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Sweep Away Colic Baby Crying with White Noise

By Cherie Stirewalt

It doesn't make sense does it? You do everything possible as a new parent to keep your baby healthy and happy. So why is it, your baby decides to start screaming inconsolably right around dinner time? Just when you need it least.

Ask yourself"

  • When your baby starts crying, is it for spells of 3 or more hours at a time?

  • Do these crying spells happen 3 or more times a week?

  • Did you notice the crying spells becoming more apparent about the 3rd week after you brought your baby home?

If you've answered yes to the above questions, you might have a baby with colic.

Colic is the diagnosis many pediatricians tag on a baby who is otherwise healthy and thriving, but follows the "Rule of Threes as stated above. A colic baby has episodes of inconsolable crying beginning around the 3rd week of life, lasting at least 3 hours a day, for at least 3 days a week.

Attempting to calm a colicky infant can leave a parent emotionally battered and physically exhausted. Some doctors believe the cause of colic stems from your baby having a pain in the gut. "Colic actually comes from the Greek word kolikos, which means "suffering in the colon." Sometimes, simply changing the baby's diet can help dramatically (or changing the mother's diet in the case of breastfeeding).

However, another theory is emerging about the cause of colic.

Some doctors believe an underdeveloped and immature nervous system may be the cause of colic crying. When a baby is born, its head isn't big enough to house a brain that is mature enough to have all the survival tools a human infant needs. A baby's brain is only the size of an apple. The birth canal cannot handle a bigger head. So, when a baby is born, the only inherent survival skills they possess are sneezing, sucking, swallowing and".CRYING!

Eighty percent of babies are capable of crying for a reason, and then calming themselves down. They are awake for awhile to learn and accept stimuli. Then they sleep to recover and awake to take in more stimuli.

A colicky baby is high-maintenance. Their nervous system is overloaded with all the sights and sounds of a new world. And by about dinner time, they"ve had it. The crying begins. Once they start crying, they lack the mechanism to calm themselves down. In my experience, most mothers with colicky infants tell the same story. Their baby fights going to sleep. They won't take a nap. They won't stay asleep once they do finally go to sleep. These poor babies never take the time to recover from all the stimuli they have taken in over the course of a day.

What can you, as a parent, do to eliminate these crying spells?

An effective method to calming a colicky infant is by using white noise to mask environmental stimuli.

White noise is something we hear all the time, but rarely pay any attention. You hear white noise from:

  • the roar of you wheels while driving in your car,

  • the hum of your fan while working at your computer

  • the hum of the motor while running a vacuum cleaner

  • and even from the roar of a crowd while watching sporting events.

White noise is the full spectrum of sound frequencies a human ear can hear combined together all at once. When you hear something that creates a monotonous hum, and maybe kind of makes you sleepy, you are hearing white noise. You can purchase white noise CDs and white noise generators, download white noise mp3s or, even try running an appliance (like hair dryers, air conditioners or fans) to create the white noise necessary to calm your baby in the midst of a crying outburst.

Remember, in the womb, your baby was packed in tightly. It was dark. It was warm. And the prominent sound she heard was the "whoosh of blood flowing through the placenta (a little louder than the noise of a vacuum cleaner running). This "whoosh of sound actually acted as the white noise your baby heard while in the womb.

You can recreate the feeling your baby had while in the womb. If you lower the lights, swaddle your baby in a blanket, and play some white noise, a colic baby outburst can be eliminated in no time.

About The Author

Cherie L. Stirewalt is a colic baby survivor and shares her colic experiences on her website The site offers a one-of-a-kind white noise download and white noise CD to help frustrated parents cope with their fussy baby fast! Join the Free Colic Baby Bootcamp newsletter and receive more colic related tips and tricks at


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