Colic; Why Your Baby Cries So Much

Most new mothers will hear this word and even use it a lot. A cranky baby could be really trying as inexperienced first-time parents. There are times when despite your best efforts, it appears like there is nothing you can do to stop the baby crying. Colic is the usual culprit responsible for cranky babies. Unfortunately, colic leads to depression, worsens post-partum depression and anxiety within the family. Furthermore, a colicky baby can cause stress to the relationship of the parents or other adults, and even lead to cases of child abuse. Colic causes inconsolable crying sometime between the 2nd and 4th week.

When a baby cries inconsolably for about 3hours straight in a day, with a distended abdomen and usually at evening time, it is likely colic. It becomes worse at about the 6th week and usually continues well into the 3rd or 4th month. Colicky crying in babies can persist till the 6 month mark, but rarely longer than that. Colicky crying can be really annoying, the baby cries most hours of the day, and will be extending and cramping the limbs. About 1 in 5 kids will experience colic between weeks 2 and 4, it is even between both girls and boys.

Causes of Colic In Children

There has never been a conclusive cause of colic in children. There are a lot of postulations about what causes colic. Colic was believed to be related to hyperperistalsis of the digestive tubes. Here are some of the most common attributed causes.

Various causes proposed, but no definite one.
Baby being bottle-fed
  1. Some people believe that colic is caused by gastrointestinal discomfort such as cramps.
  2. Sensitivity to stimulation. This is when a child can’t regulate their nervous system, or their nervous system is immature and they are unable to self-console.
  3. For babies undergoing exclusive breastfeeding, colic can be caused by reaction of the child to certain foods in the mother’s diet. High-allergenic foods can be causative.
  4. On rare occasions, colic can be caused by sensitivity to milk proteins in formula.
  5. Colicky crying can also be a sign of an underlying medical condition.


  1. Prolonged hours of crying, over 3 to 4 hours of prolonged crying in a day, especially in the evenings.
  2. High-pitched screaming.
  3. Wrinkled brows and clenched fists
  4. Extending and retracting the legs continuously.
  5. Distended abdomen.

When to See The Doctor

Constant crying is an obvious sign of discomfort in a baby. To determine whether the cause is something more serious and potentially dangerous, there are likely to be other symptoms. These additional symptoms, if noticed, should be immediately brought to the knowledge of a pediatrician.

Some symptoms of colic may include a distended stomach and gas
Sick baby
  • An elevated fever.
  • Weight-loss or slow relative weight-gain for an infant.
  • Irregular stooling
  • Constant vomiting of greenish or yellowish stuff.
  • Highly irritable
  • Lethargy/Weakness/Inactivity

Treatment and Preventive Measures

Lay baby flat on their stomach
  1. Reduce consumption of possibly high-allergenic foods such as dairy, onions, beans.
  2. Change to protein hydrolysate formula; which the baby might not find as tasty and are also more expensive.
  3. Lay the baby on your their stomach and atop your knees and gently rock then so that the pressure on the stomach can make them more comfortable.
  4. Rock the baby and run the washing machine or the vacuum cleaner so the monotonous hum will put the baby to sleep.
  5. There is no definite medication, however the use of anti-cholinergics reduce colicky symptoms.
  6. Evidence offered for the use of pro-biotics is uncertain.
  7. Hydrolysate protein formula

Dealing with a colicky baby can be really trying. Mothers as well as fathers, tend to get overworked and frustrated. Depression among new parents is a common occurrence when the child is irritable. Some studies show post-partum depression is higher with a colicky child. So, if you are getting worked up, get help and take some time off for yourself to rest. Shaking the baby out of frustration is child abuse and could lead to brain damage, blindness and even


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