Site Map

Colic and crying - self-care

Infantile colic - self-care; Fussy baby - colic - self-care

I Would Like to Learn About:

Description

If your baby cries for longer than 3 hours a day, your baby might have colic. Colic is not caused by another medical problem. Many babies go through a fussy period. Some cry more than others.

If you have a baby with colic, you are not alone. One in five babies cry enough that people call them colicky. Colic usually starts when babies are about 3 weeks old. It gets worse when they are between 4 and 6 weeks old. Most of the time, colicky babies get better after they are 6 weeks old, and are completely fine by the time they are 12 weeks old.

Symptoms

Colic normally begins at about the same time every day. Babies with colic are usually fussier in the evenings.

Colic symptoms often begin suddenly. Your baby's hands may be in a fist. The legs may curl up and the belly may seem swollen. Crying may last for minutes to hours. Crying often calms down when your baby is tired or when gas or stool is passed.

Even though colicky babies look like they have belly pain, they eat well and gain weight normally.

Possible Causes of Colic

Causes of colic may include any of the following:

People around the baby may also seem worried, anxious, or depressed.

Seeing Your Baby's Health Care Provider

Your baby's health care provider can often diagnose colic by asking you about the baby's medical history, symptoms, and how long the crying lasts. The provider will perform a physical exam and may do some tests to check your baby.

The provider needs to make sure your baby does not have other medical problems, such as reflux, a hernia, or intussusception.

Avoiding Your Baby's Triggers

Foods that are passed through your breast milk to your baby may trigger colic. If your baby is colicky and you are breastfeeding, avoid eating or drinking the following foods for a few weeks to see if that helps.

Some breastfeeding moms avoid eating broccoli, cabbage, beans, and other gas-producing foods. But research has not shown that these foods can have a negative effect on your baby.

Other possible triggers include:

Talk to a lactation consultant to learn more about the possible causes related to breastfeeding.

Comforting Your Baby

What comforts one baby may not calm another. And what calms your baby during one episode may not work for the next. But try different techniques and revisit what seems to help, even if it only helps a little.

If you breastfeed:

Sometimes it can be really hard to stop your baby from crying. Here are techniques you may want to try:

Colic Always Goes Away

Your baby will most likely outgrow colic by 3 to 4 months of age. There are usually no complications from colic.

Parents can get really stressed when a baby cries a lot. Know when you have reached your limit and ask family members or friends to help. If you feel like you may shake or hurt your baby, get help right away.

When to Call the Doctor

Call the provider if your baby is:

You need to make sure that your baby does not have any serious medical problems.

Call your baby's provider right away if:

Get help right away for yourself if you feel overwhelmed or have thoughts of harming your baby.

References

American Academy of Pediatrics. Healthychildren.org website. Colic relief tips for parents. www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/crying-colic/Pages/Colic.aspx. Updated November 21, 2015. Accessed October 6, 2017.

Marcdante KJ, Kliegman RM. Crying and colic. In: Marcdante KJ, Kliegman RM, eds. Nelson Essentials of Pediatrics. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 11.

BACK TO TOP

Review Date: 9/5/2017  

Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

ADAM Quality Logo

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, for Health Content Provider (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2019 A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.