Almost all babies are fussy some time during the day. However, if your baby cries longer than three hours a day and a medical problem does not seem to be apparent, your infant may have colic.
Colic typically begins at about three weeks of age and continues until about six weeks. About one in five babies cry long enough to be considered colicky. The good news is that colic does go away. Generally, if your baby is still crying a lot after 12 weeks, it is best to talk to your Henry Ford Pediatrician to rule out other conditions such as reflux.
Treatment for colic
Many times, colic is caused by a trigger, such as:
- Foods: Foods passed through breast milk may affect your child. If you are breastfeeding, try to avoid caffeine, chocolate, dairy, nuts and other gas producing foods such as broccoli and beans.
- Formula: Some babies may be sensitive to proteins in formula. Switching the type of formula your baby uses may help relieve colic.
- Medicine: If you take medicine and breast feed, speak to your doctor about the effects if may have on your baby, and if possible go off of the medicine while breast feeding.
- Feeding: Avoid feeding your baby too much, too fast.
The good news about colic is that it will end. Also, you are not alone. Many parents have had children with colic. It is important that you reach out to others to get ideas on what helped their children. In turn, it is important that you get breaks from caring for your baby, especially during fussy periods. While not every method works for every baby, here are a few ideas to try:
- Holding your baby a lot throughout the day may help your baby during colic time.
- Rocking your baby calmly and gently may help pass the gas and provide relief for your child.
- Singing or speaking in a soothing manner may help.
- Self-soothing items like a pacifier or your baby’s thumb may provide calm for your baby.
- Car rides or bassinets that vibrate have worked in the past.
- Noises such as blow dryers, fans, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, or dishwasher have been known to curb the crying from colic
- Non-prescription gas drops are safe for infants and may help get rid of gas pains.
Testing for colic
Call your child’s Henry Ford pediatrician at 1-800-HENRYFORD (1-800-436-7936) if you suspect colic. The pediatrician can often diagnose colic by asking questions about the baby's medical history and symptoms, including how long the crying lasts. An exam of your baby will be performed to rule out any other issues such as a hernia or other medical problems.