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What is Colic? How can it be Treated?

by | Newborn

Newborn babies often cry a lot. It is normal because it is their only method of communicating their needs. Every cry is not colic, but you need to take the prolonged and often crying of the baby seriously. It can be a visible sign of sickness.

baby, crying, child

A colicky baby can cry for an extended period of time, and it is very challenging to soothe. However, the causes are unknown and not proven, but it is a common condition in newborn babies. The babies can generally be soothed by gently rocking, playing music, and distracting by different means. Read this guide if you are wondering what colic is and how it affects you.

What is Colic?

Colic is a condition in which a healthy baby cries without any health issue for a long duration of time for no prominent reason. Crying baby is common in the initial few weeks after birth. It generally fades away with the passage of time on its own. When the baby grows up to 3 years, he does not show any signs of colic.

  • It is known as the condition when the cry of a baby gets louder and long.
  • Occurs more than three days every seven days
  • It lasts for around 3 hours every day
  • It happens for around three weeks

Colic generally starts immediately with nonstop loud crying. This consistent too much crying is stressful and disturbing for both parents and baby. It makes it difficult for parents to handle a baby. The colicky babies are usually gassy and do not sleep well.

Symptoms of Colic?

It is common for babies to cry at an early stage of life. However, colicky babies show exceptional signs such as :

  • Turns burning red while crying.
  • Cry for no prominent reason, such as they are full and do not need a diaper changed.
  • They cry like they are in intense pain.
  • Daily cry around the same time.
  • Babies clench their fists while crying and curling up their legs.

When the babies cry, they may swallow the air resulting in gas and fuss. It can make their belly swollen and look tightened. However, the babies might relieve the symptoms after passing the gas and having a bowel movement.

What Causes Colic?

Many studies have been done, but researchers are not sure about the root cause of colic. They have been looking for possible reasons. However, some major contributing factors are:

baby, crying, cry

  • An undeveloped or underdeveloped digestive system.
  • Overstimulation.
  • Pain due to gas.
  • The early form of childhood migraine headache.
  • Overfeeding or underfeeding.
  • Those who are sensitive to formula or breast milk.
  • Emotional reaction to fear, excitement as well as frustration.

How does Colic Diagnose?

Initially, the healthcare provider will inquire about the symptoms you observe and the history of the baby’s health. The doctor will do a physical examination of your young child, and you will ask such questions:

  • What comforting method helps to calm your baby?
  • For how much duration and how common does your baby cry?
  • Have you observed something triggering colic such as light or act action?

Doctors can also ask for X-rays, blood tests, and other tests of imaging can be done. These tests aim to identify in case your baby has any health condition triggering colic.

Treatment of Colic

Once the Colic diagnosed, it is time to treat it. Any emotional and environmental trigger plays a crucial role in Colic. Like multiple triggers, there are different ways to help soothe your baby and minimize their crying habits,

Feeding the Baby

In case you breastfed babies:

  • Keep a record of what you often eat or drink. Everything the baby intakes pass through the bay and can affect them.
  • You need to prevent chocolates and caffeine as they can act as triggers.
  • Prevent consuming dairy products such as nuts.
  • You can also ask your doctor if the medicine you are intaking can cause the problem.

    If you are doing formula feeding:

  • Try different brands as babies’ skin are sensitive and reactive to few formulas.
  • Feed your baby small but often meals.
  • Warm the formula to body temperature.
  • Feed your baby in an upright position.
  • Refrain from feeding the baby too often and too much.

Holding the Colicky baby:

Babies dealing with colic may show optimal response to certain angles:

  • Hold the baby in the evening.
  • Hold him across the arms or lap while massaging the back.
  • Firmly hold the baby while walking.
  • Gently rock your baby in the arms and by soothing an infant swing.

Comforting your baby

Give these moments a try and stimulate them to soothe your baby

  • Wrap the baby in the blanket and slowly rock them.
  • Offer to move the skin-to-skin contact.
  • Sing to your baby.
  • With proper techniques, massage the baby’s body.
  • Offer your baby a small and warm bath.
  • Offer white noise machine or distinct voices such as dishwashers, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, etc.
  • Give your baby a pacifier.
  • Take your baby for a walk in the stroller.
  • Give the newborn simethicone drops.

Complication in Colicky Babies

Colic is not a life-threatening problem, but it can be frustrating and irritating. It can make life difficult for both babies and parents. It can happen due to extensive lying chest or her belly or potentially irritating foods. Colic becomes a concern because:

  • They may lose sleep.
  • It can be stressful and frustrating.
  • A colicky baby may feel fed up due to excessive attempts of soothing.

Living with Colic?

Having a baby with colic can be irritating. The loud baby cries and cranky baby can make you feel stressed, anxious, and sometimes depressed. In this case, the healthcare providers can suggest some activities to perform that can assist in calming down a baby, such as a bath, gentle rocking, massage, etc.

babies, baby, child

Anyhow, remember that colic is a general condition in babies of young age, and it goes or resolves with time on its own, generally by the age of 3. In many cases, the babies do not show signs of colic but at the age of 6 months.

If possible, hand over the baby to someone else when you are stressed and burnout because babies catch the vibes. If no one else is available to take the duty, ensure that your baby is safe and sound and go to another room.

Some countries have free or affordable care, known as nurseries or daycare. You are suggested to also leave your baby there for a while if you are stressed out.


Baby’s crying is commonly experienced by babies at early or even later age. In the initial months, babies cry a lot as it is their only source of communication. It is normal, but sometimes they keep baby’s cry violent for no obvious reason. This condition is known as colic.

Generally colic treated by calmly soothing the baby. You do not need to consult the doctor as the cranky behavior fades away with time on its own. Anyhow, you need to ensure that you do not treat the child aggressively or shake them violently. It can develop shaken baby syndrome. If you feel frustrated, hand over the baby to another person for a while.


Can a baby with Colic get better?

Although watching baby colic is scary sometimes as they are inconsolable crying, especially for the first parent, it is not harmful to the baby’s health. It is a condition of excessive crying for no reason. Babies with colic will eventually outgrow the condition by the time when they grow up to 3 to 4 months.

How common is Colic?

It is a common problem that seems to be occurring in every one of the ten infants. Regardless of gender, it occurs equally in baby boys and baby girls. This condition is usually developed ten days to three weeks after birth.

Should I contact a pediatrician?

The colicky baby does not require professional assistance from the doctor. However, you may need to consult the doctor if your baby stops gaining weight and shows the visible and negative change in behavior and if he shows any of the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Fever.
  • Forceful vomiting.
  • Blood in the poop.

Who gets Colic?

Any baby can have colic regardless of gender. It is a common condition that seems to develop at an early age. It is common in babies of 2 to 5 weeks but gets better over time without professional assistance.

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