3 Techniques for Avoiding Colic

3 Techniques for Avoiding Colic
Nelton Ramos

Reviewed and approved by the doctor Nelton Ramos.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Nothing causes a mother to despair more than her child’s crying. And that is one of the most immediate effects of colic, which manifests as a continuous wail without apparent cause. Below we’ll offer advice on avoiding colic in babies, so keep reading.

One of the main myths about colic is that it appears when babies are bottle-fed formula. However, it can also appear in babies who are breastfed, even though cow’s milk certainly produces more gas than breast milk.

Beyond the type of milk, cramps occur when the baby is feeding and swallows air. That air stays in the baby’s stomach and can cause a lot of pain. In addition, this discomfort is usually accentuated at night, which can twitch the nerves of any new mother.

In fact, pediatricians clinically identify colic when there is crying that lasts at least three hours a day, three days a week for three weeks in a healthy and well-nourished child.

Colic is very common in babies

Statistics from pediatricians confirm that the cause of 30% of colic cases is gas. Between 15% and 40% of babies suffer from colic in the first four months of life, but this spontaneously resolves after the fourth month.

How a baby is fed is one of the decisive factors for the appearance of discomfort. The position of mother and child as well as the position of the breast or bottle all play a role. “It is ideal for the woman to be comfortably seated and calm, and that the baby is seated,” says pediatrician Libia Segura.

Segura conceptualizes colic as an inconsolable crying that gets worse in the afternoon hours and that is accompanied by abdominal distension, leg flexion, reddening of the skin and closed fists. All of these symptoms are clear indicators of colic.

detecting signs and avoiding colic in babies

3 techniques for avoiding colic

Routine care for a newborn can be exhausting. Therefore, when many parents finish feeding and the child finally falls asleep, they do not want to do anything but put him to bed. That’s the first mistake.

Even if your baby is falling asleep, it is critical that you burp him. To do this, we’ll describe three possible techniques below that will be very useful.

Pat on the back

To make the baby burp, it is important to hold him so that his belly rests on your shoulder. Once this is in place, give him a gentle pat on the back with your hand curved to help him expel any gas.

It is also good to make an upward motion with your hands while you pat. This way he will release the gas and will stay relaxed in that position, making it easier for him to fall asleep as soon as he burps.

Move the legs

If, after patting him on the back, you touch his belly and feel that it is empty, hollow or full of gas, it is best to lay your baby on a flat surface, such as your bed, and stretch and push both legs at the same time about 10 times.

You can also stretch one leg while flexing the other, as if he were riding a bicycle. Another option is to move both legs in a clockwise direction.

This movement stimulates the intestine and helps propel the gases that are generated when drinking milk. It is equivalent to the healthy exercise that adults perform after eating in order to aid digestion.

tips on burping your baby

Stomach massage

A stomach massage also helps the baby to burp out gases that cause colic. You can caress the belly with delicate upward movements or make circular motions. In fact, it is proven that clockwise massage helps to relieve colic.

Anti-colic medication

If you cannot get your child to expel gas or overcome the pain caused by colic with the help of these techniques, then perhaps you should resort to medication.

The best thing to do is use anti-colic medication prescribed by your pediatrician, which are usually given before you feed your baby. They will help to expel gas and prevent the appearance of colic.

All of these techniques to prevent your baby from suffering colic should be used periodically. You will see effective results and will help your child sleep better, allowing you to face daily tasks with good cheer.

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.

  • Ortega Páez E., Barroso Espadero D. Cólico del lactante. Rev Pediatr Aten Primaria. 2013;  15 (23): 81-87. [En línea] Disponible en: http://dx.doi.org/10.4321/S1139-76322013000300009.
  • González, S; Brochet, C. Opciones de tratamiento del cólico del lactante. Pediatría. 2015; 48 (3). [En línea] DOI: 10.1016/j.rcpe.2015.10.001

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