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Infant health


Colic is a common condition that infants may experience. Following the ROME IV criteria, which is used to diagnose functional gastrointestinal disorders, a diagnosis of colic can be made when all the following are present:

  • An infant aged <5 months when the colic symptoms start and stop
  • Recurrent and prolonged periods of crying, fussing or irritability reported by parents or caregivers that occur without obvious cause and cannot be prevented or resolved
  • No evidence of infant faltering growth, fever or illness.1

Click each of the headings below to find out more about colic.

Identifying colic2,3

As well as excessive and frequent crying, other signs that a baby may have colic include if they:

  • Are difficult to soothe or settle
  • Clench their fists
  • Go red in the face
  • Bring their knees up to their tummy or arch their back
  • Are very windy or their tummy rumbles.
Managing colic2,3

Things that may help settle or comfort a baby with colic include:

  • Hold or cuddle the baby when they are crying a lot
  • Sit or hold the baby upright during feeding to stop them swallowing air
  • Wind the baby after feeds
  • Gently rock the baby over the shoulder
  • Gently rock the baby in their Moses basket or crib, or push them in their pram
  • Bath the baby in warm water
  • Have some gentle white noise such as the radio or TV in the background to distract them.
When to refer2,3

Parents and caregivers should be advised to see their GP or health visitor if:

  • They are worried about their baby’s crying
  • Their baby has colic and nothing seems to be working
  • They are finding it hard to cope
  • Their baby is not growing or putting on weight as expected
  • Their baby still has symptoms of colic after four months of age.