Lifestyle and home remedies

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Your baby's doctor may not be able to fix colic or make it go away sooner, but there are many ways you can try to soothe your baby. Consider these suggestions:

  • Feed your baby. If you think your baby may be hungry, try a feeding. Hold your baby as upright as possible, and burp your baby often. Sometimes more frequent — but smaller — feedings are helpful. If you're breast-feeding, it may help to empty one breast completely before switching sides. This will give your baby more hindmilk, which is richer and potentially more satisfying than the foremilk, which is present at the beginning of a feeding.
  • Offer a pacifier. For many babies, sucking is a soothing activity. Even if you're breast-feeding, it's OK to offer a pacifier to help your baby calm down.
  • Hold your baby. Cuddling helps some babies. Others quiet when they're held closely and swaddled in a lightweight blanket. To give your arms a break, try a baby sling, backpack or other type of baby carrier. Don't worry about spoiling your baby by holding him or her too much.
  • Keep your baby in motion. Gently rock your baby in your arms or in an infant swing. Lay your baby tummy down on your knees and then sway your knees slowly. Take a walk with your baby, or buckle your baby in the car seat for a drive. Use a vibrating infant seat or vibrating crib.
  • Sing to your baby. A soft tune might soothe your baby. And even if lullabies don't stop your baby from crying, they can keep you calm and help pass the time while you're waiting for your baby to settle down. Recorded music may help, too.
  • Turn up the background noise. Some babies cry less when they hear steady background noise. When holding or rocking your baby, try making a continuous "shssss" sound. Turn on a kitchen or bathroom exhaust fan, or play a tape or CD of environmental sounds, such as ocean waves, a waterfall or gentle rain. Sometimes the tick of a clock or metronome does the trick.
  • Use gentle heat or touch. Give your baby a warm bath. Softly massage your baby, especially around the tummy.
  • Give your baby some private time. If nothing else seems to work, a brief timeout might help. Put your baby in his or her crib for five to 10 minutes.
  • Mix it up. Experiment to discover what works best for your baby, even if it changes from day to day.
  • Consider dietary changes. If you breast-feed, see if eliminating certain foods from your own diet — such as dairy products, citrus fruits, spicy foods or drinks containing caffeine — has any effect on your baby's crying. If you use a bottle, a new type of bottle or nipple might help.
  • Let someone else take over for a time. It's stressful to listen to your baby cry for long periods, so give yourself a break. Arrange ahead of time for someone you can call to help with the baby so that you can have a few moments of relief.
Jul. 06, 2011