Managing colic in newborns

As the mother of a newborn, it can be worrying and unsettling when your baby is clearly experiencing discomfort, and you feel as though nothing you are doing can soothe them.

Colic is experienced by roughly one in five newborns, and though it has typically passed by the time the baby reaches four months of age, it can cause a great deal of distress for both mother and baby.

Fortunately, the signs of colic can be easily spotted, and therefore, you can begin to remedy the issue as soon as you sense it appearing in your bub.



In early infancy, colic can be generally characterised by attacks of inconsolable crying, with what appears to be abdominal pain, despite being well fed and cared for, clean, dry and wrapped.

Other signs that your baby could be experiencing significant distress because of colic are:

  • Clenched fists
  • Tensed abdominals
  • A disturbed/broken sleep
  • Crying attacks throughout feeding
  • Wind while crying



Although no definite cause of colic has been determined, the most common cause is believed to be indigestion.

A child can however be predisposed to developing colic at twice the rate of other newborns, if the mother smoked cigarettes whilst pregnant.



When your baby can’t communicate with you what they are feeling, it can be difficult to know how to soother or ease their discomfort, however listed below are some of the most effective ways of calming a baby with colic:

  • Swaddling/wrapping your baby well during crying attacks
  • Using a dummy when they are irritated
  • Feeding your baby in an upright position, rather than with them reclined
  • Ensuring you have burped them adequately after feeding
  • Feeding your baby less milk, more regularly
  • Giving your baby a warm bath and a soft massage
  • Calming your baby’s senses by comforting them in a darkened, quite place
  • Keeping them moving, either by walking with a stroller, going for a drive or simply rocking them in your arms


It is important that if you are concerned about your baby’s symptoms and wish to get a clearer diagnosis or better understanding, you speak to your GP and request a physical exam, which will determine if there are any internal obstructions or abnormalities.


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