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Fill-in-Blank News Release or County Health Departments

The Perils of Parenting - Colic Workshop

For Release: __________
Contact & Phone Number: __________

Babies cry - and some babies cry a lot! This is a simple fact, true, but one that can seem absolutely overwhelming to a new parent who may be dealing with a baby who has colic. These parents may experience high levels of stress and have difficulty coping with their babies' inconsolable crying.

To help these parents learn why their babies cry so much and what they can do to alleviate some of the crying, the _____ County Health Department is offering free workshops on "Colic: Why Babies Have It and What to Do about It."

The workshops are free and will be held at (location, day and time).

For more information, or to enroll in the workshop, contact the _____ County Health Department at (phone number).

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Fill-in-Blank News Release For County Health Departments

The Perils of Parenting:
Colic - Why Babies Have It and What to do About It

For Release: __________
Contact &
Phone Number: __________

New parents often find that one of the most stressful aspects of caring for a baby is learning how to cope with the baby's crying. For the first several weeks, newborn babies will cry, on average, about one to two hours out of every day. This time will generally peak after about six to eight weeks, then crying will decrease. Some babies, however, do not follow this pattern. Instead, their crying is far more intense and lasts longer than average. These babies are often referred to as "colicky" babies.

Babies with colic will look and sound like they are in pain. They may sling their arms and legs or draw them to their chest, fists clenched, faces scrunched, and voices loud with intense screaming. Many doctors will diagnose colic if a baby has:

  • Outbursts of inconsolable crying, with no easily identifiable cause, at least three hours a day, for at least three days a week, continuing for at least three weeks.
  • The inconsolable crying usually begins within the first three to 12 weeks of life.
  • Other than the inconsolable crying, the baby appears to be healthy.

Some research on colic suggests that it is more prevalent among babies whose mothers or fathers smoke. Colic may also be the result of allergies to infant formula, or an allergy to something the breastfeeding mother has eaten. Colic can also be due to a direct medical cause, such as gastroesophageal reflux, an ear infection, a urinary tract infection, constipation, or severe skin rashes. For these reasons, always check with your baby's physician.

If no distinct reason can be found for colic, it may simply be that time of day when the baby needs to "let of steam" - which is normal. Whatever the cause, there are some techniques that can comfort a colicky baby:

  • Football Hold: Place baby, stomach down on your forearm, with his head in the crook of your elbow and his legs straddling your hand. Or try reversing this hold, with baby's head in the palm of your hand and his crotch area in the crook of your arm.
  • Neck Nestle: Snuggle baby's head in the area between your chin and chest. Cuddle firmly.
  • The Gas Pump: With baby lying on his back, grasp both lower calves and pump his legs, knees to tummy.
  • The Colic Curl: Hold baby in a sitting position in your arms with baby's back against your chest, or reverse this hold with baby facing you, legs bent on your chest. Be careful to support baby's head.

Other methods for soothing a colicky baby include frequent, smaller feedings, warm baths, infant massage, car rides, and soothing music.

Respond quickly to your baby's cries and don't worry about spoiling your baby. You cannot spoil an infant in the first year of life! Help your baby feel safe and secure by having his needs met as quickly as possible. If you become angry or frustrated and can't cope with the baby's continued crying, ask for someone to help with the baby so you can take a break. Do not pick up the baby if you feel angry or frustrated - angrily shaking a baby may cause irreversible brain damage.

Remember, colic disappears in about half of all babies by 3 months of age, and in almost all babies by 6 months of age. For more information about how to handle a baby with colic, call or visit the _____ County Health Department. (Additional information can be added here on well child clinics, parenting classes, etc.).

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