- Crying that lasts more than three hours a day and occurs more than three days a week or
- Crying that lasts more than three hours a day and continues for more than three weeks regardless of how many times a week it occurs.
If the baby suffers from colic, parents can help calm the baby through the five S's: swaddling, side/stomach positioning, shushing, swinging, and sucking. Here is how the five S's work:
- Swaddling - Wrap the baby snugly in a receiving blanket. This will provide continuous contact and support which the baby experienced while inside the womb.
- Side/Stomach Position - Place the baby, while holding her, either on her left side to assist in digestion or on her stomach to provide reassuring support. Once she is sound asleep, you can put her down in the crib on her back.
- Shushing Sounds - These sounds are referred to as "white noise" which imitate the continual whooshing sound made by the blood flowing through the arteries near the womb. This noise could be from a vacuum cleaner, hair dryer, or electric fan. Or you may opt to buy a white noise CD.
- Swinging - Babies are used to the swinging motions while inside the womb. When the baby is born, this soothing motion is abruptly taken away. Rocking, swaying, car rides, or other swinging movements can help calm the crying baby.
- Sucking - Sucking triggers a calming reflex and releases natural chemicals within the brain. Offering your breast, a bottle, a pacifier or even your finger should do the trick to pacify a crying newborn.
Because these activities mimic babies' experiences inside the womb, doing these can help most babies sleep an extra one to two hours at night. These techniques may seem easy to do but parents must incorporate lots of patience as they try different calming techniques and avoid making the crying worse by impatiently switching from one calming intervention to another without waiting to see how the baby responds.