20 answers

Colic? - Waterloo, IL

how do you know if a 2 week old has colic or acid reflux?

What can I do next?

More Answers

Call or go to the doctor and talk to them. Some babies have a medical condition where the opening from the esophagus/stomach is narrow. I cannot think of the medical term at the moment...anyway, talk to the doctor. Or if she is on formula, she could have an allergy to that particular kind. If you are nursing, there could be something that you are eating that is upsetting her stomach????

Hi G.. I'm not sure why people are saying colic starts at 3 or 4 months. That's when it usually goes away. "Colic usually appears in the first few weeks after birth and the cause isn't known. It generally lasts for three to four months." Colic pretty much means the docs don't know why they're crying. What used to be always called colic is often diagnosed as reflux, but not all cases are. And not all reflux is spitting up either. There is silent reflux too. And some pediatricians will refuse to diagnose reflux and will only call it colic, so don't be afraid to get a second opinion if yours is old school. We had to. Our daughter's reflux was not helped by any meds...we had to eliminate dairy, and then corn products and beef (but the docs told us not to...I just couldn't stand the screaming any more). But most reflux kids are really helped by meds and clear up in as little as 4 months when their valve thingey in their esophagus matures (interesting timing, since "colic" clears up usually by 4 months). Being a new mommy is so hard, and doctors will tend to dismiss you as being a nervous mom, but follow your instincts. Yes, new babies do cry, but you'll know if it's not right. If the baby is crying around the same time every day, think colic unless they are really tired or something else at that time might be triggering it (some say too much stimulation over the course of the day and then they've just had it). If the crying seems to be more after eating, or when baby's flat on his back, or any time of day or night with no pattern, think reflux. Try keeping him (or her) elevated after feeding for at least 20 minutes, and even try elevating the head of the bed. Some reflux babies are really happy sleeping in their carseats, although mine hated hers and was only happy if I was holding her in one position. I spent all my time online researching when I really needed sleep. Let me know if you want me to send you a list of my bookmarked links on reflux (and "is it reflux or colic") or if you have any more questions. Try reading "The Happiest Baby on the Block" (or better yet, get the video from the library...who can read with a two week old).Good luck and hang in there. C..
Oh, and lots of moms swear by gripe water. Your doc will look at you like you are crazy, but you can buy it over the counter a health food stores or even walgreens etc.

2 weeks is a little young for colic. It usually hits around 3 months, though that is not to say it doesn't ever hit that young.

Colic tends to happen at about the same time every day (usually in the evening) and baby is inconsolable for hours. With our first, we had to put her in the car seat (around 2:00 every morning !)and drive around for awhile to get her to relax and go to sleep.
The whole rest of the day baby is happy and healthy and has no discomfort with feeding or lying down to sleep.

Acid reflux will tend to be connected with feeding times and laying flat. There may be spitting up (which usually doesn't happen with colic). A doctor can diagnose reflux, where as they usually can find no cause for the crying with colic.

Colic tends to happen with first babies, though occasionally you will hear about it with others. Reflux can happen with any child of any birth order.

Hi G.,
I've been there, however it has been several years.
From what I remember about colic it was pretty much at the same time evening?
My daughters ped. gave me a script for donatol, which is an adult medication. It turned her into a zoombie at just a few weeks old. Nice for the first night, but too scary to continue.
No matter what it ends up being, you'll deal with it. Just have patience!!
Good luck,

How is she acting? Is she on formula? Usually if shes spitting up a lot thats a sign of reflux (especially if shes breastfed). Colic is more like they are screaming in pain for some reason? I went through this with my baby 2 months ago, I had to figure it out on my own because the doctors didnt know for sure. You can ask me anything if you need to. Just thinking about it stresses me out! We got through it as soon as I figured out what was wrong.

I'm not 100% sure, but I think it's kind of the same thing. I have three kids and my oldest was before they knew much about Acid Reflux, so they just called in colic. My third child acted the same way she did, but when they started her on Axid, he got better and didn't do the crying thing any more. It took about 7 to 10 days for it to really get in his system, but I noticed an improvement from the first or second day and it progressively got better! Good luck!

D. S.

First of all, I think if you suspect either colic or acid reflux, you should talk to your pediatrician. Keep track of how much the baby cries and sleeps in a 24-hour period and call the doctor!

There's no cure for colic, but there are methods you could use to deal with it better. I strongly recommend that you read "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Marc Weissbluth (http://www.amazon.com/Healthy-Sleep-Habits-Happy-Child/dp...)

AND if your baby fits the definition of colic... try "Your Fussy Baby" also by Marc Weissbluth (http://www.amazon.com/Your-Fussy-Baby-Marc-Weissbluth/dp/...)

Also, don't underestimate the power of swaddling! Wrapping them up tight can work wonders. Most likely your baby is just doing normal newborn stuff. Good luck.

If she's throwing up, it's probably reflux. Other than that, I don't think you can know for sure without seeing a pediatrician. Hope for reflux, because even though it's a booger, and the treatment is expensive, it's totally controllable. I think with colic, you just have to wait it out. Been there (with the reflux), and I sympathize. Good luck.

Although I am not an MD, I do have some experience with acid reflux in babies. I have been babysitting for families for the past 6 years in order to stay at home with my daughters (I have 3 of them- 6, 3, 10 months). At least 3 of the children that I babysat or am babysitting have had acid reflux. Acid reflux would show up after any feeding and for no reason, while colic generally shows up at the same time everyday (usually late afternoon) and lasts for several hours. If it is acid reflux, having them in a more up-right position helps, like over your shoulder or in a bouncy seat. Congratualtions on the baby and best of luck!

The Happiest Baby on the Block that someone else recommended worked wonderfully for us, with a little modification (no pacifiers, she wouldn't take one), Gripe Water also helped to head off acid reflux once we were able to identify it coming on and finally babywearing is a lifesaver! By wearing your child in a sling or wrap they can be held upright which helps tremendously with acid reflux and get the close contact which seems to help with colic. They can sleep and snuggle and eat (esp. if you're breastfeeding which would also makes acid reflux less likely) and everything while you go about your day. Just the rhythm of your movement and your heartbeat up close (or your significant other's) are going to be very womblike for your baby and offer her/him great soothing and comfort (and of course it is great for bonding!). In The Happiest Baby on the Block, Dr. Karp talks a lot about babies (and some even more than others) really needing a "4th trimester" and how to go about making life womb-like for your newborn. Slings and wraps can be found or made inexpensively and you should be able to find The Happiest Baby at your library. www.thebabywearer.com has a lot of great info on babywearing and www.peppermint.com also has great instructions.

I'm not sure anyone diagnoses colic any longer. My first daughter screamed and cried for 4 hours every evening for several months when she was first born, her doctor said it was not colic. Maybe if they scream and cry the majority of the day it is colic? I don't know. If you think it is reflux mylicon drops work well. You can also switch formulas to help with fussiness or gas. Neither of these helped my daughter. I would ask your pediatrician what they think and what they can do for your baby. You should be able to call your pediatrician for advice without making an appointment if you need answers right away.

Hi G.,

A lot of mom's have some great advice, but as a doctor I reccomend you get the opinion of your pediatrician. I also wanted to know if you are breast or bottle feeding. A lot of what causes crankiness, particularly in new borns is thier inability to digest and their weak valves in their digestive tract causing reflux and spitting up. I am a pediatric certified chiropractor and a mother of two have treated my kids since birth. There are gentle releases I do to help relieve intestinal discomfort, help improve nerve function and the babies general well-being. Also, be carefull if you try switching formula's there has been a lot of research lately on negative effects of Soy products. Feel free to email me if you have any questions ____@____.com. I see this type of thing very often and have had great results! Goodluck and Congrats on being a new mom!

if the baby cries consistantly usually in the evenings or afternoons about everyday. Balls up fists and cries. My daughter had colic which started around 2 weeks and lasted 5 months. She cried everyday from about 3:30-8:00 PM. She was a happy baby in the mornings but was always fussy in the evenings. We used gas drops which helped a little but not enough, tried just about everything that was suggested and she was just fussy in the evenings no matter what. I know how tough it was to get through those months. Most babies it last 3 months but she had it longer. If you don't have one of those bouncy seats with vibration, you may want to get one. They didn't have those when my baby was little but did have the bouncy seat and she liked it sometimes. She did not like the swing or riding in the car and she has always had motion sickness as we found out when she was older so that was probably why she didn't like the swing or car. Have heard others say the vibration helps. And always remember as you go through the crying that "this too shall pass". Holding them all the time usually doesn't help either. I would put her in her crib at times because she cried whether I held her or didn't hold her so if I needed a 10-15 minute break, would put her in her crib where she was safe and work on something else, like spending some special time with our 3 year old son or catching up on some housework.
If you are bf you may want to cut out spicy foods or figure out if certain foods make your baby more fussy than others. If on formula, try going to a soy formula and see if that helps.

Hi, G.
First of all, 2 week old babies almost NEVER get colic. Colic usually shows up around 3 or 4 months, occurs at the same time each day, (usually in the evenings) and goes away after a set period of time. If your little one cries a lot, especially after eating or when laying down it's acid reflux. If your doc disagrees...find a new doc. I had this problem with my twins. The cried all of the time, spit up occasionally and finally it got so bad they were failing to thrive. I'm totally convinced that we would have lost one of my twins if I hadn't switched docs because he refused to help her and called it colic. After switching to the new doc and extensive research I found out that newborns do not get colic, and it doesn't affect their ability to eat, sleep, gain weight or occur at random times during the day. I'm betting on acid reflux. If so...it's as easy fix. Within 3 days of starting meds for my twins they were gaining weight, not crying and sleeping through the night. Talk to your doc, and good luck!


At 2 weeks there could be a number of things going on. You don't mention whether you are breast feeding or on formula. Generally if it is acid reflux, your baby will spit up a lot, almost everything you give them. If it's colic, the baby has a tummy ache, generally from gas, which means they probably need to be burped more. If they have a tummy ache, you can usually tell by then way they bring up the knees like they are almost cramping. If your baby is crying a lot, they may still be hungry, try to suppliment with formula if you are nursing and your out of milk. If your baby is crying and your sure he isn't hungry, then make sure you are burping well. Try to burp after an ounce or so. That might help.

I didn't get a chance to read all the responses so I'm not sure if this was mentioned yet or not. But it could also be a milk allergy? There would be other symptoms too like stuffy nose, excema, alot of spitting or throwing up, diarhea. Or it could be acid reflux too if she's spitting up and gassy alot. My daughter had both and we figured out the allergy problem at like 6 weeks but it took me having to switch pediatricians and doing alot of research on my own to figure out the reflux. Good luck I know how hard it is having a fussy baby. Try the swing both of my kids loved it. I wish you the best of luck! My daughter just turned 6 months and has been on Zantac for 2 1/2 weeks and I can already tell a difference in her so if that is the problem hopefully you can get it figured out before too long.

My bet would be reflux. The nurse at our doctors office told em that she thinks that most of the cases of colic are reflux and that's why you hear of so much reflux these days but not colic. Both of my kids had reflux and so did my neice. My Grandmother told me that my kids did exactly what my uncle did and she was told it was colic and suffered through it for about 6 months. One way to test it is to give baby about 1/4 tsp of Chidren's Mylanta (check with your doctor on amount), it if helps right away then it's reflux. And just a note, not all babies spit up with reflux. My oldest daughter never did and it took the doctor about 3 months to figure out that she had reflux. She would make these weird faces like she could breath for a few seconds and I told the doctor about it and it was like a light bulb went off for him he looked at me and said "she's swallowing it". He gave her liquid Zantac and she was like a diffrent kid. She had to take it 3 times per day till she was almost a year but made like much better. My younger daughter also had it but not as bad. She also spit up all over the place all the time.

Also, if you are useing formula you may need to switch to a soy based or even another brand. Talk to your doctor, no since in baby or you suffering with the crying when it could be an easy fix.

Good luck!!

Good morning, G.! My son, 9 months and has thankfully already outgrown the acid reflux. The first thing I noticed that lead me to think Jack was having something other than just colic was that I could actually hear him gurgling,(even while we were still in the hosp.) which is very frightening in such a small baby!! He would also scream and scream his entire body would become stiff and he would arch his back. He would seem to feel some relief if he nursed, but it was short-lived. It is possible for babies to have symptoms of both and I think that was the case with Jack. But, once he was started on a prescription for the reflux, things got much better.

Most babies have periods of inconsolable crying at some time or another, and many babies cry more when Mom is around (because they are most comfortable with Mom, so they can let out their feelings!).

Some spitting up is normal for most babies, also, but you might help decrease it by burping the baby after every ounce (or when changing sides during nursing), keeping the baby somewhat upright for 30 minutes or so after feeding, feeding smaller amounts more often (for a bottle, rather than 4 oz. every 4 hours, try 2 oz. every two hours), and/or making sure to use a "slow-flow" nipple if you're bottle feeding. These things may also help if it is mild reflux.

If it's colic, you'll know it! Colic is more than 3 hours of inconsolable crying at around the same time daily, for weeks or months. Just make sure he/she is not hungry, wet, too warm or cold, or in pain (other than possible gas pain, I mean). Other than that, you mostly have to wait it out... although you can also try swaddling, rocking, swinging, changing the position you're holding him/her in (my youngest seems to like lying on my chest on his tummy while I'm semi-reclined), gently rubbing his/her back or tummy, lying the baby on his/her side, or offering a pacifier.

Some babies apparently cry to "let off steam" when they have been overstimulated (too much going on around them) or when they are overtired, so they may just need a quiet, dark room to help them unwind. Some babies in an overstimulated state want to be held and comforted (sometimes ONLY by Mom), while others seem more upset when touched at all, and just need to be left alone in their crib to relax.

If you suspect mild reflux, you might try letting your baby sleep in his/her carrier instead of the crib, so that he/she is sitting up slightly, and gravity can help keep the food down. If it seems more serious or the baby has a fever, definitely talk to your baby's doctor.

HTH! Good luck!

I had one with colic and have had 2 grandkids with colic.

I remember my daughter screaming and pulling up in a ball, like she was in horrible pain. It was like she had gas that she couldn't expel. If she did pass it, she'd relax and be quiet ... for about a minute, until the next 'bubble' started. But usually, she just couldn't pass it. My little one had it from 7:30 am until 10:30 pm, every day. Incessant screaming. I talked to the doctor and he was of no help. My daughter says that the Mylocon(sp?) drops for gas help with her children for a little bit. When my daughter turned 3 months, it was like a faucet turned off. She was a different child. Pleasant, smiling, a great baby! So, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Also, my friends and I (all of whom have had colicky babies) have a theory. We think that those children grow up to be better academically. All of the kids I know who had colic are very smart and have (have had) no trouble in school. One thing I did for sanity's sake. I would feed my daughter, change her diaper, make sure she didn't need anything, and let her cry fore a while in her room with the door shut. I turned on the vacuum in the hallway trying to drown out some of the noise. Good luck! It's worth it all!

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