How to know if your baby has colic

Colic is a common malady that occurs in about 25% of infants. The condition usually occurs in babies of ages ranging from a few weeks to 3 months old and can be very stressful to new parents. The first sign of colic is when a baby suddenly starts crying for no apparent reason and continues wailing inconsolably for a prolonged period of time. There seems to be no way of calming the infant as it continues to cry for hours.

So how do you know if your baby has colic? Perhaps there is something else causing discomfort or maybe s/he’s just plain fussy. In 1954 Dr. Morris Wessel defined colic as “an infant who cries more than three hours a day, three days a week for more than three weeks in an otherwise well-fed, healthy baby.” Though your baby may not fit that definition precisely, if there is sustained crying in your otherwise healthy infant for a regular period of the day lasting for several weeks, your baby may have colic.

The main clue to watch for is if these crying jags happen at about the same time of day each time. Colic episodes usually occur in the late afternoon or early evening and often after feeding. The wailing can last a few minutes or for hours and will stop just as mysteriously as it started. Sometimes the bout will end with the baby passing gas or having a bowel movement. This leads some to believe that the colic is caused by some kind of digestive problem, but it hasn’t been definitively confirmed. 

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