Fact Checked

Colic is a condition affecting infants and characterized by excessive crying that lasts for about three hours and can happen from time to time during the entire week. Colic can happen among healthy infants and crying is not due to hunger or pain. In most cases, there is a pattern for crying such as early in the morning or during the evening.

It can be distressing for the baby and cause frustration on the parents and can be resolved in a short period of time.

Symptoms of colic in babies

Colic can happen among healthy infants and crying is not due to hunger or pain.
  • Severe crying in which the baby may cry desperately during attacks of colic.
  • There is a pattern of crying in which the child tends to cry at the same time every day and these crying episodes can be short, lasting for a few minutes, but sometimes can continue for more than three hours and there is no reason for the crying.
  • Babies clench their fist, curl the legs and tighten the abdominal muscles during episodes of colic.
  • Flushing of the face, spitting up after a feeding, belching, difficulty in bowel movements and passage of gas.
  • Colic usually disappears at the age of three months and is totally healed at the age of 4-5 months.
  • Sometimes colic can be caused by injury and there is a need to seek medical help immediately.

Treatment and home remedies

  • Feed the baby if crying is caused by hunger. Burp the baby to lessen the gas and it also helps to have smaller and more frequent feedings.
  • Feed the baby as much hind milk by fully emptying one breast before changing sides. This milk is considered highly nourishing than foremilk which the baby drinks at the start of the feedings.
  • Cuddle the baby since it helps in calming down the baby when held closely.
  • Let the baby suck on a pacifier which is comforting for the infant and provides a calming effect.
  • Rock the baby gently in a baby swing or in the arms of the mother.
  • Soft music or singing a soft song can help in comforting the baby and some babies can stop crying when hearing a sound of music.
  • Give the baby a warm bath to help lessen the discomfort caused by colic. A few drops of lavender oil can be added to the warm bath water and a gentle tummy massage can also help provide relief due to the colic.
  • The baby can be placed in the crib for at least 10 minutes to lessen the discomfort.
  • If the baby is bottle-fed, change the feeding bottle and nipple.
  • Pour some warm water in a hot water bottle and place it over the tummy of the baby. Make sure that the water is not too hot since it might burn the skin of the baby.
  • Pat the back of the baby when the baby experiences contractions and symptoms such as straining the face, clenching the fists even when the baby is sleeping.


NHS – Colic: Recognizing Symptoms and Seeking Relief

Mayo Clinic – Colic: Understanding the Discomfort in Babies

Wikipedia – Baby Colic: Exploring the Challenges and Remedies

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