Dr. MJ Bazos MD, Patient Handout
Colic - Learning how to deal with your baby’s crying

How does a baby with colic act?
They cry more than most babies—a lot more. When they cry, they may draw their arms and legs toward their bodies and may seem like they’re in pain. Sometimes they stretch out their arms and legs and stiffen, then draw up again. They may even turn bright red from crying. A baby with colic may cry in bouts or may cry almost all of the time. When your baby cries, he or she may swallow air. This may give your baby gas and make your baby’s tummy look swollen and feel tight.

What causes colic?
No one is sure what causes colic. But we do know it’s not the parents’ fault. Colic isn’t caused by the way the baby is handled or treated. It may be caused by stomach pain. Babies with colic seem to need more attention and are more sensitive to the things around them than other babies.

How long will the colic last?
Colic usually starts between the second and sixth week after birth. It almost always goes away by the time the baby is six months old.

What can I do to help my baby stop crying?
Babies who have colic may stop crying in response to a number of different things you do. These things include changes in the way you feed your baby and changes in the way you hold your baby. You can also try any of the things listed below to see if they help your baby stop crying.

Things to remember about colic:

What changes in feeding may help my baby stop crying?
Try any of the things listed below when you feed your baby to see if they help him or her stop having colic.

Tips on soothing your baby

What about how I hold my baby?
Sometimes babies with colic will respond to different ways of being held
or rocked.
• Hold your baby across your lap and massage his or her back.
• Hold your baby on top of a running dishwasher, washing machine
or dryer (don’t leave your baby alone).
• Hold your baby upright.
• Hold your baby while walking.

What can I do when I feel frustrated with my baby?
Colic can be very hard for parents to handle. Babies who don’t stop crying can be frustrating to care for. Any time you feel tired and frustrated, get someone else to watch your baby for a while. If you can’t find anyone to help you, try going into another room and watching TV or listening to the radio. Crying will not hurt your baby. Be sure you give yourself time away from your baby so you don’t get too frustrated.

Call your family doctor if: