If your baby is crying frequently and excessively despite being healthy and well fed, it’s likely to be colic. Colic is very common but poorly understood.

But before you panic, colic isn’t actually harmful to your baby’s development. It might appear as if your baby is in distress, but they will continue to feed and gain weight normally.

When colic begins

It’s within the first few weeks that colic usually begins, and peaks at around six to eight weeks. It usually disappears after four to six months. Babies with colic cry inconsolably for more than three hours at a time, the most intense outbursts in the afternoon or evening.

During this time you’ll notice that your baby will clench their fists and arch their backs, their faces becoming flushed.

Comfort tips

Try some of these tips to comfort your baby:

  • While your baby is crying, you can try holding them close or wrapping them up snugly in a blanket.
  • Speak to your baby in a soothing voice.
  • Gentle massage or light backrubbing.
  • Avoid sudden movements, loud noises or bright lights around your baby.
  • Darken the room for their daytime naps.
  • Check if they need a feed or nappy change.
  • Develop a pattern with your baby of feeds and sleeps.
  • If you’re using formula, check that it's being made up correctly.

Look after yourself

Remember to try and keep calm. It can be difficult to manage your baby’s crying and it can leave you feeling distressed too.

Some ideas to help yourself settle might include:

  • having a break from your baby (put your baby in a safe place and walk away for a few minutes then returning to reassure them)
  • taking your baby for a walk in the fresh air. The rhythm of the stroller and change of scenery may be calming for both of you.
  • yoga, deep breathing, or meditation
  • a cup of tea