Is it Crying or Colic?
Almost all babies go through a fussy period. When crying lasts for longer than about three hours a day and is not caused by a medical problem (such as a hernia or infection), it is called colic.
About 20% of babies cry enough to meet the definition of colic. The timing varies, but colic usually affects babies beginning at about three-weeks of age and peaks somewhere between four- and six-weeks of age.
The child with colic tends to be unusually sensitive to stimulation. Some babies experience greater discomfort from intestinal gas. Some cry from hunger, others from overfeeding. Some breastfed babies are intolerant of foods in their mothers' diets. Some bottle-fed babies are can't tolerate the proteins in formula.
Fear, frustration, or even excitement can lead to abdominal discomfort and colic. When other people around them are worried, anxious, or depressed, babies may cry more, which in turn makes those around them even more worried, anxious, or depressed.
Colic will not last forever! After about six-weeks of age, it usually begins improving, slowly but surely, and is generally gone by four-months of age. When colic is still going strong at 12-weeks, it's important to consider another diagnosis (such as reflux).
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Tomorrow: More About Causes of Colic