Babies are always a source of joy, but there are occasions when they unexplainably become cranky or keep crying often. One of the reasons for such conditions can be ‘Colic’. The term Colic is used for recurrent, lasting and acute crying in a healthy infant. It obviously causes frustration in parents as there is no apparent reason for the baby's suffering and nothing seems to comfort the baby. The colic episodes can occur at any time, but more often in the evenings.

The colic condition appears to be equally prevalent in babies of both genders, and irrespective of whether the baby is breastfed or formula-fed. Colic events can start to show up from the age of a couple of weeks, and usually stop occurring around the age of 4 or 6 months. Parents need to learn to identify colic events (baby discomfort) and should wait for the fussiness to improve on its own.

Symptoms of baby Colic

If your baby has started frequently, with crying episodes as long as even 3 hours a day, several times a week, the baby colic might be the cause. Colic is often accompanied with:

  • Stiffened legs
  • Stiffened arms
  • Clenched fists
  • Arched back
  • Tense abdomen
Causes of Baby Colic

Though the colic’s exact cause is not known, possible contributing factors include:

  • A growing digestive system with muscles that often spasm
  • Gas
  • Eczema
  • Hormones that cause stomach pain or a fussy mood
  • Sensitivity to light, noise, etc.
  • A still-developing nervous system
  • Pressure or inflammation of the brain and nervous system
  • Eye trouble, like a scratch or increased pressure
  • Overfeeding, underfeeding or infrequent burping
  • Imbalance of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract
  • Food allergies or intolerances
  • Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) which is a condition where stomach acid moves back out of the stomach and into the gullet (oesophagus).
Diagnosis of Baby Colic

Not all crying babies are colic. Doctor or pediatrician can find out the exact nature and eliminate other similar symptoms. Continuous crying may be colic or an indication of an illness or condition that causes pain or discomfort.

Treating Baby Colic

Depending on the need of the babies, the doctor would suggest trying one thing at a time. The following steps may help you to soothe or settle your baby:

  • Preventing your baby swallowing air by sitting or holding them upright during feeding
  • Burping baby after feeds
  • Gently rocking baby over your shoulder
  • Bathing baby in a warm bath
  • Gently massaging baby’s tummy
  • Some babies may also benefit from changes to their diet
  • Lay them on their back in a dark, quiet room
  • Swaddle snugly in a blanket
  • Laying the baby your lap and gently rub baby’s back
  • Try infant massage
  • Put a warm water bottle on baby's belly
  • Have the baby suck on a pacifier
Seek immediate medical advice in case the baby
  • Has a weak, high-pitched, or continuous cry
  • Seems floppy when you pick them up
  • Is not feeding
  • Vomits green fluid
  • Has blood in their poo
  • Has a fever
  • Has a bulging fontanelle (the soft spot at the top of a baby's head)
  • Has a fit (seizure)
  • Has breathing problems, such as breathing quickly or grunting while breathing


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