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Health Information For Parents
All newborns cry and get fussy sometimes. But when a baby who is otherwise healthy has several periods a week of fussiness, high-pitched crying, and difficulty being comforted, it’s a sign of colic.
Colic is defined as crying for more than 3 hours a day, for more than 3 days a week, for at least 3 weeks. But doctors may diagnose a baby as having colic before that point.
Colic usually doesn’t point to any health problems and eventually goes away on its own.
Colicky babies have a healthy sucking reflex and a good appetite and are otherwise healthy and growing well.
Colicky babies may spit up from time to time just as non-colicky babies do. But if your baby is actually vomiting or losing weight, call the doctor. (Vomiting is a forceful throwing up of stomach contents through the mouth, whereas spitting up is an easy flow of stomach contents out of the mouth.) Vomiting repeatedly is not a sign of colic.
Colicky babies typically have normal stools (poop). If your baby has diarrhea or blood in the stool, call your doctor.
Help ease colic by:
Caring for a colicky baby can be frustrating, so be sure to take care of yourself, too. Don’t blame yourself or your baby for the constant crying — colic is nobody’s fault. Try to remember that colicky babies will eventually outgrow this phase.
If your baby is crying a lot and shows other signs of illness (such as fever), the cause is not colic. Schedule an appointment to see a doctor.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
Colic is common in babies – but that doesn’t make it easier for parents to handle. Learn what colic is, what causes it, and what you can do about it.
Almost all infants are fussy at times. But some are very fussy because they have an allergy to the protein in cow’s milk, which is the basis for most commercial baby formulas.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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