All babies cry, but some times babies cry excessively for hours at a time without any apparent cause. This extreme type of crying usually occurs from 3 weeks to 3 months of age and is called colic or infantile colic.
We are not sure what exactly causes colic. The crying can last up to 3 hours a day. The good thing is that this condition is self limiting and usually does not last beyond 3 months. The bad thing is that this is often quite frustrating for the parents, both physically and mentally. They may hold themselves responsible for the crying, while in reality this is a common self-limiting childhood condition which is to be managed conservatively.
Medications are in general of little value in the management of infantile colic. Things you can try to manage an episode of crying due to colic include the following:
- Walk with your baby or sit in a rocking chair, trying various positions.
- Try burping your baby more often during feedings.
- Place your baby across your lap on his or her belly and rub your baby's back.
- Put your baby in a swing or vibrating seat. The motion may have a soothing effect.
- Put your baby in an infant car seat in the back of the car and go for a ride. The vibration and movement of the car are often calming.
- Play music tapes — some babies respond to sound as well as movement.
- Place your baby in the same room as a running clothes dryer, white noise machine, or vacuum — some infants find the low constant noise soothing.
- Some babies need decreased stimulation and may do well swaddled, in a darkened room.