Crying is normal for babies. Babies usually cry when they are hungry, wet, bored, uncomfortable or when they just want to be held. Sometimes babies cry no matter what you do to console them. When crying continues for extended periods of time and does not stop, your baby may have colic.
What is colic?
Colic happens when a baby cries and is unable to self-soothe. Colic is not related to digestive problems, but gas or discomfort could make crying worse. No one really knows the true cause of colic. It is typically considered when your baby is healthy and well-fed, but cries for more than three hours a day, three days a week for more than three weeks. Most babies will outgrow colic by the time they are 3 to 4 months old.
What to do when your baby cries
When your baby cries, check to see if he:
- Has a wet or dirty diaper
- Is hungry
- Needs to be burped
- Is comfortable and isn’t too hot or too cold
Your baby may just need you to hold and comfort him. Babies need a lot of love, cuddling and holding. See if holding or rocking settles him down. And, if you try to stay calm, it will help your baby calm down.
When to call the doctor
If your baby is crying for over an hour and none of these things seem to comfort him, call your doctor.
If your baby is crying a lot and you feel like you cannot cope with the crying, get help. It is important to remember that you are not alone—many new parents experience this phase of crying. Don’t feel bad if you need to take a short break. Have a spouse, partner, friend or family member watch him for a while.
Never shake your baby. Violent or forceful shaking can lead to bleeding or swelling of the brain, blindness or even death.
The Period of PURPLE Crying®
The Period of PURPLE Crying program provides tips and helps parents understand the time of increased crying in their baby’s life, which is a normal part of every infant’s development.
You may receive materials from Period of PURPLE Crying at your birthing hospital. This information can help you understand typical early infant crying. Remember, the letters in PURPLE stand for:
- Peak of crying—Crying peaks during the second month, then decreases during months 3 to 5
- Unexpected—Crying may come and go for no apparent reason
- Resists soothing—Crying may continue despite all soothing efforts by caregivers
- Pain-like face—Infants may look like they are in pain, even when they are not
- Long lasting—Crying can go on for 30 to 40 minutes at a time, and often for much longer
- Evening—Crying may occur more in the late afternoon and evening
Visit PURPLEcrying.info for helpful videos and more tips about how to handle
your baby’s crying.