Infantile colic comprises of episodes of crying excessively and continuously for greater than 3 hours in an otherwise healthy child. Colic isn’t a disease and won’t cause your baby any long-term harm. Nonetheless, it is a tough thing to go through for babies and their parents. Colicky crying is more turbulent and has a higher pitch with periods of crying most common in the evening. Curled up legs, clenched fists and tensed abdominal muscles are common during colic episodes.

Infants cry an average of just over two hours a day. Babies cry when they’re wet, hungry, frightened, or tired. But a baby with colic cries excessively, inconsolable and for no reason. It is most common at six weeks of age and typically goes away by six months of age (it can start earlier than 6 weeks and resolve before 6 months).
Colic affects 10–40% of children. Colic affects male and female babies equally.


The cause of colic is generally unknown. Fewer than 5% of infants who cry excessively turn out to have an underlying disease. Doctors diagnose colic after they exclude other potential causes of crying. The other possible causes of excessive crying include having hair in the eye, strangulated hernia and ear infection. Some suggested causes of colic may include the following:

  • Gastrointestinal causes such as gastroesophageal reflux disease [GERD],
  • Over- or underfeeding,
  • Milk protein allergy
  • Early introduction of solids.
  • Inexperienced parents (controversial)
  • Incomplete or no burping after feeding
  • Exposure to cigarette smoke and its metabolites
  • Food allergy; it really doesn’t cause colic but it is one of the culprits of tummy trouble that mimics colic.
  • Low birth weight
  • Characteristic intestinal microflora; babies with colic may have an imbalance of helpful bacteria in their gut.



Diagnosis of colic can typically be done via a good history and physical exam while in most cases tests are not needed.



It is generally conservative and involves the reassurance of parents. In mothers who are breastfeeding, the mother can avoid milk, dairy products, eggs, wheat,
and nuts as this may improve the colic if the child has allergies. Ensure you burp your baby after meals. You can also give smaller and frequent meals. Use feeding bottles that have collapsible tits is advised as this may lessen the amount of air your baby swallows.

You do not need dietary changes for your infants but to see whether one of these foods is making your baby uncomfortable avoid them all for a few days. If your baby seems better, reintroduce one food at a time. Allow a few days between reintroduction. If your baby starts fussing again after you start eating a certain food, you may discover the offending substance.

Gripe water has not been proven to be effective. You can gently rock your baby and sing to your baby. Never shake your baby vigorously out of frustration. Doctors recommend that parents don’t exhaust themselves, instead, they should consider leaving their baby with other caretakers for short respites. If your baby has other symptoms – like fever, vomiting, or bloody stools take to see a doctor as these are not signs of colic.

Infants who are colicky do just as well as their non-colicky peers with respect to temperament at one year of age. They also have normal growth and development.


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