Colic - What to Expect
Similarities and differences between normal crying and colic
Because infants cry more in their first 3 months than at
any other time in their lives, it is often difficult to tell the difference
expected crying behavior. Both types of crying
gradually increase, peaking at about 6 to 8 weeks of age. Most crying episodes
occur in the late afternoon and evening hours, although the timing may vary.
The length and intensity of crying episodes also may change from one day to the
The difference between colic and normal crying behavior is
related to the frequency, duration, and intensity of crying. Babies with colic
typically follow a "3" pattern: they cry for more than 3 hours a day more than
3 days a week for at least 3 consecutive weeks. A colicky baby cries very
loudly, sometimes piercingly, and often continuously. During a colic episode,
babies may clench their fists and stiffen their stomach and legs when crying
hardest. Some babies arch their backs, and others pull up their legs to their
Most babies with typical crying behavior are soothed and
will cry less when they are held, fed, and given attention. But babies with
colic are not easily soothed after they start crying. And their episodes
typically last longer than expected.
Colic is usually worst when
babies are around 6 to 8 weeks of age and goes away on its own between 8 and 14
weeks of age.
Other problems that can cause crying
definition, colic is not caused by pain or discomfort. Most likely, your baby's
crying is normal. But health problems or injuries can cause a baby to cry or
make a colicky baby's crying worse.
Learn ways to tell the difference between
normal colic and
signs of a medical problem. For example, a baby may cry more when he or she
digestion problem such as
milk protein intolerance or
milk sugar intolerance. Some mothers also say they notice their baby's crying
gets worse after they have had
certain foods or drinks and then
breast-feed. Some foods may affect breast milk, such
as garlic, broccoli, fresh fruits, and caffeine. They may contribute to
intestinal gas or other digestive problems in the baby.