What Is Colic?

Updated on December 29, 2015
J.B. asks from Elburn, IL
11 answers

My 7 week old daughter might be colic. This is my first and I hear different things like "all babies cry". We had switched her formula 4 times and she is now on Gentlease by Emfamil. This seems to work but now she cries(screams) everyday, about the same time. Yesterday it was for 3 hours and it got so bad I had to call my mother to come over. Thankfully she lives about 10 minutes away. I just reached a breaking point and started crying myself. I took her temp and it was fine. Nothing soothed her. If she does this everyday is this colic or is this just normal.

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answers from Chicago on

GREAT call getting your mom to come and help. There is NO way that one parent, or even two, can get through this period solo when their baby is so fussy. Previous posters were right on, there is no official diagnosis for "colic", it is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning, "We don't know why! We ruled out everything else!"

Treatment: Support for parents! Plus, strategies to get through the day and night!

Please call the warm-line for Fussy Baby Network for more info. They are associated with Erikson Institute in Chicago, a graduate school in Child Development. It is a fantastic program staffed by a PhD in Child Development, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, OT, RN and MD. They take calls, run parent groups and do home visits. All for parents of kids who are FUSSY!!

Here is the link:


[email protected]____.com.

Erikson Institute: Fussy Baby Network
Call our warmline or request a home visit, and the Fussy Baby Team will help you and your family find more ways to soothe, care for, and enjoy your baby. ...

Good luck, mama friend!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

There is no normal or abnormal when it comes to this. Think of your baby as this being that has NEVER existed outside of your belly. That is a LOT to deal with. It could be due to a lot of things, but I think it just has to do with the baby finding its place and way of being in this world....and maybe complaining about it! I also have heard about the nervous system not being fully matured at this point, and it does sound very logical to me. Some people do swear by "Happiest Baby on the Block" and I would be happy to give you my copy of the DVD and cd, if you are interested. I was fortunate to not need to use it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My first son had colic. It's hard to imagine (or really even remember) how stressful it is and how long a week with colic really feels.

It will end, though! I think it's a good idea to try swaddling and a calm, quiet environment without a lot of stimulation during fussy periods.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Colic basically means that no one knows why the baby is crying. If there is a reason like reflux, gas, etc, then it is not colic. Changing formulas, eliminating foods for breastfeeding, etc do not help a colicky baby because if those things are the problem then the baby is not colicky it is reacting to those problems.

A colicky baby is very hard to deal with. My third child was colicky after my first two babies were easy as can be. Good news is at about 8 weeks she got way better and at about 12 weeks she turned into a happy, smiley, social, outgoing, baby.

I would recommend the book about fussy babies by Dr Sears. I am not sure exactly what the name is but they have it at Barnes and Noble generally. Good luck and know that this will pass.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Everyone seems to have their own definition of colic. My baby was colicky for 14 weeks and it was a living hell. I took a lot of suggestions on how to soothe my baby and, although the techniques seemed to work they were only temporary. Everything always went back to the crying. My baby didn't cry during a certain period of the day either; he cried literally all day long!

Some of the things I tried: he was taking breastmilk, so I stripped my diet bare of all the 'bad things' and it did nothing to help. We went for drives in the car, swaddled, put him in the swing, 'shushed', let him suck on a pacifier, played a white noise machine, you name it we did it. And like I said, each thing worked for a short period of time then right back to the screaming. Now - you might get lucky and have a technique or two work for your daughter which would be wonderful! I really hope that happens for you.

The best piece of advice that I got was that around 3 months the colic would just stop. And, for us it did around 14 weeks. It was like turning off a switch. Instantly he became the happiest baby ever.

Personally, I believe that his colic was due to the nervous system being immature and crying was his way of 'blowing off steam' and releasing frustration. Obviously it wasn't the diet - we tried everything and I mean EVERYTHING and it had no effect. He wasn't gassy, it wasn't reflux, so there was no need for us to medicate. Other people will tell you that babies just don't "cry for no reason". I would have loved to invite them over to my house to prove them wrong! That's exactly what mine did for 14 long, difficult weeks - scream and cry for no apparent reason.

You did the right thing by calling your mom. It is important to take care of yourself too. Being a new mother is hard enough even with a perfect baby, and can be exceptionally difficult and stressful if your baby is crying all the time. Calling someone to help is NOT shameful and definitely the right thing to do.

Hang in there - I can promise that it will get better. I remember thinking, "is my baby going to be this miserable, cranky mess all the time with a difficult temperament" and I got really scared because I thought I was going to have an inconsolable child for life. I can assure you, however, that your baby won't be like this forever. My son is now 2 and is an absolute delight! And just wait, colic makes the tantrum stages feel like a piece of cake!

My heart goes out to you - hang in there and call your mom for help when you need it!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I'm sorry this is your first experience as a mom -- I'm told you only get one rough one so once you're through this, your next babies should be "easy" in comparison.

Best advice would be to stay as calm as possible and adopt the mantra, "this too shall pass." It will turn off, just like a switch one day.

In the meantime, set up a support network where you can get away. If you have a point in time where you're alone and need a break, put the baby in the crib and go outside or take a shower. Crying won't hurt the baby and the break will do wonders for you.

Don't be afraid to use those things that help - if the baby is happy in a swing, use it. Bouncy chair? use it. I've also heard that "wearing" your baby can help a lot too so maybe try a sling and see if that helps.

Hang in there, this will get better. Great job calling your mom, you knew you needed a break and took it. Also see if you can set up some time a few times a week away from your baby -- go for a walk, meet a girlfriend for coffee every Saturday,etc. This is something you'll be able to look to in order to get through some of the rough patches.

And lastly, something I've heard and I don't know if it works - even if your baby is crying, wrap her up and get outside for a stroller ride. Between the change in scenery and the fresh air, it'll do wonders for you and maybe her as well.

Good luck. Hugs.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My understanding of Colic was a baby bieng upset/crying after feeding/ due to gas, acid reflux etc and thier bodies trying to digest what they just ate. Your daughter might be just having the normal 2-3 hrs a day that a baby cries to cry and that usually happens at the same time every day. You can check with your dr.'s nurse and she can provide more detail as they know your child like you do. Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

It sounds like colic to me. I had a friend who would take their baby for a car ride to stop the crying. They would just drive around and around until he fell asleep. Another would put their baby in a car seat and set it ontop of a running dryer. Be careful though, the vibrations can cause the car seat to move and fall off the edge of the dryer!

Maybe do a google search for more things to get you thru it. It will suddenly stop one day! Just keep telling yourself that!



answers from Boston on

Did you try some herbal tea? If not yet, start babies magic tea and hope your baby will be soothed soon. My colicky baby was not settling down with any remedy and this tea made my life easy.



answers from Chicago on

Janis, I would suggest you google "what is colic?" you will find some great information on how colic is defined. Most babies have time of day when they become cranky,crying and difficult to console. For my two daughter is was the hours of 4pm-7pm most days. We called it the witching hours. Have you tried swaddling your baby, making loud shushhing sounds in her ear or for my kids it was the sound of the hair dryer for one and the shower for another. Those were the only things that would calm them. This time will pass, I think it's usually around 3 months or so. Good luck and hang in there. Be sure to ask for help from family members to give you a break when needed. Take care.



answers from Chicago on

My daughter did not have colic-which is supposed to be related to being gassy. But boy did she ever have her moments. And it seemed like it was always in the evenings. I told the doc she sounded like a feral cat and he said it was most likely just her way of communicating with us. Around 3 months she stopped doing it so often and at about 4 months it was gone. I promise it does not last forever. If your daughter does not seem gassy ,it may be just her crying moments.

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