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Expert Q&A: Crying and Colic

What are a few common mistakes parents make in dealing with a colicky or fussy baby?

I don’t know that I see many parents making mistakes, but I like to let parents know it’s completely normal to feel helpless and frustrated and at your wits' end when a baby keeps crying. When you feel like that, it may be time to call for help, and hand the baby over to grandparents or friends.

And it’s OK, after awhile, to allow your baby to learn to soothe themselves. I’ve had parents come in with an 8-month-old baby and they say, “I can’t put her down or she’ll cry.” But by about six or eight months, you need to let the baby learn how to be alone and soothe themselves. Don’t be afraid to put a crying baby down -- as long as you know they’re safe, the crying’s not going to hurt them.

Finally, never shake a baby. This is a form of child abuse and it’s very dangerous to the baby. When you’re frustrated and don’t know what to do -- when you get to that point, give yourself a break.

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Reviewed on April 19, 2011
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