Babies who cry and fuss a lot are often described as being “colicky,” but what exactly is colic, and what causes it?

Colic is defined as crying and fussing inconsolably that happens often and may last for hours. It’s very common and affects roughly one in five infants. If your baby cries excessively, it could be a sign of colic.

What causes colic? The cause of colic is unknown, but there are various theories including indigestion, trapped wind or gut sensitivities – but there is little evidence to support these theories.

What should I do if I suspect my baby may have colic? Firstly, if your little one is crying excessively, take them to a doctor to rule out any medical conditions, such as eczema and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. However, babies with colic usually don’t have an underlying medical condition.

How can I comfort my baby? Every baby is different and while a certain settling technique may work like a dream for some, it may do nothing for others. Try a few different things, such as holding your baby, wrapping them snugly in a sling, talking gently to them, gentle massages and avoid overstimulating them.

Contact your doctor immediately if your little one has a weak, high-pitched continuous cry, vomits green fluid, has breathing problems, has a fever of 38°C or higher or passes blood in their stools.

If you have any doubts or worries, don’t hesitate to see your GP.