Why Is My Baby Colicky?

Colic is present in about 20-25% of babies during the first three months of their lives. It is defined as sustained crying that has no known cause or cure. There are a number of reasons that doctors give for colic - although no one reason has been pinpointed as the main cause of  the condition. It's certainly important, if you are dealing with a colicky baby, to know that you are not alone. It's also helpful to read about the various theories about what causes colic and to try to alter your behavior to see if it helps.

Newborn's Developing

Your newborn grows and develops at an incredibly fast pace. One theory with colic is that the baby's body functions are simply not developed enough in this early stage to keep up with his rate of growth. It's possible that the baby's intestines are simply not yet fully developed and that the food irritates them as it moves through their system. For this theory, some people recommend using baby massage, to help move the food through the body. Other people say that it's important to examine what the baby is eating. Change formulas to see if this helps, or change what you are eating if you are breastfeeding.

Newborn Stress

Being born is very stressful. The baby suddenly has new sounds and sensations and he must integrate everything around him into his little life. This stress may be a trigger for some babies and cause them to cry a great deal when they are newborns. Studies have shown that first-born infants tend to have more colic than do subsequent siblings. This might indicate that a nervous first-time mother transfers her nervous energy to the baby and creates more stress. Try to be as relaxed as possible with your newborn, and to block out excess noise and stimulation if he's showing colicky signs of agitation.


Babies have very different temperaments and dispositions from the moment that they are born. One theory about colic is that it's simply a reflection of the baby's temperament. Just as some of us are calmer than others, some babies may get fussier and more worked up in the early weeks of life than do others. If this is the case for you, try to carry your baby a great deal. Studies have shown that babies that are carried three hours or more a day show less colic. Avoid dairy products, feed your baby quite often and try to burp him a lot.

Diet and Smoking

Your diet, as we've said, may be influencing your breastfed baby's colic. Try to eliminate all dairy products and chemicals from your diet. Pay attention to what you eat and see if the baby is more colicky after certain foods than he is after other foods. In addition, try to avoid smoking and second hand smoke while pregnant and while with your newborn. Research has shown that smoking can be a trigger for colic.

When you are dealing with a colicky baby, it's very difficult to relax. At the same time, your baby can feel your tension and this may increase his discomfort. Try to relax as much as possible, keeping in mind that this stage will pass and you will have a happy, healthy baby soon!