Parent Guide

What can parents do?

Colic is a very physically and emotionally exhausting time for both baby and parents. Unfortunately, there is no cure for it. Some pediatricians believe that a baby's brain is incapable of calming itself until about 3 or 4 months of age, so until then, it's a test of endurance.

Colic can be at its most severe in the month-old baby and then diminish over three or four months. If the crying begins after 4 weeks of age, it's likely to be colic. Only your pediatrician can accurately diagnose the problem.

Colic is not a punishable behaviour. Never strike or shake your infant. Shaking can cause brain damage or neck injury, and will accomplish nothing.

Here are some of the things you can do to help your baby find relief:

Is it colic or heartburn?

Occasionally, colic is due to gastroesophageal reflux, the same condition adults experience as heartburn. Reflux occurs when stomach contents, including stomach acids, back up into the lower esophagus and irritate the tissue there. Most babies outgrow reflux by their first birthday, and breastfed infants may not even show symptoms. Symptoms include one or more of the following: frequent spitting up or non-projectile vomiting, frequent burping or hiccupping, night waking, poor weight gain, difficulty swallowing, sudden or inconsolable crying, arching during feeding, constant nursing or disinterest in nursing.

Since testing for reflux is invasive, it is rarely indicated for infants under a year old unless there is serious reason to do so.