How is colic treated?

Parents may find some of the following non-pharmacological treatments helpful. Different babies may respond to different techniques13:

  • Pick up a crying baby – but avoid repeatedly picking up the baby as this may overstimulate them
  • Wrap the baby securely in a blanket
  • Movement – rocking over the parent’s shoulder, pushing around in a pram or driving
  • Background noise – some parents find that the sound of a washing machine or vacuum cleaner soothes the baby
  • Baby massage, which also helps bonding
  • Burping after feeding; check feeding technique
  • A warm bath

Several products are available that may help some children with colic. These have different modes of action, so babies may respond differently.

  • Lactase drops. Lactase is an enzyme that helps break down the lactose in the milk making it more easily digestible4
    • Lactase drops can be used until the baby is approximately 3–4 months old, by which time the baby’s digestive system will have matured
  • Simeticone drops help release bubbles of trapped air in the baby’s digestive system
  • Probiotics, in particular Lactobacillus reuteri
  • Preparations containing fennel oil7

You can help to reassure anxious parents by19:

  • Giving the condition a name, ‘colic’
  • Explaining that although the baby may appear to be in distress, the infant will continue to feed and gain weight normally
  • Explaining that colicky symptoms will pass after a few months and usually colic does not have any long-term adverse effects on their baby’s health
  • Ensuring parents understand that there is no cure for colic, so they may need to try a mixture of self-care techniques, treatments or changes to the maternal diet (e.g. a hypoallergenic diet)20

Following diagnosis and initial treatment recommendations, encourage parents
to return for regular reviews and to seek the advice of their GP if any of the
following apply18:

  • The baby’s symptoms have not improved after four months
  • The baby’s symptoms suddenly get worse
  • The baby is failing to grow and develop at the expected rate
  • The baby has developed GORD symptoms, other differential
    diagnoses or ‘red flag’ symptoms17

Download your cry diary by clicking the link below: