When you bring home your perfect newborn, you know that there will be some challenges. What no parent expects is for their baby to cry for hours and hours. It can become frustrating and nerve-rattling when your baby won’t stop crying, but what are they crying about? They are fed, have a clean diaper, and don’t seem to have gas, so many parents know the problem runs deeper than that.

If your baby is crying for more than three hours, they are considered colicky, according to All Children’s Hospital. 40% of babies have colic, and while colic usually starts around 3 weeks old, it peaks between 4 and 6 weeks of age. So what is colic, what can you do and how can you soothe a colicky baby?

What is Colic

Doctors are not sure what causes colic in babies, but babies with colic are more sensitive to stimulation, gas, hunger, and overfeeding. Colic is a condition which is not considered medically significant, and usually goes away on its own over time.

Colicky babies usually become fussy around the same time of day every day, and cry for long period of time- usually three hours or more, according to All Children’s Hospital. If you suspect that your baby is colicky, your pediatrician will be able to properly diagnose your baby and help you figure out what the cause is.

Calming a Colicky Baby

To help calm your colicky baby down, be mindful of foods and medicines that may be passed through the breast milk- these are often the culprits of worsening your babies colic. If your baby is on formula, that may be the culprit as well.

There are certain types of formulas that are made specifically for colicky babies. You should also make sure that feeding your baby does not take less than 20 minutes. If it does take less than 20 minutes, overfeeding or eating too quickly can be to blame. If the baby is being bottle fed, change to a smaller nipple.

It is also important to console your baby. Your colicky baby is in discomfort and needs to be nurtured and swaddled. Oftentimes, it is a good idea to take the baby for a ride in the car to help calm them down or put them in a swing, according to All Children’s Hospital.

Some other tips for soothing your baby are:

●     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. Babies 2 months and younger may do well swaddled, in a darkened room.

It is important to remember that colic does not last forever. It can be extremely trying on your nerves and your life to have a newborn that won’t stop crying, but it will not last forever. Babies typically grow out of colic by 12 weeks or so. If you feel that your baby is not growing out of their colic, you should seek help from their pediatrician.

Colic may also worsen symptoms of  postpartum depression, so it is important to take stock of how you are feeling when you have a colicky baby. If you think you may have postpartum depression, you should seek help from your doctor.

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