Colic in Babies

What Is Colic in Babies?

Colic in babies is defined as a continual or persistent bout of intense crying for no apparent reason during the first 3 months of life. A baby with colic typically cries for more than 3 hours a day for more than 3 days a week and subsides by the age of 3 to 4 months old.

What Are the Symptoms of Colic in Babies?

Infants with colic cry intensely, draw their legs to their stomachs, clench their fists, arch their backs, and may have a swollen tummy. Crying might stop once the baby has relieved gas or had a bowel movement.

What Causes Colic in Babies?

The causes of colic in babies are unknown. However, these may be some of the contributing factors:

  • Discomfort due to gas
  • Hunger 
  • Overfeeding
  • Inability to tolerate specific foods or certain proteins in breast milk or formula
  • Reacting strongly to certain stimuli
  • Emotional responses like fear, frustration, or even excitement

How Is Colic in Babies Diagnosed?

Colic is typically diagnosed once it has followed its usual course of three to four months. Keep track of when your baby cries, when he or she sleeps, what your baby eats and how often, and your baby's bowel movement pattern. These are questions which the doctor may ask during a consultation.

The doctor will also perform a physical examination and some tests to ensure your baby does not have other medical problems such as hernia, gastroesophageal reflux, or intussusception.

How Is Colic in Babies Treated?

It may not be necessary to rush your baby to the doctor for colic. Speak to your doctor for advice and support. You may try some soothing techniques to calm a baby with colic but remember to avoid certain actions that may make the situation worse.


  • Play soft music or gentle white noise. 
  • Sing or sooth gently.
  • Gently stroke your baby’s head.
  • Wrap up your child snugly and cradle comfortably.
  • Consider feeding your infant in a vertical (sitting up) position.
  • Burp your baby after feeds.
  • Give your baby a warm bath.
  • Take your baby for a car ride.
  • Go for a walk in a stroller.
  • Try placing a warm towel on your baby's stomach.
  • Keep feeding as usual.
  • For bottle-fed babies, try a different formula for 1 week.
  • Mothers may consume a hypoallergenic diet.
  • Infant massage.


  • Intensely shake your baby.
  • Gripe water, a herbal mixture often marketed as a colic remedy, has been associated with safety concerns. Some varieties have been found to contain hazardous substances like glass particles and alcohol. Similarly, a homoeopathic solution, colocynth's (present in Cocyntal and Hyland colic tablets), was also discovered to include dangerous ingredients, including alcohol.

When to See a Doctor for Colic?

You should consult a doctor right away if any of the following occur:

  • Baby has been crying continuously for 2 hours, and you are unable to calm your baby.
  • Baby has colic, and nothing seems to soothe the baby.
  • Baby still has symptoms of colic after 4 months of age.
  • Baby has a fever and should be taken to the A&E. 
  • Baby is consistently refusing to eat or drink, experiencing excessive vomiting, inadequate urination, passing bloody stools, or displaying changes in behaviour such as lethargy or reduced responsiveness.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or having thoughts of harming your baby, seek assistance immediately.

Book an Appointment at Pantai Hospitals

If you are navigating the challenges of a colicky baby, remember, you are not alone. Your well-being matters, too, so do not hesitate to seek help if you feel overwhelmed. Together, we can navigate through this challenging phase and ensure the well-being of both you and your baby.

A dedicated and expert team of Paediatric specialists at Pantai Hospital is available for consultation to provide the best care and assistance to patients through screening, diagnosis, and treatment.

Get in touch with us to book an appointment today if you have any concerns or questions about colic in babies. 

Pantai Hospital has been accredited by the Malaysian Society for Quality in Health (MSQH) for its commitment to patient safety and service quality.

Thank you for your patience