Infant Colic

The Basics

Nothing is more distressing to a parent than a newborn who won’t stop crying. All babies cry. It’s their only way of communicating with us, so they cry for many different reasons. Sometimes they’re hungry or thirsty. Sometimes they’re sleepy. Sometimes they want more attention, sometimes less. Sometimes they’re over-stimulated, and sometimes they’re bored. Occasionally they are even sick or in pain. Often a baby doesn’t know why it’s crying – he or she is just “out of sorts”, in a bad mood. Is there always a specific reason why YOU feel cranky?

Usually, parents can find ways that work to soothe their babies when they cry. They do this by learning to read the baby’s “signals”, sense the baby’s needs, even through simple trial and error. Different babies soothe in different ways. Some are easier to soothe than others. Even a difficult-to-soothe baby usually stops crying spontaneously within a time not terribly distressing to its parents. This is not always the case, however. Some babies cry for excessively long times and are particularly difficult to console. When no other major symptoms are present, and a physical exam fails to reveal signs of any obvious disease, we refer to this phenomenon as “Infant Colic.”