When a seemingly healthy baby cries inconsolably for three hours or more over a period of at least three days, then the baby will most likely be diagnosed as having colic.

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When a seemingly healthy baby cries inconsolably for three hours or more over a period of at least three days, then the baby will most likely be diagnosed as having colic.

Mother holding a baby


A crying baby is a genuine ordeal for any parent. Whether their baby is crying due to hunger, a dirty nappy or simply because they are in a bad mood, a parent will want to comfort and pacify their child. Remember that your own stress level will affect your baby. Parents of babies with colic are usually exhausted and at their wits end. Don’t try to cope alone. An exhausted, frantic parent is likely to compound the problem. Get support from family and friends that you can trust and let them babysit for you when need be. This phase will pass.

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A baby crying


A baby with colic will be more irritable than usual and appears to have severe abdominal pain. The baby will also not respond to usual pacifying techniques such as feeding or changing their nappy and will start to cry at more or less the same time every day, usually after a feed. This crying will continue for the next three to four hours and in some severe cases, the crying can last almost all of the night or day.

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Baby Toy with an illustration of 20%


Colic occurs in approximately 20% of all babies and usually with the firstborn. Colic affects more boys than girls. This infant condition is a nightmare for parents and baby alike and will cause a great deal of anxiety, exhaustion and concern. Despite the distress and discomfort, babies suffering with colic are usually gaining weight and healthy in all other respects and this phase will pass.

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Whenever a baby cries more than usual, whether due to colic or any other cause, it is important that a doctor diagnoses what is wrong with the baby. The doctor may need to assess the baby’s diet, bowel movements, urination or sleeping habits. Once all the above has been ruled out, then the baby will be diagnosed as having infantile colic. There are a number of measures to ease the baby’s discomfort.

These measures are a matter of trial and error, and what works for one baby may not work for another:


Feed your baby the right quantity of food. Feeding a baby too little or too much food before their gastrointestinal tract is sufficiently developed has also been labeled as a cause of colic. Breastfeeding moms should also eliminate foods that contain stimulants such as caffeine, chocolate, nuts and dairy products


Regular nappy changes will bring some much needed relief to the baby and also remove any potential risk of other infections caused from a dirty nappy. One can also gently massage the baby’s abdomen in small circular movements to release gas while changing their nappy.


A very common method to pacify a crying baby with colic is to actually use a pacifier or dummy. Make sure that there is a sufficient number of pacifiers on hand in case some get lost or go missing. It is also important that the pacifiers are cleaned regularly.


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