Colic is a condition in a healthy baby where he or she will cry for no obvious reason. This crying can last up to three hours a day and is not because the child is hungry, indisposed or unwell. This condition is very frustrating for the parents, where nothing seems to help. At times your child may cry the whole night, only to fall asleep when he or she is tired and exhausted of crying. Colic is not a disease, it is just a state that many infants go through, which they grow out of fairly soon. However, it is a tough situation to cope up with and parents need to be counselled to cope up with it. The way to know if your child is colicky is to understand his pattern of crying. He or she will start crying at a higher and much shrill pitch, with no apparent reason and will stop all of a sudden. Your colicky baby may also show signs of a gassy tummy. Gas doesn't cause colic, but he might be extra gassy because a baby with colic often swallows air when he cries.​

Every baby is fussy and may cry on and off. Colicky babies, however, have a set pattern of crying. 

  • Your infant may start crying all of a sudden when you know he or she is well fed and not hungry at all.

  • Your infant will cry in a shrill and loud voice, which will sound different than when he or she cries when hungry, frightened, in pain or is agitated. 

  • Your infant will start crying all of a sudden, just lying around and will stop suddenly as well.

  • Your colic baby will cry at the same time every day.

  • Your colic baby will probably pass gas after he or she has cried for some time due to the build-up of air in my stomach during or after the episode.

  • Your colic baby may cry for few minutes or up to three hours. 

  • Your colic baby will have a bowel movement if not gas after the episode.

  • Your baby’s face will flush as if he or she is crying with a lot of difficulty. Your baby may also turn red due to the aggression him or her maybe putting.

  • Your baby’s posture will change. Curled up legs, clenched fists and tensed abdominal muscles are common during colic episodes.​​

As a mother you’ll be able to understand your child’s patterns in a day or two. If you feel your child is not crying because he or she is scared, has suffered an injury or is hungry, you should consult a doctor at the Children’s Hospital Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. Specifically discuss the following issues if they arise:

  • Your baby has a bluish-cast on his or her lips or skin during a crying episode.

  • Your baby is crying excessively, especially if there is a change in your baby's eating, sleeping or behaviour.

Many doctors suggest keeping a baby diary, which basically helps you document your baby’s patterns and relate it to the doctor if such a situation arises when nothing is being indicated. Apart from the eating and crying pattern, you should also understand your child’s sleeping pattern.​

Your time with your doctor may be limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.
Your doctor will conduct a thorough physical examination to see if there is any sort of imbalance in your infant's health. Your doctor will also inspect your infant for any possible intestinal blockage. Usually, no lab tests are needed to diagnose colic. If your infant otherwise has no health problems, he or she will be diagnosed with Colic.

Unfortunately, there is no apparent treatment for colic. It goes away on its own when the child reaches the age of three months. You will have to manage your colicky child till then.

Try different soothing methods or try distracting your child by swinging him or her. ​​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments' costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.​

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.