Skip to content

    Health & Baby

    Font Size

    Does My Baby Have Colic?

    If your baby is crying a lot, she may just be uncomfortable. Or it could be colic.
    By Sara DuMond, MD
    WebMD Magazine - Feature

    In every issue of WebMD the Magazine, we ask our experts to answer readers' questions about a wide range of topics. In our November-December 2011 issue, we asked WebMD's baby expert, Sarah DuMond, MD, about crying and colic in babies.

    Q: My 2-month-old baby cries a lot. Could he have colic?

    A: Babies cry and they often cry a lot. It's the only way they can communicate their hunger, fatigue, pain, fear, or sense of being overwhelmed. So crying itself is very normal.

    Colic, on the other hand, is unexplained, excessive crying in a healthy baby. For most babies with colic, the crying starts around 3 weeks of age and goes on for several hours a day, usually at the same time (often the late afternoon or early evening), at least several times a week. The crying seems to have no cause. The babies are fed, rested, and have a clean diaper, although they sometimes draw their legs up, which can make it look like they're in pain.

    Researchers aren't sure exactly how many babies get colic (conventional wisdom says 20%, but the diagnostic method isn't exact) or why babies get colic in the first place. But colic doesn't last forever, and the crying intensity for most babies peaks at about 4 to 6 weeks, then subsides to normal levels (remember, they all cry) by about 3 months.

    Without question, colic can be exhausting for parent and baby alike. Swaddling, rocking, singing, going for a car ride, and creating "white noise" in the background are all techniques that can help calm a colicky baby. But because constant crying can be a sign of an underlying medical problem, check with your doctor to rule out reflux, a hernia, or some other problem.

    Reviewed on October 04, 2011

    Baby's First Year Newsletter

    Because every week matters, get expert advice and facts on what to expect in your baby's first year.

    Today on WebMD

    mother on phone holding baby
    When you should call 911.
    parents and baby
    Unexpected ways your life will change.
    baby acne
    What’s normal – and what’s not.
    baby asleep on moms shoulder
    Help your baby get the sleep he needs.

    mother holding baby at night
    mother with sick child
    Chinese mother breast feeding newborn baby girl
    Track Your Babys Vaccines
    Baby Napping 10 Dos And Donts
    Mother with her baby boy
    baby in crib
    baby gear slideshow