By Stacy Whitman
If your baby cries and cries and cries—sometimes for hours, despite attempts to soothe him—then he may be among the 20 percent of infants with colic. Pamela High, MD, medical director for the Colic Clinic at Women and Infants Hospital and Brown Medical School in Providence, R.I., has these survival tips to help calm colic.
Tips to calm colic
Call in the troops Caring for a colicky baby can be exhausting—and it definitely isn’t a one-person job. So get help! Ask family and friends who feel comfortable with babies (particularly unhappy ones!) to come and give you a break.
Help him sleep Babies with colic usually aren’t great sleepers, and not getting enough zzz’s only makes them crankier. Having a regular bedtime and a soothing bedtime routine can help calm colic. Nighttime feedings should be “all business,” High adds—keep the lights dim, don’t talk or play, and get her back to sleep as quickly as possible.
Rule out reflux If your tyke is spitting up a ton and seems uncomfortable when eating, ask her doctor if reflux could be part of the problem. Instead of worrying about how to calm colic, it’s possible she can be soothed with simple fixes, such as smaller feedings and frequent burping. Infants with severe reflux (who consistently refuse food or aren’t gaining weight) may require medication.
Consider ditching dairy To calm colic, about 10 percent of breastfed babies become less fussy when all dairy (including milk, yogurt, cheese and ice cream) is eliminated from their mom’s diet, High says. You’ll need a two-week trial to know if it works.
See more: Is it Baby Gas or Colic?
Tips and tools to comfort your baby from the common nighttime ailment.