Infant Colic Home Care
Home care for infantile colic includes:
- Techniques to calm your baby
- Learn how to hold your baby properly
- Provide adequate time for your baby to sleep.
- Stop nonprescription medications.
- Treat causes of fussiness:
- Anal fissure treatment
- Constipation treatment
- Diaper rash treatment
- Remove an eyelash in the eye.
- Remove hair wrapped around the finger or penis.
- For infants under 3 months old:
- Place the infant in a quiet, dark room to sleep.
- Continue breastfeeding every 2-4 hours.
- Infants who are hungry after breastfeeding may require formula feedings.
- Cuddle and rock your baby.
- Do not place the infant face down to sleep.
Bottle Fed Infants
- Provide more frequent, smaller feedings:
- About 1-2 oz. per feeding
- Allow time for burping in between feedings.
- Dilute the formula in half for 24 hours before returning to full strength.
- Do not give the infant cow's milk.
- Try a soy based formula.
- Use small bottle nipples.
Breast Fed Infants
- Mothers should:
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Avoid herbal supplements.
Infant Colic Bottle Feeding
Learning about bottle feeding may help you reduce the symptoms of infantile colic in a bottle-fed baby.
For more information on bottle feeding:
- Selecting an infant formula
- Introduction to bottle feeding
- Combining breast and bottle feeding
- Introducing solid foods
For more information on breast feeding:
Infant Colic Breast Feeding
Learning about breast feeding may help you reduce the symptoms of infantile colic in a breastfed baby.
It is normal for your baby to nurse 7-12 times in a 24-hour day. Breast milk is easy for the baby to digest, so your baby will be hungry often. Most babies nurse every 1.5 to 3 hours during the first few weeks. Some babies like to eat every 1-2 hours for a few feedings and then take a nap for 4-5 hours. Other babies eat on a scheduled 3 to 4 hours around the clock. You should wake your baby at least every 3 hours during the day and let the baby sleep 5-6 hours at night. As the baby gets older, he or she will nurse less often and sleep longer at night.
For more information:
- Breast feeding introduction
- Breast feeding guidelines
- Signs of good breast feeding
- Special considerations when breast feeding
Most babies will nurse for 15-20 minutes on each breast. Some babies can have a successful feed in only 5-10 minutes on each breast, while others make nurse for more than 20 minutes.
Some babies always nurse both breasts, while others prefer only one breast per feeding. It is important for you to measure the quality of your baby's feed rather than the clock.
You will recognize a normal nursing pattern after you gain some experience with breast-feeding. When your baby first latches on to the breast you may notice short, urgent, choppy sucks. This will be followed by a relaxed, jaw gliding movement interrupted by brief rest periods. When your baby begins to rest more than nurse, provide stimulation to continue nursing. If your baby does not resume nursing with the jaw-gliding sucking, release the suction and remove the baby for burping. Place your finger in the corner of the mouth and between the gums to release suction. When your baby gulps during nursing, air is taken in. This gives your baby a full feeling, before nursing is completed. Remove your baby from the breast to burp. After burping, your baby should be ready to resume nursing.
Signs of good breast feeding:
- Baby is swallowing
- Baby is gaining weight
- Breast softening
- Milk on baby's tongue
- Wet diapers
Signs of adequate nutrition:
- 3 or more good-sized yellow colored, seedy bowel movements per day
- 6 or more wet diapers per day
- Breasts feel full before feeding and soft after feeding
- Child is satisfied after nursing
How to increase milk production:
- Get adequate fluids: drink at least 1 quart (or liter) of milk and 1 quart (or liter) of water per day
- Get adequate rest: take extra naps.
- Increase the frequency of nursing and minimize the use of a pacifier
- Pump the breasts for 10 minutes after each feeding
- Reduce stress
Infant Colic Warning Signs
Notify your doctor if your infant has infantile colic and any of the following:
- Bulging or sunken fontanelle:
- Bulging or depression of the soft spot on the top of the scalp
- Fever over 100.4 degrees F
- Difficulty swallowing formula or water
- Vomiting after every feeding
- Vomiting blood
- Crying constantly for more than 3 hours
- Worsening cough
- Breathing difficulty
- Bloody stool
- Excessive sleepiness
- Poor response to voice or touch
Continue to Infant Colic Outlook
- Hyman PE, Milla PJ, Benninga MA, Davidson GP, Fleisher DF, Taminiau J. Childhood functional gastrointestinal disorders: neonate/toddler. Gastroenterology. 2006 Apr;130(5):1519-26. 
- Keefe MR, Lobo ML, Froese-Fretz A, Kotzer AM, Barbosa GA, Dudley WN. Effectiveness of an intervention for colic. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2006 Mar;45(2):123-33. 
- Leung AK, Lemay JF. Infantile colic: a review. J R Soc Health. 2004 Jul;124(4):162-6. 
- Lucassen PL, Assendelft WJ, Gubbels JW, van Eijk JT, van Geldrop WJ, Neven AK. Effectiveness of treatments for infantile colic: systematic review. BMJ. 1998 May 23;316(7144):1563-9. 
- Lucassen PL, Assendelft WJ, van Eijk JT, Gubbels JW, Douwes AC, van Geldrop WJ. Systematic review of the occurrence of infantile colic in the community. Arch Dis Child. 2001 May;84(5):398-403.