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What is Colic and What Can I Do about My Crying Baby?

By HERWriter
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What is Colic?

According to WhattoExpect.com, colic strikes 20 percent of all babies. The term “colic” is used to describe an otherwise healthy baby, between three weeks and three months of age, who cries uncontrollably for more than three hours at a time at least three days a week for more than three weeks. (1, 2)

Since each baby is different, signs of colic may differ from baby to baby.

Signs of colic include:

• Crying at the same time every day (usually late afternoon or early evening) for long periods of time

• Loud, piercing and continuous crying or full-blown screaming

• Pulled up legs

• Clenched hands

• Tightened abdominal muscles

• Passing gas or spitting up during the crying episode

• Face that turns bright red

Colic usually starts at about two weeks of age in full-term infants (later in premature infants), but almost always goes away by three or four months of age. Colic affects both boys and girls, breastfed and bottle-fed babies, first-born babies and middle babies the same.

What causes Colic?

There is no single cause of colic. What causes colic it in one baby may not be what causes colic in another. Here are some suggested causes of colic:

1) Overstimulation
Newborns are innately able to tune out the sights and sounds of the world around them. Towards the end of the first month, this built-in mechanism disappears leaving baby in a very busy, noisy world. Babies release that sensory stress in the only way they know how — by crying. (1)

2) Infant acid reflux
Some experts believe that nearly half of all babies suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. This may be the case if your baby is spitting up frequently and is irritable during and after feedings. Most babies outgrow GERD by 12 months of age as their digestive system develops. (1)

3) Food allergies or sensitivities
Some babies have difficulty processing lactose or milk proteins present in normal milk-based formulas, or some foods that mama eats when she’s breastfeeding.

What Can I Do to Soothe My Colicky Baby?

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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