The longest crying period that most babies normally have is probably about 30 minutes to an hour. Most times, it happens at night when the babies are wide awake (after having slept all day) and find no one to play with because mom and dad are too tired and sleepy to do so.
But when healthy babies cry unceasingly for 3 straight hours, you sense something wrong; more so if the crying is intense and indicates pain. It becomes even more alarming if this happens several times a week for no apparent reason. If this happens, the baby may be suffering from infantile colic.
Infantile or baby colic is the unexplained episodes of prolonged crying in a regular pattern. It happens 3 hours straight, several days a week. It may happen every other day or everyday–occurring during the same time it did the previous days–and goes on for some three weeks. It often happens to babies two weeks old up to four months old. The bad news is, the cause of infantile colic is generally yet unknown.
Your pediatrician may not know about it and diagnose it as something that normally happens to all babies of the above mentioned age bracket. But most pediatricians do know about colic, especially if they are IBCLC lactation consultants or International Board Certified Lactation Consultants. Unfortunately, there are currently no medicines developed specifically targeting colic problems, but these medical experts can give you valuable advice and tips.
How Most People Misdiagnose It
Most people may dismiss colic as something that normally happens to all babies, especially when they can’t figure out what’s really happening. Here is how most of them see it. It pays to know this because you may be misdiagnosing the mysterious tantrums of your own baby.
- It’s just normal. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Colic is not normal. It doesn’t happen to all babies. When it does happen, something is wrong with the baby that needs expert medical attention. A baby crying for 3 hours or more and which happens often during the week and keeps happening for 3 to 4 weeks or more is not normal. Pediatricians may be able to offer soothing solutions that may give relief to your baby.
- Digestion problems. Yes, it may be due to a digestion problem or allergy like lactose intolerance. Conditions like this can cause babies to cry for long periods and happen repeatedly until a remedy is found. Still, not all baby tantrums are simply caused by lactose intolerance and baby colic is not always merely due to digestive problems.
- A developing baby brain. No one can be sure if the prolonged cries are due to brain size adjustments as the baby grows. And brain development is not known to be physically painful. Brains just grow quietly.
- Tension. Some say colic is due to tension which the baby absorbs when mom and dad are stressed out. Tension does affect babies and may induce crying, but not for 3 straight hours. Often, all stressed babies need is a tender loving coddling from their moms.
- Introvert baby. There’s a theory that colicky babies are introverts that are easy to overstimulate; hence, the episodes of prolonged crying. But remember, this is just a theory.
Have you noticed your baby crying for extended periods of time now? If your baby is showing the symptoms of infantile colic mentioned above, consult the pediatrician right away.