An Overview of Colic

Colic is a term sometimes use by health professionals to describe the very unsettled behaviour of a baby. In some cases reflux may be diagnosed.

In most cases it is not lasting and often occurs when a baby reaches two to four weeks and can last up to three months.

​Despite medical research, no one is certain what causes infant colic. A likely explanation may be the build-up of trapped gas/wind in your baby’s bowel.

Colic is not a serious medical condition however it can be very stressful for everyone in the house, as long periods of crying can leave you feeling tired, stressed and emotionally drained.

Symptoms include:

  • Persistent forceful crying, especially during the early evening
  • Cries can be intensely shrill and piercing
  • Tummy cramping (baby will draw up his knees in the foetal position)
  • Your baby will clench fists in a punching motion
  • Flatulence
  • Abdominal distension
  • Unsettled and irritable after feeding
  • Fussing while feeding
  • Occasionally these symptoms can also mean there is a burp that needs to come up or baby’s bowels need to move, however if you suspect your baby is suffering from colic or any other digestive problems it is best to consult your GP who will make suggestions on how to manage this.

Below are listed some very popular remedies used daily for wind and infant colic problems:

These can be bought at chemists and some supermarkets, and most of these can be used from birth.

​ These are homeopathic remedies and can also be bought from most chemists. ​

​Always read the instructions on the box or label before administering any medication to a young baby. ​

​If you are bottle-feeding, you could try anti-colic bottles. These bottles are specially designed to expel any air bubbles taken in when feeding.

Below is a list of anti colic bottles.

In the early days, adjusting to your newborn’s unsettled and confusing behaviour, you may feel overwhelmed by the conflicting information being offered. My advice to you is to always trust your parenting instincts. If your baby appears to be constantly uncomfortable and unsettled after feeds and you are getting very little sleep, contact your GP or health visitor, both of whom will help you to assess the situation. ​

​The use of a dummy sometimes helps to settle a baby who may have a tendency towards tummy flatulence, the rhythmic sucking of a dummy can also be an excellent settling aid to a tense and overtired little one. ​

​Baby massage can be very relaxing for both you and your baby especially babies with colic and tummy gripes. Try a little massage after baby’s evening bath. ​

​‘White noise’ has been shown to help calm babies under four months. ​

Motion is also soothing: rock your baby gently back and forth, swaddled in your arms or just walking quietly, until your baby relaxes and can be settled to sleep. ​

The use of a sling is often the solution for a busy mother. Popular slings include the following:

Cranial osteopathy

Many parents with colicky babies have tried osteopathy as a treatment for colic and this has had positive results for many. Osteopathy helps to relieve wind problems, the treatment can balance the rib cage, release tension through the diaphragm and help the baby relax. Most osteopaths have private practices, search for local ones in your area. You may also find you have access to a Osteopathic Children’s Centre, which may be available free to babies, for example, The Osteopathic Centre for Children, in London.

Recommended books and websites to read if you are having problems:

If you would like to share any of your remedies with other mothers, please email to [email protected]

Key Points To Take Away

  • Colic is a word used to describe a baby's unsettled behaviour
  • In most cases it’s not lasting and often occurs around week 4-6
  • See above list of symptoms and potential remedies
  • Your GP can help advise how to manage colic
  • Colic-like symptoms could mean your baby needs burping or needs his bowels to move
  • Trust your parenting instincts if you have health issues
  • Sometimes dummies can help with tummy flatulence or settling your baby