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Common Baby Medical Concerns - Colic

Angela Oswalt, MSW

One non-infectious physical problem infants experience is colic, which is ongoing stomach discomfort. Doctors and researchers are still trying to determine what causes colic, but they do know how to recognize it and how to soothe a colicky baby. Infants most often experience colic in the first three months of life, for varying lengths of time. When infants have colic, they will have long crying spells that may last three to four hours at a time, often starting every evening around the same time. During these crying spells, they will be difficult to comfort and soothe, and may show signs of physical discomfort such as distended belly, gas, and frequently pulling their legs up to their belly.

Caregivers should try any soothing methods they know to comfort baby. See the Soothing Baby section in this article for more ideas. One particular method to use to soothe a colicky baby is the colic hold. Caregivers should cradle the baby facedown in their arms and position the baby's belly on their cradling palm, allowing the baby's head to rest in the crook of their arm and the feet to dangle down. Caregivers can use their other hand to stabilize the hold and rub the baby's backs. They can also sit and hold the baby belly-down on their knees while rubbing their backs. Either holding position helps relieve the gastrointestinal discomfort.

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