Reviewed by Hansa Bhargava on November 12, 2014
Harvey Karp, MD, FAAP, author, The Happiest Baby on the Block. Steven P. Shelov, MD, MS, FAAP, Editor in Chief, and Tanya Remer Altmann, MD, FAAP, Associate Medical Editor, The Complete and Authoritative Guide for Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, Birth to Age 5. Laura A. Jana, MD, FAAP, and Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP, Heading Home With Your Newborn, From Birth to Reality.
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Mom: Here comes the swaddle. Your baby will probably calm with some well done swaddling and shushing.
Mom (shushing): Shhhhhh…
Harvey Karp, MD, FAAP: One note of caution – if you find your nerves are wearing thin or you're getting angry or frustrated – please step away – call for some help… take a short break. But never under any circumstances, shake your baby. Why are some babies easily consoled – while others fuss for hours on end? This is what doctor's refer to as "colic."
: Baby crying
Harvey Karp, MD, FAAP: It often starts around 2 weeks of age and peaks at 6 weeks and ends by 3- to 4-months of age Here are the tell-tale signs. He or she fusses and cries for over 3 hours a day. The crying is worse in the evening – what some grandmothers call the "witching hour"! Waves of sharp cries can start out of the blue and the baby often has a worried and pained look. And the wailing may start during or after a meal and is accompanied by grunting and straining.
: Baby shrieks
Harvey Karp, MD, FAAP: Fortunately, even when the shrieking sounds like terrible pain, most infants are perfectly healthy.
Harvey Karp, MD, FAAP: And, once you learn a few simple tricks – and more about this in our step by step about calming babies with the 5 S's – you'll find you can often soothe even colicky cries.
: Good boy
Harvey Karp, MD, FAAP: Sometimes, unrelenting crying is a sign of illness. What are the red alert signs that your baby's crying may be a more serious problem? I'll cover that in the next step by step. For WebMD, I'm Dr. Harvey Karp.
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