Infantile Colic

Babies typically start fussing around 2 weeks of age. Some parents may hesitate to pick up a crying baby, fearing that it will spoil them. However, babies at this stage cannot be spoiled, and you should try to meet their needs as much as possible. Do you find your baby extremely irritable at a certain time every day, seemingly inconsolable no matter what you do? This situation is common, especially between 6 p.m. and midnight—when you are likely exhausted after a busy day. If you have other children to care for or work responsibilities, this can be even more distressing. Fortunately, this fussiness won't last long—typically peaking around 6 weeks of age for about 3 hours a day, then gradually decreasing to 1-2 hours a day by 3-4 months old. As long as your baby settles down within a few hours and is calm the rest of the time, there's no need to worry.


If the crying intensifies relentlessly, it could be due to infantile colic. About 1/5 of babies experience colic, most commonly between 2-4 weeks old. Even after changing diapers, feeding, and soothing through cuddling, rocking, or walking, the baby continues to cry inconsolably. Babies with colic cry incessantly, are difficult to soothe, often scream, kick their legs wildly, and pass gas. They cry day and night, with the crying often worsening in the evening. Unfortunately, there isn't a definitive explanation for this phenomenon yet. In most cases, colic may be due to a baby's hypersensitivity to stimuli or their immature ability to regulate their nervous system. As the baby's body matures, this lack of self-control (signified by persistent crying) improves. Colic typically disappears by 3-4 months old but may persist until 6 months old. For breastfed babies, colic may sometimes indicate a sensitivity to certain foods consumed by the mother. Another rare cause of discomfort is cow's milk protein allergy from formula milk. Colic may also indicate other underlying conditions like hernia. You'll need to wait for this period to pass and try some methods to improve the situation. Of course, consult a pediatrician first to ensure that your baby's crying isn't due to a treatable medical condition and ask which of the following methods would be most helpful for you:


If you're breastfeeding, try eliminating dairy, soy, eggs, and other potentially irritating foods from your diet. Discuss with your pediatrician first to ensure you avoid all necessary foods. It may take about 2 weeks to see a change. Note to eliminate one food at a time. Only about 5% of colic cases are due to food allergies, so in a minority of cases, adjusting the mother's diet may alleviate symptoms of colic within a few days.

Don't overfeed, as excessive feeding can cause discomfort. Generally, there should be a 2-2.5-hour gap between feedings.

Reduce gas by carrying the baby in a baby carrier and walking around. Movement and physical contact have a soothing effect on the baby, although they may not relieve discomfort entirely, they may make him feel better.

Gently rock the baby, turn on the vacuum cleaner in the adjacent room, or place him near white noise like a hairdryer, fan, or other soothing sounds. Steady rhythmic rocking and calming sounds help him fall asleep. However, never place the baby on top of a washing machine or dryer.

Offer a pacifier. Although some breastfed babies resist pacifiers, others calm down immediately.

Lay the baby on your lap and gently massage his back. The pressure on the abdomen while lying down can be comforting. If the baby falls asleep during the massage, lay him down on his back in the crib.

When you feel stressed and anxious, ask family or friends to temporarily take care of the baby while you take a break. No matter how impatient or angry you feel, never shake the baby vigorously. Vigorous shaking can cause blindness, brain damage, or even death. If you feel depressed or unable to cope with your emotional issues, consult a doctor for recommendations to improve your situation.

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