Colic in Babies: Essential

Disclaimer: This blog provides general information on child health and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

Navigating the challenges of infant colic with expert advice and scientific insights.

Welcoming a new baby into the world is a joyous occasion, but it can also bring unexpected challenges. One such challenge that many parents face is colic—a condition marked by prolonged periods of inconsolable crying in an otherwise healthy infant. This blog post aims to demystify colic, offering a clear understanding of the condition, its potential causes, and a range of strategies to manage it, backed by scientific references and expert advice.

What is Colic?

Colic is more than just regular crying. It’s defined as episodes of crying for more than three hours a day, for more than three days a week, for three weeks in an otherwise healthy child. Colic typically begins within the first few weeks of life and usually resolves by the time the infant is three to four months old. But what exactly causes this distressing condition?

Prevalence of Colic

Colic is a common condition, affecting approximately 20% of infants worldwide. This means that one in every five families may experience the challenges of colic during their infant’s early months [3].

Potential Causes of Colic

The exact cause of colic remains elusive, but several theories have been proposed. Some researchers suggest that colic may be linked to the immaturity of the digestive system, leading to gas or abdominal discomfort. Others believe it could be related to a baby’s temperament or an overstimulated sensory system. Factors such as maternal smoking, infant feeding methods, and maternal mental health can also play a role [1].

Soothing Techniques for Colicky Infants

Managing colic involves a variety of soothing techniques. Gentle rocking, swaddling, and soft white noise can be comforting for some infants. Other strategies include:

Providing a warm bath

Offering a pacifier

Using gentle massage techniques

Taking the baby for a car ride or stroller walk

Implementing a consistent, calming bedtime routine

Personal Anecdote: A Parent’s Journey Through Colic

“During those first few months, it felt like we were walking on eggshells, trying to keep our little one calm,” shares Priya, a mother of a once colicky infant. “It was a cycle of trial and error, but eventually, we found that a combination of white noise and gentle rocking worked wonders for our son. It was a challenging time, but it taught us patience and the importance of understanding our baby’s unique needs.”

Dietary Considerations for Breastfeeding Mothers

For breastfeeding mothers, certain foods in your diet could potentially irritate your baby’s immature digestive system. Common irritants may include dairy products, caffeine, spicy foods, and certain vegetables like onions and cabbage. It’s crucial to consult with a paediatrician before making any dietary changes.

The Role of Probiotics

Probiotics, particularly Lactobacillus reuteri, have shown promise in reducing colic symptoms in breastfed infants [2]. These beneficial bacteria may help balance the gut microbiome, potentially easing digestive discomfort. However, it’s essential to consult with a paediatrician for personalised advice before introducing probiotics.

Dr. Garima Mengi at KinderCure: “Colic can be deeply distressing for both infants and parents. It’s important to approach this challenge with patience and a variety of strategies. Remember, every child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Always consult with a paediatrician for personalised advice tailored to your child’s needs.”

When to Seek Help

While colic is generally not harmful, certain signs warrant immediate medical attention. These include:

A high fever

Vomiting or diarrhoea

Blood in the stool

Difficulty breathing

Poor feeding or weight loss

If you notice any of these red flags or if you’re concerned about your infant’s crying, don’t hesitate to reach out to a healthcare professional for personalised advice.

The Emotional Toll of Colic

Colic can take a significant emotional toll on parents. Feelings of helplessness, frustration, and exhaustion are common. It’s important to seek support, whether it’s from family, friends, support groups, or mental health professionals. Remember, taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your baby.

Conclusion: Navigating Colic with Compassion and Understanding

Colic is a temporary but trying period for both infants and parents. By understanding the condition, exploring its potential causes, and employing a variety of management strategies, families can navigate this challenging time. Remember, you’re not alone, and support is available.


[1] Sung, V., Collett, S., de Gooyer, T., Hiscock, H., Tang, M., & Wake, M. (2018). Probiotics to Prevent or Treat Excessive Infant Crying: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Pediatrics, 142(6), e20171811.

[2] Indrio, F., Di Mauro, A., Riezzo, G., Civardi, E., Intini, C., Corvaglia, L., Ballardini, E., Bisceglia, M., Cinquetti, M., Brazzoduro, E., Del Vecchio, A., Tafuri, S., & Francavilla, R. (2014). Prophylactic Use of a Probiotic in the Prevention of Colic, Regurgitation, and Functional Constipation: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Pediatrics, 168(3), 228–233.

[3] Wessel, M. A., Cobb, J. C., Jackson, E. B., Harris, G. S. Jr., & Detwiler, A. C. (1954). Paroxysmal fussing in infancy, sometimes called colic. Pediatrics, 14(5), 421–435.