The word colic sounds bad. For parents caring for a baby with colic, baby’s sounds can also be bad. Colic is a general term used to describe a baby who has long bouts of crying, typically between his first three to 36 weeks of life. A baby who cries out for attention, affection, food or a diaper change does not have colic. If the baby is otherwise healthy, and there are no apparent reasons for the crying, the baby who cries inconsolably for hours is said to have colic.
Colic can not be spread or transferred, and does not have any complications, beyond an irritable and tired baby and equally tired and irritable parents.
Colic or Just Crying?
The frequency and duration of a baby’s cries can help you determine if your baby has colic. The medical community defines colic by the rule of threes, based on the definition by Dr. Morris Wessel, circa the 1950s.
Does your baby cry for more than three consecutive hours a day?
Does your baby do this for three days out of the week?
Does this occur weekly for three consecutive weeks?
If you answered yes to all three questions, your baby has colic. A crying baby who cries for a total of two to three hours in the course of a day, and a baby who cries for three or more hours in a row. It’s the consecutive crying that helps identify colic.
Colic or More?
If your baby has other symptoms in addition to apparent colic, call the doctor. A fever, a rash, diarrhea, vomiting, or other major changes in his typical behavior warrant a call to the doctor.
When Does Colic Occur
If your baby suffers from long crying sessions in the late afternoon, and into twilight, this could be a symptom of colic. These are the most common times for a baby to suffer a bout of colic. Parents and caregivers can prepare themselves by taking a nap earlier in the day, while baby naps. You will be more prepared to handle baby’s colic.
There are no known causes of colic, although there are some suspected triggers. Colic can be triggered by acid reflux, excess gas, an overfed baby, or environmental stresses in the home.
The good news for parents is that colic, while disconcerting, is perfectly normal for some babies. One in four babies suffer from colic, so your baby is not alone. It will also go away, for most babies with colic, at the end of the second month, or at three and a half months of age.
“Colic and Crying, Medline Plus, http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000978.htm
Children’s Health, WebMed.com, http://children.webmd.com/tc/colic-overview