What is Colic?

Baby Colic is Often
Defined by Inconsolable Crying
for an Unknown Reason

More than 3 hours a day...

...at least 3 days a week...

...for at least 3 weeks.

*Colic typically starts around two weeks of age and resolves before four months of age.


1. Paroxysmal Fussing in Infancy, Sometimes Called "Colic"
Morris A. Wessel, John C. Cobb, Edith B. Jackson, George S. Harris, Ann C. Detwiler
Pediatrics Nov 1954, 14 (5) 421-435;
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content /14/5/421.short

Between 10% to 40% of Babies Worldwide Meet the Rule of 3's Guideline


1. Landgren, K. and Hallström, I. (2011), Parents′ experience of living with a baby with infantile colic – a phenomenological hermeneutic study. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 25: 317–324. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6712.2010.00829.x

2. Wade, Sally; Kilgour, Teresa. British Medical Journal, International edition 323.7310 (Aug 25, 2001): 437-40.
3. Prevalence of infant colic, David W Hide, Barry M Guyer, Arch Dis Child1982;57:559-560, July 1, 1982 (10.1136/adc.57.7.559).

4. Systematic review of the occurrence of infantile colic in the community, P L B J Lucassen, W J J Assendelft, J Th M van Eijk, J W Gubbels, A C Douwes, W J van Geldrop, Arch Dis Child2001;84:398-403, May 1, 2001 (10.1136/adc.84.5.398).


1. Paroxysmal Fussing in Infancy, Sometimes Called "Colic"
Morris A. Wessel, John C. Cobb, Edith B. Jackson, George S. Harris, Ann C. Detwiler
Pediatrics Nov 1954, 14 (5) 421-435;
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content /14/5/421.short


1. Barr, Ronald G. (1998). Crying Syndromes in Infants. Pediatrics. 102, 1282-1286.

2. Colic Symptom Checker. Colic Calm.(2007) colic symptom survey.

There are many theories as to what causes colic, but there is no single consistent cause that all experts agree on.

Some common theories are:

What Causes Colic?


1. Barr, Ronald G. (1998). Crying Syndromes in Infants. Pediatrics. 102, 1282-1286.

2. Maternal Psychopathology and Outcomes of a Residential Mother-Infant Intervention for Unsettled Infant Behaviour Aust N Z J Psychiatry March 1, 2010 44: 280-289

3. Current Opinion in Allergy & Clinical Immunology: June 2006 - Volume 6 - Issue 3 - p 220–225
doi: 10.1097/01.all.0000225164.06016.5d
Food allergy

4. Romanello S, Spiri D, Marcuzzi E, et al. Association Between Childhood Migraine and History of Infantile Colic. JAMA. 2013;309(15):1607-1612. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.747.
5. Cow's Milk Proteins Cause Infantile Colic in Breast-Fed Infants: A Double-Blind Crossover Study
Iréne Jakobsson, Tor Lindberg
Pediatrics Feb 1983, 71 (2) 268-271;

6. Adams L, Davidson M. Present Concepts of Infant Colic. Pediatr Ann. 1987; 16: 817-820. doi: 10.3928/0090-4481-19871001-08

7. Maternal Intake of Cruciferous Vegetables and Other Foods and Colic Symptoms in Exclusively Breast-Fed Infants
Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics , Volume 96 , Issue 1 , 46 - 48

Risk Factors

Factors that increase likelihood


Smoking: Infantile colic: maternal smoking as potential risk factor, Sijmen A Reijneveld, Emily Brugman, Remy A Hirasing, Arch Dis Child2000;83:302-303, October 1, 2000 (10.1136/adc.83.4.302). http://adc.bmj.com/content/83/4 /302.short

Anxiety, Distress, Depression or Emotional problems: Søndergaard, C., Olsen, J., Friis-Haschè, E., Dirdal, M., Thrane, N. and Sørensen, H. T. (2003), Psychosocial distress during pregnancy and the risk of infantile colic: a follow-up study. Acta Pædiatrica, 92: 811–816. doi:10.1111/j.1651-2227.2003.tb02538.x. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ j.1651-2227.2003.tb02538.x/abstract

Migraines: Before the headache: Infant colic as an early life expression of migraine, Amy A. Gelfand, Katherine C. Thomas, and Peter J. Goadsby, September 25, 2012, 79:13 1392-1396; published ahead of print September 12, 2012, doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e31826c1b7b: 1526-632X. http://www.neurology.org/content/79/13/ 1392.short

Foods That May Cause Colic

There have been a few studies that suggest a mother’s diet may affect her baby. The basis of these studies suggest that specific foods contain trace elements that can be passed through the breast milk creating reactions in the baby’s stomach leading to colic. The foods linked to this include:

  • Cow's Milk or Dairy
  • Coffee
  • Soy
  • Peanuts
  • Peas
  • Beans
  • Strawberries & Tomatoes
  • Acidic Foods Such As Citrus Fruits
  • Cruciferous Vegetables Such as Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts & Onion


Maternal Intake of Cruciferous Vegetables and Other Foods and Colic Symptoms in Exclusively Breast-Fed Infants, LUST, KATHERINE D. et al., Journal of the American Dietetic Association , Volume 96 , Issue 1 , 46 - 48. http://www.andjrnl.org/article/S0002-8223(96)00013-2/abstract


While most doctors will rightly reassure you that a colicky baby does not predict any future temperament, there are a few studies now associating colicky symptoms with later behavioral problems. It remains unclear if colic if the cause or if a genetic predisposition makes colic more likely in these kids.


Hyperactivity: Persistent Infant Crying and Hyperactivity Problems in Middle Childhood, Dieter Wolke, Patrizia Rizzo, Sarah Woods, Pediatrics Jun 2002, 109 (6) 1054-1060; DOI: 10.1542/peds.109.6.1054. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/109 /6/1054.short

Sleeping problems: Infantile Colic: Child and Family Three Years Later, Päivi Rautava, Liisa Lehtonen, Hans Helenius, Matti Sillanpää, Pediatrics Jul 1995, 96 (1) 43-47;http://pediatrics.aappublications.org

Gastro Problems: 1. Childhood Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: Neonate/Toddler, Hyman, Paul E. et al., Gastroenterology , Volume 130 , Issue 5 , 1519 - 1526. http://www.gastrojournal.org/article/ S0016-5085(06)00517-8/fulltext

2. Savino, F., Castagno, E., Bretto, R., Brondello, C., Palumeri, E. and Oggero, R. (2005), A prospective 10-year study on children who had severe infantile colic. Acta Pædiatrica, 94: 129–132. doi:10.1111/j.1651-2227.2005.tb02169.x. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com
Maternal Depression: 1. Inconsolable Infant Crying and Maternal Postpartum Depressive Symptoms, Jenny S. Radesky, Barry Zuckerman, Michael Silverstein, Frederick P. Rivara, Marilyn Barr, James A. Taylor, Liliana J. Lengua, Ronald G. Barr, Pediatrics Jun 2013, 131 (6) e1857-e1864; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2012-3316. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23650295

2. Vik, T., Grote, V., Escribano, J., Socha, J., Verduci, E., Fritsch, M., Carlier, C., Kries, R. v., Koletzko, B. and for the European Childhood Obesity Trial Study Group (2009), Infantile colic, prolonged crying and maternal postnatal depression. Acta Paediatrica, 98: 1344–1348. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2009.01317.x. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19432839

Abuse: Infant crying and abuse, Reijneveld, Sijmen A et al., The Lancet , Volume 364 , Issue 9442 , 1340 - 1342 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15474137

Preparing For Your Doctor Visit

Ask your doctor to confirm if your baby has colic or to determine if there is another medical cause of your baby’s excessive crying. Here is information you can prepare for your doctor.

Keeping Notes in a Colic Diary

Colic is a Diagnosis of Exclusion

If no physical problem is found, then colic will often be the diagnosis. Typically, tests like x-rays are not needed unless other conditions are found during the doctor’s exam.

Recently, an over diagnosis of reflux in children has led to an overuse of medication.


Over Diagnosis of Reflux: 1. <cite "="" 2013.="" april="" 1="" sciencedaily,="" sciencedaily.="" finds."="" research="" medication,="" needless="" to="" leads="" infants="" in="" reflux="" of="" over-diagnosis="" title="University of Michigan Health System. "> University of Michigan Health System. "Over-diagnosis of reflux in infants leads to needless medication, research finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 April 2013. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/ 2013/04/130401104403.htm

2. www.news-medical.net/news/20130403/Gastroesophageal-reflux-disease-is-often-over-diagnosed-in-infants-says-research.aspx

Treatment Overview

There is no known cure for colic. In fact its unknown what exactly causes colic. Many doctors, pediatricians, midwives, and lactation consultants have come up with theories on the cause of colic, and out of these some colic treatment options have been tried. To put these treatments to the test a poll was conducted and the results are provided in the chart you see.

How Many Mom's Tried

How Many Mom's Found It Effective

Note: All babies differ so not every tip will work. There is some trial and error involved to find out what works best for your baby.

Treatment Evaluation

We have taken the data polled and broke it into four sections. These sections are based upon family secrets, known trusted colic remedies, superstitions and commonly known placebos. Each section includes whether it was tried or untried by parents, and whether it worked or not.