Symptoms of Colic in Babies

We all know there are so many questions new parents have when they bring their precious little newborn home. Sleeping, feeding, are they warm enough, too cold, sterilisation, the list goes on but one of the most common questions is 'why is my baby crying so much'?

Usually it is just a case of 'well, babies just cry, it’s what they do'.   But sometimes it can be because of colic.  Colic in babies is fairly common and around one in five babies will suffer from it.  Colic is usually described as unexplained crying fits above normal and while no one is quite sure what causes colic, it is often blamed by trapped wind and abdominal cramps.  While it is not nice for either of you, colic isn't dangerous so you don't need to worry too much.

How do I know if my baby has colic?

What is a 'normal' level of crying to expect in a baby?  Try the rule of three as a guide: if your baby is crying intensely for three hours a day, three days a week, or for more than three weeks in a row, that is more than average and colic might be to blame.  Babies with colic will often pull their knees up to their chest, have a rigid back and clench their fists – that's something to look out for too.

What can I do about it?

Unfortunately there isn't a cure for colic but the good news is that it is not permanent and usually passes within three months.  Remember your baby isn't in danger, it can just be an enormously draining experience for all of you as babies with colic can be pretty unhappy customers!

Here are a few things that can help with a colicky baby:

Soothing motion  – a car ride, or a trip in the pram can make a difference

Burping –  gently burp your baby after feeds to help relieve wind

Check your diet – some common gas-causing foods like cabbage or caffeine can affect your breast milk and make your baby a bit windy. If you have concerns about your baby’s crying, always see your doctor or child health nurse so they can assess your baby.  Additionally if you’re finding it hard to cope, talk to your doctor, child health nurse, family or friends, you’ll be sure to find a sympathetic ear!