Colic is a term used to describe severe, often fluctuating pain in the abdomen that is mainly observed in infants. It usually occurs in the first few months of a baby’s life and is characterized by excessive crying and fussiness for no apparent reason. Although the exact cause is unknown, colic is considered a normal part of an infant’s development and typically resolves on its own by three to six months of age.

Key Takeaways

  1. Colic is a term used to describe severe, often fluctuating pain in the abdomen that occurs in infants, characterized by excessive crying and fussiness for no apparent reason.
  2. The exact cause of colic is still unknown, but it is believed to be related to gastrointestinal discomfort, immature nervous system, or environmental factors such as overstimulation.
  3. Although colic can be distressing for both the baby and parents, it typically resolves on its own by three to four months of age and does not cause any long-term developmental issues.


The parenting term “colic” is important because it refers to a common condition experienced by many infants, typically between the ages of two weeks and four months.

Colic is characterized by excessive, frequent, and inconsolable crying or fussiness for no apparent reason, often causing distress to both the baby and their caregivers.

Although the exact cause of colic is still unknown, some theories suggest it may be due to gastrointestinal discomfort, gas, food sensitivities, or an immature nervous system.

Colic generally resolves on its own by the time a baby reaches three to four months of age, but understanding and identifying colic can help parents and caregivers better respond to their child’s needs, seek appropriate treatments or adjustments in feeding practices, and find emotional support during this challenging period of early parenthood.


Colic is a term often used in the context of parenting to describe excessive crying and fussiness in infants, particularly those that are otherwise healthy and well-fed. The purpose of using this term is to better understand and communicate the distress experienced by an infant that can create a challenging and distressful situation for the caregivers.

Colic is commonly used as a way to identify a potential cause for such distress in order to develop coping mechanisms and alleviate the discomfort faced by both the baby and the parents. While the exact cause of colic remains unclear, it is believed to be a result of gastrointestinal discomfort and immature nervous systems that make it difficult for the infants to self-soothe.

Ultimately, the term colic helps caregivers and medical professionals to recognize, evaluate, and manage inconsolable crying in infants, offering support and treatment options if necessary. As parents gain a better understanding of colic, they can learn various techniques and strategies to soothe their colicky baby and improve the overall well-being of the entire family.

Examples of Colic

Colic is a term used to describe severe, often fluctuating pain in the abdomen that is caused by the accumulation of gas or the obstruction of the intestines. In the context of parenting, colic is commonly associated with persistent crying and discomfort in infants. Here are three real-world examples related to infant colic:

A one-month-old baby frequently cries for more than 3 hours per day, 3 or more days a week, even after being fed, changed, and comforted. The baby appears to be in pain and is difficult to soothe, which may be due to colic.

A mother attending a parent support group discusses her struggles with soothing her colicky baby. She shares the techniques she’s tried, such as using white noise, gently rocking the baby, and swaddling. Other members might offer advice based on what they have tried for their own colicky babies.

A pediatrician consults with new parents whose baby experiences excessive crying and seems to be in discomfort after feedings. The doctor explains that the baby may have colic, discusses possible causes, and suggests remedies, including switching to a different formula or introducing warm baths and gentle massages to help ease the baby’s discomfort.

FAQ: Colic

What is colic?

Colic refers to severe, often fluctuating pain in the abdomen that is usually caused by the intestine or other parts of the digestive tract undergoing spasms. In infants, it’s a term used when a healthy, well-fed baby cries more than usual for no apparent reason.

What are the symptoms of colic in infants?

Symptoms of colic in infants may include intense, inconsolable crying, clenched fists, arched back, flushed face, bloated abdomen, and passing gas. These episodes can last from a few minutes to a few hours and may occur multiple times a day.

What causes colic in babies?

The exact cause of colic is not known, but it may be related to gas buildup, immature digestive systems, or overstimulation. Some experts believe colic to be a combination of multiple factors, including baby’s temperament, environment, and physical discomfort.

How long does colic typically last?

In most cases, colic starts around two weeks after birth and peaks around six weeks. It usually resolves by the time the baby is three to four months old. In some cases, it may continue until six months of age.

How can I soothe a colicky baby?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for soothing a colicky baby, but some common techniques include swaddling, rocking, offering a pacifier, giving a warm bath, and applying gentle pressure to the baby’s abdomen. In addition, responsive and supportive care from parents can help ease the symptoms of colic.

Should I consult a doctor for my baby’s colic?

It’s important to consult your pediatrician if you suspect your baby has colic, as they can rule out other potential causes for the crying, such as illness or injury. Your pediatrician can also provide guidance and support to help you manage your baby’s colic symptoms.

Related Parenting Terms

  • Infant gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Baby gas problems
  • >li>Excessive baby crying

  • Colic remedies
  • Fussiness in newborns

Sources for More Information

  • – provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics
  • WebMD – an online healthcare information portal
  • Mayo Clinic – a nonprofit American healthcare organization
  • NHS – the UK’s National Health Service official website