Newborn Baby

What is colic in babies, and what are its causes?

It can be a Herculean task to deal with an infant who goes on crying for hours at a stretch, putting all your efforts to soothe it in vain. If your house echoes with long and unpleasant wails every single night accompanied by clenched fists and a red and swollen face, you could very well be a member of the club of parents with colic babies. Let’s understand the basics of new-born colic and how to address it.

What is colic?

In reality, every single baby cries. It is because crying is the only way in which a new-born can communicate its needs for its parents to respond and meet. What is baffling is that a colic baby doesn’t have any particular reason for being that way. It is just a series of symptoms and a catch-all term with no cure. It goes away on its own in no time. Newborn colic is very common and occurs in about 1 in 5 babies.

A colic baby can go on crying for hours altogether, sometimes way into the night. What is more frustrating is that all your efforts to calm it down are likely to yield no good results. Yet, there is a rule of three that doctors use to diagnose a colic baby. If your baby is crying –

  • At least three hours every day
  • For three days a week
  • For three consistent weeks

It has new-born colic. Yet, there is nothing to worry about as we are here to ease the process for you.

What are the causes of colic pain in babies?

The exact factors that lead to new-born colic are still unknown. However, experts have consensually agreed that it isn’t due to anything during pregnancy and childbirth. It is also not influenced by genetics or anyone’s fault. Let’s discuss some theories for factors leading to colic pain in babies which can help you calm and control it –

1. Overstimulated senses

New-borns have a built-in mechanism to turn off sights and sounds around them. By the end of the first month, this mechanism starts decreasing in efficiency, and some babies undergo a sensory overload. By the end of the day, they get frustrated and cry relentlessly. With time, the baby learns how to avoid a sensory overload, and the colic pain in babies goes away.

2. Underdeveloped digestive system

Digesting food can be stressful on the brand new gastrointestinal systems of the babies. Sometimes the food may pass through too quickly and lead to gas which causes intestinal pain.

Moreover, if the baby doesn’t burp after feeding, it can lead to bloating and abdominal pain. Babies tend to swallow air during feeding, which can lead to colicky behaviour. niñio bottles are well designed with anti-colic teats to prevent gas intake and colic in babies.

3. Food allergies

A colic pain in babies may also be due to an allergy to cow milk proteins or formula milk. Certain food in the mom’s diet can lead to an allergy in new-borns which can cause colic pain in babies.

4. Tobacco exposure

A good rule of thumb is to avoid smoking yourself and not being around anyone smoking near your baby. It causes a host of health problems, and you’d be better off without it. There are several studies to prove that moms who smoke during or after pregnancy have colic babies. Passive smoking also plays a role in this regard.


1. Can you prevent colic pain in babies?

Though the precise reasons for new-born colic are still unknown, you can take preventive measures like –

  • Stay happy and healthy during your pregnancy. A stressed mom will lead to a stressed baby.
  • Keep a tab of your child’s awake times. New-borns who sleep frequently during the day are less colicky.
  • Rest and avoid over-stimulating your baby after 4 pm. Stay indoors in a comfortable space to help them rest well.
  • If you have a colic baby, watch out for signs of overstimulation. If you spot it looking away, sucking on its hands, or grizzling, try to calm it down by bedtime to avoid the situation.
  • Movements can greatly soothe a colic baby. A swinging chair or rocker is a fantastic option.

2. When does colic pain in babies start?

The consoling part is that colic pain in babies comes with an expiry date. It starts when the baby is two to three weeks old and even later in premature babies. It reaches its peak in six weeks and gradually reduces by 10 to 12 weeks.

By three months you will notice that your colic baby has started enjoying more good days than bad ones. The colic seems to be magically cured, and the good days outnumber the bad ones until the bad days stop altogether.

Meanwhile, you can read up on the below to prepare yourself to face the situation.

3. What are the symptoms of colic?

Here are some sure-fire signs of a colic baby –

  • As discussed earlier, colic follows the rule of three – three hours a day, for three days a week for three weeks in a row.
  • The baby starts crying at approximately the same time every day. It is more common around late afternoon or early evening.
  • You have checked the diaper; the baby is well-fed and rested and still seems to cry for no reason.
  • A colic babyshows more vigorous movements like clenching of fists and pulling up of legs.
  • Your baby’s eyes are closed or wide open, and the brows are furrowed.
  • There is an increase in bowel movements. Notice any passing of gas or spitting up.
  • The crying disrupts the eating and sleeping pattern of the baby. It may suck on a nipple for a while but end up crying eventually. The baby may also wake up from its sleep all of a sudden and start crying loudly.

The bottom line

If you notice excessive crying in your baby, start by seeing a qualified paediatrician. Once the doctor rules out any dangerous causes, it will help you feel better. Besides, a confirmation from the doctor that you have a colic baby will be reassuring, and you can get a few extra tips to weather the storm. Remember, this too shall pass.

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One thought on “What is colic in babies, and what are its causes?

  1. vinod says:

    At 6 months, get ready to start introducing solids to your baby. The safest option is to start with Plain Rice Porridge and gradually move onto Rice and Moong Dal Porridge and Sprouted Ragi Porridge.

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