Colic is thenameforexcessive, frequent crying ina baby who appears to be otherwise healthy. It's a common problem that affects up to one in five babies.
Colictends tobegin when a baby is a few weeks old. It normally stops by four months of age, or by six months at the latest.
Looking after a colicky baby can be very frustrating and distressing, but the problemwill eventually pass and is usuallynothing to worry about.
Signs and symptoms of colic include:
If your baby has colic, they may appear to be in distress. But the crying outbursts are not harmful, and your baby should continue to feed and gain weight normally.
Caring for a baby with colic can be verydifficult for parents, particularly first-time parents. It's important to remember that:
Support groups, such as Cry-sis , can also offer help and advice if you need it. You can contact the Cry-sis helpline for advice on 0845 122 8669 (9am-10pm,seven days a week).
There's no method that works for all babies with colic, but there area number of techniques that may help. These include:
Somebabies may also benefit from changes to their diet, such as adding dropsto breast or bottle milk that aid digestion andrelease any bubbles of trapped air in your baby's digestive system.
Speak to a GP or pharmacist for advicebefore trying these.
Read moreabout treatments for colic .
Colic may improveusing the techniques mentioned above. You can also ask your health visitor for their advice.
See your GP if you're concerned about your baby, or if nothing seems to be working and you're struggling to cope.
Your GP can check for possible causes of your baby's crying, such as eczema or gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) .GORD is a condition where stomach acid moves back out of the stomach and into the gullet (oesophagus).
If no other cause of your baby's symptoms can be found,your GP can advise you about the things you can do to help your baby, including what treatments are available.
You shouldget medical help immediately ifyour baby:
These symptoms can indicate a more serious problem. Read about spotting signs of serious illness in children for information about what to look for and where you should go for help.
The cause or causes of colic are unknown, but a number of theories have been suggested. These include indigestion , trapped wind, or a temporary gut sensitivity to certain proteins and sugars found in breast and formula milk.
It has also been suggested colic may just be at the extreme end of normal crying in babies.
Colic occurs equally in boys and girls, and both in babies who are breastfed and those who are bottle-fed.