by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Colic is excessive crying in a baby who is otherwise healthy. It makes it hard to console the baby.
It usually starts between 2 and 6 weeks of age. The crying happens regularly over three weeks or more. It is more common in the late afternoon or evening.
The exact cause is not known.
Colic is common. Some things that may raise the risk are:
The main problem is crying episodes that last longer than three hours and make it hard to console the baby. A baby may also:
You will be asked about your baby's symptoms and health history. You will also be asked how your baby acts when crying, how long crying lasts, and when it happens. A physical exam will be done. This is enough to make the diagnosis in a baby that has no other health problems.
There is no cure for colic. Colic usually goes away on its own by the time a baby is 3 to 6 months of age.
Steps can be taken to manage symptoms. Options are:
Dietary and Feeding Changes
Some dietary changes that may help are:
Friendly bacteria known as probiotics may also be advised to ease crying.
Some comfort steps that may help are:
It is important for parents to take breaks from a baby's crying. The baby should be put in a safe crib or watched by another caregiver.
Probiotics may help to prevent colic in some babies.
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
Kids Health—Nemours Foundation
About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children
Caring for Kids—Canadian Paediatric Society
Colic. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/condition/colic. Accessed August 30, 2021.
Colic relief tips for parents. Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/crying-colic/Pages/Colic.aspx. Accessed August 30, 2021.
Infantile colic. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/infantile-colic. Accessed August 30, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Kari Kuenn, MD
Last Updated: 8/30/2021