The exact cause of colic is not known.

Risk Factors

Colic is common. Some things that may raise the risk are:

  • Maternal smoking during pregnancy
  • Firstborn status
  • Depression in the mother during pregnancy



The main problem is crying episodes that last longer than three hours and make it hard to console the baby. A baby may also:

  • Draw their arms and legs toward their body
  • Turn red from crying
  • Pass gas or burp a lot
  • Have problems passing stool
  • Make tight fists, kick, or arch their back


The doctor will ask about your baby's symptoms and past health. Questions will also be asked about how the baby acts when crying, how long crying lasts, and when it happens. A physical exam will be done. This is enough to make the diagnosis in a baby that has no other health problems.



There is no cure. Colic usually goes away on its own by the time a baby is 3 to 6 months of age.

Steps can be taken to manage symptoms. Options are:

Dietary and Feeding Changes

Some changes that may help are:

  • Dietary changes in a breastfeeding mother or a change in formula for a baby that is bottle fed
  • Slowing down bottle feedings by using a nipple with a smaller hole
  • Changes in feeding methods, such as burping the baby after feeding or feeding the baby in an upright position

Friendly bacteria known as probiotics may also be advised to ease crying.

Comfort Steps

Some comfort steps that may help are:

  • Taking the baby for a walk or a ride in the car
  • Rocking the baby in a chair, in your arms, or in a baby swing
  • Massaging the baby, such as rubbing his or her back
  • Swaddling the baby in a blanket
  • Bathing the baby in warm water
  • Giving the baby a pacifier

Parents should take breaks from a baby's crying. The baby should be put in a safe crib or watched by another caregiver.


Probiotics may help to prevent colic in some babies.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.