Pediatric Specialists of Plano

What causes colic and crying?

As Plano pediatricians and parents, we know that there’s something magical about those first few weeks of a baby’s life. However, if the baby begins to have long episodes of inconsolable crying, parents can worry that something is wrong. These episodes, where an otherwise healthy baby is crying for more than three hours, may be a sign of colic and crying.

Colic affects about one in five babies. All babies cry, but babies with colic cry much longer than average. Colic is when a baby cries more than three hours a day, more than three days a week and for more than three weeks.

The underlying causes of colic are not well-understood. However, it could be attributed to a baby’s underdeveloped ability to self-soothe, gas discomfort or overstimulation. Regardless of the cause, parents can rest assured that colic is not harmful in the long run. In fact, many healthy babies have suffered from a bout of colic.

What can you do about colic and crying?

Our Plano pediatricians typically see a spike in colic between the child’s fourth to sixth week of life. After the baby is about a month and a half old, colic begins to decline. By about four months of age, those frequent, prolonged crying fits often stop altogether. 12 weeks doesn’t seem that long, but it can feel like an eternity to parents caring for a colicky baby. Here are some tips to help with colic and crying.

  • See a doctor. With colic, a healthy baby is not always a happy baby. But your child’s pediatrician can help rule out other signs of discomfort or illness that may be causing the tears.
  • Watch what you eat. Breastfed babies can become fussy when their mothers have certain foods or drinks, including dairy, nuts or caffeinated beverages. This fussiness can be an indicator of an allergy.
  • Watch what the baby eats. Overfeeding can cause discomfort that triggers crying. Try to maintain a regular schedule of feedings to avoid reflux.
  • Comfort the baby: Swaddling, rocking, singing, white noise and cuddling can all be helpful in soothing your child’s crying. Every child is different, so it may take some trial and error to find what helps your baby calm down.

The constant crying of colic is heartrending to listen to. It can also be overwhelming for parents. It is okay for parents to take a break and leave the baby with another responsible caregiver. Doing so can allow them to recharge and come back refreshed as a parent.

Help and support for new parents

Our Plano pediatricians want new parents to know that they are not alone. With appointment availability every weekday along with Saturday mornings, and a 24-hour urgent help line, assistance and advice is available when parents need it. To learn more about colic and crying, newborn visits, or to schedule an appointment, contact our office.