A baby all sprawled out

Diagnosing Colic

Colic is frustrating—for both babies and parents. It can be frightening to see your baby crying for hours at a time, over and over, with no obvious reason. In fact, nearly a third of babies are suspected to have colic. Although researchers have yet to discover the reason for the development of colic, here is a look at how doctors generally diagnose it.

Initial Evaluation

Colic is diagnosed after other potential issues have been ruled out as a reason for excessive crying, such as gastrointestinal upset. Most frequently, doctors will review the history of a baby’s health, as well as perform a physical exam. In that exam, one of the most important things to check for is an intestinal blockage, which can be a common cause of pain. 

Colic Requirements

If everything else seems normal, your doctor may diagnose your baby with colic. In order to diagnose colic, crying must be present for more than three hours a day, three days a week for three weeks or longer.

Thankfully, colic generally begins to lessen around the time your baby reaches three months old. In the meantime, it can be difficult and heartbreaking. Some experts recommend keeping a “colic diary,” in which you detail what seems to instigate crying sessions, how long they last, and how frequently they occur. This can help your doctor correctly diagnose your infant. 

Last Updated: March 28, 2016