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If your baby cries inconsolably for three hours a day, three days a week, for at least three weeks in a row, your baby could have colic. One of these five tips, or a combination of them, might help soothe your baby. Learn more about the symptoms of colic and how to cope.
Colic can be nerve-rattling for a parent. If you ever feel overwhelmed and in need of a break, ask for help, or set your baby down somewhere safe and take some deep breaths. And remember, by 4 months, 80 to 90 percent of babies are over the colicky phase. Hang in there!
Animation by Nick Hilditch
5 tips for soothing a colicky baby
If your baby cries inconsolably for 3 hours a day, 3 days a week, 3 weeks in a row, it could be colic. Check with your baby's doctor to be sure.
Colic is usually at its worst around 6 weeks, and tapers off by 3 to 4 months. It's okay if you feel like crying too!
Every baby is different, but try one – or a combination – of these tips:
Swaddling feels comforting and secure – like being in the womb. It may even help your baby fall – and stay – asleep.
2. Make some noise
White noise can be calming. Try the hum of a vacuum cleaner, the whoosh of a blow-dryer, or the soothing sounds of a homemade playlist.
3. Change positions
Some babies settle when held in a different position: hip hold, shoulder hold, belly hold. Add some movement: Sway, bounce, pat.
4. Do bicycle kicks
The problem could be gas, and bicycle kicks might help your baby release it.
5. Change your baby's diet
If you're breastfeeding, talk to your healthcare provider about eliminating certain foods, like dairy, from your diet. If you're formula feeding, talk to your baby's pediatrician about trying a different brand.
If you're feeling overwhelmed, ask for help. Have someone else take over for a while. If you need a break, put your baby down in a safe place and take some deep breaths. Taking 10 to 15 minutes away from your baby won't harm him – and it'll help you.
Just remember, most babies grow out of colic by 4 months. Hang in there!