Colic can cause a baby to cry for a very long time, for no obvious reason. It is most common during the first 6 weeks of life. It usually goes away on its own by age 3 to 4 months. It may occur in up to 1 in 4 newborn babies.
Colic may be defined by the following criteria:
Colic is defined as when a baby’s crying:
Colicky crying is louder, more high-pitched, and more urgent sounding than regular crying. Colicky babies can be very hard to calm down
Burping often or passing a lot of gas. This is likely because of swallowing air while crying. It doesn’t cause colic.
Having a bright red (flushed) face
Curling up their legs toward their belly when crying
Clenching their fists when crying
Are unable to calm themselves: Some babies seem very sensitive to stimulation. Their nervous system is s immature. As babies get a little older, they are better able to control their nervous system. As this happens, usually colic goes away.
Being sensitive to gas: Excessive gas or trapped gas in the digestive system may be to blame for colic however there isn’t much proof to support this. If gas is an issue it may also be likely because he or she swallows more air while crying for longer periods of time.
Having a milk allergy or intolerance. Having a milk allergy, or an intolerance to cow's milk protein, may cause digestive pain. This is often also associated with loose stool (diarrhoea). A baby may have a milk allergy if he or she can't handle cow's milk and reacts to a change in formula. Note that it t takes about two days to notice an improvement.
Chamomile is a carminative herb with a long history of use as a calming herb and may be used to ease intestinal cramping in colicky infants. A soothing tea made from chamomile, liquorice, fennel, and lemon balm has been shown to relieve colic more effectively than placebo. Please note: Tinctures of these herbs may be taken by the breastfeeding mother by not the child due to alcohol content.
Elimination diet: If you breastfeed, you may consider eliminating certain foods from your diet, including potential allergens like dairy. Since strict elimination diets can be unhealthy and haven’t been shown to help with most cases of colic, talk with your doctor or nutritional therapist before making significant changes to your diet.
Colic (Holistic) – Health Information Library | PeaceHealth. (2022). Retrieved 19 June 2022.
Sarasu JM, Narang M, Shah D. Infantile Colic: An Update. Indian Pediatr. 2018 Nov 15;55(11):979-987. Epub 2018 Jun 13. PMID: 29941700.
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Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.