Does my baby have colic? Take this quiz

What is colic in babies?

Colic is a fairly common problem in healthy infants.

It is described as a prolonged and intense crying or fussiness in an otherwise healthy baby.

It is important to note that colic is a diagnosis of exclusion, and other problems must often be explored and ruled out before a diagnosis of colic can be made.

Colic affects up to  20% of all infants.

Episodes usually start in the second or third week of life, peaks around 6 weeks, and usually resolves by the age of 12 weeks.

To most new parents the baby seems distressed but for reasons unknown, and the crying child seems inconsolable.

More so, these fits of crying often occur late in the evenings when the parents themselves are tired and can cause them to lose sleep. 

Take this quiz to find out if your baby has Colic and what steps you can take to lessen the severity and duration of colic episodes. 

Does your baby cry for about 3 hours (or more) for more than 3 days a week?

Yes – Your baby may have colic

No – Your baby probably doesn’t have Colic

In simple terms, colic is crying that lasts for more than 3 hours a day (collectively) and occurs for more than 3 days a week.

Although babies with colic usually cry inconsolably for long periods, it is possible that your baby could just need winding, a nap, a diaper change, or be hungry.

Does your two-week-old baby cry for just about 2 hours a day?

Yes – This is normal for this age. It’s too early to say if your baby has colic 

No – It’s also too early to say if your baby has colic 

Normal crying should last for about 2 hours a day when the baby is 2 weeks old and increases to about 3 hours a day when the baby is 3 months old. 

Is your baby between age 6 weeks and 4 months and crying inconsolably?

Yes – While this does not definitively prove that your baby has colic, if you answered yes to the first question, the chances are that your baby may actually have colic.

No – It is unlikely that your baby has colic 

Colic typically starts when the infant is about 6 weeks old and will decline significantly after the child has crossed 3 to 4 months of age.

At age 3 months, it’s over in 60% of babies who have it.

Have you noticed your baby frequently extending or pulling up their legs to their tummy while crying?

crying baby pulling up legs

Yes – If your baby does this, your baby likely has colic.

No – While this does not definitively prove that your baby does not have colic, the chances that your baby has colic are slim. 

In colic, the infant appears to clench the fists or curl up his/her legs toward the stomach when crying.

This is a remarkable feature often seen in the crying child with colic.

They will usually pull their knees up to their chest, and some babies may even go red and appear flushed in the face.

If your crying baby does not do this, there is likely some other explanation for the excessive crying such as mild wind, tiredness, hunger, or they may need a nappy change.

Does your baby start crying more often and becomes irritable in the late afternoon or early evening?

Yes – Your baby may have colic

No – Your baby probably doesn’t have Colic

Colic is significant because it can disrupt attachment between infants and parents, and it can be a source of family stress and frustration.

In colic, episodes of crying often occur late in the evenings when the parents are tired and can cause them to lose sleep.

Does your crying baby have a high temperature and/or is losing weight?

high temperature in baby

Yes – This is not colic. It could be something else. Consult your medical provider

No – Your baby probably has colic

Even when associated with inconsolable crying and fussiness, a high temperature and weight loss or poor weight gain is unlikely to be colic and usually implies that an underlying illness could be causative of the crying fits.

Conditions such as Ear infections, Respiratory infections, Abdominal infections, Testicular torsion in boys, Inguinal hernia, Health problems presenting with cough or fast breathing, inflammation or a space-occupying mass in the nervous system can also mimic colic.

If your crying child has a fever and you notice an ear discharge or cough or any other health problem, you should consult your primary healthcare provider. 

Is the intense baby cry associated with hiccups & vomiting  after meals? 

baby vomiting after meals

Yes – It is not likely that your baby has colic. Infants with colic do not typically suffer from hiccups and/or vomiting 

No – Your baby probably has colic 

Food allergies, Gastroesophageal reflux disease and other stomach problems can also present with similar symptoms as colic.

The giveaway is that babies with colic are usually otherwise healthy.

If you notice the symptoms (hiccups and vomiting) and crying are worse after feeding, this can be a pointer to acid reflux.

Babies with colic do not tend to develop worse colic symptoms after feeding. These problems may require intervention, and they should typically be discussed with your healthcare provider.

Is your crying baby healthy and well-fed?

Yes – Chances are that your baby has colic

No – If your crying infant is not tolerating feed or usually sleeps through mealtimes and appears weak and lethargic, your baby does not have colic. 

As previously explained, colic is excessive intense crying  in an otherwise healthy baby during which the child is inconsolable. Crying usually requires energy, and infants with colic are generally well-fed and quite energetic. 

Is your crying baby’s tummy bloated?

Yes – It is not likely that your baby has colic. Your baby’s excessive crying and fussiness could be due to the discomfort and belly pain of the bloating 

No – Your baby probably has colic 

While it is true that some babies with colic experience bloated tummies, this is not always the case.

Intestinal gas, Milk protein intolerance can cause bloating and present with similar symptoms as colic.

When the infant is intolerant to specific proteins in milk, those proteins cannot be completely digested and are acted upon by intestinal healthy bacteria, which ferment them to yield gas.

This gas can cause abdominal distention giving your baby a “bloated tummy”.

You may need to change the formula/milk your baby consumes or discuss this with your Pediatrician. 

Are your baby’s cries more intense than usual — more like a high-pitched scream than a cry?

Yes – Chances are that your baby has colic

No – Your baby probably does not have colic 

In a child with colic, in addition to some of the features discussed earlier, the intense crying usually sounds louder and is more high-pitched than regular crying.

If, after taking the quiz, you feel that your baby has colic, here’s what you can do 

Hey! By the way… any links on this page that lead to products on Amazon are affiliate links and I earn a commission if you make a purchase.

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Some practical steps you can take to calm down your baby with colic

1.Ensure your child is well fed but do not overfeed them.

Try feeding the child smaller meals but more frequently instead of large portions 3 times a day but do not feed the child too quickly.

If there is feeding refusal, be patient, stop feeding the child for some time and allow for some rest before you commence feeding again.

It is recommended that one bottle feeding should last about 20 minutes.

If the child is on non-milk-based formula, you might want to try out a different brand (sometimes, kids can be sensitive to specific proteins in infant formula).

Also, try warming the formula to body temperature to simulate the conditions of breast milk.

If this doesn’t work, change the feeding position and try feeding your baby in an upright position.

Pacifiers may have mixed results.

While some suggest that it could calm the child, there is also a possibility that children who use pacifiers frequently may be too tired to suck when they need to be fed, resulting in hunger and irritability in a child. 

2. Routinely change the child’s position.

You can support the child to sit up or lie down.

Also, try holding the child while you walk around.

Gently rock the baby or place the child on your lab and massage their back if it helps. If you suspect the baby has gas, hold the child upright 

3. Breastfeeding mothers should realise that products from certain foods they take get passed on to the child in breast milk.

Ensure you avoid stimulants such as caffeine and chocolate.

avoid coffee while breast feeding

Also, try to limit intake of dairy products and nuts, as some babies may be allergic to them.

If you are taking medications, ask your physician if the medicines you take have to potential of irritating your child or triggering an allergic reaction in them.

4. Hold the child close to you with their bare skin against your own as if practising kangaroo mother care.

5. Some recommend using white noise such as the blow of a fan, the sound of the washing machine, vacuum cleaner, a hairdryer or the recording of a heartbeat to pacify the crying infant.

To help a baby with colic you could try using this portable white noise machine with 12 soothing sounds and adjustable volume or  advanced anti-colic newborn bottle feeding starter set..

Conclusion

We have tried to cover all the possible questions that this quiz about colic should include and it should definitely help you to find out if your little one has colic or not.

However if you answered “No” to all the questions and your baby still does  not stop crying, you should immediately consult a pediatrician without any further delay

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Carrie Walters is a young mother of Nina and Tom, who along with her husband Jake is passionate about helping moms and families find modern solutions to common parenting and lifestyle questions. Together with a team of real moms and medical experts, this young couple share sound advice and proven tips to help make your life easier.
They manage this blog along with other blogs and Youtube channels on similar topics