Is colic an issue for your baby? Here’s what you need to know about what’s normal crying and fussiness—and how to help your baby through it all.

All newborn babies cry and show hints of fussiness; they’re getting used to their new world and they’re trying to communicate with you. Patience and a little knowledge can go a long way toward easing baby’s discomfort.

Babies who fuss or cry a lot are not as healthy as other babies.

Myth. It’s normal for babies to cry and fuss. In fact, even if they have colic (defined as crying for more than three hours a day more than three days a week for at least three weeks), they are just as healthy as their non-colicky counterparts. As long as your baby has a healthy appetite, good sucking muscles, and appears to be growing and developing normally, then you might not need to worry—he may outgrow this stage.

Sometimes the best thing to do with fussy, crying, or colicky babies is just pick them up.

Truth. Babies, like older kids and adults, love human contact. Your little one likes to be snuggled, cuddled, hugged, and kissed. Sometimes when you can’t figure out what’s causing your baby to be uncomfortable—he’s just been fed, doesn’t need a diaper change, isn’t too cold or too hot—maybe he just needs a little TLC. It’s a great first step in calming him down.

Changes in diet can help crying and colic.

Truth. If your baby is on formula, try one that’s easy on developing digestive systems.

Colicky, fussy, crying babies have problems with bowel movements.

Myth. Some people think that if their baby is crying, fussy, or seems colicky, it’s probably tied to bowel issues. This may not be true. But if he has diarrhea or blood in his stool, see your pediatrician, as these issues are not associated with common fussiness.

If your baby seems uncomfortable—crying and fussing—feeding will help.

Myth. If your baby is not hungry (he’s not making the rooting reflex or smacking his lips—the universal sign for hunger), then you shouldn’t try to feed him. Over-feeding your baby is never a good idea. Instead, try a few other techniques:

  • Swaddle baby.
  • Turn on the vacuum cleaner or a white noise machine.
  • Walk with him.
  • Try an infant swing or vibrating chair.

To Learn More

For the latest research on crying and colic, read “Crying, Fussiness and Colic: What Doctors Are Learning.”