Colic is very common and usually appears when babies are around 2–4 weeks old.
Colic is a term used to describe excessive, uncontrollable crying or fussing in babies who are otherwise healthy and well fed.
Babies with colic may cry inconsolably for hours, usually in the late afternoon and evening. At other times they may be restless, cranky, and difficult to settle. A baby with colic may seem to be uncomfortable or have wind pain, drawing their legs up and clenching their fists.
It’s not known exactly what causes colic, but some possible factors are:
An immature digestive system
Excess gas or “wind”
Too much or too little milk, or milk given the wrong way
Oversensitivity to light, noise and other stimuli
The good news is colic tends to go away on its own by the time a baby is around 4 months old.
It’s completely normal for babies to cry, and most babies will cry for a few hours every day. But if your baby
constantly cries and fusses for no apparent reason, or they seem to have colicky abdominal pain, they may
be suffering from colic.
Unexplained crying for over 3 hours a day, more than 3 times a week
Pulling the legs up to the stomach, or arching the back
Becoming red in the face or clenching the fists
Passing of excessive wind
A protruding belly
Symptoms tend to worsen in the evening and your baby may find it difficult to fall and stay asleep.
Colic is usually not serious and babies continue to eat and gain weight normally. In between bouts of crying, they may seem perfectly happy. But trying to cope with an inconsolable baby can be exhausting and can create stress and anxiety for your family.
It’s important to see your doctor if your baby is unusually distressed or crying constantly to rule out any other medical conditions.
If your baby has colic you can also consider the following to help relieve their discomfort:
Burping your baby frequently
Wrapping your baby snugly
Walking around to comfort them
A gentle back or tummy rub
A calming bath
A different teat on the feeding bottle
Learn more about how you can help manage Colic
Breastfeeding is best for babies and has many benefits, such as protecting your baby from infection while their immune system develops. It is important that you eat a healthy, balanced diet in preparation for and during breastfeeding. Infant formula is designed to replace breast milk when an infant is not breastfed. Combining breast and bottle feeding in your baby’s first weeks of life may reduce your supply of breast milk, and reversing a decision not to breastfeed is difficult. The social and financial implications of using infant formula should be considered when choosing a method of feeding. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when preparing and using infant formula, including proper sterilisation of bottles and using boiled water. Improper use of an infant formula may make your baby ill. Always consult your doctor, midwife or health care professional for advice about feeding your baby.
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