Typical signs of colic
For a few days now, your adorable little baby, who up until now has amazed you with their calm nature and regular growth, cries repeatedly throughout the day and several times during the night. They are more irritable than normal and are inconsolable in their "unhappiness". What is more, this unhappiness is causing your baby to produce high-pitched screaming the like of which you could not have imagined in your wildest dreams! Combined with your tiredness, you are finding it harder and harder to cope with this sudden change in attitude. In a word, you are scared! This is normal.
You should, of course, check with a healthcare professional, but what your baby is experiencing is almost certainly colic. Good news: your child's health is not at risk. Secondly: it will only last a few weeks!
What is colic?
Stomach ache, both intense and frequent. Your baby cries, is agitated (won't stop wriggling) and passes wind. According to statistics, almost 20% of babies, both breastfed and bottle fed, between the age of two weeks and three to four months suffer from colic. Colic should not be confused with diarrhoea, where the stools are abundant and, in some cases, frequent.
There can be several causes of colic: an immature nervous and digestive system, parents' anxiety perceived by the baby, overfeeding, intolerance to infant formula or overly frequent changes in formula.
If your baby has had the above symptoms for several days, make an appointment with your healthcare professional so they can confirm it is indeed colic.
What you can do at home!
Here are some little tips you can use to help your baby.
What to do:
- If you are breastfeeding: avoid spicy foods, members of the cabbage family (cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc.) and beans, which are a source of flatulence. Only give your baby one breast at each feed so they get the "thick milk" (at the end of the feed) which can prevent colic.
- If you are bottle-feeding: limit air intake via the teat as much as possible, try an anti-reflux bottle which reduces aerophagia, make sure you burp your baby properly, don't change formula without seeking the advice of a healthcare professional and make sure you use the exact correct quantities of powder and water.
- Massage your baby's stomach gently in a clockwise direction, place a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel on their tummy (heat is excellent for relieving pain), use your baby carrier or sling as much as possible, as being vertical will ease your baby's pain (an absence of colic has been observed in countries where children are carried almost permanently during the day).
What you should know:
Sucking calms intestinal pain and your baby will want to feed all the time. The risk, of course, is that they overfeed, resulting in - you've guessed it - stomach ache!
Get full access to expert-backed nutrition support
Curated content based on your preferences
Learn about various feeding options and what each means for you and your baby
Tailored Practical Tools
Try our tailored practical tools to guide you through the parenting journey.
My First 1000 Days club
Customised notifications, reminders and newsletters
Still haven't found what you are looking for?
Try our new smart question engine. We'll always have something for you.