Colic is the name we give to crying in a baby who doesn't seem to have any other reason to be crying.  It is something that babies do; it's not something they have.

In the womb, the kids are jostled, cramped, warm and surrounded by noise.  They are getting fulltime contact with mom.  They get born, and the world is much different.  The new world outside the womb sure isn't as noisy, cramped or warm.  And even if you hold the baby for 18 hours, they are still getting held less than when they were in the womb.  From your baby's perspective, this new world isn't as nice and they cry.  Sometimes, a lot.

Nobody likes a crying baby, and the kids look as if they are really struggling.  The kids can look as if they are in pain, drawing up their legs, and often having lots of gas. In fact, gas seems to be the thing we all think is wrong with the baby.  But gas doesn't get better with car rides or the sound of a vacuum cleaner, and colic sure seems to.  That means gas drops, and diet changes (including diet changes for nursing moms) aren't likely to work.  And the current fad diagnosis of "reflux" is probably wildly overdiagnosed meaning all the expensive prescription antacids aren't really necessary.

What will help them?  Put them back in the womb.  Make them cramped (so wrap them up), make it noisy and bounce them around.  Alright, that sounds crude...but white noise cd's, slings, swings, car rides, blow dryers noises really work.  And so does holding. This is no time to be worried about spoiling them with being held too much. 

If you are nursing, feed them.  Breastfed babies upset with the world will feed more frequently...what's better then snuggling with mom and getting warm, sweet milk when the world is irritating you?  They are snuggled, warm and satisfying the suck reflex.  In fact, I find that breastfed kids are much less likely to have severe colic symptoms.  If you think the colic is from your breastmilk, click here.

If nothing works, get a babysitter and go out to dinner.  I'm not kidding.


I need to say this.  I wish I didn't.


One of the first, and most common, reasons for child abuse is colic, especially in 6 week olds.  It's a rough time, and parents and caretakers often have a  helpless feeling watching an infant cry and not being able to fix the problem.  But walk away, get a babysitter, but never, ever, ever, shake a baby.


My favorite colic book...


Other reasons for cranky breastfed kids