colicIf you thought that having a colicky baby means you have a gassy baby, that’s not necessarily true. Colic isn’t always caused by the baby’s digestive system. In fact, colic is a term used for a baby’s uncontrollable, excessive crying. It’s different from the “I’m hungry” or “I need to be burped” type of crying. This kind lasts for more than three hours and happens multiple days in a given week for at least three weeks. But don’t worry, it’s actually quite common in two- and three-week-old babies, and can happen to babies all the way through four months old.

What are all the causes of colic? No one really knows. Some say it’s mainly the baby adjusting to stimuli outside of the mother’s womb. Because little is known about the causes, parents have had to try out a number of remedies over the years. Here are the ones that have stood the test of time:

Take the Baby Outdoors: There is something calming about going outdoors. Maybe it’s the sunlight or the peaceful sounds of nature. Whatever it is, some parents say that going outdoors is the only thing that will stop their baby’s tears. Sometimes just five to ten minutes of outdoor time is enough to calm the baby down for a while.

Return-to-the-Womb Sounds: You probably already know that babies like sounds that remind them of the womb. That’s why car rides tend to help babies sleep. You can also try putting the baby in their car seat and sit them next to a clothes dryer or a bathroom with the vent turned on. This low-pitched humming or white noise has proven to comfort many colicky babies.

Wrap Him Up: Speaking of the womb, keep in mind how babies are positioned before  birth. They were in a tight, snug environment. So wrapping your infant comfortably in a blanket will feel cozy and familiar. .. This process, called swaddling, may reduce the baby’s sudden movements while sleeping and prevent him from waking himself up. But make sure you swaddle safely and select the appropriate type of blanket according to the temperature in your home. For example, you shouldn’t use a fleece swaddle blanket if your home is already warm. Go for a cotton or gauze blanket instead.

When in doubt, talk to your pediatrician. Sometimes colic is the result of tummy pains caused by dairy allergies. In this case, you you may need to switch the type of formula you use. If you are breastfeeding, be mindful of things you consume that can potentially cause stomach discomfort in your baby like caffeine, wheat, eggs, nuts, onions, and cabbage.

For more topics on infant health, check out our blog, 4 Reasons to Board the Breastfeeding Bandwagon or ER Tips for the Constipated Baby.