Colic is a fairly common condition, and it’s also a tough one to get through for some parents. Colic is known for those long crying sessions, which may last for hours at a time. Some estimates suggest that as many as a quarter of all babies experience some degree or another of colic.

Still, it can be a little challenging to recognize a little fussiness from full blown colic, if you don’t know what to expect. If your baby truly has colic, here are the most common ways to recognize it:

  • Use the rule of threes. This means that your baby cries for three or more hours in a crying session, on at least three days a week, over a period of at least three weeks.
  • The crying should have no cause that you can discover, such as hunger, a wet diaper, or being too hot or too cold.
  • Many babies with colic will develop a specific pattern of crying episodes. In many cases, the colicky baby will cry at around the same time each and every day. Often this occurs in the later part of the day, but that’s not always the case.
  • A colicky baby is usually difficult, if not impossible, to console during these crying sessions.
  • You’ll notice other physical signs of colic, including things like your baby clenching her fists, tightening her stomach muscles and making her legs cur.

Colic is a cause for concern, of course, and you should definitely talk to your doctor in order to rule out some other sort of health issue as a cause. That said, colic doesn’t cause any permanent physical or psychological damage.

The key is to get enough rest for yourself. Switch off with your partner in dealing with crying sessions, and make sure that you’re doing what you can to help your baby be comfortable during his crying.

Finally, recognize that colic usually ends by the time your baby hits about three or four months of age. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, so don’t give up hope.