Colicky Newborn: What To Do?

In the following article, we'll provide you with some keys to understand and alleviate your colicky newborn. In addition, we'll tell you everything you need to know about this type of pain; the causes, symptoms, and possible solutions.
Colicky Newborn: What To Do?

Last update: 12 June, 2021

Colic’s a typical disorder during the first months of a baby’s life and is characterized by intense and recurrent crying with no apparent cause. Cases of colicky newborn babies are not a cause for concern, although it’s necessary for parents to know how to calm their baby.

This crisis usually occurs at the same time of the day, generally in the afternoon or after a bottle. Colic, moreover, is quite common among babies from birth to six months.

It’s often a cause of great worry for parents, especially when it’s their first baby. So, what can you do when you’re faced with tears or crying and how can you relieve it?

Follow the tips below to soothe colicky newborn babies. Even if no medication has proven to be effective, many simple actions can soothe your little one.

How to soothe your colicky newborn baby

When a baby has colic, crying may be accompanied by certain characteristic behaviors. Colicky newborn babies suffer from spasmodic abdominal pains that lead to bouts of intense crying and a state of agitation, accompanied by gas emissions. Their face turns red, their fists tighten, and their legs curl up over their swollen belly.

Colic isn’t a disease in and of itself, but rather a description of a behavior. The only real associated symptom is intense crying.

Therefore, there’s no comprehensive treatment, as the origin is unknown. However, that doesn’t mean you should give up on looking for ways to soothe your baby. Here are some tips to alleviate their discomfort:

1. Move them gently

A good option is to give them a warm bath or something to suck on, such as a baby bottle, a pacifier, etc. This tends to calm them down. Keep the environment around the baby very quiet and dim the lights in their room.

A baby girl crying.

2. Sooth your colicky newborn: perform an abdominal massage

Place a warm water bottle on the baby’s stomach and rub it gently. You can try an abdominal massage with a little almond oil to promote a gentle touch.

Always massage in a clockwise direction. This method also helps the baby eliminate intestinal gas.

3. Prepare a hot water bottle

Heat helps to relax the intestines and relieve spasms. Prepare a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel and then insert it under the baby’s belly to soothe them.

4. Find a balanced diet

Feed your baby more frequently but in smaller amounts. By doing so, you can reduce colic. You should leave a proper interval between feedings – at least two hours – don’t give anything but milk and especially avoid fruit juice.

“Newborn babies with colic suffer from spasmodic abdominal pains that are triggered by bouts of intense crying and a state of agitation, accompanied by gas emissions.”

5. Formula milk

Prepare your baby’s bottle well so that it doesn’t contain too much powder and be sure to add the right amount of water. Then, we recommend giving it to your baby slowly, in a calm and relaxed environment.

Also, consider a change of milk with your doctor’s prior approval. Avoid giving two different milks, as they’ll be more difficult to digest.

6. Sooth your colicky newborn: place your baby in an upright position during breastfeeding

To prevent the baby from swallowing too much air during breastfeeding, it’s important to place your baby in as much of a vertical position as possible. In addition, it’s good to opt for a smaller bottle to avoid filling it with air unnecessarily.

7. Help him burp

Burping has a significant influence on the onset of colic. Therefore, you need to take the time to help your baby to evacuate after each feeding.

For example, you can gently tap your baby’s back with their head resting on your shoulder or massage your baby’s lower back when they’re sitting to help them burp.

An uncomfortable newborn receiving an abdominal massage.

8. Pay attention to your diet

When breastfeeding, avoid consuming too much yogurt and white cheeses, as they pass into the milk and are absorbed by the baby. These dairy products contain large amounts of cow’s milk protein that could be the source of colic in your baby.

Also, avoid eating cabbage, broccoli, and other foods that cause gas, and don’t consume too many soft drinks, sweets, alcohol, or tobacco.

In short, this list of tips to alleviate the pain of colicky newborns is sure to help you. Remember that it’s very important that you remain calm at all times and that you know how to soothe your little one. If you’re worried that it could be a bigger problem, don’t hesitate to go to the doctor.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.