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As a new parent you do everything you can think of to keep your baby healthy and happy … so why is it that your baby decides to start screaming inconsolably right around dinner time? Just when you need it least.

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Ask yourself …
does The Rule of Threes apply?

  • When your baby starts crying, is it for spells of 3 or more hours at a time?
  • Do these crying spells happen 3 or more times a week?

Did you notice the crying spells becoming more apparent about the 3rd week after you brought your baby home?

If you have answered yes to the above questions you possibly have a baby with colic. Attempting to calm a colicky baby can leave a parent emotionally drained and physically exhausted.

Colic is the diagnosis many pediatricians tag on a baby who is otherwise healthy and thriving; a colic baby has episodes of inconsolable crying beginning around the 3rd week of life, lasting at least 3 hours a day, for at least 3 days a week.

The word Colic comes from the Greek word kolikos which means suffering in the colon. Sometimes simply changing the baby’s diet can help dramatically or changing the mothers diet if you are breast feeding.

However, another theory is emerging about the cause of colic. Some doctors believe an underdeveloped and immature nervous system may be contributing to the cause of colic crying. When a baby is born, its head isnt big enough to house a brain that is mature enough to have all the survival tools a human infant needs. A baby’s brain is only the size of an apple. The birth canal cannot handle a bigger head. So when a baby is born, the only inherent survival skills they possess are sneezing, sucking, swallowing and CRYING

Babies are capable of crying for a reason and then calming themselves down. They are awake for awhile to learn and accept stimuli. Then they sleep to recover and awake to take in more stimuli.

A colicky baby is high-maintenance. Their nervous system is overloaded with all the sights and sounds of a new world. And by about dinner time, they’ve had it and the crying begins. Once they start crying they lack the mechanism to calm themselves down. It seems the baby fights going to sleep, won’t take a nap and won’t stay asleep once they do finally go to sleep. These poor babies never take the time to recover from all the stimuli they have taken in over the course of a day.

What can a parent do to eliminate these crying episodes?

An effective method to calming a colicky infant is by using white noise to mask environmental stimuli.

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White noise is something we hear all the time, but rarely pay any attention. You hear white noise from:

  • the roar of the wheels while driving in the car,
  • the hum of the fan while working at your computer,
  • the hum of the motor while running a vacuum cleaner,
  • the roar of a crowd while watching sporting events.

White noise is the full spectrum of sound frequencies a human ear can hear combined together all at once. When you hear something that creates a monotonous hum, and maybe kind of makes you sleepy, you are hearing white noise. You can purchase white noise cds and white noise generators, download white noise mp3s or even try running an appliance such as hair dryers, air conditioners or fans to create the white noise necessary to calm your baby in the midst of a crying outburst.

Remember, in the womb your baby was packed in tightly. It was dark, it was warm and the prominent sound s/he heard was the whoosh of blood flowing through the placenta, a noise a little louder than the noise of a vacuum cleaner running. This whoosh of sound actually acted as the white noise your baby heard while in the womb. You can recreate the feeling your baby had while in the womb. If you lower the lights, swaddle your baby in a blanket and play some white noise, a colic baby outburst can be eliminated in no time.

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