Top 8 Essentials for the Colicky Newborn

When I was pregnant with Everett, I researched a ton of products and read lots of must-have lists but one thing I never considered was the possibility of having a colicky baby.

Having experienced colic for a solid 4 months, I feel confident in providing my own “top list.” These 8 products were critical in helping our son get through his first 4 months of life.

While every baby is unique, perhaps some or all of these items will help you and your baby, too.

None of these items “cured” his colic but I did notice a reduction in duration of crying if I used them consistently.

  1. Breast or Bottle

Everett was exclusively breastfed until 9 weeks of age when his weight dropped from the 44th percentile to the 3rd. At that point, he was breast- and bottle-fed. With the help of an outstanding lactation consultant and the use of domperidone – I was able to continue breastfeeding (I’ll share that experience in a separate post).

Our son would not take to a pacifier but he did find comfort in nursing and did so constantly.


If he was not breastfeeding, he would typically be crying.

If your baby is soothed by a pacifier, I would not hesitate to use one! We tried the MAM pacifier and the WubbaNub but he rejected both – so we stuck with comfort nursing.

2. Blackout cellular shades 

(use sheets if you have to, anything to make the room DARK)

Mid-day nap. Very dark room courtesy of the blackout shades.

I found that keeping Everett in a dark room most of the day helped to minimize his crying time.

One of the theories about colic is that the central nervous system is immature. When a baby is born, he/she is taken from its comfortable womb – a place that is very loud, warm and dark in exchange for a cold, bright and relatively quiet space. It is hypothesized that the new environment is too stimulating for the immature nervous system to process. The baby is not yet capable of self soothing – so he/she cries.

In an attempt to recreate the womb, we purchased blackout cellular shades and my husband installed them on all of our bedroom windows.

It doesn’t really matter what you choose to put over your windows. Just keep the environment as dark as possible!

Above the doors, we put black construction paper when he slept in our room. It was a very high-end touch.
This is a little sitting room in our bedroom – we also put construction paper on the arched part of the window above the shade (remember, as dark as possible).

3. Sound machine

This is the Red Rooster Sound Machine.

Once your room is dark enough – it’s time to make it loud enough.

I can recall one night vividly when my husband and I played white noise on two laptops, an iPad and two cell phones. He finally fell asleep.

There are many to choose from and ours is one of the less expensive options. It is by a brand called Red Rooster.

Any will do but make sure it has a battery backup in the event of power outage. Trust me, you’ll appreciate this.

4. Swaddle

The Love To Dream Swaddle is THE swaddle for us.

I believe every baby should be swaddled as the boundaries of the swaddle are womb-like, making the baby feel more secure. Additionally, it can calm the startle reflex which can often wake a baby.

You may need to test out a few swaddles to find what works best for your baby.

We settled on the Love To Dream line of swaddles and LOVED them. Our son enjoyed chewing on his hands and keeping them close to his face, something other, more traditional swaddles didn’t allow. We used these until he outgrew all of their sizes (up to size large).

He now sleeps in a Zippadee-Zip sleeper! This is essentially the same concept as the Love To Dream swaddles, but provides more mobility.

5. Wireless headphones

Your headphones aren’t just for working out anymore!

Your baby is going to cry – and cry a lot.

Wireless headphones connected via bluetooth to your favorite Spotify playlist, podcast or audiobook provides a reprieve from the crying, while still allowing you to be present with your baby.

The “Peaceful Piano” playlist on Spotify is still among our favorites.

6. Yoga ball

When Everett was in his most inconsolable mood, bouncing on the yoga ball was my go-to. I’d either strap him into a wrap or carrier or just hold him in my lap and bounce.

My husband received this tip from a colleague who had a colicky baby years ago and the yoga ball worked quite well.

I also attribute my very rapid post-partum weight loss to this exercise. One perk of colic!

7. iPad with Netflix/Hulu

While you’re nursing/holding/rocking/bouncing your baby, you’re likely to get very bored. I found an iPad to be the most portable/lightweight option for entertaining myself.


8. Himalayan Salt Rock Lamp

When/if your baby DOES actually fall asleep at night, you’ll want to keep the sleeping conditions ideal. When it is time for your baby to wake up for a dream feed or his regularly scheduled diaper change/feed, it is best to keep the lighting minimal. I found that a salt rock lamp was the perfect solution. Placed on my bedside table, it was within easy reach to turn on, didn’t wake up my sleeping husband and provided just enough light to change his diaper and nurse him.

I hope these essentials help you and your baby.

What products helped your colicky baby?

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