How To Help Your Baby With Colic

As a mother of three, I've dealt with colic more times than I care to remember.  Sleepless nights, crazy headaches, and more than anything else...a feeling of helplessness as I sat and watched my "colicky" child cry.

Well...the good news is that I read and read and read until I finally figured out what was wrong with my babies.  Each of them had something called reflux, and once we addressed their reflux issue, they returned to the happy and laughing babies they were meant to be.

So...I've compiled what I like to call a “quick guide” to colic and have also included 2 eBook downloads that you might find useful as you seek to solve your baby's colic symptoms as well. 

So let's start out with the basics:

What is colic?

  • Colic is a simple term used to describe a condition where a child (otherwise healthy) cries or screams for extended periods of time without any discernible reason.
  • Children tend to cry more in the late afternoon and evening hours.

What causes colic?

  • Doctors have different opinions about what causes colic but it is normal and temporary in children.
  • A child’s digestive system is very immature, as is the nervous system. So if a child is over-stimulated, sensitive to formula or affected by any other discomfort, it can be very hard for a child to calm and stop crying.  (The digestive and the nervous system take about 4 – 6 months to mature.)
  • It could also be caused by:
  • Stomach or intestinal gas
  • Infant Reflux
  • Sensitivity to diet
  • Overstimulation or under-stimulation
  • Temperature – Too hot or too cold

How is colic diagnosed?

  • Doctors use the “Rule of Threes” when diagnosing colic - when a healthy child cries harder for more than 3 hours a day, more than 3 days a week, for at least 3 weeks in a row.

What age of children does colic normally affect?

  • Colic affects up to 20% of newborns.
  • Typically appears within the first month and ends before the child is 3 to 4 months old.
  • Can last up the age of 12 months in some children. 

What are the symptoms of colic?

  • Crying does not decrease when held, fed or given attention.
  • Arching of the back
  • Pulling of the legs to the stomach
  • Clenching of fists
  • Reddening in the face
  • Burping or spitting up excessively after feeding
  • Excess passing of gas
  • Abdominal bloating

 When should the doctor be called?

  • When your baby has a fever or excessive sleepiness accompanying the crying
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, blood or mucus in the stool

 What can be done for a child with colic?

  • Try these at-home behavioral steps first:
  • Is the child too hot?
  • Or too cold?
  • Is the child under-stimulated?
  • Or over-stimulated?
  • Try lukewarm chamomile tea with a small amount of sugar in it. (Sugar is a natural pain-killer in children under 12 years of age.)
  • Fennel, ginger, caraway, aloe and peppermint can also help a child with colic.
  • If none of these affect the child’s crying, try an over-the-counter treatment like the ones outlined below.

If you’re looking for some more information to help you diagnose your child’s crying, I’ve put together a couple of easy documents you can download:

I hope you find this helpful. A version of this post originally appeared here.

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.