Could It Be Colic?

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All babies cry. It’s your baby’s only way of telling you something is bothering him. It does not always mean he is experiencing serious discomfort. Check first to see if he is:

  • Too cool or warm
  • Hungry
  • Gassy
  • Tired
  • In need of a diaper change

Colic generally begins at 2-3 weeks old, and is often defined by the Rule of 3s.1 This is when a baby cries for an unknown reason for:

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Beyond crying, other signs of colic may include:

  • Red face and flushed while crying
  • Clenched fists
  • Extending or pulling his legs up to his tummy
  • Passing gas
  • Bloated tummy

A change in crying pattern could be cause for concern. Trust your instincts, and call your healthcare professional if you are concerned.

What Is Colic?

There are a lot of theories about what causes colic, but no one knows for sure. Usually, it’s not a sign of a serious medical problem. If a baby has a serious medical problem, his cries are usually more continuous.

If it’s any comfort, know that it’s not your fault if your baby is experiencing colic and you’re not alone. Colic affects between 9% and 19% of male and female infants, both breastfed or on formula.2,3

There are some studies that have looked at whether there is a link between colic and cow’s milk allergy; however, additional research is needed to better understand if there is a connection to food allergy.


  1. Quiet the colic. Pregnancy and Newborn website. Accessed September 20, 2018.
  2. Fiocchi A, et al. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2010;21(suppl 21):1-125.
  3. Lucassen PL, et al. Arch Dis Child. 2001;84(5):398-403.

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