Colic is whereby a healthy baby cries for hours without settling down and for no apparent reason. The baby can be fussy for long hours in a day, with high pitched cries and is difficult to soothe.

Various Symptoms of Colic in Babies

Although the baby may seem well fed and healthy, colic can be pretty much uncomfortable and wears out both the parents, well, and the baby too! Below are some symptoms you can look out for to know to know if your baby is affected by it:

  • Changed posture – the baby will clench its fists, draw its knees, arch its back and experience abdominal muscles.
  • Intense crying – your baby may cry furiously and intensely and there is nothing anyone can do for comfort. Episodes of crying could occur every day at the same time mostly in the afternoon and at night. These episodes can last for up to hours.
  • Gas– the baby is likely to pass gas during episodes of immense crying
  • Feeding – the baby may not reduce the amount of food that they eat but during episodes of  crying, they will not feed well.

What Causes Colic in Babies?

The exact cause of colic in infants is not well known hence there is no clear solution on how it can be settled.

Some say the baby prefers the environment in the womb and needs time to adjust to life outside. Other Kenyan moms will try to convince you that the baby needs solid food to feel full. None of these are proven to be true just as the following theories: 

  • Hormones which cause a fussy mood and stomach pains
  • A developing nervous system
  • A developing digestive system
  • Muscles that spasm often
  • Gas
  • Overstimulated senses
  • Infant acid reflux
  • Oversensitivity

Remedies For Colic

As much as the crying will exhaust and frustrate both you and the baby, consider the following soothing strategies that might help to ease the intense episodes.

  • Respond to the cries – you can respond promptly by running to the baby’s side as this shows a positive way of communicating to the baby’s needs.  
  • Create a calm environment – make the environment as peaceful as possible because this will help the baby to relax.  Keep the room minimal with noise and dim the lights.
  • Limit excitement –  avoid exposing the baby to visitors and stimulating environments especially in the evening or late afternoon.
  • Apply pressure to the tummy – when pressure has been placed on the abdomen, some babies will be relieved as they find the touch soothing.
  • Burp – try and burp the baby because sometimes it could control the inconsolable fussiness.
  • Antigas drops – if possible, consult with a pediatrician about gas drops which can break gas bubbles and relieve the symptoms.

When You Should Consult a Doctor

As a way of getting assurance, you can talk to your doctor or pediatrician for strategies that may work. Consultation will also enable the doctor to rule out any possible or underlying medical abnormalities such as an ear infection, reflux, allergies and so forth.


#Please note that development differs from one child to another

# Content intended for educational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor.

Last reviewed January 2019

Sources: webmd, medicalnewstoday, whattoexpect

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