Richmond Practice - Coping with colic

Coping with colic

by Dr Daniela Peeva MD, Consultant paediatrician at Elsbeth's Doctors

If your baby cries for more than three hours a day at least three times a week and has excessive gas in their stomach after feeds, they may have colic. Colic unfortunately still affects up to one in five babies and can be the cause of significant distress all round. Babies do eventually grow out of it, but this might not be of consolation while faced with a crying fit.

Other symptoms

Along with intense crying for no apparent reason, your baby may clench their fists, have red cheeks, arch their back and pull their knees towards their tummy. Prolonged periods of crying, fussing, or irritability that occur for no obvious reason (often late afternoon or evening) may also be part of the picture.

What causes colic?

No one really knows the cause, but it could be down to babies swallowing too much air as they feed. Their developing digestive system is then unable to fully digest their milk or an ingredient in the mild (like a protein or sugar) might not be agreeing with them.
What can I do to help?
  • Hold your baby when they cry
  • Give them a nice warm bath
  • Gently massage their tummy clockwise 
  • Watch what you eat. If you’re breastfeeding, talk to your doctor about whether you should try temporarily eliminating any foods from your diet.
  • Ask about medication. Studies show that reducing gas may help with the discomfort (and crying). 
  • Ask about switching the milk formula your baby is on. Formula’s designed for babies who are sensitive or that does not contain cow’s milk can make a difference.
At Elsbeth's Doctors there is always a paediatricians on duty who can help out when your baby is crying excessively. We can also be contacted in a medical emergency, to do a developmental check, ultrasound and to administer vaccines. For a same day appointment please contact us on 030 0303 5009 or book online. The service is BUPA and CQC accredited.