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Colic! Ways to Reduce the Pain Intensity

Updated: Jun 21, 2020

The term colic can refer to any healthy well fed baby who has uncontrollable crying more than 3 hrs a day, 3 days a week or more than 3 weeks. Colic begins at 2 weeks of age and lasts till 3-4 months to sometimes 6 months or even longer.

It is challenging for the parents as ‘colicky crying’ start late afternoons or early evenings with inconsolable crying and irritation.


The actual cause of colic is not known. Research suggests this may be related to a change in the level of hormones that control the movement of gut muscles. The other factors may be:

  • Tummy trouble- sensitivity to certain food.

  • Reflux/Heartburn- flowing back of stomach acid or milk.

  • Gas- swallowing of air while feeding or crying.

  • Over sensitivity- to stimulation.

How do you distinguish the colic crying to a normal crying?

If your child is Crying inconsolably (screaming), extending or pulling up the legs and passing gas while crying then the chances are that your baby may be suffering with colic.

At the same time, the above symptoms should not be neglected as in some children it can be due to infection, acid reflux, inflammation of nervous system, etc.

Ways to Prevent Colic:

  • Change the nipple of the bottle.

  • If breastfeeding, the mother can try avoiding certain food in her diet that are thought to cause allergy like dairy products, nuts, egg, caffeine, wheat, chocolate, certain vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, pulses and whole dals like kabuli channa, rajma, soya, etc. for 2 weeks. Include one food at a time after 2-3 days that can help you to guess the allergen.

  • Burp frequently to curb air swallowing.

  • If bottle feeding, avoid over feeding.

  • Try probiotics.( Check with your physician).

  • Change the milk protein in formula. From cows milk protein to soy protein or predigested hypoallergenic formula.

  • Try massaging the baby tummy gently with clockwise movements to help move along trapped poop.

As a parent you might get frustrated or paranoid when your baby is inconsolable.You can try to rock or swaddle the baby, sing a song, take for a ride. Other options could me:

  • Avoid too much bright light,

  • Give a warm bath and massage, place a warm bottle on the tummy, or hot sponge around the tummy.

  • Place your baby tummy down on your lap. Try any of these methods and sure they would help.

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