Colic in Babies: What Is It and What To Do

by Estella Goh
5 years ago

newborn baby crying from colic

New parents have a steep learning curve when it comes to understanding what your baby needs. 

While it is part of normal development for your baby to cry, it can be a huge challenge when you have a healthy baby and you have attended to all his possible needs but your baby is still cranky. 

When that happens, your baby might be experiencing colic.

Signs and symptoms of colic in babies

The condition of colic in babies may be difficult to determine at first, but there are some signs and symptoms you may watch out for that helps to differentiate whether your baby is crying for his usual needs, or if they are colicky.

Crying for no apparent reason

There is nothing physically wrong with your baby and all his usual needs are satisfied, but your baby is still crying incessantly for no apparent reasons and is inconsolable.

Regular, intense crying episodes

Intense crying episodes occur usually in the late afternoons and evenings and lasts for 2 to 3 hours.

Passing gas or stools after crying

Your baby expels gas and passes stools at the end of each unexplainable crying episode.

What causes colic

Nobody is exactly clear as to what causes colic as it is a poorly understood condition. However, according to SingHealth, some possible causes of colic in babies may be attributed to the following factors.


The primary caretaker(s) may be distressed, anxious or unable to cope with taking care of your baby. 

Allergies or intolerance

Your baby may be allergic to certain proteins in their milk formula, or is experiencing lactose malabsorption, which is the inability to digest certain sugars in milk.

Gut issues

Your baby might be having problems with his gut, such as having abnormal or excessive gut hormones.


Your baby might simply be throwing a tantrum because of an agitated temperament.

The above causes are purely speculative. Hence, it is recommended that a thorough examination is done to rule out medical causes for the unstoppable crying before you adopt methods that may work in soothing colic babies.

Soothing colic in babies

Soothing colic in babies may seem like an insurmountable task, but there are some techniques which could help to calm your baby down.

Taking care of yourself

Take a break from caregiving by requesting for help or, at least, confide and share your feelings with your spouse, friend or family to relieve these feelings. Self-care is of paramount importance to sustain your capacity to take care of your baby.

Establish a routine

When your baby knows what to expect, they can be comforted by the sense of familiarity. Establishing a regular daily routine could be the trick to a more settled baby.

Tone down the stimulation

Your baby might be over-stimulated. You could try turning down the lights, speaking softly but slowly to your baby and providing low-level background noise, such as a fan, or playing repetitive sounds like lullabies softly.

Comfort your baby

Some ways to try soothing your baby include giving baby a warm bath, singing softly or giving your baby a pacifier, as sucking is a soothing activity for babies. Alternatively, try giving your baby a massage, as touch is one of the most comforting senses for your baby.

Keep your baby in motion

Engage baby in rhythmic rocking and comforting pats. You baby might also enjoy a car ride, a walk or gentle swaying on your knees with their tummies facing downwards. 


Success in soothing colic babies may not come easy – your baby might be fussing over different things on different days, and you might have to try different approaches to calm him down.  

However, do remember that colic is temporary and will normally improve as your baby grows older. This too shall pass.