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Why does my baby cry?

No mother likes to hear her newborn cry because she feels uncomfortable. Your first reaction to hearing your baby’s cry is to try to relieve, calm and comfort him immediately. Unfortunately for some mothers, a cry that is not controlled can be due to what is known as baby colic.

How do you know if your baby is simply irritable and fussy or does he really have colic? The general consensus seems to be the rule of three: intense crying for more than three hours a day, for more than three days a week, for more than three weeks a month is likely to mean colic. You will notice that if your baby suffers from colic, he will tend to become very irritable and picky by the end of the day – although it can happen at any time.

In most cases, infants with colic are perfectly healthy, except that they cry intensely for long periods of time for no apparent reason.

Typically, baby colic begins at three weeks of age and may disappear as quickly as it appears – the most common is before your baby is 3 to 4 months old, although some cases of colic can last up to six months. One of the most important things you should know about baby colic is that it is not directly related to the way you treat or feed your baby. Having a colicky baby is not your fault, so there is no reason for you to feel responsible.

No one really knows what causes colic. A baby suffering from colic requires more attention and is more sensitive to what surrounds him, so be prepared to be patient. If you can, take turns with your husband or get someone else to take care of your baby for a while, as colic can be very frustrating for any mother.

Here are some ideas you can try to help your baby:

  • Give him a warm bath.
  • Take him for a ride in the car around the block. (My mother-in-law used to do it with my husband when he was a baby and suffered from colic. She says that was the only thing that calmed him!).
  • Go for a walk with your baby in your stroller.
  • Gently rub your baby’s stomach.
  • Put it on your crib.
  • Make him burp frequently.

Other suggestions that will relieve your baby when suffering from colic:

  • A crying baby swallows a lot of air. This can cause gas and increase irritability, so keep it upright to improve the pain produced by the gas.
  • Massage her in the back.
  • Try to feed your baby more often but in smaller quantities each time. Also be sure to do it slowly, take your time.

Here are just a few tips that can help you, but again, remember that this is just one phase your baby is going through. You just have to wait for it to happen and do the best you can. I highly recommend that you take a break when you can so you do not get too frustrated. If your baby stops gaining weight, if he has a fever or if his crying changes and seems to go from being irritable to sounding like he has severe pain, it’s time to call your doctor. You might also be interested in the first part of this article in which we talk about other reasons why your baby might cry.

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