A recurring theme I see in my office with parents of newborns and infants is the question that begins with “at what age will my baby…?”
And the fill in the blank ranges anywhere from “outgrowing colic” to “teething” to the all-so-important question of “sleeping through the night.”
And while there aren’t absolutes when it comes to answering some of these questions, there are certainly age ranges I can share with parents in hope of giving them some reassurance that things will get better.
So in no particular order, I leave with you all the responses I share in my practice.
1. When will my baby’s colic end? Think of colic as the still developing digestive system of the young infant. Now you may have already heard of the rules of 3 as it relates to colic…begins about 3 weeks of age, lasts for about 3 hours a day (usually in the late afternoon/early evening), and should resolve around 3 months of age. When parents hear about 3 months of age, I often see the response of…”ok, I think we can make it until then.”
2. When will my baby outgrow her GERD symptoms? GERD (AKA reflux) often overlaps with colic and really can make an infant feel miserable. And although it’s a normal physiologic response for babies to spit up those first few months of life, it’s often disheartening for parents to see their babies in so much discomfort (e.g. arching or writhing around in pain) during this time frame. Some babies will outgrow their GERD symptoms after just a couple months but some can carry the symptoms throughout the entire first year of life. What I routinely tell parents is the peak age is around 5 months of age and if things haven’t improved by then, they typically will begin improving somewhere right around then.
3. When will my baby outgrow her milk (or soy, or nut, or egg) protein allergy? Now a milk protein allergy can also appear about the same time frame as GERD and colic. Dietary changes for the breast feeding mother or changing the formula around for the formula-fed baby helps minimize the symptoms related to these protein related allergies. But as far as when an infant will outgrow the symptoms, unfortunately there is no absolute answer. I do share that some babies outgrow their allergy in the first ½ year of life, but some don’t until closer to 1 year of age.
4. Is my baby teething? He or she certainly may be. But keep in mind, the time frame for when the first tooth will come in can be anywhere from 4-12 months of age.
5. When will my baby sleep through the night? Yes, probably the most commonly asked question during the first year of life. Unfortunately, there is no correct answer here. I’ve had some babies sleep through the night between 2-3 months of age and I’ve had some take 18 months to do so (parents opted not to sleep train.) But typically, most are doing a good job of it by 6 months of age and if they aren’t, a little sleep training may be all that is needed.
So for the new parents or soon-to-be parents just keep in mind when things seem tough, remember to enjoy the ride… because it really is a quick one.
- Dr. Jeremy
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