Colic in Babies: Causes, Signs, And Remedies

If your baby is younger than 3 months and cries uncontrollably for more than 3 hours in a day for more than 3 days in a week and over 3 weeks or more, he may have colic! Here’s what you need to know.

What is Colic?

Colic means sudden and excessive crying for no particular reason. Crying is normal in babies, as that is how they express discomfort and attract their parent’s attention. But if your baby cries for hours without any reason, he may have colic. It usually appears 2 to 3 weeks after their birth and disappears at about 4 to 6 months of age. Though it is disheartening to watch, colic is not serious and will gradually subside.

If you are a new parent, you should know that colic is quite common as it is present in up to 20% of babies. Colic can be seen in breastfed and bottle-fed babies, term and pre-term babies, as well as, boys and girls.

What Causes Colic in Infants?

There is no specific reason for colic in babies, but there may be certain triggers that can cause discomfort, such as:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Immature digestive system
  • Food intolerance or allergies
  • Ingesting gas while feeding
  • Mother’s diet and lifestyle during pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Imbalance of healthy gut bacteria

Signs of Colic in Babies

  • Difference in Cry

A colicky baby will give out high-pitched loud wails.

  • Cries at a particular time

Colicky babies may have crying bouts around the same time, every day.

  • Posture

Colicky babies generally arch their back, clench their fists, and curl their legs while crying.

  • Physical signs

A flushed face, frequent burping, and a tighter tummy are signs of colic.

Medical Treatment for Colic in Babies

  • Probiotics

Probiotics have good bacteria that keep your baby’s intestines healthy. Your baby’s paediatrician may recommend this.

  • Medication

Your doctor may prescribe medicine to relieve gas and ease colic.

  • Change in Formula Milk

If colic is a result of lactose intolerance or allergies, the doctor may prescribe a non-milk based formula for your baby.

Home Remedies for Colic in Babies

  • Warm Bath

A warm water bath relaxes the body and helps babies sleep better. Bathe your baby in warm water every night. Gently stroke his tummy while bathing to relieve gas.

  • Burp your Baby

Babies inhale air while feeding, which get trapped and causes abdominal pain. To avoid this, place your baby in an upright position and burp him after every feed.

  • Knee exercise

Knee bending relieves gas problems and colic. Lay your baby down on his back and bend his knees, pushing them towards the tummy. Repeat this four to five times.

How to Soothe a Colicky Baby

  • Sing and Talk

Babies find their parent’s voice soothing and it helps them cope with the pain.

  • Rocking

Find out which position gives maximum comfort to your baby, and rock him.

  • Distract

Take your baby out on a car ride or stroller to distract him from the discomfort.

  • Hold your baby in an upright position

This helps the digestion process and prevents reflux.

When Should You Consult a Doctor?

Consult your doctor if your baby:

  • Develops diarrhea or there are traces of blood in the stools
  • Has a fever ranging from 37.7 degrees Celsius or more
  • Is not feeding or gaining weight properly
  • Vomits often
  • Is sleepy or groggy most of the time

A word from HealthFacts to you

Handling colicky babies can be difficult, but be patient and soothe your baby. Colic will gradually fade as your baby grows older, so don’t stress. Above all, never shake your baby.

Suggested Reading: Shaken Baby Syndrome: What You Need To Know