Recognizing Colic


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Colic is one of the most common ailments amongst babies, and one of the roughest ones for parents to deal with. Characterized by frequent, lengthy bouts of crying, colic affects one out of every four babies. Many parents have asked the questions, “How do I recognize colic? What makes it different from other reasons babies cry? Is it something I should be worried about?”

Colic is characterized by the following traits:

  • Baby cries for three hours or more at a time, for three or more days per week with no other discernable cause. Technically, a baby is generally considered colicky if this continues for three or more weeks per month, but most parents should suspect colic if it has continued more than a week.
  • If baby’s crying episodes become fairly predictable, it is likely baby has colic. Often, babies with colic will begin crying about the same time every day, often in the late afternoon or early evening.
  • Baby is very difficult to comfort or console during long crying episodes.
  • Baby may have posture changes, such as clenched fists, tight stomach muscles, or curling up his legs.

If your baby has colic, you will undoubtedly be concerned, and you should by all means consult with your baby’s health care provider to rule out other possible causes or reasons for your baby’s crying. However, colic is not in and of itself something to be greatly concerned about. Do what you can to give your baby comfort, and make sure to get plenty of rest yourself in between colicky episodes. In most cases, babies are done with colic by the time they are three to four months old. Occasionally, colic does last longer, but it is almost always finished by nine months. When it stops, it usually stops abruptly.

While nothing about colic can really be called “nice”, one of its redeeming qualities is that it is fairly predictable, so schedule your rest times around the times that baby is likely to have a bout of colic induced crying. You’ll need the rest, and baby will need you to be fresh when it comes time to try to soothe her through the colic.



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