Of the 4 million babies born in the U.S. each year, 1 million of them will suffer from colic. It is characterized by crying for more than three hours per day for at least 4 days a week. Colic generally begins at about 3 weeks of age and reaches its worse at 6 weeks. It continues until 3 or 4 months and then suddenly stops. The cause for colic is unknown, although there are theories that the digestive system is not fully developed and causes pain or discomfort. There is no cure, but there are things you can do to comfort your baby and lessen discomfort.
Things You'll Need
- Water bottle
- Car seat
Wrap the baby snugly in a soft blanket and hold her firmly in your arms. Although there is little evidence that walking the floor with the baby actually brings relief, parents routinely use this method to calm a crying baby. Walking perhaps is more to calm their own nerves than those of the baby. But, the slow and steady motion of walking may calm the baby.
Give the baby a warm bath or place a warm water bottle on the belly. Most babies are colicky in the evening and relaxing with your baby with a warm bottle may bring relief. Rock gently in a rocking chair. Many babies are smoothed by the constant motion. If a rocking chair is not available, place the baby in his stroller and gently rock the stroller while you relax.
Bundle up the baby and take her for a long ride in the car. Many babies will fall to sleep while riding in a car seat. The combination of movement and sound seems to soothe many colicky babies. Be prepared for a wide awake baby as soon as you get home, as many babies will awake suddenly once the motion is stopped.
Maintain a regular feeding schedule. Many parents mistakenly assume the baby is hungry and offer a bottle. This can actually make the condition worse. As long as your baby is taking enough formula with each feeding, it is doubtful that hunger is the cause of his discomfort.
Keep a diary of the day's activities and the amount of each feeding. Note any stimulating events, as well as the timing and lengths of naps. If you are breastfeeding, monitor your food and beverage intake. Look for clues to what is causing your baby's discomfort by checking your diary each time she experiences a bout of colic.