Colic Facts

The intense crying spells that characterize colic usually surface around week six. Though the causes are unclear, we've got suggestions on how to ease some of the symptoms.

Baby's Crying Spells

If crying spells are very intense and regularly last two or three hours or longer, usually around the same every day, your baby may have colic. In the classic case, a baby clenches his fists, doubles over, and screams inconsolably, sucking or sleeping only sporadically. Colic symptoms generally appear at about 6 weeks or so and, mercifully, disappear by 12 weeks.

The cause of colic is still a mystery-and so, unfortunately, is its cure. One theory is that colicky babies have an immature digestive system that contracts painfully when they pass gas. Perhaps for that reason, some babies seem to get relief from Mylicon, an over-the-counter medicine that contains an antigas ingredient. If you suspect gas is the reason for your infant's crying, you may want to consult your pediatrician about this treatment option.

Sudden crying in a baby can also signal pain, illness, or, in some rare cases, early teething. When acute, unexplained crying lasts longer than 40 minutes, take your baby's temperature, check her for swollen gums, and undress her to look for areas of redness on her skin, swelling, or something in her clothing that may be irritating her, like a tag or pin. Call your pediatrician if you find anything out of the ordinary.

Whether your baby has true colic or simply relieves tension with mournful, heartfelt wails, these tried-and-true soothers can usually be some help:

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