Colic is the word that all new parents dread. However, it is relatively uncommon.
By definition, colic is extreme fussiness lasting more than 3 hours of the day (and this can be ANY time of day), more than 3 days per week and lasting longer than 3 weeks. However, the truth is that colic is on a spectrum of normal fussiness that nearly all newborns experience.
Typically, all newborns experience a “witching hour” of fussiness that occurs in the evening and lasts up to a few hours. This often starts around 2-3 weeks of age, starts to improve around 2 months of age and is completely gone by about 3 months of age. Infants with colic, however, cry nearly any time of day, for hours at time, are not consoled by the traditional calming methods and do this for many days in a row, not just a single fussy day.
Despite what many believe, no one really knows what causes colic. It could be due to an immature gut, an immature neurologic system, overstimulation, or something else altogether.
Colic is one of the hardest thing a new parent can go through. It often leads to difficulty bonding with one’s child and increased maternal post-partum depression. It is highly recommended that, if you think your child might have colic, or if you just need a break, ask for help! Allow family members to come over and hold the baby for a couple of hours to give yourself time away. It is not healthy or safe to be around your colicky baby every hour of the day.
The following resources are excellent. Support during this time is incredibly important!