Normal Fussiness and Colic

In the first few weeks of life, normal children will experience periods of fussiness and crying especially during the afternoon and evening. These periods often increase in length and intensity until six weeks of age, then decrease in intensity, disappearing completely by four months of age. These normal fussing periods are often called “colic” if they are unusually intense. Colic has been attributed to formula, air swallowing, the mother’s diet in breastfed infants, and the infant’s temperament, among many other reasons. However, most colic is felt to be a normal behavior of infancy and no one has actually ever determined what really causes it.

Sometimes parents become very anxious about the fussy periods of a normal infant. This tension can lead to a stressful environment for the baby and decrease the mother’s breastmilk supply. This only serves to make the child’s fussiness worse.

The following checklist may be helpful to you if your baby seems excessively fussy:

  1. Be sure your baby is getting enough to eat. Hungry babies cry.
  2. Make an effort to keep your baby’s environment quiet and calm. Parents should take turns with the baby and get plenty of rest themselves.
  3. Hold your baby in your arms and comfort him during and after feedings.
  4. If bottle feeding, make sure the nipple hole is neither too large nor too small.
  5. Burp after each ounce of bottle feeding, or after each five minutes of breastfeeding.
  6. Intestinal cramps may be caused by swallowed air. Try feeding the baby in a more vertical position to prevent air swollowing.
  7. Use rhythmic movement (rocking, swings, etc.,) or rhythmic sound (music, metronome, etc.) to calm your child.
  8. Swaddle your baby snugly in a blanket.
  9. Change the diaper when it becomes soiled.
  10. Be sure that the child is neither cold, nor in an uncomfortable position.
  11. After doing all of the above, let him cry for 15-20 minutes before going through the list again.

If your child appears ill, or

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