This is a common scenario for almost every baby at least once but rarely needs to be seen. 

Here are the common causes that usually do not require a visit:

  • Teething pain – usually starts between 4 and 6 months, and baby will be drooling and gnawing a lot, and possibly tugging on her ears. If not sick with fever and runny nose, then it’s likely just teething.  
  • Food sensitivity – something in Mom’s diet is irritating baby. 
  • Colic – usually starting in the first few weeks of life, you won’t know right away if it’s colic. Consider these other causes, but if all else is normal it may be colic. 
  • Sick with fever, runny nose, and inconsolable – see above under these illnesses for advice. 

See these page on for advice on how to treat each of these. 

Here are some causes that do require a visit:

  • Scratched eye – if baby’s eye is red and she’s closing it or rubbing it a lot, she may have scratched it, which can be somewhat painful for a day or so.
  • Hair tourniquet – look at baby’s fingers and toes to make sure a hair hasn’t wrapped around one, causing it to turn red and swell painfully. 
  • Intussusception – this complicated term refers to a type of intestinal blockage. Baby may vomit, have an extremely tense abdomen, and pull his legs up to his tummy. But this can also mimic plain gas or colic. But intussusception will also usually result in passing a dark bloody and runny stool (called “currant jelly sign”), and the severe painful episodes will last for 30 to 60 minutes, followed by lethargy for a while as the blockage relaxes, then recurs. This problem is rare. 

You should go to an ER if you suspect one of these problems, or see us urgently. 

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