Take care of yourself when your baby has colic

The challenges of caring for a newborn intensify if your baby has colic. Relationships can become strained between parents and baby; between parents; and between parents and other family members, especially other caregivers. Older brothers and sisters may feel resentful, ignored, helpless, or sometimes even guilty because of a vague sense that they are to blame for the baby's crying. It is also normal to be disappointed and angry with the baby. Taking good care of yourself is important to help minimize the potential negative impacts that colic can have on you and other family members.

  • Keep your perspective. The first step in self-care is regaining a sense of control. Accept that it's normal to be frustrated.
  • Avoid acting impulsively. Take precautions so you do not become so frustrated that you might hurt your baby, even unintentionally. Child abuse and neglect can seriously and permanently harm your child's physical and mental health. If you are afraid that you might hurt your baby, get help immediately. Call a friend or neighbor to come over. If nobody is available and you are feeling out of control, call 911.
  • Anticipate trouble times. Your baby will likely develop a crying pattern. Typically, babies cry more during the late afternoon or early evening, although the timing can vary. Schedule a relative, friend, or neighbor to come over a few times a week when you expect a crying episode to begin. Having support and sharing caretaking responsibilities can help you stay calm and manage your feelings more effectively. Babies pick up on your frustrations, which can make them cry more.
  • Nuture your family relationships. Taking care of yourself also involves communicating openly with your partner and other caregivers about your feelings and concerns. If you don't have a partner, talk with a friend or your health professional. Also, spend individual time with your other children. It can be short—a trip to the store or a walk around the block. Talk to them about their feelings and how they are coping with the baby's crying. Consider ideas on what they can do during the crying episodes, such as play in the backyard or visit a neighbor's house.
  • Spend time on yourself. Do something you enjoy, even if only for a short time. This could be dining out, visiting a friend, getting a massage, reading, gardening, or exercising.

Remember, colic is a temporary condition. Your baby will gradually grow out of the behavior. Research is taking place to see if there are any long-term effects on the family and child.

Last Updated: June 9, 2009

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.