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Tips for surviving your baby's "witching hour"

I'm writing this blog post about infant colic about 10 pm, which is right around the time the average 2 month old baby with colic really gets riled up. Colic is a description of what about 25% of babies do between 3 weeks and 3 months of age, from about 6 pm to midnight (or all day and night, if you're really unlucky!). Colic really just means intense uncontrollable crying, and nobody is really quite sure what causes it. We do know that it is uncommon in babies under 2 weeks, and almost always goes away in time for their 4 month checkup. Because babies with colic have not historically responded to pain medicine, we don't believe that pain is the primary reason babies are crying - it's probably more of a sensory dysregulation or overstimulation response. Some strategies which can help your baby with colic calm down include turning on a vaccuum cleaner or some loud radio static in the background (what we call "white noise"), trying to see if your baby will suck on a pacifier dipped in a thick sugar water solution (don't let your baby drink the sugar water straight, though), and gentle vibration, from a bouncy seat, or even a car ride. Most babies with colic don't have a specific identifiable medical reason for colic. However, there has been some interesting research suggesting that probiotic drops (marketed as "Gerber Soothe" drops) may help a bit. Some breastfed babies may respond to elimination of some foods, like dairy and caffeine a mom's diet (that's right, caffeine - right when you really needed it!). Some formula fed babies may respond to hypoallergenic formulas, like Nutramigen or Alimentum. Remedies like simethicone gas drops, acid blocking medication or Gripe Water have less evidence to support their use. Regardless of the cause of your babies colic, remember to take breaks, put your baby down and step outside once in a while. And remind yourself that all that fussing will pass - at least until he becomes a teenager!

Dr. Nechyba