There isn't a mother who likes to hear her newborn baby cry because he is uncomfortable. Your first reaction at the sound of your baby's cry is to try to soothe, calm, and comfort him right away. Unfortunately for some moms, uncontrollable crying can mean Baby Colic.
How do you know if your baby is simply have an irritable and fussy baby or truly colicky? The general consensus seems to be the rule of three: intense crying for more than three hours a day for more than three days a week for more than three weeks a month most probably means colic. You'll notice that, if your baby is colicky, she will become extremely irritable and fussy toward the end of the day - though it can happen at any time.
For the most part, colicky babies are perfectly healthy, except that they cry intensely for long periods of time for no apparent reason. Infant colic typically strikes three weeks after birth and can disappear as quickly as it arrives - most commonly before your baby turns 3 to 4 months old; although some cases of colic can last up to six months. One of the most important things you need to know about baby colic is that it is not directly related to how you treat or nurture your baby. Having a colicky baby is not your fault, so there is no reason to feel guilty.
No one really knows what causes baby colic. A colicky baby requires more attention and is more sensitive to his surroundings, so be prepared to be patient. If you're able to, take turns with your spouse or get someone else to watch your baby for a while since colic can become very frustrating for any parent.
Here are a few ideas for things you can do to soothe your baby:
- Give her a warm bath.
- Take him for a drive around the block. (My mother-in-law used to do this with my colicky husband. She says it was the only thing that calmed him down!)
- Go for a neighborhood walk with baby in the stroller.
- Gently rub your baby's tummy.
- Rock her in a cradle.
- Burp him often.
Other suggestions to comfort your colicky baby:
- A crying baby swallows a lot of air. This can lead to gas and increased irritability, so hold him upright to alleviate any gas pain.
- Massage her back.
- Try feeding your baby more often but in smaller portions each time. Also make sure to take your time and not to feed him too quickly.
These are just a few tips that may help but, again, remember that this is a just a phase she's going through. You'll just need to wait it out and do the best you can. I highly recommend that you take a break when you can so that you don't become overly frustrated. It's time to call the doctor if your baby stops gaining weight, runs a fever, or if his crying changes from being irritable to sounding like he's in severe pain.
Give it time. Do the best you can. This too will pass...