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Colic has two forms.  One is a baby who is crying 24 hours a day.  The second one is the crying and fussiness in the evenings for approximately 2 hours.

All day colic:

This is a baby that is crying almost 24 hours a day.  They are sleeping, eating, or crying and it is every day.  This is not the usual “colic” that we will talk about in the evening section below.  These babies are “colicy babies” and there usually is something wrong. 

1.      It can be what you are feeding the baby or what is in your breast milk. 

A.     Breast.   Cow’s milk is the most common thing the mother eats but it could be any food/drink.  Spicy food and caffeine is rare.  Try stopping all cow’s milk products for 2 days and see if there is a difference and if so take a calcium tablet.  There are also just some babies that are colicy on breast milk because there is no fiber in it.  They also may have a lactose problem and we can’t change either one of those things.  You can stop breast and pump for 36 hours and give formula that does not have lactose.  If there is a new baby without colic, then we know that is the problem, it does not harm the baby to have breast milk, and the choice to continue breast is up to you.

B.     Formula.   The formula may be causing the colic all day and you can change to a lactose free formula, Soy that does not have lactose or cow’s milk protein, or a Casein protein formula (Gentle Ease or Good Start).  48 hours on these and if a difference then stay with that formula.  If not, then there is not a food problem.

2.      It can be a withdrawal from medications in the mother during pregnancy.  Infants have gone through withdrawal of alcohol, illicit drugs, and antidepressants. Usually they are normal in a month or so.

3.      The colicy baby could have a medical problem.  Usually an ear infection, bladder infection,  and then a list of more rare diseases.

4.      Then the baby could just have a lot of crying in their personality and that is just that type of baby and not much helps. (Yuck)


Evening Colic:  

This type baby mostly cries in the evenings for 2 hours.  This lasts until approximately 2 months of age.  Almost all babies have this but it is mild cramping and you can pacify them with a pacifier, rock and hold them, put them in a swing or vibrating chair.  This is not gas.  I said “NOT THE GAS”.  But doctors and grandmas used to blame it on gas but the statement “he has gas” translates to “he has cramps”.  The babies pass gas 24 hours a day and you will feel them pass gas in their diaper and grin.  The cramps or colic is just 2 hours in the evenings.  So the gas does not cause it and the gas medications do not help.  Some parents swear it does and that is fine.  They are safe medications.  We have some anti-cramp medication that is safe and have used it for many years.   It is not habit forming and you can call the office for a prescription for it.  It’s name is Levsin Drops.  There is are other preparations like Gripe Water that I do not recommend (it contains Fennel which has anethole: “ It is a chemical precursor for Paramethoxyamphetamine, which has been sold as ecstacy.”)

 By two months of age they are smiling and cooing, sleeping better at night, and a better baby.

 Roger Knapp MD