can mimic colic, so you should always talk to your pediatrician to rule out any serious problems.
How is it that there isn’t a specific diagnosis for what is happening with your baby?-Parents Everywhere
What is Colic?
It is an umbrella and confusing term for excessive crying in a healthy baby. If your baby cries and fusses for prolonged periods of time, it is considered colic. There is something called the 3-3-3 rule, if your baby cries for more than 3 hours daily, more than 3 days in a week, for longer than 3 weeks, it is considered colic.
- It isn’t more prevalent in either boys or girls.
- It usually starts around 2 weeks and on in full-term babies.
- Breast or bottle feeding doesn’t matter. I know this personally because I breastfed my 2nd until 7 months, and breastfed until 3 months with my first and then bottle fed and both had colic. My 2nd had it a lot worse too.
- Doctors don’t really understand why colic happens.
- They say it’s supposed to stop around 3-4 months. (Yeah, right…)
Gas does not cause colic and they are not the same thing, more or less gas is a symptom of colic; not the other way around.
Why does colic happen?
As said before they don’t really know what causes it, but these are a few theories.
- A growing digestive system.
- Overstimulation. (I honestly think this has a lot to do with it.)
- New nervous system and development.
- Baby’s personality and mood.
You now know it’s colic, why it may happen, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. Your baby is screaming like they are in pain, and nothing seems to help.
I get it.
My eldest had the normal colic, that fit the normal pattern. It started when she was a few weeks and stopped around 5 months. She would scream every night for about 3 hours sometimes less sometimes more and then finally get to sleep after we drove around in the car for an hour or two.
Now my youngest daughter had colic, and she had it bad. This colic almost broke me, actually, I think it did but I had to keep going. She would cry every single night starting at about 7:45 pm to 9:30 pm until my fiance would get up and go to work at around 3:30 am. He would go to bed with me trying to comfort her and wake up with me usually still trying to comfort her.
I didn’t think I would make it, honestly. Looking back I don’t know how I did, I really don’t. This went on from about 2 weeks old until she was 6 months.
We went to the doctor and she got her infant reflux medication. I read online stories of other mothers cutting out dairy and it’s supposed to help no matter the situation. Through trial and error I eventually figured out what worked the best and did the combination of them all.
5 Tips to Help Your Baby Sleep Better (and soothe):
1. Soothing Sounds.
What worked the best, and is my number 1 go-to, the thing that you have to have in order to make it through any severity of colic is sounds/noise. Specifically sounds for babies, what some call “white noise”.
Remember, you are going to be listening to these sounds too, for hours… So they have to be of good quality, and not make you wanna go completely insane mixing them with screaming. I found the best sound company called, “Fade Away Sleep Sounds.”
These sounds are the best quality I have heard. Not to mention the number of choices, I absolutely adore them. Also, if baby is finally down and you want to relax, there are tons of mindful sounds, to help aid sleep and relaxation for us big people too.
Remember, every baby is different. Some like running water, some like the train, some like white noise, and others like the dryer. They have every option for every baby.
Soothing sounds also help babies sleep deep in general.
*Also, another big bonus tip. You need to play the sound as loud or louder than the crying. I know it seems too loud at first, but with them screaming they can only hear themselves. Plus, when they were in the womb everything was loud. Nothing worked until I found this tip online, and finally, FINALLY, it worked like a charm. Try it, I swear.
2. Driving in the car.
Now, I tried every kind of rocking until my arms cramped up, and I just couldn’t do it anymore. For some reason, the car is just so soothing for babies. She would scream while we were in the car of course, so I hooked my Fade Away Sleep Sounds to my stereo, played it over her crying, and just drove all over, all night.
You will learn the difference between them just getting quiet, and them being asleep and eventually learn the pattern. Having to start all over calming them down sucks, but you will get the hang of it.
3. Going Dairy or Soy or Gluten Free.
I talked about this in my other article “7 Signs You Have a Baby With Infant Reflux PLUS 3 Tips and Tricks for Relief.”. So check it out, because dairy is hard for any baby to digest.
Most don’t know this but the dairy that you eat passes to the baby in the breastmilk, or you can try a dairy-free, or sensitive formula. Read more about it here.
4. Gripe Water.
Gripe water is usually a combination of fennel, ginger, chamomile, cardamom, licorice, cinnamon, clove, dill, lemon balm or peppermint. The formula depends on the brand. They are all pretty similar but this brand is really good for lots of natural remedies, hence the name. Lol.
For some less severe cases, gripe water works pretty well. This worked okay for my eldest daughter but did absolutely nothing for my youngest. It all depends on what the reason for the colic is and the baby.
5. Warm Baths.
Getting into a warm bath with your baby while playing white noise/soothing sounds works 50/50. I know I am saying the whole white noise thing a lot, but I literally blasted the white noise no matter what I was doing. It helps so much more than silence, or any other sound.
I would hold her on her back while she floated on the surface, and move her back and forth in the water.
I say 50/50 because sometimes it worked great, and other times she was just too upset that it didn’t even faze her.
6. Bouncing on a yoga ball.
Like this one.
It comes in multiple sizes, has a quick air pump, and is thick quality.
I found this one on accident one day when I was bouncing her on the ball (I used for birthing) just for fun and she actually fell asleep. Eventually, I started doing it with her colic fits while playing white noise, in a dark room. And omg, it became our go-to nightly routine.
My legs got so toned during this time!
They’re a bunch of other things they say can help, including:
- Swaddling in a blanket.
- Massaging the belly clockwise.
- A dark quiet room.
But none of that stuff worked for me, it was a joke. I would, of course, say still try it, anything is worth trying.
Good luck and remember, “This Too Shall Pass.” It did, and now she’s a toddler which a whole new flurry of other problems like the terrible two’s, but I have my sanity back!
Post contains affiliate links, but I have used and love every product I endorse. I ain’t no BS’er!
What is the longest colic crying fit you had with your baby? If you have any questions please feel free to comment below or email me directly.