Colic has causes and solutions - Dr Golly Sleep Program

Colic has causes and solutions

Any baby can have colic.

Colic most often becomes evident when a baby is 2–5 weeks old and usually eases by the time the baby is 3–4 months old. 

What are some of the common signs of colic?

  1. Excessive crying
  2. Knees pulling up, squirming after feeds
  3. Fussy and irregular feeds, pulling off the breast or bottle frequently 
  4. Generally unsettled & clingy 
  5. Wakes screaming
  6. Visibly uncomfortable & distressed
  7. Farting A LOT  
  8. Only wants to sleep upright e.g. pram or in the carrier and miserable when lying flat

What causes colic?

  1. Some babies have an immature gut that can’t process elements of milk - be it formula or breastmilk 
  2. Some big 2-week-old babies drink the same volume as a 3-month-old, and their little stomachs just can’t process the sheer volume
  3. Some mums have incredibly quick let-downs and babies guzzle down the milk… and gulp more air 
  4. Poor attachment to the breast or bottle can lead to increased air getting in during feeds

What to do if you think your baby has colic?


  1. Burps, burps & more burps - teach everyone in your family the @DrGolly active winding technique (it's in the program). Any time the baby isn't feeding, you can be burping them 
  2. Use the active winding technique for 15min after each feeding period
  3. Cycling legs to remain calm when lying flat
  4. Regular tummy-time to strengthen their neck - the quicker they can crawl/sit-up the easier it will be to burp them & get that trapped wind out
  5. If you’re breastfeeding, be aware of your diet - if you’re drinking/eating a lot of cow’s milk, legumes, ruffage, cured meats, fermented products this could upset your baby - remember stuff that makes you gassy will make your baby gassy 
  6. If you’re breastfeeding, be aware of caffeine as this can cause unsettled behaviour (I hate saying this, because breastfeeding a newborn is one of the most exhausting jobs out there… & mums need their coffee! Absolutely enjoy this ritual but be mindful of consumption - see my blog on this topic for more info).
  7. Check for all other causes that could be upsetting your baby e.g. too hot/cold, itchy clothing tag, uncontrolled eczema, overtired, undertired etc etc.
  8. Watch for food intolerances - this is not uncommon in breastfed babies, mucus in the poo is a sign your baby is intolerant to something (we will discuss this more in future posts) 
  9. If you have completed steps 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8 and your baby is still uncomfortable/unsettled it may be time to talk to your GP or paediatrician. 

Remember: 

  1. Medication should be your last step not your first.
  2. Colic mixes won't fix colic, it will simply make your baby easier to burp and expel trapped wind - your family will need to be fastidious about BURPING! 
  3. I'm a paediatrician and can't give medical advice over social media/email, if you think your baby has severe colic - you’ll need to talk to your GP or paediatrician and work through what is happening 
  4. I also can't recommend pharmaceuticals over social media or email - there are lots of colic mixes out there - again you’ll need to see your GP or paediatrician about whether a) your baby needs this & b) which colic mix is the right one for your baby - be sure to discuss possible side effects too
  5. If you’re talking to your GP or paediatrician, be open to the idea that colic may not be the problem that is making your baby unsettled - always describe the symptoms your baby has to your healthcare professional
  6. Caring for a colicky baby can be hard. If your baby won't stop crying & you’re not coping: call a friend or family member for support, or to take care of the baby while you take a well-deserved break
  7. Until you resolve the trapped wind/pain, they are probably going to be unsettled. Colicky babies will rarely sleep in a cot and have trouble linking sleep cycles. Allow for contact naps in the carrier, pram or car until you have the trapped wind under control.
  8. Colic does NOT mean you have to have an unhappy, unsettled baby that cries all the time - the articles on Colic that say there is no cure and some babies just cry – these are WRONG!

Just look at Frances! She had colic, but is now well-fed, well-burped and sleeps like a little angel.


Colic has causes and solutions 💫

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