Now that you’re home with your little one, you want to be sure you’re doing everything you can to be a careful and protective parent. It can be tough to know when calling the doctor is warranted, especially in the early stages of your baby’s life. When baby starts crying unexpectedly, and for long periods of time, you naturally work through the list of possible causes right away offering another feed, a warm blanket, rocking, singing, cuddling, but what if none of these help? How do you know when it’s time to call the doctor, and how do you know if it is colic or something more serious?
It’s helpful to know the symptoms of colic when your little bundle of joy starts wailing away for no apparent reason. Your babe’s earliest communications are fairly limited, so while laughing, smiling or even just relaxing into sleep are usual signs of a happy baby whose needs are taken care of, crying and restlessness or flailing around are the only ways your newborn can tell you something’s wrong.
Crying usually stops when you’ve solved the problem, whether it’s hunger or cold, boredom or exhaustion, but when your little one is colic-y, the crying goes on and on, and no matter what you do, your baby doesn’t seem to be able to stop. His or her little face may turn red from crying, and you may notice that baby’s arms and legs are pulling in towards the body, then stretching out again. You may also find that your baby is passing gas or burping more than usual.
All of these symptoms are normal for colic, but might also mean that some other issue or ailment might be present, so it’s always good to check with your pediatrician if you see any of the symptoms above.
Your doctor will ask you questions about your baby like:
- How is your baby eating — normally, well, or not so well?
- What about poo? (Don’t we all love to talk about poop?) Has your baby’s poo changed particularly?
- Is your little one also peeing well? It’s normal to change 6 – 8 very wet diapers daily, so your doctor will want to make sure your little one is hydrated.
- Is your babe running a fever?
- How often do you have non-crying periods with your newborn? Often, colic crying happens in the later afternoon or evening, so keep an eye on the timing and let your doctor know.
In most cases, if your babe is crying for several hours at a time, especially late in the day, for several days a week, you’ll be dealing with colic. If not, your doctor will look at other possibilities that can also cause an increase in fussiness, pain or tears in a newborn, such as:
- Sensitivity to milk formula if you’re using one;
- An allergic reaction to milk, milk formula or in some cases, something in your own diet if you’re breastfeeding;
- Sleeping problems for baby, such as disrupted sleep cycles or a lack of sleep;
- Constipation or an actual blockage of the intestinal tract;
- An ear infection or other illness that may be undetected;
- General gastrointestinal issues causing discomfort or pain;
- Acid reflux, also known as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease);
Your doctor will be able to tell you whether you’re dealing with colic or something else, so don’t be afraid to call for a consult. If you ARE dealing with colic, like so many parents of newborns, there are a number of ways to keep your stress levels down and get through the crying. We’ll talk about some of the ways to soothe baby, as well as ways to relax you too, so keep reading!
Ready to learn more about symptoms, causes, and how to soothe colic? Check out our resource on all things colic with the link below!