Part 1: COLIC: What is normal “crying/fussing” in the first 3 months?
The first 3 months of life have been dubbed the “fourth trimester”- implying that the little baby was perhaps not quite ready to leave the safety and warmth and relative simplicity of the womb!
In the first few months after birth, the little baby has to learn to adjust to the environment, its many sensory and physical stimuli, as well as to feeding and digesting and using the building blocks to grow. This is a big, big ask and a complex task. Some babies cruise through it, some babies struggle through it, all within a normal range.
CRYING – what is normal?
I like to show the crying “graph” to explain what is normal and what may be beyond normal and need attention. Crying is the communication method of babies, so is necessary.
- Babies usually have a “honeymoon period” in the first 10-14 days in which a cycle of feeding and sleeping is quite easy, feed volumes are lower so tummy gripes are fewer, and crying time averages 60-70 minutes a day.
- Then comes the 6 week mountain. At 6 weeks, the average crying time is 120 minutes per 24 hours, for some babies up to 3 hours a day, as the baby – now more awake from a brain point of view – negotiates the peak growth rate and stimulation from all sides.
The crying times settles again to 60-70 minutes per 24 hours usually by 14 weeks (in some children a bit later) as they adapt to their new environment and their digestive system matures to handle the enormous feed load. Ah – the parental burden also decreases now and we can start to enjoy our little miracle!