What Is Colic?

| Pediatric Care

Definition of Colic

Colic is a condition affecting 1 out of every 4 newborn babies, and it is predominantly known for its most notable symptom: crying. Lots of crying can indicate illness, but babies that cry over three hours on most days in a week for nearly a month or more could likely have colic. When babies appear to be in prolonged distress for no known reason, and nothing seems to console them, they could be having a colic episode.

While the cause of colic has yet to be determined by researchers, there are some potential contributing factors to consider, many of which stem from the digestive system. Others include migraines and anxiety-inducing environmental stressors. Smoking during pregnancy and post-delivery has been shown to increase the risk of colic, but the condition itself does not cause persisting medical problems.

Colic's Common Subtle Symptoms

Symptoms of colic are difficult to identify, so it is important to be highly observant. Don't feel bad if you don't recognize the symptoms of colic right away as babies tend to cry at different levels naturally. Specifically, check patterns in behavior and physical signs of stress. Here are common thins to look for.

  • Crying for no reason
  • Intensified crying
  • Evening episodes
  • Bodily tensions

Colic can sometimes be managed to alleviate symptoms, but there isn't a cure to eliminate it.

infant crying

Fighting Fussiness and Managing Colic

This condition becomes most apparent around 5 weeks and subsides when babies are about 3 months old. For their first 3 months, babies can be generally fussy. Soothing a baby with colic can be a struggle, but there are some things you can try to relieve symptoms.

  • back rub
  • Stroller ride
  • Warm bath
  • Play music
  • Different bottle
  • 5 S's - Swaddling, side/stomach positioning while being held, shushing, swinging/swaying and sucking
  • Switching formula (avoid frequent switches)
  • Infant probiotic drops

If nothing seems to lessen your baby's symptoms, visit Schneck Pediatrics to confirm an underlying condition isn't causing the distress. From there, you can receive a diagnosis.

Care at Schneck

Help our pediatricians help you. While there isn't a simple test to determine if your baby has colic, our pediatric care providers can offer a diagnosis by eliminating possible causes for crying and discussing your observations. By sharing your experiences, we'll be able to talk through potential remedies and connect you with parental support systems.

Remember that parents also need to care for themselves. It's okay to ask for help and take time for yourself. Seeing your baby in distress can be incredibly difficult, stressful, and even frustrating when your baby has colic or excessive crying. Please remember it is never safe to shake a crying baby. Know that your team at Schneck is standing by to answer any questions you might have.

Your Pediatric Care Providers

Our physicians at Schneck Pediatrics are here to help you and your baby lead a healthy life.

Benefit Your Baby

At Schneck Pediatrics, we care for children from the moment they are born, and into adulthood. Together our team will be here for you. Our clinic has walk-in hours for urgent concerns. Schedule an appointment with one of our pediatricians and get great care.

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Doctor Lisa Snow

About the Author

Lisa M. Snow DO

Dr. Lisa Snow is a pediatrician with Schneck Pediatrics.