The ABC’s of Life With Your Newborn – Colic

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My baby won’t stop fussing and crying. Could it be colic?

Babies who cry more than 3 hours per day, 3 days or more per week, for at least three weeks are typically diagnosed with colic. The symptoms can begin just a few weeks after birth. But for many, it often appears between 4-6 weeks of age.

colic crying babyThe Symptoms

  • The baby turns bright red while crying
  • They cry as if they are in pain
  • The baby cries for no obvious reason. They are fed and have a clean diaper.
  • They cry around the same time each day.

Medical professionals don’t know what causes colic although some pediatricians may blame colic on:

  • Overstimulation
  • Sensitivity to dairy or soy
  • Pain from gas
  • Underdeveloped digestive system
  • Overfeeding or underfeeding

Since the true definition of colic is unexplained infant crying that lasts at least 3 hours a day, for three days a week for at least three months, there isn’t much that a parent can do to prevent colic. The unexplained nature makes it impossible to avoid triggers because the root cause is unknown.

Helping you and your baby live with colic is about managing the crying and offering comfort to the baby.

Common recommendations for dealing with colic may include:

  • Holding the baby
    • Upright over your shoulder as you do for burping
    • While walking
    • Across your arm or lap while rubbing or patting their back
  • Offering comfort
    • Swaddling
    • Skin to skin contact
    • Wearing your baby
    • Using a pacifier
    • Going for a walk
    • Taking baby for a drive

Caring for a baby who is experiencing colic can be difficult.

Taking care of yourself is priority #1. If you feel angry or like shaking your baby, walk away and let them cry. If you have a partner, friend or family member present, hand them the baby and take a break. It is important to remember that you have not done anything to cause your baby to have colic. Remind yourself that it will go away on its own by 3-4 months after birth.

Most importantly if you are struggling mentally or physically with caring for your colicky baby, reach out for help!


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