Baby colic is defined as periods of intense, continuous crying in an otherwise healthy baby. Pediatricians generally use the “Rule of Three” to diagnose colic: The baby cries 3 or more hours a day, 3 times a week, for at least 3 weeks.
While it is normal for babies to cry when they are hungry, wet, or tired, a colicky baby cries excessively, usually around the same time each day, and is difficult to console. Baby colic generally starts when the baby is only around 2 to 6 weeks of age and ends by the time the baby is 3 to 4 months of age. During a crying episode, the babies may clench their hands, curl up their legs, and pass gas as they cry. Often, their stomachs will appear swollen.
Baby colic is a common problem, affecting an estimated 25 percent of all babies worldwide. This can be a stressful time for the parents of a colicky baby, but there is good news. The condition is temporary and will end in several weeks. In the meantime, maintain a loving bond with your baby. Remember to stay calm, stay positive, and take advantage of this golden opportunity to improve one of your most valuable virtues — patience.
Even though much research has been done, there is no proven cause or single effective treatment for baby colic. Nevertheless, there are some helpful tips that are worth a try to make life easier and calmer for both baby and parents.
1 – Feed your baby in an upright position and burp often.
2 – If you are a breastfeeding mother, try making small changes to your diet, including limiting spicy foods, caffeine, dairy products, and alcoholic beverages.
3 – Put your baby in a stroller and take a walk; the motion is soothing for the baby and the fresh air and exercise are good for you.
4 – Buckle up your baby in an infant car seat and go for a short drive.
5 – Give your baby a relaxing, warm bath and then wrap the infant in a soft, comfortable blanket.
6 – Lie the baby stomach down across your lap and gently rub the baby’s back.
7 – Hold your baby, sit in a rocking chair, and gently rock.
8 – Play music, turn on the TV, run the dishwasher, wash a load of laundry, or vacuum your carpets. These noises can be calming for your baby.
9 – Take a break now and then. Get help from another family member or friend. Let them watch your baby for a while, even if only an hour, allowing you to relax and re-energize.
10 – Talk to your pediatrician about your baby’s crying to rule out any potential illness and to get recommendations for the best course of action. Always contact the doctor if your baby develops a fever, vomiting, weight loss, diarrhea, or blood in stool, which are all signs of illness that require immediate medical attention.