First Aid Handbook: Colic

A woman is tired of her screaming baby
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As if learning how to care for a new baby wasn’t hard enough, with recovery on top of everything else, some babies develop extra issues for mom, dad, or other caretakers to worry about. When baby is crying, fussy, and cannot be comforted by anyone, most will label this as colic. While some babies do develop colic, not every fussy baby is colicky, but there are ways to find out and solutions to consider.

What is Colic?

Colic is when a baby cries, with no obvious reason, for long periods of time. John Hopkins Medicine defines colic “as when baby’s crying lasts for more than 3 hours a day, happens more than 3 days a week, [and] occurs for more than 3 weeks.” Again, without an obvious reason like baby is hungry, tired, or wet. In most cases this will begin suddenly and will not impact other factors like baby’s growth and development.

Doctors and researchers aren’t completely sure why colic occurs. We have all heard old tales and reasoning, but it can be difficult to find a direct link between stimulus, triggers, or patterns with colic. It may be related to too much stimulus and babies having difficult adjusting to the changes outside the womb or that they aren’t able to calm themselves quite yet. Some research is continuing to see if colic is caused by allergies or gas, but medical professionals find this unlikely.

When should I be concerned?

Colic usually happens to babies who are less than six months. Since you are at the pediatrician on a regular basis, mention crying patterns to your doctor and ask for their input. They can assess your baby’s health to decide if it is colic or if there are some other factors involved. Your pediatrician may recommend you try a different formula or eliminating different foods from your diet if you are breastfeeding. This can help some babies, but may not always be needed.

When baby is fussing and crying, try all the usual baby needs like feeding, changing, and making sure they aren’t hurt. Be sure to check for extra things like itchy clothes or any scratches they may have accidentally gotten. If they are not eating, are vomiting or have very lose stool, have a fever, or seem sluggish, contact a medical provider, they may be need help for another issue or illness.

If you or your partner is having difficulty handling the stress of a fussy baby, seek out help. If you have a support network than can give you a break, use the assistance. If you need to put your baby down in a safe place (like their crib) and take a few minutes, you can do so. If you need to speak to a health professional for more help, you can call our office, your OB/Gyn, or reach out here.

What can I do?

Learning the difference between your baby’s cries can help as you work through helping them with colic. By understanding when they need something or are simply upset from colic, you can meet their needs better. Changing baby’s position, especially when being held or fed can help reduce their discomfort as well. Some babies with colic will be gassy from the amount of air they are taking in while crying, help them with bicycle kicks or burping them. Find a number of ways to soothe your baby, including sound machines, reducing light stimulus, going for car rides, or reading calmly to them.

We know taking care of your new family can be challenging and our team at Integrity Urgent Care is here to help. We can assist you with medical needs so you can get back to enjoying tummy time and taking your little one to the park. Visit us at one of our several locations, we are open 7 days a week from 8am to 8pm and are ready to serve you.

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