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Colic in Babies: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Welcoming a new baby into the daily is an exciting task but comes with many challenges. One common problem that many parents deal with is colic. Colic is characterized by frequent crying and fussiness in a healthy baby. In this blog, we will discuss what colic is, what are the causes, symptoms, treatment, prevention strategies, and much more. 

What is Colic?

Colic is characterized by frequent crying and fussiness in a healthy baby. For parents, colic may be especially difficult because there seems to be no reason for the baby's pain and soothing them doesn't appear to help.

Colic episodes often reach their peak around 6 weeks of birth and start to decrease around 3 or 4 months of age. The exact cause of colic is unknown, but it is a self-limiting condition, meaning it resolves on its own without causing long-term harm.

Symptoms of Colic

Prolonged periods of severe weeping, usually in the late afternoon or evening, are the defining sign of colic. Additional symptoms include:

  • The baby screams even when they do not need a diaper change, are hungry, or are tired.
  • Colic episodes usually happen in the evening, at around the same time every day.
  • A baby experiencing colic may grip its hands tightly.
  • The baby’s face may turn red due to excessive crying.
  • The infant may have an uneasy or rigid stomach.
  • The infant may bring their legs up to their stomach in an attempt to ease pain.
Causes of Colic

While the exact cause of colic is unknown, there are a few possibilities that have been proposed:

  • According to some doctors, bloating and gas may result from an underdeveloped digestive system, which might cause colic.
  • Colic can occasionally be brought on by an allergy or intolerance to particular proteins in breast milk or formula.
  • Infants are highly sensitive to their surroundings. Overstimulating the infant all day long may cause colic episodes as a stress-relieving mechanism.
  • Another theory states that colic may be caused by an imbalance in the gut microbiota of the baby.
  • An infant's behavior may occasionally be impacted by high levels of stress in parents, which may result in symptoms similar to colic.
How Long Does Colic Last in Babies?

A newborn usually develops colic between the ages of two and three weeks, peaking at six weeks. Most babies with colic get over it by the time they're three or four months old. It can, however, occasionally last longer—up to six months of age.

Diagnosis of Colic

Eliminating any additional potential causes for prolonged crying is a necessary step in diagnosing colic. Usually, a healthcare professional will.

Take a Detailed History: This involves finding out about the infant's bowel habits, eating habits, and general behavior.

Physical Examination: For ruling out any underlying medical conditions, such as food allergies, reflux, or infections.

Evaluation of Symptoms: If a baby screams for more than three hours a day, more than three days a week, for at least three weeks, the condition is commonly labeled as colic.

Treatment of Colic

Although there isn't one colic remedy that works for all babies, the following techniques can help calm an irritable baby:

Burping: Regular burping can help to prevent gas accumulation both during and after meals.

Comfort Measures: Using a Pacifier, rocking, and swaddling can all be helpful.

Warm Baths: A warm bath may calm a fussy baby. 

White Noise: Calming background sounds can be produced by a white noise machine or fan can soothe babies. 

Dietary Adjustments: Reducing possible allergens from a mother's diet, such as dairy, coffee, or spicy foods, may be beneficial. Shifting the move to a hypoallergenic formula for newborns that are fed formula may prove advantageous.

Probiotics: Some research demonstrates that probiotics such as Lactobacillus reuteri, can reduce the symptoms of colic in babies. 

Risk Factors

Certain factors can increase the likelihood of developing colic in babies,

Age: Age is a very common factor, especially in the first few months. Feeding Method: Both formula feeding and breastfeeding can cause colic.  Parental Factors: High levels of anxiety and depression in parents can develop colic in babies. 

Family History: Family history is another contributing factor as colic can run in families. 


Though colic can’t cause harm in the long term it can present some complications which are:

Increased Risk of Postpartum Depression: The excessive stress associated with handling a colic baby may be more susceptible to postpartum depression in mothers. 

Parental Stress: Colic is stressful for the parents, contributing to an increase in anxiety and stress. 

Bonding Issues: Having a colicky infant can cause stress and frustration that can affect the parent-child relationship. 


Colic is a frequent, mostly harmless disease that goes away on its own, despite its challenges. Parenting at this challenging time can be made easier if they are aware of the signs, causes, and available treatments. If your baby exhibits symptoms of colic, speak with a healthcare professional to rule out other possible problems and determine the most effective ways to calm your child. Recall that colic is a transitory condition that will eventually pass, bringing you and your child better days.

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