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Baby Colic – The Dreaded ‘C’ Word

Baby Sleep

Baby Colic – The Dreaded ‘C’ Word

Every newborn and infant cries at some point. Though we would all agree it is normal for all little ones, it pulls on most of our heartstrings. I hear infants cry all day, every day—be it at home, in my practice, or in the emergency room. I never get used to it. Hearing my own kids cry, this is a whole other story.

The most common concern I hear from parents at the 1 or 2 month visit is about their baby’s crying and fussiness.

The most common concern I hear from parents at the 1 or 2 month visit is about their baby’s crying and fussiness. Hearing your baby cry is utterly exhausting and painful for new parents. One of the biggest challenges we have as new parents is to learn what the baby’s cry means so we can best soothe.

What is colic?

 Technically, colic occurs when your baby cries more than three hours a day, more than three days a week, for more than three weeks. The definition is pretty arbitrary. We don’t usually know why these babies cry so much. This fussiness peaks around 4-8 weeks and fades with time. With no treatment your baby will stop crying as much. But these weeks can pass so slowly! The crying is unpredictable, but does usually occur within the same few hours each day, usually in the evening. Babies often seem to be in pain, though we usually can’t figure out the source.
Fussiness peaks around 4-8 weeks and fades with time.

Parents often look to me to provide suggestions of how to soothe their fussy baby. I wish there was a one-size-fits-all solution for all fussy babies. If this were the case, someone out there would have a Nobel Peace Prize. In fact, a systematic review published in the prestigious journal, Pediatrics, demonstrated that no individual complementary medicine treatment was consistently helpful at treating symptoms of colic. The reality is, there is nothing that works for everyone, but some tricks work for some children and other tricks work for others.

No individual complementary medicine treatment was consistently helpful at treating symptoms of colic.

Here are my suggestions for how to calm a crying baby that worked for my kids. Remember, this is trial and error and not all tricks will help all babies. I liken 4-8 weeks of age to the fourth trimester where babies want to reproduce what it was like in the womb. This means being held/cradled/saddled tightly, with gentle movement and sound, like it was in mom’s tummy.

1. Ensure your baby is well fed—hunger is a common cause of crying.

2. Try to burp your baby—gas pains can be painful and irritate your baby.

3. Ensure your baby has a clean diaper.

4. Make sure your baby is dressed appropriately—is she too hot or too cold?

These suggestions you have likely considered. They are just a reminder.

You can read more on Baby Colic in my YummyMummy Article.

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