My baby is one month old and I suspect that she has infant colic. What is the best treatment for this?
All newborn infants experience fussy periods. The term infant colic has been used to describe paroxysmal fussiness that occurs in otherwise healthy infants. It typically begins at about three weeks of age and resolves at about three months of age. Many theories have been proposed to explain how a sweet little baby can suddenly seem demonically possessed at the same time every evening. Indeed, classic colic does seem to occur like clockwork every day, generally in the evening. I should add that no theory satisfactorily explains infant colic.
Colicky infants do seem to be born, not made; parents need not feel guilty that something they are or are not doing is to blame. Furthermore, the good news is that colicky infants won’t necessarily grow up to be grouchy, difficult children.
Normal infants cry a lot, so before identifying the problem as colic, recognize that the average two-week-old cries a total of two hours each day. Infant crying peaks at three hours a day at six weeks of age, and declines to one hour a day at three months of age.
Many parents worry that their babies have a lot of gas and are crying because of the gas. In fact, gas doesn’t make babies cry! When questioned, most parents report that the crying precedes the gas. In fact, lengthy, vigorous crying for any reason causes babies to swallow a great deal of air. That air has to go somewhere, and it goes into their tummies, soon to be passed out their rectums in the form of noisy flatus. So efforts to treat gas as the baby’s problem are misguided. Given that babies ultimately outgrow their colic, many “treatments” appear to work.
Soothing music, an infant swing, the gentle motion and white noise of the clothes dryer or even a car ride help settle some infants – or at least help their parents cope better. But be sure not to neglect any safety issues when trying to calm your fussing baby. Back in 1983, one father of a colicky infant created a device he calls a Sleep-Tight. It moves the crib gently and creates white noise.