3 Steps To Help Babies Overcome Colic

By Dr. Matt Hill, DC, CPPFC, CCWP
3 Steps To Help Babies Overcome Colic | PX Docs

Colic brings about numerous challenges, encompassing various aspects. Despite attempting diet adjustments, probiotics, and prunes, and making multiple visits to the pediatrician, issues like excessive spitting up, prolonged crying spells, and disrupted sleep continue to persist. However, there is hope! By following these three essential steps, you can find relief and comfort.

I’ve also been there. The first few months with my oldest were extremely challenging. Up until about three to four months, when we finally found some help for it, we really struggled as a couple. I remember bouncing on a red yoga ball with my son praying he would just go to sleep, but unsure of how to really help him. 

Let’s delve into the reasons behind their struggles, explore effective home remedies to aid them, and discover additional resources to ensure your baby’s utmost comfort.

New babies Should be Eating, sleeping, and Pooping… That’s It!

What being “comfortable” oftentimes means for a baby is pretty simple – it consists of eating, sleeping, and pooping. If they’re doing that, they’re going to be the healthiest and most chill version of themselves – which means they most likely won’t struggle with colic.

When a baby is colicky, we want to find out why they’re struggling. So as pediatric chiropractors, we go back before going forward and explore past possible stressors. Did something happen during the prenatal period that brought on this stress? What happened during their delivery? A lot of times, a more manual assisted delivery, c-section delivery, long labor, or even too quick of a labor can put a lot of stress on the motor system. 

When that happens, babies arch a little more and might struggle with nursing, spitting up, or even constipation. These are all symptoms that are associated with colic, but they really start with that motor struggle and the stress at birth.

How Birth Trauma Plays a Part

As mentioned, what we often see is when babies are uncomfortable with colic, it’s because that initial motor or movement system is altered or struggling first. Babies are supposed to be able to nurse, so there’s a suck-and-swallow reflex that should be happening – and it’s supposed to be easy for them. Then there’s the head control piece, which should allow a little bit of turning and support that comes with tummy time. That’s really all the gross motor actions they’re supposed to have at this point. 

If they’ve gone through more of a difficult birth that required forceps, a vacuum, or a more manual-assisted delivery, that can put a lot of pressure and tension on the upper neck vertebrae. The nerves that come from this upper neck are also the nerves that help with that suck-and-swallow reflex. They also help the baby turn to the right and left. So if they’re uncomfortable when they’re nursing on one side or the other, or laying on a flat surface, or they spit up right after every feeding, oftentimes we can trace that back to a difficult birth process.

If that movement is altered, then everything else gets altered because movement is what facilitates the gut or what we call the “plumbing system.” Our babies have to be great plumbers! They have to be able to nurse, swallow, digest, and then be able to poop it out. So getting their plumbing system comfortable is absolutely key. That will help with spit-up, gas, and pooping easily. 

Then looking forward developmentally, babies start to eat solid foods, develop an immune system, walk, and continue achieving bigger motor movements. Then comes speech, social, behavioral, and emotional – all of this at about three + of age. But when we look at a baby between one and six months, all they need to be focusing on are those initial motor movements and that initial gut.

So if your baby is struggling with colic, we look back to that initial altering of that movement system, which affects so much of that motor system and gut, which can cause them to be so uncomfortable. 

How can we help our babies at home?

As parents, one thing we can do at home to help support babies in movement development is not to let them progress too fast. That often means skipping the standers, throwing away the Bumbos, and not having too much time in the car seat. 

We don’t want babies to be in an unnatural motor state too soon – it can actually start the developmental process of the brain and nervous system prematurely. 

It’s why a lot of times babies arch or want to stand up too soon because their nervous system is put into these places too soon when all they need to do at first is eat, sleep, poop, and be cute.  Then they can slowly develop in doing more tummy time and working on head support.

So the best things we can do, in contrast, is a little bit more skin-to-skin, tummy time, and you can wear baby. These are great alternatives, instead of having them in those unnatural positions.

How Chiropractic Care Can Help with Colic

If you’re still not sure where colic is coming from with your child, this is where chiropractic can be the key. I couldn’t figure out what was going on with my son, so I needed a pediatric chiropractor to help me measure the stress and dig deeper.

A neurologically focused chiropractor has technology in their office called INSiGHT scans that can measure that stress internally. It can see what’s making a baby uncomfortable, and when we find that, it allows us to truly unlock that motor system. This allows them to be better plumbers, moving fluid through their system, activating that immune system, eating, sleeping, and pooping with ease. So then their bodies are naturally more calm and comfortable. 

Colic can be so challenging and complex, but the first thing is to look at that motor system. Secondly, support babies in movement by not letting them progress too fast. Lastly, find a pediatric chiropractor to measure and find stress within their nervous system.

Chiropractic adjustments on babies are so gentle and precise that they can make all the difference in the world in those little motor movements. Not only the suck and swallow, but helping them get to tummy time, crawling, cruising, walking, and all those milestones beyond, and you can watch them absolutely thrive.

Check out our PX Docs directory to find a pediatric chiropractor near you. Every baby is unique, and we want to help them be happy, easy, and thriving babies.

Dr. Matt Hill is a pediatric and family chiropractor who practices at PWC Chiropractic in Crystal Lake, IL. In addition to full-time practice, Dr. Matt is the Lead Clinical Guide at PXDocs. Dr. Matt's specialty in neurological-focused chiropractic for children started 13 years ago with his son Micah. Micah was diagnosed with a brain injury that happened in utero during development. After talking with many medical professionals and being left without hope that anything could help his condition, Micah started Neurologically focused Chiropractic Care, showing remarkable changes. He went from a baby with low motor tone, immobile and struggling to communicate, to walking, interacting, and using actions and communication tools to tell us what he needs. Despite his diagnosis and struggles, he is now the happiest teenager - growing and learning despite his developmental challenges! When not in practice or teaching, Dr. Matt is with his family, which has grown to include four boys! Micah, who is now 13; Eli, who is 10, 7-year-old Zachary, and racing after them all 4-year-old Josh.

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