Don’t Throw the Baby Out with the Bath Water

Colic 476133667Whether you are a new or seasoned parent, sleepless nights caused by your newborns restlessness can be un-nerving.  You ask yourself the basic questions, “Is my baby’s diaper dry or is he/she hungry?” The answer could be, neither.  If your baby is fussy, cranky and seems to be experiencing stomach pain, they could be “colicky.”

The condition known as colic is the term that applies to any healthy, well-fed infant, approximately two to three weeks old, who cries more than three hours a day, more than three days per week, for more than three weeks.  The exact cause of Colic is unknown, which is why there isn’t a defined prescription to alleviate the discomfort associated with this condition.

Reasons for symptoms could be:

  • Tummy trouble, perhaps a problem with cow’s milk protein or lactose in some baby formulas.
  • Reflux, which is heartburn due to stomach acid and milk flowing back into the windpipe.
  • A growing digestive system with muscles that often spasm.
  • Hormones that cause stomachaches or a fussy mood.
  • Oversensitivity or over-stimulated by light, noise, etc.
  • A moody baby.
  • A still-developing nervous system.

It is helpful to attempt to ease your infant’s acid reflux. Try feeding half as much and twice as often. A smaller volume of food will empty from the stomach faster leaving less chance of it rising back up in the esophagus. An infant’s stomach is only the size of their own fist, so you can understand why their stomach can become overwhelmed.

Another measure you can take in preventing colic is to make sure you are relieving any gas that may be trapped. Gently rub your baby’s back, in an upward motion, to help release any gas that may have formed during their feeding.   Laying your infant down, immediately after a feeding, is discouraged since a prone position can cause acid-reflux.

In addition, crying after a feeding increases intro-abdominal pressure, this can cause abdominal pain so attempt to soothe your infant. The calmer your baby is, the better their stomach will tolerate milk.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. The symptoms usually begin to subside, on its own, by the time the infant reaches three or four months old.

If your baby is experiencing the symptoms of colic, you can make an appointment at The Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center. Call 718-206-7005


All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.