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Healthy living. Services and support. Service profiles. Blog Blog. Blog authors. Podcast Podcast. Colic Share show more. Listen show more. More show more. Tags: Babies and toddlers Babies and toddlers - Health conditions and complaints Parents Parents - Common childhood health concerns. Infant colic is regular, unexplained crying fits that usually last for at least three hours. Colic tends to go away without treatment after a few weeks. Some babies go through a period of having unexplained and regular crying each day.

This usually happens between the ages of about two weeks and 16 weeks. These bouts of crying may last for three hours or more and occur mostly in the afternoons and evenings. The baby seems to be suffering from abdominal pain. Colic affects around one in three babies. The cause is unknown but colic generally stops, without treatment, after a few weeks. Symptoms of colic Colic tends to appear in the first two to four weeks of life and peaks at around six to eight weeks of age.

Usually, the baby seems quite happy until the late afternoon or early evening. Symptoms include: Frowning and grimacing Reddening of the face The baby may pull up its legs, suggesting stomach pains Loud and long screaming fits Loud tummy rumblings The baby cannot be consoled The crying lasts for three hours or more The baby passes wind or faeces poo around the time the crying stops, which could be coincidental The baby recovers, none the worse for the experience.

The cause of colic Despite much research into this common condition, the cause of colic remains unknown. There are many theories; however, some babies have colic when no clear factors seem to be the cause. Feeling of fullness — babies may overreact to the unfamiliar sensations of gas or fullness and may interpret these feelings as painful or alarming. General immaturity — babies may take a few months to adjust to life outside the womb. Medication for colic It is not clear how useful medicines for colic are. Colic gets better by itself, often quite suddenly, whether you use any medicines or not.

Medications can also make babies more sleepy, which can be dangerous.

Different formulas contain different ingredients including some herbal ingredients. There is no evidence that gripe water can improve colic in babies and such products should only be used in consultation with your doctor. This should only be done with help from a doctor, to ensure the nutritional needs of both mother and baby are met. It may be useful to reduce the amount of caffeine a mother is having through coffee, tea, cola or other drinks and foods.

Brewed coffee and energy drinks contain particularly high levels of caffeine. Babies, especially if they are breastfed, are likely to have plenty of lactobacillus acidophilus. Some infant formulas now have added lactobacillus probiotics but this does not seem to make a lot of difference for babies with colic. Diagnosis of colic A crying baby needs to be checked by a doctor, to make sure there is no health problem causing pain or discomfort. How to help a crying baby By holding, stroking or rocking your baby, the infant is learning that you are there for them, even if they are not able to calm down yet.

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Try the following ideas, which may help to calm your baby: Respond quickly if your baby is crying. This may mean that they will cry less later on. Crying babies tend to arch their backs and stiffen their legs. Holding them curled in a C or flexed position helps to calm them down. Check that your baby is not too hot or cold or uncomfortable in some way. Many babies soothe themselves by sucking, so a dummy can be helpful, once your breast milk supply is going well. Rocking and patting can help soothe a baby. Soft lighting can also help some babies who may be distressed by harsh lights.

Baby slings are great to provide comfort and contact if the baby needs to be held. Soft music or noise that has a beat or rhythm, such as a loud clock, may help. You may be trying too hard to calm the baby too much bouncing, patting and burping. Put your baby down somewhere safe for a while and see if they settle. Take the baby for a walk in a pram or a sling or for a ride in the car. You might find yourself going out for many rides in the car for a couple of weeks, but this will not last forever and many babies seem to find it helps them calm down.

You may find a technique that consoles your baby some of the time. If everything has been tried and your baby still cries, try to just hold them.

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Your baby will sense that you are offering comfort, even if the crying goes on. A rocking chair is great for this. If you feel that you are getting too upset, you need to take some time out to calm down. Suggestions include: Put your child in a safe place, such as a cot, and leave the room. Walk around the house or go outside.

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Relax your body by dropping your shoulders, clenching and unclenching your fists and stretching your back, arms and legs. Have a drink non-alcoholic and something to eat, if you can manage it. Do something physical like running. Parents need support While your child is colicky, you need to work out coping strategies. Suggestions include: Take turns with your partner if you have one to look after the baby and go outside for a break.

Ask friends or relatives for support. Let them hold your baby while your baby is crying. They can manage this for a short time, knowing that you are having a break and that you will be able to take over again soon. Talk over your experiences with other parents and share coping strategies.


Seek advice from your maternal and child health nurse and doctor. Remember that colic tends to go away after a few weeks. Berkow, M. Beers, A. More information here. Send us your feedback. Rate this website Your comments Questions Your details. Excellent Good Average Fair Poor. Next Submit Now Cancel. Please note that we cannot answer personal medical queries. Enter your comments below optional. Did you find what you were looking for? Yes No. Email Address. Submit Now Cancel.

Love in the Time of Colic: The New Parents' Guide to Getting It On Again

Thank you. Your feedback has been successfully sent. Babies and toddlers basics Newborn babies Feeding your baby Growth and development Behaviour and learning Healthy eating Care and wellbeing Health conditions and complaints Sleep Safety Grief and trauma Babies and toddlers basics Baby bath - bathing video Detailing on bathing from the Royal Women's Hospital Baby bath - preparation and safety video Detailing on baby bathing from Royal Women's Hospital Baby bath - skin care video Detail on baby skin care from Royal Women's Hospital Childhood immunisation Being immunised from an early age helps protect your child against serious childhood infections Children and health services There is a range of subsidised and free health services, including services for mental health and dental health, available for children in Victoria Early support for a child with disabilities For children diagnosed with a disability, getting the support they need as early as possible will give them the best chance of minimising the long-term effects of the disability Immunisation — deciding which vaccines you need Everyone's immunisation needs are different and are influence by your health, lifestyle, age and occupation Maternal and child health services Your local maternal and child health service will be a great source of support after your baby is born Parenting services Parenting is one of the most important tasks we undertake but it doesn't always come naturally Jaundice in babies If your baby is full-term and healthy, mild jaundice is nothing to worry about and will resolve by itself within a week or so Newborn bloodspot screening Every newborn baby in Australia is offered a test for rare, but serious, medical conditions.

Premature babies Sometimes premature labour can be delayed to increase a baby's chance of survival Sudden unexpected death in infants SUDI and SIDS You can reduce your baby's risk of sudden unexpected death by providing a safe sleeping environment and avoiding tobacco smoke Feeding your baby Asthma - pregnancy and breastfeeding Pregnant women with asthma need to continue to take their asthma medication as it is important to the health of both mother and baby that the mother's asthma is well managed Baby care - weaning Be guided by your baby and let them set the pace when weaning and introducing solid foods Bottle feeding - nutrition and safety Breastmilk or commercial infant formula is necessary for all babies less than 12 months Breastfeeding Breastfeeding positioning and attachment come naturally to some babies and mothers, but many need time and practice to get it right Breastfeeding and travel Breastmilk protects your baby from illness and infection, so it is the safest drink for your baby while travelling Breastfeeding and work You can successfully combine breastfeeding with work if you have support from your employer, colleagues and family Breastfeeding and your diet Breastfeeding women need to eat regularly and include a wide variety of healthy foods in their diet Breastfeeding - dealing with mastitis Mastitis affects some breastfeeding women and may be caused by blocked milk ducts or a bacterial infection Breastfeeding - dealing with nipple problems Your nipples may be sensitive in the first few days after birth, but nipple pain is not a normal part of breastfeeding Breastfeeding - deciding when to stop It is up to you and your baby to decide when breastfeeding should stop Breastfeeding - expressing breastmilk Expressing breast milk by hand is a cheap and convenient method Breastfeeding - the first days Let your baby feed as much as they want in the first few days to help establish good breastfeeding patterns Breastfeeding - when to start Breastfeeding within the first hour after birth allows your baby to behave instinctively and breastfeed with little intervention Food for babies - tucker talk tips Before six months, breastmilk or formula is the only food and drink that your baby needs Lactose intolerance Symptoms of lactose intolerance include bloating, gas, abdominal pain and diarrhoea Growth and development Child development 1 - newborn to three months Infants in the first eight weeks have no control over their movements and all their physical activity is involuntary or reflex Child development 2 - three to six months Young babies still have a notion that the whole of life is happening inside themselves, and they are 'making it all happen' Child development 3 - six to nine months Fun activities, such as shaking or banging objects, helps a baby understand they have an effect on the world Child development 4 - nine to 12 months At nine months your baby is moving around by crawling or pulling along with their arms.

Child development 5 - one to two years Between the age of one and two, your toddler understands they are a completely separate person from you Child development 6 - two to three years Parents can be tricked into thinking our toddlers are more grown up than they really are Children's feet and shoes A child learning to walk receives important sensory information from the soles of their feet, and shoes can make walking more difficult Growth charts for children Babies and young children do not usually grow in a perfectly smooth way, but instead grow in 'bursts' Teeth development in children Teething symptoms are common in children and can be managed without medications Toilet training When toilet training your toddler, praise every little success and remain calm about accidents Behaviour and learning 10 tips for managing sibling rivalry Teach your children to sort out minor differences themselves Anxiety and fear in children You can help your child overcome anxiety by taking their fears seriously and encouraging them to talk about their feelings Children and shyness If your child's shyness is especially debilitating, you may like to consider professional help from a counsellor or psychologist Children and sibling rivalry Sibling rivalry is a common problem, particularly among children who are the same sex and close together in age Discipline and children Disciplining your child means teaching them responsible behaviour and self-control Dummies Dummy sucking should stop before school age to avoid teeth or mouth problems Tantrums When a young child is having a tantrum, it is because the emotional limbic system part of the brain is dominating the child's behaviour Thumb sucking Finger or thumb sucking should stop before school age to avoid mouth problems Toddlers and fussy eating If you restrict yourself to a narrow range of foods, your child will notice and copy your wariness Toddlers and mealtime manners Some toddlers do most of their eating on the run, refusing to sit down at the table at all Healthy eating Baby care - weaning Be guided by your baby and let them set the pace when weaning and introducing solid foods Breakfast Children who skip breakfast may lack sufficient vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, zinc and vitamin B Childcare and healthy eating Childcare centres should provide healthy meals for your children Cheryl T.

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