Infant colic is a condition affecting about 10% of all newborns. The
baby has short or long periods of unexplainable (after being
changed, fed, and comforted) and inconsolable crying about the same
time everyday. It is unknown what a baby feels during a colic
episode. During a crying session, the baby will extend her legs or
pull up her legs and pass gas frequently. The cause of infant colic
is not known but there are some ideas that have been studied. It may
be due to abdominal pain and increased irritability. Research also
suggests an association with overeating, swallowing air during
crying or sucking on hands, a sensitive digestive tract, possible
allergy to cow's milk, or the presence of gastroesophageal reflux
(stomach contents come back up into the esophagus, causing
irritation). Some possible triggers include hunger, cold, heat,
light, noise, gas, or many people. Colicky babies gain weight at the
normal rate and grow appropriately. Colic usually begins during the
2nd week and lasts 3-4 months. Firstborn children are more commonly
Symptoms may include:
• Long or short episodes of crying, usually about the same time
• No apparent reason for discomfort or crying
What you can do:
• Take care of yourself and be sure to get additional help and
support during this time. Colicky babies can be very stressful. You
can become fatigued and exhausted caring for a colicky baby by
• If you are feeling stressed from the crying, step away from the
baby for a few minutes to calm down.
• Take breaks from your baby by getting someone to take care of her
for a short while.
• NEVER shake your baby to quiet her. This can cause severe injury,
even death, to a small child.
Here are some tips that may work sometimes
with your colicky baby:
• Rock your baby gently.
• Talk to her in a soothing voice.
• Give her a pacifier.
• Using a warm water bottle on his abdomen might help relieve
possible abdominal tenderness.
• Feed your baby in an upright position for longer than 20 minutes
and burp well afterwards. If you feed your baby in less than 20
minutes, his tummy can get distended and irritated. Check the nipple
hole to make sure it is not too large.
• Try a car ride, quiet soothing music, a bouncy chair, or
swaddling. (wrapping him tightly in a blanket with feet and arms
• Avoid over-stimulation of your baby by having her around too many
• Let him sleep. Avoid being over-attentive during sleep time.
• Try combinations of any of the above.
• Lastly, realize that there may be nothing you can do to comfort
your baby at times. There is no reason to feel guilty about a
CALL 1061 OR SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL
ASSISTANCE If your baby has been crying for 3 hours or
more without stopping, the fussing has changed and the crying has
changed to high pitched, or you are afraid you might hurt your baby.