Causes Colic in Babies

What Causes Colic In Babies

Babies 3 months and younger can experience colic, a condition where the abdomen is hardened and causes pain. The pain results in chronic crying and can be challenging for parents to alleviate symptoms. There may be numerous reasons for baby colic and it can be difficult to identify the culprit(s). A baby cannot tell us what is going on, unfortunately!  This article will address what causes colic in babies and some natural remedies that will help you and your baby to get much-needed relief!

Some common culprits for colic in infants could be allergies to milk or formula. The infant may have food allergies from the food the mother is eating. 

How Do You Know If Your Baby Has Colic?

  • Your baby cries for 3 hours a day and,
  • Cries for at least 3 days a week and,
  • Cries for 3 consecutive weeks

These are a pretty good indicator that your baby is suffering from colic.

What are some other symptoms to look for?

  • Intense crying episodes that follow predictable patterns on a daily basis.
  • Your baby’s crying is inconsolable and doesn’t seem to have a trigger.
  • Your baby may arch their back, clench their fists and make other unusual posture changes.
  • Your baby may recoil at your touch.

Possible Causes Of Colic

  1. Formula – formula fed babies may have a milk intolerance. Switch to a coconut or goat based formula or try a pre digested milk protein formula. Soy formulas should be the last resort. And stay away from any formula containing chemicals or other unknown ingredients.
  2. Mother’s diet – Your baby may be reacting to the food you are eating. If your diet includes moderate amounts of dairy, gluten, corn, soy, peanuts or caffeine try cutting back or even better, eliminating these foods while nursing.  Beans and cruciferous vegetables may be a possible cause of gas. Eliminating them may help.
  3. Baby reflux – the sphincter muscle that separates the stomach from the esophagus can be underdeveloped in babies. This means that undigested food and acid can back up into the esophagus causing burning and pain for your baby. When your baby projectile vomits, is underweight, refuses the breast or bottle, screams while on their back or arches their back as in pain, baby reflux may be the problem.
  4. Parental anxiety – Some babies react to the nervousness of the parents. Make sure you are getting some rest and creating a calm environment for yourself. Mom’s and Dad’s need to take care of themselves both physically and mentally.parental anxiety baby
  5. Anatomical feeding issues – some babies may not be latching on to the breast correctly, they could be lip-tied or tongue-tied.  You may want to consult with a lactation specialist to rule out feeding issues.
  6. Other issues – Some experts blame colic on an immature digestive tract, possible allergies, a developing brain/neurological system or some think it may be due to a baby being overly and easily stimulated.

As you can see, there are many possible reasons for colic that may involve trial and error.  I believe parents know their children best and if you feel that something is wrong, never feel embarrassed to ask for more testing or get the advice of experts. Some parents try chiropractic care for their colicky babies and they find great relief.

Using your own intuition with your baby is important. For example, you may feel in your gut that your baby is having problems latching on and could be hungry. In that case seeking out a lactation expert would be the way to go.

Natural Remedies

  1. For the mother; eat more cooked or steamed vegetables. Consuming these foods tends to reduce gas and bloating in infants.
  2. An elimination diet excluding the foods corn, peanuts, gluten, milk, beans, caffeine, and soy.
  3. Swaddling is a great way to soothe a baby and to help them sleep for longer periods of time. You can try infant swings or wear a baby carrier around your chest.  Infant massage can help. baby massage
  4. Calming herbal teas such as chamomile or lemon balm can be added to the babies formula to help calm according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
  5. Probiotics have been shown to improve intestinal health in infants. These probiotics feed the good bacteria which can help digestion.

Try Klaire Labs Therabiotic Infant formula:


Or Renew Life Ulitmate Flora:

In Conclusion,

Infant colic is a frustrating and upsetting condition for parent and uncomfortable and painful for your baby.  Finding the cause of your babies colic is important.

Colic is usually suspected when there is uninterrupted crying for hours that continues for weeks. Your baby may be underweight and scream while on their back, projectile vomit after feeding or make posture contortions as if in pain.  

There could be other more serious reasons for babies to cry non-stop like ear infections or other illnesses that need to be ruled out before colic is suspected and treated for.

Some simple remedies are probiotics, calming teas, and relaxing activities. An elimination diet for the mom avoiding trigger foods is recommended. 

Please leave a comment, I enjoy hearing from my readers.

Linda is a Certified Functional Health Coach


10 Comments Add yours
  1. Hi Linda, this is such a good informative article for first time mom! As they say babies do not come with instruction! I have a friend who is pregnant with her first child. I will make sure to forward your article to her! Great Job!

  2. Great advice. It’s so hard being a mum especially when you don’t know why your baby is crying. Diet can be a big factor in causing colic but there are some really good products out there that can ease colic.

  3. Omagoodness! First off, the top picture of the baby in white cuddly clothes — I just wanna snuggle him! (or her!? it can be so hard to tell!) I don’t have any children of my own, but I’ve got a plethora of nieces and nephews and have worked in childcare for yearrsss. So long that babies I once held and fed and changed diapers, are now high school graduates. I’ve dealt with my fair share of colicky babies, and I always found that it was such a helpless feeling. I really appreciate all of the natural remedies you’ve listed here and I’m confident that it will benefit parents and caregivers alike. Thanks for sharing!

    1. You’re welcome Courtney! So you sure know all about colicky babies! If a child truly has colic, there is relief and I do hope my article can help parents feel better and get some rest!

  4. Oh that first picture of the baby crying, I can hear the screams. I didn’t realize that there are so many possible causes of colic besides baby formula. Parent anxiety, creating stress on the baby, I never would have thought of that. It’s also interesting that a mother’s diet can have an effect. We were pretty blessed with our kids, they didn’t have any issues with colic. Does a warm bath do anything to help? I know when our kids would get backed up, one of the things we would do is give them a warm bath, which kind of relaxes them I think. Thank you for sharing this post. You have some great ideas for helping a colicky baby.

  5. Great post! Our son had colic for about 4 months. Unfortunately, all we could do were two things: stroll him around the park (which is not the best option in February’s cold) or hold him while bouncing on a yoga ball. My wife and I worked alternate shifts and would take turns working, sleeping and bouncing. It’s not easy!

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