Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
Colic (The Crying Baby) - Brief Version
What is colic?
Colic is unexplained crying (not due to pain or hunger).
The bouts of crying usually last 1 to 2 hours and the child
acts fine between bouts. Your child usually stops crying
when held. The colic begins before 2 weeks of age and
usually stops by 3 months of age.
About 1 in 10 babies have colic. Colic tends to occur in
high-need babies with a sensitive temperament. Colic is not
the result of bad parenting, so don't blame yourself. Colic
is not caused by too much gas.
How can I help my child?
- Hold and soothe your baby whenever he cries without a
reason. A soothing, gentle activity is the best approach
to helping a baby relax, settle down, and go to sleep.
Consider using the following to calm your baby:
- cuddling your child in a rocking chair
- rocking your child in a cradle
- placing your child in a frontpack or pouch
- placing your child in a windup swing or vibrating
- going for a stroller (buggy) ride, outdoors or
- A last resort: Let your baby cry himself to sleep. If
your baby has not stopped crying after 30 minutes of
holding and comforting and he has been fed recently, your
baby is probably trying to go to sleep. Wrap him up and
place him in his crib. He will probably be somewhat
restless until he falls asleep. But if he cries for over
15 minutes, pick him up and try the soothing activities
- Get rest and help for yourself. Avoid getting exhausted.
Get at least one nap a day. Ask your spouse, a friend,
or a relative for help with other children and chores.
Caring for a colicky baby is a two-person job.
Call your child's doctor right away if:
- You can't find a way to soothe your baby's crying.
- Your baby is less than 1 month old AND now acts sick.
- You are afraid you might hurt your baby.
- Your baby is acting very sick.
Call your child's doctor during office hours if:
- Your baby is not gaining weight and may be hungry.
- You have other concerns or questions.