It is the question on the lips of every parent of a newborn….. Your baby is crying uncontrollably- is it colic? What is colic anyway?

Colic is a common condition thought to affect up to 10% of babies.  It is when an otherwise healthy baby cries or displays symptoms of distress frequently for extended periods.  Colic usually develops in the first few weeks of life and is a self-limiting process resolving spontaneously at around 3-4 months.

The strict definition of colic is a “healthy baby which shows periods of intense unexplained crying lasting 3 hours a day, more than 3 days a week for more than 3 weeks”.  Many doctors view this definition as extremely narrow and consider colic to be any baby who displays sudden, severe crying for an extended period.

Despite research, the cause of colic remains undetermined.  Some theories include

  1. An immature gastrointestinal system
  2. Stomach gas due to poor milk flow or poor burping
  3. Intestinal gas
  4. Neurologic overload – an overwhealmed/overstimulated baby that becomes exhausted
  5. Muscular type.


Symptoms include

  1. Inconsolable crying- typically in the afternoon and evening
  2. Grunt
  3. Passing excessive gas
  4. Crying after feeding
  5. Drawing up of the knees

It is reassuring to know the physical effects on the newborn are minimal- the baby will continue to thrive.

Treatment is aimed at reducing musculature and joint strains via massage and gentle joint articulation.

At home management can centre on colicky babies responding to tummy pressure (lying baby on stomach when awake or carrying baby on your forearm with their tummy down during the episode), warmth and massage.


To make and appointment with our most experienced Osteopaths in Maternal Health, Dr. Caroline Teh or Dr. Patrick Lee, contact Wantirna Osteopathy on 9800 0388 or Book Online.