All newborns cry and get fussy sometimes.  But when a baby who is otherwise healthy has several periods a week of fussiness, high-pitched crying, and difficulty being comforted, it’s a sign of colic.

    Colic is defined as crying for more than 3 hours a day, for more than 3 days a week, for at least 3 weeks. But doctors may diagnose a baby as having colic before that point. 

    Colic usually doesn't point to any health problems and eventually goes away on its own.

    More to Know

    Colicky babies have a healthy sucking reflex and a good appetite and are otherwise healthy and growing well. 

    Colicky babies may spit up from time to time just as non-colicky babies do. But if your baby is actually vomiting or losing weight, call the doctor. (Vomiting is a forceful throwing up of stomach contents through the mouth, whereas spitting up is an easy flow of stomach contents out of the mouth.) Vomiting repeatedly is not a sign of colic.

    Colicky babies typically have normal stools (poop). If your baby has diarrhea or blood in the stool, call your doctor.

    Help ease colic by:

    • holding and rocking your baby
    • burping your baby more often 
    • feeding your baby in an upright position
    • playing soothing noises
    • putting the baby in a vibrating seat 
    • swaddling your baby gently

    Keep in Mind

    Caring for a colicky baby can be frustrating, so be sure to take care of yourself, too. Don't blame yourself or your baby for the constant crying — colic is nobody's fault. Try to remember that colicky babies will eventually outgrow this phase.

    If your baby is crying a lot and shows other signs of illness (such as fever), the cause is not colic. Schedule an appointment to see a doctor.

    All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2023 KidsHealth® All rights reserved. Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and