The Gas Crisis

Could It Be Colic?

It's easy to blame gas if your child often develops a distended belly and acts distressed. But if his fussy behavior occurs on an almost daily basis, especially at certain hours (say, in the early evening), your child could be suffering from colic.

A colicky baby may develop a puffy belly and pull up his legs, just as if he were gassy. But he'll cry so hard, and for so long, that you may wonder if he'll ever stop. Doctors diagnose a baby as having colic if he cries for three or more hours a day on three or more days in a week, for at least three consecutive weeks.

No one knows for sure what causes colic. The good news is that most children outgrow it by 3 months. In the meantime, talk to your doctor: Many of the soothing tactics used for gas can help.

If your baby wails at feedings, he could also have reflux, in which acidic stomach fluids wash up into the esophagus. Call your doctor if a problem that seems gas-related lasts more than a couple of days or if your baby seems very distressed (i.e., cries inconsolably for hours at a time).

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