Understanding Infant colic
May 11, 2017
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Ask The Doctor:
Understanding Infant colic...

"Is there anything I can do to sooth my baby's colic? She cries all the time, and no matter what I try I can't seem to comfort her."

If your baby really cries all the time, off and on all day, then it is unlikely that she has colic.  Infant colic is a condition that effects 20% of infants.  It typically consists of intense or inconsolable crying that usually begins around 3-4 weeks of age, lasts for about 3 hours a day, occurs at least 3 days a week and begins to resolve around 3-4 months of age.  It often is associated with the infant curling up her legs, clinching her fists and tense abdominal muscles.  Experts feel its origin is likely an immature or over-sensitive infant nervous system with an inability to self soothe.  Happily, it is not associated with any other conditions later in life.  Boys and girls are equally effected as are breast and bottle fed babies.  I recommend that if you suspect your infant has colic, then you should consider seeing your pediatrician.  While there are no cures for colic, your child's provider can check your infant for some of the medical conditions that can cause frequent crying at this age which can be treated.  Milk protein allergies, gastroesophageal reflux, and urinary tract infections are but a few of the more common ailments that can share the symptoms of colic.  Even though there are not any fixes for colic, there are several things that you can try which may ease the stress of this condition.  Try swaddling your infant to help them soothe themselves.  You can place her in a swing, give them a ride in the car or stroller, walk with them (try one of those infant front pack carriers), or put them in a carrier on the floor near a running vacuum cleaner (nothing too loud) or washing machine.  The noise and the vibration are comforting.  Let a close friend or family member watch your bundle one evening while you leave the house and take a mental break.  It's common to get really stressed dealing with these babies night after night.  Medications and herbal therapy rarely provide any benefit and have been associated with serious, sometimes life-threatening side effects.