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Coping with colic

Colic tends to lessen with time and will probably stop completely by the time your baby is three to four months old.

You might call it the daily fussy time. Your baby cries excessively, and nothing you do seems to help.

When this crying lasts for more than three hours a day and happens at least three days a week for more than three weeks, it's called colic.

Babies with colic often cry after feeding and eat poorly, and they sometimes draw their arms and legs toward their stomachs. When your baby cries, he or she may swallow air, and colicky babies often have a lot of gas. It may cause bloating in their stomachs, which could make them even more uncomfortable.

Luckily, colic isn't forever. It is worse between four and six weeks old and tends to lessen with time. Colic typically stops entirely when your baby is three to four months old. In the meantime, following these tips from the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics might help:

  • Hold your baby upright during feedings.
  • Don't overfeed your baby.
  • If you're breastfeeding, your baby may be sensitive to certain foods in your diet. Keep track of what you eat and drink to see if you can identify a link between your diet and bouts of colic. It may help to avoid caffeine and chocolate, which are stimulants.
  • If you use formula, try a different brand. Talk with your doctor about a protein hydrolysate formula.
  • Lay your baby on his or her stomach across your knees, and gently rub the baby's back.
  • Rock your baby, or take a car ride to calm him or her. Turning on a vacuum cleaner, dishwasher or clothes dryer might help calm your baby too.
  • Bundle the baby in a blanket.
  • Try giving him or her a pacifier.

reviewed 11/6/2019

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