Colicky Baby? Here’s What you Need to Know

Bringing home a new baby is exciting, fun, and sometimes scary, especially if you are a first-time parent. But the first few weeks are usually some of the most peaceful in your little one’s life as they adjust to being in the world. However, by the third week, you may notice they are getting a little fussy. They may have crying spells for extended periods of time or are difficult to soothe. If these crying spells are high pitched and accompanied by facial flushing, distended tummies, cold feet, tight fists and/or flailing arms and legs, and last for more than three hours, you may have a colicky baby on your hands. So, today, we are going over what you need to know to help get your little one (and you) through it.

Don’t overfeed

Some babies will stop eating when they are full. Some babies, however, are slow to develop that brain-tummy connection. When this happens, your baby may gradually feed longer and longer. This leads them to become overfilled and very uncomfortable. We recommend keeping track of how long your little one nurses for at each feeding. If you notice that they are fussy after a particularly long feeding, an overfilled tummy could be the culprit. 

Monitor your diet

If you are breastfeeding, you need to be aware of the foods you eat. Watch out for foods that contain dairy and caffeine, and vegetables like onions, cabbage, beans, broccoli. These can definitely upset your little one’s tummy leaving them feeling very uncomfortable, bloated, and gassy. 

Change formulas

If you formula-feed your baby and notice they have a bout of colicky crying and fussing shortly after a feeding, it could be because of the formula. Some formulas contain whey protein that can be difficult for an infant’s system to digest. Discuss switching to a low-allergy formula with your pediatrician and see if you notice a reduction in colic episodes. 


Even though there is no definitive evidence that stimulation helps ease the symptoms of colic, those who have experienced colic with their little ones swear by a handful of tricks. Sometimes constant noise like the clothes dryer, a fan, or vacuum cleaner can soothe them. Rhythmic sounds tend to work best over music or the sound of the TV. Also, rhythmic movements like walking, swinging, or rocking can help. Some even suggest tightly swaddling them in a soft blanket. Just holding them upright vs. lying on them on their backs might do the trick, too.

We still don’t fully understand the cause of colic in infants but some professionals suggest that it could possibly be an inherited trait. If your baby develops colic (crying spells that last more than three hours), it is good to be aware of the things that can make it worse. As frustrating as a colicky baby can be it is important to remember that you are not alone. Colic affects up to 25% of newborns and is typically a sign of good health. Little ones who develop colic are most often big, healthy, vigorous babies who usually grow out of it by the third month.

If you believe your baby has developed colic, it is important to confirm with your pediatrician to rule out a possible underlying health issue.

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