When Baby Has Colic
To new moms, "colic" is a dirty word. "Between 10 and 25 percent of babies develop colic, defined as excessive, unrelenting crying during the first three months of life in an otherwise healthy baby," says Jodi Mindell, PhD, a sleep expert with St. Joseph's University, in Philadelphia. If your baby cries for three hours a day, three days a week, for at least three weeks, the culprit is likely colic. Up to 25 percent of babies are believed to have it, but because it's a behavioral problem of excessive crying and not actually a disease, the diagnosis is very subjective.
Colic's actual cause remains a mystery. Experts once thought that it was a digestive problem because colicky babies often pull up their legs and cry out in pain. But there is no concrete link between tummy troubles and colic. While colicky babies may indeed be more gassy, it's probably the crying that causes the stomach upset rather than the other way around.
The good news about colic: it's relatively short-lived. "Around three months, these babies will seem miraculously cured," Mindell says. Until then, the best remedies are the techniques described on these pages-you just may need to do more of them more often to reap results.