Mita Stock Images/Fotolia

Why Do Babies Get Colic? Plus 3 Ways To Keep Calm During Their Tears

Ad failed to load

There are few things more upsetting than your baby having an uncontrollable cry fest. You’ve changed their diaper, fed them, rocked them, and strapped them in their car seat for a ride in the car, but they’re still screaming. Nobody wants to say the ‘c’ word, but it’s possible you’ve already thought of it — colic. Not only is it painful to watch your baby get so upset and there be nothing you can do to fix it, but it’s also normal to get totally frustrated and overwhelmed. Knowing why babies get colic may be able to shed some light on the darkness and give you peace of mind.

The important thing to remember is that there is nothing wrong with your baby. The Mayo Clinic says colic as a period of distress in a normal, healthy, well-fed baby. If your baby is battling gas pains, ear infection, or some other kind of pain, then their crying isn’t considered colic. Instead, a baby seems to be fine on all accounts, but will cry for hours sometimes and there’s nothing you can do can fix it.

That’s reason one why it’s so frustrating. Reason two? It seems to have no direct cause. One theory from the Journal of Medical Hypotheses is that there is an imbalance of serotonin and melatonin in your little one. Serotonin is a chemical that makes the intestinal muscles contract and some scientists believe that colicky babies have more of this, making them cranky and fussy. Most symptoms of colic disappear around the age of three months, which is when melatonin, another brain chemical, is produced. Why does this matter? Because melatonin is a chemical that relaxes those same intestinal muscles. Without it, a baby with higher levels of serotonin might feel crampy and these levels peak at night, making babies fuss more in the evening.

Ad failed to load

For some babies, colic is their way of adjusting to life outside the womb. Pediatrician William Sears told Parenting that some babies need to continue with the sensations of being in the womb even after they’re born. All of the new lights, sounds, and being free from the confines of you can make them irritated and unable to cope. It makes sense, right? We all have days where life just gets to be too much and Sears theorizes that colicky babies might feel the same way.

It all boils down to babies getting colic because they just do. There’s no real reason or explanation for it, and researchers have tried lots of different avenues. The Mayo Clinic also notes that, other than smoking while pregnant, there aren’t really any reasons why a baby might be more susceptible to colic than any other child. It seems colic doesn’t discriminate and affects up 40 percent of babies every year.

Ad failed to load

If your baby is colicky and there’s nothing you’ve found that helps them, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and frustrated yourself. To keep your wits and give you a break, here are three ways to deal with a colicky baby.

1. Ask For Help

Ad failed to load

You’re not alone in this. Have your partner, your parents, a friend, or someone you trust come help you during your baby’s tough time. Take turns holding and rocking the baby, or let someone else handle it while you take 30 minutes to browse Target or take a long walk. Parenting is hard enough on your own, but parenting a colicky baby alone can be even tougher.

2. Remember That Babies Do Their Own Thing

Ad failed to load

If shushing and rocking your baby worked yesterday, don’t expect the same results today. Babies do their own thing and it’s incredibly important to remember that. Trust me, your sanity will be in tact if you keep repeating that babies aren’t controllable.

3. Find a Fellow Mom That’s Dealt With Colic

Ad failed to load

Every mom has dealt with a crying baby, but colic is a whole new world. Find a mom whose babies went through the same thing and meet her for coffee or even just a text date. She’ll be able to provide you with proof that there is light at the end of the tunnel and may be able to offer new advice you hadn’t tried or heard. It takes a village.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

8 Things That *Will* Go Wrong Every Time You Plan A Kid-Free Night

The last time my husband and I went out to dinner alone was… actually, I can’t remember. But I can count on one hand how many times I’ve seen a movie in a theater in the last year. Before we had children we used to go out all the time. But even with …
By Liza Wyles

These Photos Of North West Then & Now Will Take You On A Sweet Trip Down Memory Lane

When Kim Kardashian welcomed her first daughter, North West, with her husband, Kanye West, in 2013, her whole life was changed. The social media and reality TV star became a mom for the first time and her Instagram presence took a very adorable turn.…
By Casey Suglia

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

This Is What It Means If Your Pregnancy Test Changes Overnight

The time between when a woman suspects she might be pregnant and when it is confirmed for sure is the longest of her life. Regardless of whether you are hoping for a positive or a negative result, the odds are good that you are sweating bullets when …
By Shannon Evans

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

11 Ways Your Pregnancy Will Be Different If You Have A Boy Vs A Girl

If you've been pregnant before, you might start comparing your previous pregnancies to that of your current pregnancy. A lot of things can change from pregnancy to pregnancy, based on a whole host of different factors (including how well you remember…
By Lauren Schumacker

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

12 Moms Share How They Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Unfortunately, we're in the middle of the roughest flu seasons in recent memory. And we’re not totally out of the woods, either. People around the country are still getting the flu, and, sadly, some of them are having to be hospitalized due to flu-re…
By Priscilla Blossom

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack