Colic: end of the day fussing without medical cause

Child Psychiatrist and Author Dr. Joshua Sparrow, MD, discusses the what every parent need to know about colic, including treatment, duration, and possible causes. How parents can prepare for colic, and what every parent needs to know about getting help if their baby needs colic.
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Colic: end of the day fussing without medical cause

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It’s helpful for parents to know, so that they can be prepared for what is often called colic, but which is actually unexplained end of the day crying. This usually begins at around 3 weeks of age, peaks at 8 weeks and usually is over by 12 weeks of age. It can last for up to 3 hours for at least 3 days a week and it drives most parents crazy. But if you know it’s coming, you can try to get the help you need – relatives, friends – to give you some backup so that you can take a break, because it’s just really hard to deal with that crying day in and day out. And it’s hard to deal with it, because you see your baby crying and there is really very little that you can do to comfort your baby. So what helps a bit is to do a little bit less rather than more. First check your baby for all the things that you already know might typically cause crying, make sure that your baby is comfortable, not hungry, not wet. And once you’ve done all of those things, you can do a little bit of rocking and soothing, but don’t do too much, because it turns out that that probably wears the baby out and what you’ll notice is when you rock and soothe and coo, the baby does quiet while you’re doing it, but as soon as you stop, the baby wails and shrieks even louder. So if you do a little bit less, you actually may be not wearing the baby down so much and the shrieking and wailing that you get after the soothing may be a little bit less intense and less… a little bit less long. But the main thing is to make sure you’ve got some backup, so you can take some breaks and to know you’ll get though it. And if you don’t get through it by 12 weeks, be sure to talk to your pediatrician about it to make sure that it isn’t something else going on.

Child Psychiatrist and Author Dr. Joshua Sparrow, MD, discusses the what every parent need to know about colic, including treatment, duration, and possible causes. How parents can prepare for colic, and what every parent needs to know about getting help if their baby needs colic.

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Joshua Sparrow, MD

Child Psychiatrist & Author brazeltontouchpoints.org

A child psychiatrist, Dr. Sparrow’s care in the 1990s for children hospitalized for severe psychiatric disturbances, often associated with physical and sexual abuse, and for developmental delays aggravated by social and economic deprivation, prompted his interest in community-based prevention and health promotion. At the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, his work focuses on cultural adaptations of family support programs, organizational professional development, and aligning systems of care with community strengths and priorities, and has included collaborative consultation with the Harlem Children's Zone and American Indian Early Head Start Programs, among many others. He has lectured extensively nationally and internationally on related topics and has consulted on media programming for children and parents, including PBS’s Frontlines and Discovery Kids. Co-author with Dr. T. Berry Brazelton of 8 books and the weekly New York Times Syndicated column, “Families Today,” Dr. Sparrow has also served as a contributing editor to Scholastic Services’ Parent and Child magazine. In 2006, he revised with Dr. Brazelton Touchpoints: Birth to Three, 2nd Edition and in 2010, co-edited Nurturing Children and Families: Building on the Legacy of T. B. Brazelton, a textbook on the ongoing generativeness of Brazelton’s seminal research in a wide range of fields. Dr. Sparrow has authored numerous other scholarly works, teaches and lectures nationally and internationally, and is frequently called upon for his expertise by national and international media. Prior to attending medical school, Dr. Sparrow worked for several years as a preschool teacher and journalist in New York City.

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