Having a colicky baby is not easy. I can imagine that no one in your house is sleeping well. This leads to both an overtired and sleep deprived baby as well as tired and mentally exhausted parents! It can feel like there is no end in sight and no way to help your baby settle and sleep, but I’m here to tell you that it will end, and there is a place to start. I can’t promise this will get rid of their colicky symptoms entirely but it will certainly help you do the best you can in such a difficult situation.
How do I know if my baby has colic?
The first step is to determine if your baby truly has colic, because some symptoms could point to entirely different issues, like a sleep debt, latch or tongue tie causing breast feeding troubles, allergies or gastro issues to name a few. Do go to your pediatrician and have them check out your baby and look to see if there are any underlying causes.
You’re baby likely has colic if they are an otherwise healthy and well fed baby and:
- They cry for 3 hours a day, 3 or more days a week for a period of 3 weeks.
- It usually starts after 3 weeks of age, hits its peak around 6 weeks of age.
- Resolves around 2 months of age 50% of the time and otherwise ends by 3 or 4 months of age.
Sleep and calming tips.
- Create and stick to a routine. This includes nap and bedtime routines along with short windows of wakefulness. You don’t need to have lengthy routines, but just a short consistent one that provides a sleep cue. Prioritizing short wake windows will help with putting your baby down to sleep before overtiredness sets in and they find sleep difficult.
- Create a womb like environment to help calm your baby – this includes tightly swaddle and use white noise or shushing. White noise can also block out surrounding noise if they are overstimulated.
- If your baby is unsettled rhythmic motion can help – rocking or swaying works well. For an especially upset baby you may need to use more intense movements.
- Reduce stimulation during particular upset times. Overstimulation will make the crying worse. Don’t be afraid to take your newborn into a dark quiet room to relax and recharge.
- Ask your support networks for help. Sometime we feel like we need to do everything alone, but when we have an extremely unsettled baby we need to ask for help. Baby’s feed of our emotions so if we are feeling overwhelmed they’ll clue in and can feel even more upset themselves. Asking people for help not only gives you a break but sometimes a person not involved in a baby’s day to day care can stay calmer and more confident when you are feeling like you might break.
- Spend quality time with your baby when they are happy and not crying. This is incredibly important as it helps to remind you, in the harder times, that your beautiful baby isn’t always upset and crying. There are good times sprinkled in with the very hard times.
- And lastly, remind yourself that you did absolutely nothing to cause the colicky behavior. Unfortunately some babies just have it. But there is an end in sight. Maybe not tomorrow but it will end.
Good luck with getting through the colicky baby period. If you need more help with your newborn’s sleep then my newborn sleep guide is for you!