In a healthy infant, colic is marked by frequent, prolonged, and intense bouts of crying or fussiness. Parents often find colic particularly challenging because there appears to be no apparent reason for their baby’s discomfort, and soothing them doesn’t always provide relief. These episodes typically occur in the evenings, when parents are already fatigued.

Colic episodes tend to peak around the baby’s sixth week of life and gradually diminish by the time they reach three or four months of age. While the extended crying eventually subsides, managing colic can cause significant stress when caring for your newborn.

To address this situation, you can take steps to reduce your own stress, minimize the severity and duration of colic episodes, and build confidence in your relationship with your child.


Babies, especially during their initial three months of life, tend to cry and fuss. Defining what constitutes normal crying can be a complex endeavor. Colic is often identified as crying for three hours or more a day, on three or more days a week, and persisting for three weeks or longer.

Colic symptoms could include the following:

  • Apparent lack of cause for crying, as opposed to crying because of hunger or the need to change diapers
  • Prolonged, intense crying that resembles screaming or an indication of pain
  • Relentless fussiness even after the crying has stopped
  • Tension in the body, as shown by tense arms, clinched fists, arched backs, or pulled-up or stiffened legs.
  • Regular occurrence, with evenings being the most common time for episodes to occur
  • Discolorations of the face, such as flushing or blushing

Occasionally, when a baby has a bowel movement or releases gas, it can alleviate some of the symptoms. It’s probable that gas is produced from swallowing air during extended bouts of crying.

Persistent and uncontrollable crying may indicate colic or another source of discomfort. If your baby is crying excessively or displaying signs or symptoms of colic, it’s advisable to schedule a thorough evaluation with your child’s physician.


Colic’s etiology is uncertain. It could be caused by a variety of circumstances. Although many causes have been investigated, it is challenging for researchers to explain all the significant aspects, including why it typically starts late in the first month of life, how it differs in newborns, why it occurs at specific times of the day, and why it eventually goes away on its own.

Several potential contributory factors have been investigated, including:

  • An imbalance of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract
  • Not fully developed digestive system
  • Infrequent burping, underfeeding, or overfeeding
  • Intolerances or allergies to food
  • Stress or anxiety in the family
  • Childhood migraines (early form)

Risk factors

The causes of colic are not fully known. Studies have not demonstrated variations in risk when the following variables are taken into account:

  • The child’s gender
  • Babies who are breast or formula fed
  • Babies born full-term or preterm

Babies born to mothers who smoked either before or after giving birth are more likely to experience colic.