That's my second daughter ^ Both of my girls were diagnosed with severe colic. My first daughter screamed for the whole first year of her life and my second daughter screamed for 2-3 months. We tried EVERYTHING!
Welcoming a newborn into your life is a joyous occasion, but it can also bring unexpected challenges. One of the most common issues parents face is colic. ONE in FOUR healthy babies will have colic.
Colic is a condition characterized by excessive crying and fussiness in infants. Coping with colic can be overwhelming, but fear not!
We’ve already reviewed 10+ golden tips for soothing your colicky baby, so in this detailed guide we’re going to dive even deeper with the who, what, when, where, why of colic so you feel better prepared.
Take out your notepad (or iPhone notes… 21st century things) and get ready to take better notes than you did in any high school social studies class.
Let’s dive right in!
To effectively deal with colic, it's important to understand what it is. Now, I KNOW it can be confusing because everyone (and their mom and their pediatrician) seems to have a different opinion of what "causes" colic.
Here is the widely accepted medical definition:
"Colic means your otherwise healthy baby cries excessively for no apparent reason. Healthcare providers define colic as intense crying for more than three hours a day, at least three days a week, for more than three weeks. Often, there’s nothing you can do to relieve your crying baby." (1)
"All babies cry — it’s the way they communicate their needs. But a colicky baby is inconsolable and screams without any obvious cause. The crying usually starts suddenly at about the same time every day, often in the afternoon or evening hours. However, when your baby isn’t crying, they act completely normal." (1)
What to Look For
Typical signs include…
Intense crying that lasts for several hours
A rigid posture
Difficulty consoling him/her
The Rule of 3- crying for more than three hours per day, for more than three days per week, for more than three weeks.
If you suspect your baby has colic, please call your pediatrician to rule out any underlying medical conditions like milk intolerances, gas caused by lip/tongue ties, or reflux.
The Ultimate Colic Survival Guide
Bookmark this blog for later!
Who to Add to Your Speed Dial
Keep these people on standby when dealing with a colicky baby. DO NOT be afraid to use the people in your life as a resource!
Your Pediatrician- NEVER feel silly for calling your pediatrician with any and all concerns. Raising a newborn doesn’t come with an instruction manual. You’re not expected to know everything and you’ll sleep better (well… in theory) if you get answers from your pediatrician rather than Google.
Your Best Friend- It can feel scary and shameful to have friends over when you’re going through something that is difficult to put into words and could potentially push people away, but your best friend wants to know how they can support you. Even if it’s just an ear to listen to you vent or to stop by for an hour to help you fold laundry.
Your Colic Comrade- Join colic support groups online (like this one on Facebook) or connect with a friend (or a friend-of-a-friend) who has gone through colic… they’re going to understand you the most and you’ll be able to connect with them in a way that will make you feel less guilty for what you’re going through.
Your Family- Keep. Your. Village. Close. Raising a baby is already an isolating experience. Throw colic into the mix and you quickly forget what the outside world looks like. Don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed to lean on your village for anything from grocery shopping to showers longer than 90 seconds. They may not understand what you’re going through, but they want to help.
Who to Follow on Social Media
ByeByeCry Club - @byebyecryclub
The Colic Nurse - @thecolicnurse
Taking Cara Babies - @takingcarababies
Rockabye Hub - @rockabye_hub
Baby Reflux Lady - @babyrefluxlady
Cozy Baby Sleep - @cozybabysleep
What to Keep in Your Diaper Bag
Overpacking is the new “packing.” There is nothing wrong with packing like you’re leaving on a weekend trip when you’re just going to the grocery store if it makes your life easier! Here are some things (in addition to your basic diapers and wipes) that you’ll want to keep in your diaper bag to help soothe your colicky baby.
You don’t want to lose your phone to “baby jail” while you’re out and about. The ByeByeCry Sound Machine has unconventional sounds designed to soothe colicky babies and a silicone strap that attaches to almost anything like the diaper bag or stroller.
2. Extra Clothes
Nothing makes an already sad baby even more sad than soiled clothes! Keep your extra clothes organized in a cute dry/wet bag.
3. Pacifier(s) ← plural
Even if you drop one, you have plenty more! Is your baby not a "binky baby?" Try these (BPA-free) breast-like pacifiers from Tommee Tippee!
4. Formula + Distilled Water Bottle
Keep your formula in this pre-measured dispenser for easy mixing!
So you can wear baby to try to help them sleep/calm down.
What to Buy to Make Your Day Easier... for Mom and Dad
Don't forget about taking care of yourself in the chaos of colic. Your mental and physical health are important, too.
No more forgetting to drink water. Keep this jug close throughout the day and chug away! The handle adds extra convenience when carrying it from room-to-room.
Noise canceling earbuds or headphones will help to minimize the frustration from listening to your baby’s crying while you’re taking care of him/her. Never leave your baby unattended.
But NOT for baby. For things YOU need throughout the day like chapstick, snacks, hair ties and Liquid I.V.s. Put one in all of your main rooms so you don’t need to carry it with you throughout the day!
If you’re not an app person, try using a household baby log book that everyone can add to throughout the day.
What to Buy to Make Your Day Easier... for Baby
With unconventional sounds that are designed to soothe colicky babies, the ByeByeCry Sound Machine is the ONLY sound machine on the market designed FOR colic.
For baby’s nursery. They may not be taking full naps (or any naps), but a dark room will help to soothe both you and baby even if you’re pacing back and forth trying to calm them.
3. Baby Swing
A baby swing provided a faster, more attention-grabbing motion for my girls than the bouncing of the 4moms MamaRoo.
Ok, this one is a HUGE splurge and I haven’t used it myself, but I’ve heard incredible things about it. The SNOO is designed to put your baby back to sleep for you. The cool part is that you can purchase a certified pre-loved SNOO directly on their website for around $500 off or you can even rent a SNOO for around $160 a month! Mindset Motivation
One of the biggest sacrifices you make when having a baby is your mental health. And your mental health REALLY suffers when you’re raising a colicky baby.
You need to do the best you can to take care of your mental health. Find stress-relieving activities that work for you and your schedule, like meditation, exercise, adult coloring books or phone games like Tetris. Taking care of your mental and physical health will help you stay resilient throughout this challenging phase.
I actively practiced the “5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Technique” so I could take a moment to reset my nerves and frustrations and step back into the room with my kids with a healthier mindset.
Try it yourself…
Make sure your baby has their needs met- they’re dry, fed and safe.
Put your baby down in a safe space like their bassinet (even if they’re crying) or leave them with your partner.
Walk out of the room and pick a random task to do like folding laundry, washing dishes, taking a shower or even just sipping on a cup of coffee outside for 10 minutes (set a timer on your phone).
While you are doing the task, name these things in your mind or out loud…
Name 5 things you can see.
Name 4 things you can hear.
Name 3 things you can touch.
Name 2 things you can smell.
Name 1 thing you can taste.
Pick baby back up with a different state of mind.
You’ve Got This. Just Keep Going.
Coping with colic requires resilience, understanding, and a wholeeeee lot of patience. Every baby is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Be open to experimenting with different techniques and consult your pediatrician for personalized advice.
With the strategies outlined in this Ultimate Colic Survival Guide, you'll be better equipped to navigate the stormy waters of colic. And remember, there IS a light at the end of the colicky tunnel.
This is me and my daughters now! Colic was the hardest thing I've ever been through, but in the end it made my connection with my daughters stronger because of allllll of the learning and growing that what we went through together.