Baby Colic

Comforting a colicky baby

One of the worst sounds in the world is your baby's cries — especially when the reason for those cries is unknown! Babies cry to communicate, and as a parent, you will learn your baby's different cries. There will be a hungry cry, a tired cry and an uncomfortable cry, as well as other sounds that you will interpret to determine your baby's mood. Sometimes, though, babies between the ages of newborn and three months cry for seemingly no reason. That behavior is referred to as baby colic.

What is Baby or Infant Colic?

Baby or infant colic is described as a period of time in which an otherwise healthy baby cries or screams for an undetermined reason. Doctors aren't sure what causes colic, but some speculate that it has to do with the baby's immature digestive system causing a backup of gas or indigestion, which in turn causes pain and discomfort for the child. A colicky baby is described as one who cries intensely for more than three hours, more than three days a week for more than three weeks in a month.

Treatment for Baby Colic

The first thing to do to comfort a crying baby is to hold him or her closely and securely to your chest. Many babies also benefit from someone placing a warm hand over their stomach or maneuvering their legs in a "bicycle-pedaling" motion. This sometimes lets any trapped gas out of their bodies. Many colicky babies also enjoy being swung or "jiggled" up and down or back and forth. The movement comforts them and takes their mind off the pain, often improving baby sleep patterns. Be careful, though; if you use the jiggling method, ensure that your child's head and body are well-supported and that you aren't jiggling too hard.

A colic remedy for infant gas may also benefit your child if the methods described above don't do the trick. Gripe water, a barley-scented liquid, has been shown to help some babies suffering from colic. Probiotics may also help your baby because some studies have shown that colicky children suffer from a lack of or different gut flora than other children, but only use these with a doctor's advice. Other parents find that gas drops help eliminate any gas trapped in their child's digestive system, relieving pain and thus quieting the child.

Whatever you try, take comfort in the fact that colic tends to go away after three months. Soon, your baby will be happy once again.

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