Fussing and crying are normal for infants, and a fussy baby doesn't necessarily have colic. In an otherwise healthy, well-fed baby, signs of colic include:
- Predictable crying episodes. A baby who has colic often cries about the same time every day, usually in the late afternoon or evening. Colic episodes may last from a few minutes to three hours or more on any given day. Your baby may have a bowel movement or pass gas near the end of the colic episode.
- Intense or inconsolable crying. Colic crying is intense, sounds distressed and is often high pitched. Your baby's face may flush, and he or she is extremely difficult — if not impossible — to comfort.
- Crying that occurs for no apparent reason. It's normal for babies to cry sometimes. But, crying usually means your baby needs something, such as food or a clean diaper. Crying associated with colic occurs with no clear cause.
- Posture changes. Curled up legs, clenched fists and tensed abdominal muscles are common during colic episodes.
Colic is common. It usually starts a few weeks after birth and often improves by age 3 months. By ages 4 to 5 months, the majority of babies with colic have improved.
When to see a doctor
Seek immediate medical attention if your baby's crying could be the result of a fall, injury or illness.
Contact your baby's doctor if:
- You notice a bluish-cast to your baby's lips or skin during a crying episode.
- You're concerned about your baby's crying, especially if you notice changes in your baby's eating, sleeping or behavior.
You can help your baby's doctor by tracking in a diary when your baby cries and for how long. Also record your baby's sleeping and eating patterns.