A baby crying

All babies cry, but sometimes crying lasts for hours at a time, no matter what you do. Colic is uncontrollable crying in a healthy baby. Colic causes otherwise healthy babies to cry and cry without getting any comfort. It usually happens in the evening and at night, just when you are also feeling tired.

Colic is described as crying that:

  • starts in the first three months after birth
  • continues more than three hours a day
  • happens more than three days a week.

Colic is common and occurs in up to 40 percent of babies. Colic usually goes away on its own by the time the baby is three or four months old.

What causes colic? (click to expand) »

Why your baby? This is unknown. It could be your baby’s temperament or an immature nervous system or other factors. As your baby grows and develops the colic will end.

Signs of colic (click to expand) »
  • Crying as if in pain after feeding.
  • Passing gas or vomiting.
  • Pulling the knees up to the chest as with a bad stomachache.
  • Can’t be comforted for long, no matter what you do.
What can I do? (click to expand) »

Calming a crying baby may be challenging as every baby is different. Try different things at different times to see what works best for you and your baby. If these ideas are not working, here are some added tips:

  • Lay your baby on their back and rub their tummy or lay your baby tummy down and rub their back. Never leave your baby unattended during tummy time.
  • Place a warm cloth on the tummy or bathe your baby.
  • When feeding your baby with a bottle, check to make sure the nipple is full of milk, so your baby isn’t swallowing air during feedings.
  • Smoking allows nicotine to pass into breast milk and may make your baby fussier. Try cutting back the number of cigarettes for a few days to see if it makes a difference.
Managing your feelings (click to expand) »
  • Hearing your baby cry for hours is frustrating. Feelings of exhaustion, anger and helplessness are normal.
  • Ask for and let other people help with the baby, meals, and other children.
  • Responding to your baby is important but accept that sometimes nothing may work to comfort them. If you feel stressed or frustrated, ask a friend or family member to give you a break.
  • No matter how frustrated you get, never shake or hit a baby. This can damage your baby’s brain. If you feel like you are losing control, lay your baby in a safe place like their crib and leave the room. Take a 10- or 15-minute break to give yourself a chance to calm down. If you think you may have hurt your baby, even without meaning to, please call for help.
  • Remember colic is not your fault nor your baby’s fault. It doesn’t mean that you are a bad parent or that anything is wrong with your baby.
  • Remember to take some time for yourself. Arrange for child care if possible and take some time doing what you like to: reading, walking or spending time with friends
  • Reach out for help if you are worried about your baby’s crying and you don’t know how to handle it.

Seek medical help if your baby:

  • Cries for longer than 2 hours without stopping at all.
  • Could have fallen or been injured.
  • Won’t eat or drink, is vomiting, or has bloody poop.
  • Is not acting normally (for example sleeping more or less than usual or isn’t responding as usual)
  • Has a high fever and is under three months old.

Services related to this information:

Share This Page:
Last updated: 2024-01-29