Colicky babies cry constantly at about the same time each day at least 3 days a week. It is more common in boys and in first-born children. It usually begins at about 2 weeks of age and goes away by the fourth month.
- Your baby cries for more than 3 hours on at least three occasions a week, but is otherwise healthy.
- Your baby kicks a lot, pulls his or her legs up close, and makes tight fists.
- Your baby's tummy seems hard, and they burp and pass gas often.
- The crying sounds like your baby is in great pain.
- Your baby spits up frequently after feeding.
Abdominal discomfort appears to be present, but no one knows what actually causes colic. Possible causes include one or more of the following:
- The baby's nervous or digestive system may be immature
- The baby needs comforting, or is over- or under-stimulated
- Swallowing air, especially when feeding
- Allergies to some foods, such as milk (if the baby is on formula)
What to Expect at Your Health Care Provider's Office
Your health care provider will ask if the baby is eating well and gaining weight or has diarrhea, fever, or unusual stools. If you are breast-feeding, your health care provider may ask you about foods you have eaten. If your health care provider decides your baby has colic, you can work together to find ways to relieve your baby's discomfort.
Your provider will also encourage you to take care of yourself, like taking a break or getting help if you are afraid you will harm your baby. Remember that colic usually disappears between 4 - 6 months of age. If the treatments you choose do not work, your baby's provider may check for other problems, such as a digestive problem or allergy.
- If breast-feeding, nurse on demand, usually every 2 - 3 hours.
- Elevate the infant's head during and after feedings. It is better for the baby to lie on his tummy with his head to one side (preferably on the right side) after feeding
- If bottle-feeding, ask your health care provider to recommend a formula that is not based on cow's milk and that is not iron-fortified. Keep the baby in a sitting position when feeding, and massage his or her back to get rid of gas bubbles. Burp after every ounce of formula.
- Do not offer your baby solid foods before age 6 months.
- Try the "colic carry" -- Place the baby, chest down, on your extended forearm with his head supported by your hand and his legs on either side of your elbow. Use your other hand to provide additional support and walk around with him.
- Hold your baby close, offer a pacifier, try rocking or rubbing the back, give your baby a warm bath, take a car ride with the baby, play soft music, or use an infant swing to cease the crying.
- No drug has proven valuable in the management of infantile colics except maybe Simethicone.
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