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How can I Ease Colic Pain?

Easing colic pain in babies often involves gentle remedies: a soothing swaddle, a warm bath, or a soft belly massage can work wonders. Probiotic drops and dietary changes for breastfeeding moms may also help. Remember, each baby is unique—what soothes one might not suit another. Curious about which techniques might comfort your little one? Let's explore the possibilities together.
G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen

There are several different ways you can potentially ease colic pain and only by trying these methods will you be able to establish what works for you and your infant. This is because there is no single, universally agreed upon cause of colic and so there is no absolute solution. One common and potentially effective solution is the use of a “gripe water” or liquid solution that you give your infant. These can often be quite effective if the colic pain is caused by indigestion, but you should be careful when choosing such a treatment. You can also try using the so-called “Five S’s” to relieve some of your infant’s distress.

Colic is generally described as a period of excessive or extreme crying of an infant. It usually does not persist past four to six months of age, and some doctors describe it as any persistent crying that lasts more than three hours, at least three days a week, for more than three weeks. This can be a somewhat limited definition, however, and so other doctors view any extreme and sudden crying as potentially symptomatic of colic or colic pain.

Gripe water often helps relieve the symptoms of colic.
Gripe water often helps relieve the symptoms of colic.

One possible cause of colic is gastrointestinal discomfort or issues that may cause discomfort and pain for the infant. Since this would be the first such incident of discomfort in the baby, it can be very distressing and may lead to such excessive crying. This is why many parents use a liquid solution called “gripe water” to treat colic pain. There are many different brands available, and you should talk to your doctor before using any such treatment. Be sure to look for brands that do not include sodium bicarbonate, baking soda, or charcoal, as these can further upset your infant’s system.

Colic can be frustrating, since nothing seems to bring the baby relief.
Colic can be frustrating, since nothing seems to bring the baby relief.

If “gripe water” does not work, then it is possible that other issues are causing an infant the distress symptomatic of colic pain. Many professionals recommend using the “Five S’s” to try to calm an infant who seems to be suffering from colic pain. You should begin by swaddling the infant, which is the first “S”; use loose blankets to avoid overheating and be sure to follow all safe swaddling practices, such as allowing the hips to flex and supporting the head. The second “S” refers to allowing the infant to lie on his or her side or stomach, since this can relieve discomfort. Infants should sleep only on their back, but you can hold him or her on the side or stomach while awake, being sure to support his or her head.

A pacifier may soothe a colicky baby.
A pacifier may soothe a colicky baby.

Make a “Shh” sound, the third “S”, quietly near the infant’s head. You might also play white noise or womb sounds through a stereo to create a similar effect. The fourth “S” is to swing the baby gently from side to side, no more than one inch (about 2.5 cm) in each direction, and always support his or her head or neck. Finally, the fifth “S” means allowing the infant to suckle on a finger, pacifier, or breast to help calm him or her. These methods can help relieve colic pain and allow the infant to relax and calm down, which is important for child and parent alike.

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Discussion Comments


Never heard of the five "S" plan, but I imagine a worn out parent with a colicky baby will try anything to get their child some relief.

I have a friend whose little girl had awful colic. She got some decent relief from Mylicon, which comes in drops. Her pediatrician recommended it and said it helped release the gas (if that's what was causing the colic), which relieved the pain. She said it worked, so that's something to ask the doctor about, for certain.

I think the worst thing about colic must be in knowing your child is in pain, but can't communicate it except by crying, you can't explain why they're hurting and may not be able to do much to alleviate their symptoms. That has to be an awful feeling.

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    • Gripe water often helps relieve the symptoms of colic.
      By: kmrep
      Gripe water often helps relieve the symptoms of colic.
    • Colic can be frustrating, since nothing seems to bring the baby relief.
      By: Galina Barskaya
      Colic can be frustrating, since nothing seems to bring the baby relief.
    • A pacifier may soothe a colicky baby.
      By: hansenn
      A pacifier may soothe a colicky baby.