What is infant colic?

Infant colic is excessive crying in an otherwise healthy and well fed infant. It affects 5-19% of babies. Colicky crying usually peaks around 6 weeks of life and disappears by 3-4 months of age. More recent evidence shows that children with migraine headaches were more likely to have colic as an infant. A family history of migraine is very common.  

How do you diagnose infant colic?

Babies with infant colic typically feel well between attacks. They have repeated bouts of irritability, fussing or crying from birth up to 4 months. Colic is very simply defined. If your baby cries for 3 or more hours on at least 3 days a week for at least three weeks, they have colic.

Is infant colic associated with migraine? 

In one study, 66% of people with migraine had a history of colic compared to 23% of people without migraine. As the migraine brain is hypersensitive, children with colic could be more sensitive to their environment and that could cause the excessive crying. 

What are the available treatments for infant colic?

Your doctor needs to see your child to check for any other worrisome cause of colic. The mainstay of treatment is reassurance of parents that infant colic is not due to a disease and the colicky crying disappears by 3-4 months of age. 

Parents can use the following approaches: 

  • Decrease stimulation by turning down the lights or avoiding loud sounds
  • Establish a sleep routine
  • Regulate the room temperature. 
  • Try a hypoallergenic or lactose free milk formula

Medications are not usually recommended.

Will my child suffer from this condition forever?

The colicky crying usually disappears by 3-4 months of age. It is important to remind that having a colicky kid is NOT a result of poor parenting or neglect. Babies with infant colic may develop migraine headaches by the time they reach 18 years old. 


  • Gelfand A. Episodic syndromes of childhood associated with migraine. Current Opinion Neurology.2018;31:281-285.
  • Lagman-Bartolome AM, Lay C. Pediatric Migraine Variants: A review of epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment and outcome. Current Neurology and Neuroscience.2015;12:1-14.


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