If your baby has
colic, simple comforting measures may help shorten the
duration or decrease the intensity of a crying episode.
Make sure your baby isn't hungry. Very young babies
usually do not eat much at one sitting and may become hungry 1 to 2 hours after
Address your baby's sucking needs. Sucking can help
babies relieve stress without crying. Some babies need to suck as much as 2
hours a day. If feedings are not enough to satisfy sucking, offer your baby a
pacifier or clean finger instead.
Try rocking your baby or playing music. Gently rock
your baby or use a mechanical swing. You may also try singing quietly, playing
music at a low volume, or turning on something with a rhythmic sound, such as a
fan that hums, a vacuum cleaner, a clothes dryer, tape recordings of womb
sounds, or a crib sound-and-motion device. Some babies respond well to these
measures, especially when combined with loving attention, such as talking and
Cuddle your baby. Hold your baby close to you in
your arms or using a front pack. You may also try swaddling, which is wrapping
your baby's arms and legs snugly against his or her body in a blanket. Monitor
your baby closely to make sure he or she doesn't get too warm.
Change his or her position. Hold your baby so that
you put gentle pressure on the belly. Try placing your baby over your knee with
his or her belly over your lower arm and his or her head at your elbow.
Soothe your baby with motion. Walk while holding your
baby or try carrying him or her in a front pack or sling while you go about
your activities. Babies are often comforted by the combination of close contact
and motion. Try a walk outside in a front pack or stroller to help change your
baby's mood. Some parents find their baby is soothed by riding in the car.
Bathe your baby. If your baby likes the water, try
giving him or her a warm bath.
Try one comfort measure at a time for about 1 or 2
minutes each until you notice the crying start to decrease. If your baby
continues to cry for 20 to 30 minutes, change locations and try again.
Sometimes nothing works. In these cases, consider placing your baby in his or
her crib for a brief period (5 minutes at a time) while you stay close by. Then
repeat your attempts to comfort.
If you get exhausted by these
efforts, ask for someone else to take over for you. Call
911 right away if you are afraid that you
are about to harm your baby and you can't find someone to help you.
Primary Medical Reviewer
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.