A colicky baby can make you feel anxious and uncertain. They may be  fussy or irritable, or they may cry for prolonged periods of time, but otherwise they seem healthy. This is a common problem among newborns; but we know that doesn’t make it any easier on you, or baby. It’s always distressing for you, as a parent, to hear the cries of your baby, but remember you are not alone.

This period will eventually pass, and your baby should be more comfortable before they’re 4 months old, though sometimes it can last up until 6 months.

There are some ways you can comfort your baby in the meantime, listed below, but don’t forget to look after yourself too. Try to get solid rest while your baby sleeps, and try going for some short walks with them. It will be a good change of scenery for both of you.

Signs and symptoms

Colic can appear when your baby is only a few weeks old, equally occurring in boys and girls, and breastfed and bottle-fed babies. They will usually cry intensely, clench their fists, go red in the face, bring their knees up tight to their tummy or arch their back. They might have a rumbling or a hard, bloated tummy with excessive wind after feeding, and you may feel like it’s impossible to settle them.

Comforting tips:

  • Cuddle your baby as much as you can when they’re crying.
  • Feed on demand. Smaller and more frequent meals can make digestion easier for them.
  • When feeding hold baby upright to stop baby swallowing air.
  • Burp your baby either halfway or at the end of feeding.
  • Keep baby upright for 15 minutes after feeding. You can put baby in a sling or carrier if you’re busy doing things.
  • Hold baby over your shoulder and gently rock.
  • Give baby a warm bath.
  • White noise in the background can help distract baby.
  • Gently rub baby’s back or tummy in a clockwise direction.
  • Take baby for a drive in the car.

What causes colic

The exact cause of colic is unknown but there could be a number of different reasons.

  • Your baby’s developing digestive system
  • Excess wind
  • Sensitivity to certain proteins