Closeup of crying baby's face.

Is it crying or colic? How to handle both

Crying is your baby’s only way of telling you something is bothering him. It does not always mean he is experiencing serious discomfort. Check first to see if he is too cool or warm, hungry, gassy, or tired, or if he needs a diaper change.

A change in his crying pattern could be cause for concern. Trust your instincts, and call your pediatrician or health care professional if you are concerned.

How can you soothe your crying baby?

You know how to comfort your baby by swaddling him, offering him a pacifier, or placing him in a swing. If these efforts do not work, and you cannot find a reason for his discomfort, try:

  • Gently bouncing or walking him, or taking a car ride
  • Creating white noise (quiet music, vacuum cleaner)

What is colic?

When infants cry for three or more hours a day at least three days a week for three weeks or more, it could be colic. This is commonly known as the "Rule of Threes." Colic generally begins at 2 to 3 weeks; it is unusual after 3 months.

Although no one knows exactly what causes colic, for most babies it is not a sign of a serious medical problem. If your baby had a serious medical problem, his cries would be more continuous.

Sometimes, your colicky baby’s excessive crying is due to his sensitivity to the protein in some baby formula. Ask your health care professional if you should consider switching to another formula. Similac Expert Care® Alimentum® starts reducing colic symptoms*in most babies within 24 hours.

*Due to protein sensitivity
Based on a clinical study with Similac Expert Care Alimentum Ready To Feed without DHA and ARA in a small group of infants experiencing colic symptoms due to cow's–milk–protein sensitivity

Ask for help

A good support system gives you a much needed break when your baby’s crying becomes overwhelming. Ask for help from your partner or a family member to get relief or sleep when you need it. If the crying makes you feel like you might lose control, calmly and safely place your baby in a crib, and step away briefly to collect your thoughts and calm down. Feeling overwhelmed is only temporary — never shake an infant.

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