In the world of infant health, colic is a four-letter word. Known to make otherwise healthy babies scream and cry uncontrollably for long periods of time, colic has no known cause. Before you panic, here's how to tell the difference between crying and colic:
Can happen any time of day
Usually occurs at the same time of day, often more in the evenings
Is intermittent during the day, and adds up to about two hours
Lasts for extended periods, generally more than three hours long
Happens at any age
Begins at about 2 to 3 weeks, and disappears by 4 months for 90 percent of colicky kids
May be from hunger, fatigue, boredom, wet diapers; stops after these issues are addressed
Is not soothed by attending to these needs
Luckily, when it comes to comforting a colicky baby, the best help is often homemade. Keep colic at bay by using what most of us already have around the house.
Because gas is believed to be one of colic's chief culprits, gentle rocking can help babies not only calm down but pass gas. If you don't have a rocking chair, try an infant swing if your baby is at least 3 weeks old.
White noise can distract baby from his discomfort. Instead of buying a sound machine, turn on the vacuum cleaner, dishwasher or washing machine.
When placed on the abdomen, a warm towel can assist gas movement and reduce heartburn.
A ride in the car can do wonders for colicky babies. But gas isn't getting any cheaper. For a more fuel-efficient alternative, try an infant seat with low-intensity vibration.