04/02/2015 10:52 am ET Updated Jun 02, 2015

Is Colic Knocking at the Door? How Parents Can Tell

Most parents dread the thought of their child having colic. I have witnessed on many occasions how the fear of colic can be very stressful for parents. Fear no more because colic can be considered part of the growing process of your baby and all of the extra worry will not help your family feel better.

In the first stages of every baby's life, there is much to be concerned about. If your child has excessive tummy aches there is relief in store. Colic usually begins anywhere from the third week onward in a baby's life. Keep in mind that colic is not the only reason a baby cries. For example, what someone may think is colic has turned out to be a hernia, acid reflux or even hunger. When a parent is unsure, it's always good to first consult your pediatrician. You can't just say that it's colic, so get a diagnosis from your doctor.

If it is colic, your baby will cry a lot in the evening for several hours. When your child digests its food the little intestines have some adjustments going on. It will be awhile before it settles down. They may have tummy aches due to gas. During this colic phase, assist your child to feel calm and less stressed. Try my tips for dealing with those rough evenings.

1. Call the Doctor: Let your pediatrician know all of the symptoms of your baby's issues over the phone. He will probably ask questions regarding colic symptoms. With that information, he may want you to bring your baby in for a check-up. He may recommend relief like gas drops that work for some children. If those drops don't work, you will coordinate with your doctor on other methods to ensure relief.

2. A Little Love Motion: Massage your baby's tummy in a light and gentle way. Don't dig in. Just lightly rub your hand over the stomach in a circular motion. This will help your baby to relieve some gas and feel some relief. What also helps is when you stand up holding your baby and sway side-to-side. This works because when a baby is in motion it's very calming to their tummy. They may even begin to fall asleep.

3. Parent Touch Relief: At the onset of your baby's daily colic cry session, a parent should sit on a comfy chair holding their baby's face on the side of their arm and their belly on the palm of their hand (while the other hand supports the back). This position allows for some comfort. Your baby will feel warm while the gentle pressure helps to relieve their tummy ache. For babies over two months old, you can use the football hold.

4. Break and Burp: Keeping an eye on the clock will help you track how long each feeding takes. If breastfeeding, you should break the suction and burp your baby every five minutes. If you go 15 minutes straight, your baby will take in too much gas and it will be harder to get rid of it with a full stomach. For bottle fed babies, you should burp after each ounce of milk to expel air taken in by eating. If you do this, your baby will cry less often due to colic pains.

5. Log Your Baby's Meals: Every day, make notes of what you're feeding your child. If your baby is having a reaction to something they have eaten, it will be easy to pinpoint the culprit. You may have been feeding them something and they didn't have a reaction to it before. However, it may not agree with them any longer. If you are breastfeeding, it makes sense to also log what you're eating daily. If your child has a bad reaction, it may be from your diet. Pediatricians want to know what you're eating to see what could be causing the reaction.

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