Image Alt

Health Colic and Crying Babies

Health Colic and Crying Babies

Crying is a baby’s natural way to communicate their needs to their caregivers. Most of the time, once the baby’s needs are met, the crying stops. But for colicky babies, getting them to stop crying can be almost impossible.

So what causes colic in babies? Colic in infants is a behavioural condition where an otherwise healthy baby cries uncontrollably for no apparent reason. When an infant is colicky, their cries sound louder than normal, are high pitched and sound more like screams. It is a harmless condition that occurs in approximately one in every five infants and is more common in infants whose mother smoked during pregnancy.

Although there have been different studies on how do babies get colic, the truth is that no one knows what causes it. Many underlying factors have been explored including food allergies, imbalance of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract, digestive tract that is not fully developed, over or under feeding, gas build up, early childhood migraines and stress or anxiety. However, none of these hypotheses have been proven.

Doctors diagnose colic using the ‘rules of three’: an infant cries for at least three hours for three or more days per week for three or more consecutive weeks. Colic does not cause short or long-term complications, however if your infant is crying excessively, they should be seen by a doctor for a diagnosis and to rule out other possible illnesses or conditions.

When do babies become colic? Colic can start when an infant is two weeks old and usually peaks between four to six weeks of age. Although it may feel like it will never end leaving many parents to wonder ‘do babies outgrow colic?’ it does eventually subside. Most babies outgrow colic by three to four months of age.

How to deal with a colic baby

Dealing with a colic in infants can be emotionally draining for parents so it is important to take care of yourself as well. Finding ways that work to soothe your baby and getting help are important when dealing with a colicky baby.


How long do colicky babies cry for?

Colicky babies usually cry for three or more hours. It usually starts late afternoon or early evening. The crying typically starts around the same time every day.

How do you stop a colic baby from crying?

While there are no treatments, swaddling your infant, giving them a pacifier to suck on, placing them in a swing or going for a walk or car ride, positioning them on their side or stomach and playing soft music or white noise radio from radio or TV static, a running hair dryer or vacuum and shushing sounds can help.

Can breastmilk cause colic?

Research has shown breast milk does not cause colic.

Can overfeeding a baby cause colic?

Research has also shown that overfeeding a baby does not cause colic. However, if a baby is colicky, overfeeding them can cause further discomfort to the infant and intensify their cries.