Crying Baby - Less Than 3 Months (includes Colic)

Symptom Definition

  • A newborn or infant < 90 days of age has the sudden onset of unexplained crying
  • The younger the child, the harder it is to identify the cause of the crying
  • Main cause of recurrent crying: colic (excessive normal fussy crying)
  • Other common causes: hunger, sleepy, pain, too cold, too hot, clothing too tight

See More Appropriate Topic

Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If

  • Your child looks or acts very sick
  • Newborn (< 1 month old) who looks or acts sick
  • Age younger than 3 months with fever > 100.4°F (38°C) rectally
  • Low temperature < 96.8°F (36.0°C) rectally
  • There is vomiting
  • You are afraid you might hurt your baby or have shaken your baby
  • Your baby cannot be comforted after trying for > 2 hours

Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 and 4) If

  • You think your child needs to be seen
  • Not gaining weight or seems hungry
  • You are exhausted from all the crying

Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If

  • You have other questions or concerns
  • Your baby has never been examined for colic
  • Crying began after 1 month of age
  • Crying occurs 3 or more times per day

Parent Care at Home If

  • Normal colic and you don’t think your child needs to be seen

Home Care Advice for Chest Pain from Sore Muscles

  1. Reassurance: Colic is the normal fussy crying seen in healthy babies. It occurs once or twice a day and should respond to comforting. With colic, babies act happy between bouts of crying
  2. Hold and Comfort: Hold and soothe your baby whenever he cries without a reason. The horizontal position is best for helping a baby relax, settle down, and go to sleep
    • Provide a gentle rocking motion in a cradle or rocking chair
    • Dance with your baby to some slow music
    • Place in a front pack or sling (which frees the hands of the caregiver)
    • Place in a wind-up swing or a vibrating chair
    • Take for a stroller (or buggy) ride – outdoors or indoors
  3. Warm Bath: If crying continues, take a warm bath with your baby
  4. Feedings: Feed your baby, if more than 2 hours since the last feeding or 1and 1/2 hours for breast fed babies
  5. Cry to Sleep: Put your baby down to sleep, if more than 3 hours have passed since the last nap and you have tried quiet holding for more than 30 minutes. Some overtired infants need to cry themselves to sleep
  6. Expected Course: Once you find the right technique, the crying should decrease to 1 hour per day. Colic improves after 2 months of age and is gone by 3 months.
  7. Call Your Doctor If
    • Becomes worse or develops any of the “Call Your Doctor” symptoms
    • Cries constantly for > 2 hours, using this advice
    • Cannot be comforted, using this advice