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Updated: 1/14/2003 2:29 pm
Colic (CAW-lick) is not really a disease, it's more of a general term used to describe a condition. The main symptoms are prolonged fussiness and crying spells, usually beginning in the late afternoon and lasting until bedtime. It's estimated that about 20 percent of all babies develop colic, usually between the second and fourth weeks, but it usually stops within three to four months. Colic cries are different from ordinary cries, in that the child seems inconsolable (in-cun-SOLE-a-bull.) It's not known for sure what causes colic, which has been blamed on everything from something the breast-feeding mother ate, allergy to formula, or sensory overload to too much fresh air or parental anxiety, all or none of which may be true. There are some suggestions for helping sooth the crying child. First, make sure the child isn't hungry, doesn't have a dirty diaper, and isn't uncomfortable in some other way. You also must rule out that there's any problem needing a physician's care. Keep in mind that what one baby finds soothing may cause another to squeal even more. Try soothing movements and sounds, such as gentle rocking, gentle singing, or soft music. Place the child in a comforting environment, such as a quiet, dimly lit room, or give the child a ride in a stroller. Gentle massage of the back, stomach, or head may help, or try a warm-water bath, or even a pacifier.

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