The accepted signs of colic are usually a baby which struggles to settle or be soothed

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Colic occurs when a baby cries frequently and is hard to soothe, brings it’s knees up to their tummy or arch their back, and baby’s tummy rumbles or is very windy. There is no definitive reason for colic, and numerous theories abound. For the most part, there is usually nothing to worry about and the colic passes with time.


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Infantile colic is defined as crying or fussing for more than 3 hours per day, more than 3 days per week, without obvious cause, and cannot be prevented or resolved by caregivers.

Although colic is considered a self-limiting and benign disorder, it represents one of the most common problems in the first 4 months of life.

Causes and risk factors.

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The causes/ risk factors related to colic are likely to be multifactorial. One possible cause is the immaturity of the infant’s nervous or digestive system. Another factor could be allergy to cow’s milk proteins, intestinal hypermotility secondary to an imbalance of the autonomic nervous system, and/or hormonal changes.

A more recent hypothesis suggests that gut microflora plays a role in colic. Studies have linked gut microbiota and colic in infancy. In infants with colic, there are low levels of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium which could be a possible cause of abnormal gut motility and increased gas production.

Signs and symptoms

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The accepted signs of colic are usually a baby which struggles to settle or be soothed, brings their knees up or arches their back and they tend to go red in the face. They may also clench their fists.


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If your healthcare advisor or nurse is concerned about the baby, he or she will advise you see a doctor/paediatrician. However, for the most part, they should be able to advise you on strategies to minimize the discomfort baby is having due to the colic.

Impact on quality of life

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Although colic heals spontaneously, it might disturb family relationships and may delay attachment between parent and child. Studies also found that parent´s memories of the exhausting colic period were vivid, but when the colic had healed the family relationships also healed. It is therefore important for parents to ask for support during these trying times. Luckily, probiotics have been found to reduce colic crying time by up to 50%, which could definitely help parents in managing the discomfort.

Treatment, Prevention and lifestyle changes

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There is no definitive treatment for colic, however a number of suggestions may be:

  • sit or hold your baby upright during feeding to stop them swallowing air
  • wind your baby after feeds
  • gently rock your baby over your shoulder
  • gently rock your baby in their Moses basket or crib, or push them in their pram
  • bath your baby in a warm bath
  • have some gentle white noise like the radio or TV in the background to distract them
  • keep feeding your baby as usual
  • probiotic supplementation such as Reuterina Drops which restore and maintain a healthy gut flora balance and are lactose and milk protein free (& gluten free)

Reuterina Drops contain Lactobacillus bacteria which helps to boost baby’s gut health

Restore and maintain gut health daily with the No.1 Prescribed paediatric probiotic.
Reuterina drops reduces colic crying time by 50% 

1. NHS. Colic. Accessed 13 Feb 2022
2. Savino F, et al. Crying time and RORy/FOXP3 expression in Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938-treated infants with colic: A randomized trial. J Pediatr 2018;192:171-177.
3. Landgren K, Lundgvist & Hallstrom I. Remembering the Chaos – But Life Went on and the Wound Healed. A Four Year Follow Up with Parents having had a Baby with Infantile Colic. Open Nurs J. 2012; 6: 53–61. Published online 2012 May 2. doi:10.2174/1874434601206010053
4. Reuterina® Drops Approved Package Insert, August 2009
5. Data on file
6. Rx Impact Data [December 2021].

152 ZA Reut 092022

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