Colic or fussiness?
Most babies go through fussy periods when they’re bored or tired, but colic is different. A baby is said to have colic when she cries up to 3 hours a day, at least 3 to 7 days a week, and it lasts between 3 weeks and
3 months. Babies also may pull up their legs, bunch up their fists, and grimace. These episodes typically start in the late afternoon and continue into the evening.
Although no one is quite sure what causes colic, some experts believe it’s related to a food allergy (especially to milk protein) or to gas or cramping in the developing digestive tract. Whether it’s true colic or just recurrent fussiness, here are some steps you can take:
IF YOU BREASTFEED
- Talk with your doctor about your diet.
- Try keeping a food diary for at least a week. Write down everything you eat and when. Include a column to record your baby’s mood. Watch for any recurring patterns such as fussing a few hours after you eat a particular food.
- If you suspect a food is making your baby fussy, some experts say to try to avoid eating that food for one week. If your baby’s symptoms diminish, continue to avoid that food for the next few weeks and look to other dietary sources or supplements for the same nutrients until you can discuss with your baby’s pediatrician.
IF YOU FORMULA-FEED
- Try feeding your baby in an upright position.
- Burp your baby often.
- Avoid overfeeding.
- Sometimes doctors may suggest a change in formula to rule out the possibility of formula intolerance instead of colic. Because your baby’s digestive system is still developing during her first year, you might want to talk with your doctor about switching to a formula with 100% whey protein that’s specially designed to be easy to digest. If you suspect that your baby is allergic to milk protein, check with her doctor about which formula to use.