If you are suspicious that your baby might have colic, you’re likely exhausted right now. You’re at the end of your rope, feeling helpless and out of ideas. One of the worst feelings as a parent comes when you have a sick or upset child and you can’t do anything to fix it!
Parents of babies with colic fall into the category of “frazzled, desperate parent.” We are so tempted to hunt for the easy button, magic pill or special blanket to cure all ails. With colic, people might try to tell you that certain things helped them so much. I can tell you from experience, knowing the signs of a colicky baby will help you immensely.
If you have been struggling with an unhappy infant, read through these 5 signs of a colicky baby to help you decide if colic is what you’re up against.
- Crying for three hours a day / three days a week / three weeks
The classic colic pattern of crying is the first thing you should look for when spotting signs of a colicky baby. Babies with colic often cry much more than the average baby. They might cry for at least three hours a day, three days a week, for three weeks straight. The crying can last for long periods of time (not always three hours in a row, of course). So if your baby is crying but relaxes after you’ve cared for some of her needs, that doesn’t count. Colic crying is inconsolable.
- Inconsolable crying (you have met all baby’s needs)
Once the baby has a dry diaper, comfortable clothing, a comfortable room temperature, a full belly, a relaxing dim-lit room…you get the idea. Once you have accounted for all other comfort factors and he is still crying, it could definitely be one of the signs of a colicky baby. As emotionally taxing as it is to try everything to soothe your baby and still not succeed, just know that even your mere presence is important for the baby. Get comfortable in a rocking chair with some water and rock your crying baby. Hum or sing to him, tell him you’re right there for him, and try to keep yourself as relaxed as possible. This too shall pass.
- Consistent pattern of crying episodes – such as 6pm to midnight
Often, babies with colic will have a certain witching hour where they’ll begin their crying spurts right on cue. If you start to notice this, it’s one of the most definitive signs of a colicky baby. The advantage this gives you is that you can prepare. Eat dinner early. Get ready for bed ahead of time. Whatever you need to do to get the family set up for the night before you’ll be heading in for an hour or two of crying baby holding.
- Baby’s body seems tense – curled up legs, tight tummy, clenched fists
Colic doesn’t always mean gas or intestinal issues, but excessive crying can be a leading factor in a vicious cycle. Excessive crying can give your baby gas (from swallowing air) which will cause even more crying due to discomfort! If you notice your baby is tense, clenching fists and curling up legs, this is probably happening. Your baby might be too tense during a crying session for you to help him get much relief. But once he calms down, work on burping and doing the “leg bicycle” to work out the gas.
- Crying begins around 6 weeks of age and calms down around 3 months
There is a wide age range for when colic begins and ends. Some people struggle with it for their child’s first year of life! But it is not always that extreme. The most common time to see colic appear is around 6 weeks and it usually clears up by 3 months. It is a hard phase to get through, but keep the mantra “this too shall pass” on repeat in your head to help you through it. Sometimes, it truly does just pass as if a light-switch has turned on.
Keep in mind that not every baby has the same needs, and yours is certainly different from theirs. There is no magic button for colic – the baby has to mature more and grow out of it. It isn’t a disease, it is a phase. It is exhausting and defeating, so keep your chin up and take a deep breath. Be gentle on yourself, put your baby down and leave the room if you need a moment to collect yourself, and know that you are not failing! Your baby will grow out of this phase and will emerge as a much happier little sweetheart!
Please help! My 6 week old is colicky every night starting at 8. He cries for an hour minimum. Also, in the morning at 6 am he starts to fuss and pass gas for an hour. I can see he’s still so tired but can’t settle. He’s been doing this everyday and night for two weeks now. What is it?
I need to vent. My 11wks old twins are super colicky; nights are a torture for us! So naturally during the day I just want them to sleep! Does it make me a bad mom for not playing with them as much as I should?