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Decoding Colic In Infants

December 4, 2023

Imagine a newborn baby - their smiles, burps, sneezes, little fingers, and toes - all these are enough and more to make you feel blessed. As much as it is a joy to have a little one around, it also comes with a whole lot of responsibility and pretty much no ‘one-size-fits-all’ manual.

When you take your newborn baby home from the hospital, it will be a learning curve for you. This is the time when you will notice things like colour and texture of their poop, the number of times they’ve been fed, and the correlation between your diet and your baby’s health. Sometimes your baby’s behavior might leave you confused and you might not know why they aren't sleeping well and stuff like that.

‍Book an appointment to consult Dr. Madhavi R for pediatric concerns.

One thing about babies that is no surprise is the fact that they cry. They use this as a means of communicating about hunger, discomfort, pain, and even irritation. As parents, you’ll soon start identifying what kind of crying indicates what kind of emotion, and you will soon begin catering to your baby’s needs just on the basis of their cry. Sometimes, however, babies can cry incessantly for hours together. If you have tried everything under the sun to calm your baby down and they’ve already been fed, burped, and napped, it might leave you puzzled and sad.

Hi parents, welcome to the thing called Colic in infants.

Colic In Infants


If your baby is being unusually fussy, crying a lot, and is not getting comforted or calmed down by anything, it’s most likely to be a result of colic. These episodes of colic generally begin towards the end of the first month and can peak up to the third or fourth month. Episodes of colic do not just leave the baby distressed, but can be very upsetting for parents who try everything to soothe the baby but it just won’t work. While incessant crying can mean other things, here’s how you can check whether it's a case of colic or not.

Symptoms Of Colic

While crying is the primary symptom, here are some factors that you need to bear in mind.

  1. If the crying happens after the baby is fed, burped, and comfortable and there seems to be no apparent reason, it could be colic.
  2. If there is a pattern to the crying, especially a particular time during which it happens, then it could also be indicative of crying.
  3. Check if your baby is stiffening their muscles and limbs and arching their back. This is one way to identify that the crying is because of colic.

The challenge is the fact that there is no range of normalcy when it comes to crying in infants, which is why it's sort of difficult to define how much crying is alright and how much much should be concerning. However, with time, you’ll slowly pick up on the pattern and will be able to identify it. If they stop crying after passing gas and making a poop, it is in all likelihood a case of colic.

What Could Cause Colic?

This is a little bit of unknown territory and even though there has been research in this field, there are no definitive answers to this question. Cases of colic are often different in different babies, but here are some broadly accepted causes.

  1. If there is an imbalance of healthy bacteria in your baby’s digestive tract, it could cause episodes of colic.
  2. Babies are tender and so are their digestive systems. Their digestive system continues developing after birth and if it isn’t as well developed as it needs to be, it could trigger colic.
  3. Monitor your feeding. If you have been overfeeding or underfeeding, or have been using a specific brand of formula that doesn’t suit your baby, that could cause colic as well.

What To Do If Your Baby Has Colic?

If you suspect that your baby has colic, or you are unable to explain the crying, it’s best that you visit your doctor. As mentioned earlier, babies cry when they are in distress too, and sometimes, it’s hard to tell the difference. So, if you feel that your baby is crying a lot and there might be a problem, please seek medical attention. Your doctor will examine your baby, check their heartbeat, eyes, measure their height and weight, check for the head circumference, examine their joints and genitals, and will look for rashes and signs of allergies.

If they know that it’s colic, then they will share a number of measures to manage it. These include:

  1. Movement - Walking with your baby, taking them on a car ride, or simply rocking them helps.
  2. Keeping them warm - You can either swaddle them or try giving them a warm bath.
  3. Back rubs help. So do pacifiers.
  4. You can increase the white noise around them and decrease or dim the lighting.
  5. Try feeding them in an upright position

Change the brand of formula for a trial period if you are not breastfeeding.

Take Care Of Yourself

Managing your baby’s colic can stress you out. Take breaks and ask for help whenever you feel the need. Do not feel guilty and stop second-guessing yourself. Remember, it’s just a phase and the colic problem will get resolved after around four months so take it easy and seek medical help if you feel strongly that your baby is in distress.

Want to consult the Best Pediatricians in India? Please find the links below.

  1. ‍Best Pediatricians in Bangalore
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  12. Best Pediatricians in New Delhi
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