An inconsolable, crying infant can be very frustrating to parents. This crying may be colic…
Colic is generally defined as recurring episodes of excessive crying occurring greater than three hours a day on at least three days of the week for a minimum of three weeks. Colic commonly begins after two weeks of age in infants who are otherwise healthy. Symptoms usually peak around age three months and gradually resolve by age four to six months.
The crying of a colicky baby is not due to hunger or pain. In general, colicky babies feed and grow well, have normal poop, and may spit up on occasion. It is not uncommon for colicky babies to have increased gas, likely from swallowing large amounts of air during crying episodes. Difficulty feeding or gaining weight, abnormal pooping, or excessive spitting up is likely not colic and should be evaluated by the healthcare provider.
Try to soothe your colicky infant with rocking, walking, or playing soft music. A swing or vibrating seat may be helpful. Some infants desire less stimulation during these fussy times and may prefer being swaddled in a dark, quiet room. More frequent burping, bicycling of the legs, or tummy massage can also be helpful. Many parents have found Dr. Karp’s method of calming colicky babies to be helpful. You can read “The Happiest Baby on the Block” or watch the video of the same name.
If you ever find yourself over-frustrated with your constantly crying infant, first know that it is not your fault and give yourself a break. If there is nobody else there to watch the baby, place the baby in a safe place, such as the crib, and step into another room away from the crying momentarily. If you ever feel like you are going to harm the baby or yourself, call for immediate help. Never shake a baby.