Common Newborn Conditions: Colic

Category: Newborns

Colic is just one of the conditions that are common in newborns. The experts tell you what to look out for.



 “Colic is a condition whereby infants have periodic episodes of excessive crying but are otherwise well,” explains Dr Christelle Tan, specialist in paediatrics at Raffles Holland V. “The episodes are characterised by intense crying which lasts from a few minutes to two to three hours,” she adds. The condition tends to show up between the ages of two weeks and four months and crying episodes usually occur at the same time each day. “Colicky babies are most fussy in the evening,” says Dr Chua Mei Chien, head and senior consultant at the Department of Neonatology at KKH.


Colic is one of the great mysteries of baby life and experts don’t really know why it happens. It is, however, a fairly common condition with experts estimating that between eight and 40 per cent of babies become colicky.



Babies with colic may show signs of a gassy tummy, as they tend to swallow air when they cry.



While it can be maddening for mums having to soothe their colicky babies, know that the condition doesn't last forever. It tends to peak around six weeks, and then go away between three and four months of age. By the fourth month, experts say that 80 to 90 per cent of babies no longer have colic. Very few babies are colicky past the fifth month.


If your child has colic, Dr Chua has some suggestions on how to soothe her; “Calming measures include swaddling with the legs flexed or gently rocking your baby. Singing lullabies, holding your baby in an upright position or providing ‘white’ noise from the sound of a fan, a vacuum cleaner or washing machine may soothe baby. Car rides also work for some babies. What comforts one child may not calm another. By trial and error, you will know what works for your baby. Gripe water, colic drops (simethicone) and abdominal massage may be helpful.”


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