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A parents guide to surviving colic

Published in For the Health of It Author: Jill Amsberry,DO Author: Jill Amsberry, D.O.

The first few sleep-deprived months with a newborn can be a challenge. But if your infant shows signs of colic, it can be an exasperating and anxiety-provoking time that can test any parent.

You may go through long stretches of each day worried about your little one. You also may often experience feeling helpless that you cannot comfort your baby.

While all babies cry, those with colic often cry for more than three hours a day. The cause of colic is unknown. One theory is that colic could be caused by the baby’s inability to self-soothe to the sights, sounds, and feelings of their new life. For a condition that is surrounded in so much mystery, here are some things that we do know about it.

  • It is estimated that one in five babies develops colic. It usually starts around two to four weeks, peaks around six weeks.
  • If your baby develops colic, check with your pediatrician. He or she can determine if there’s a medical problem causing the child to be uncomfortable. If not, the pediatrician can recommend changing the baby’s formula or, if breastfeeding, changes to the mother’s diet.
  • Your baby may be soothed by a pacifier, being swaddled or walked in a baby carrier. He or she may enjoy hearing a fan, the noise of the laundry room or some other white noise. If this does seem to work, just be sure that the baby is not placed anywhere they could be injured if they fell (like on a dryer or washing machine).
  • Don’t overfeed your baby. Plan with your pediatrician how often he or she should eat. Even though the baby may stop crying when they are feeding — the cause of their colic could be gas. And eating too much could add to your baby’s discomfort.
  • Most importantly, never shake your baby! If you need to take a break, consult the help of friends, family or neighbors. Let your health care provider know if you need help dealing with your feelings and/or if you are depressed.

Colic usually declines starting around three to four months. During times where you are feeling low, reassure yourself that you not doing anything wrong. Some babies just need time to adjust to their new life and crying is their way of expressing their discomfort. Colic is just his or her way of growing up through the first few months of life. Your baby will get through this time and you will, too!