Three Month Colic – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Three-month colic

The three- month colic has increasingly become a pseudo term. If a baby breaks out into constant crying in the evenings during the first three months, the doctor is better off calling it “primarily excessive crying” or “persistent evening crying”. It is still not clear to this day whether the causes are really colic .

What is three month colic?

Three month colic is a postpartum condition in which a baby cries for more than three hours at a time. This condition repeats itself at least four times a week and at least three weeks in a row. After three months, this excessive writing does not have to stop. This is not a time limit. There are no scientifically clarified causes for this condition.

About 15 percent of babies are affected by three-month colic in the first few months after birth. This condition usually begins in the second week of life. Infants cry in the late afternoon, evening, or night after meals. It is then very difficult to calm them down. The stomach is bloated. These symptoms will go away on their own after a few hours.

Because the apparent cause of excessive crying is gas or colic, this condition is often called tri-monthly colic.


The causes of the three-month colic are not known. However, a number of factors are discussed. This includes an adjustment disorder of the intestine. Babies’ digestive systems are not fully developed. As a result, some newborns have trouble adjusting to a substitute formula. The baby might not tolerate certain foods, for example cow’s milk allergy .

It may not be able to coordinate the swallowing process properly yet. The excessive crying may be a reaction to the parents’ tension and nervousness. Some parents do not yet know how to best deal with the child. It might actually have bloating. Or the child still suffers from birth trauma due to difficulties in the pregnancy .

Professional support helps – especially with the first baby. Some parents wait too long before seeing a doctor or therapist. The child’s symptoms must be clarified by means of a differential diagnosis. The parents themselves also need help, advice or support.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

Diagnosis & History

The three-month colic is characterized by a specific temporal rhythm of crying. The infants are newborns or up to three months old. The occurrence of excessive crying

  • lasts for at least three hours
  • occurs at least four days a week and
  • has lasted longer than three weeks.

Invagination and volvulus must be excluded in the differential diagnosis . Intussusception is the turning of one section of the intestine into another. The children have colicky pain, are pale and apathetic. The stool turns into bloody mucus. The volvulus is a special form of the mechanical ileus . It occurs only in the first months of life and in the first years of school.

The intestine has rotated on its own axis. The children have stomach pains and vomit. Children with a diagnosis of intussusception or volvulus are immediately referred to the nearest children’s hospital for surgery. If the symptoms of the three-month colic persist for several months, there is a suspicion of a cow’s milk allergy.


Three-month colic can lead to various complications. First and foremost, the baby cries very loudly, which can be attributed to the pain caused by the flatulence. The child often feels pain in the abdomen and suffers from reddening of the face. The pain in the abdomen often leads to vomiting or diarrhea.

The three-month colic often also has a negative effect on the psyche of the parents, as they suffer from sleep disorders and lack of sleep. An aggressive attitude can also develop, which is strengthened by depression. Targeted treatment can primarily be carried out by the parents themselves by calming the child down.

There can be no further compilations. If the three-month colic occurs after breastfeeding, a strict diet can be prescribed to avoid possible allergies or intolerances. Milk powder can often also be used for breastfeeding. As a rule, the three-month colic does not lead to any further complications or symptoms and disappears on its own. For parents, they can represent a very uncomfortable and stressful time because the child will not stop crying.

When should you go to the doctor?

If the three-month colic lasts longer than three months or causes unusual symptoms, a visit to the pediatrician is recommended . If the child suffers from extreme diarrhea or vomiting, for example, this must be clarified. At the latest when symptoms of dehydration or malnutrition occur, such as dry mucous membranes or apathetic behavior, medical advice is required. The same applies if the child shows signs of sleep deprivation or stress. Then the doctor can prescribe mild sedatives and alleviate the symptoms in a targeted manner.

It is advisable to speak to the responsible pediatrician before the onset of the three-month colic in order to be prepared for the illness. Since the three-month colic is also a burden for the parents, therapeutic help may be indicated. Especially with the first child, it is advisable to work through the difficult phase in a conversation with a therapist and possibly even get support in raising children. If there are major complications such as severe diarrhea or vomiting, the emergency doctor must be called immediately.

Treatment & Therapy

There is no medical therapy for the three-month colic. The discomfort will go away on its own. The parents can have a calming effect on the child. Being physically close to the caregivers helps. Additional, gentle external stimuli such as whispering or constant rhythms such as walking can be used as a distraction. Babies like to be carried around and given attention. Some children just want to be breastfed more often.

Nevertheless, some doctors give some recommendations: All foods that contain additives should be avoided. If the mother is breastfeeding, her nutrition has top priority. She should make a plan of how often and what she wants to eat and when. If the mother herself gets a craving for something sweet, then fruit or some dextrose are a better alternative to sweets. The mother should not drink cow’s milk herself. She could try goat’s milk or give up milk altogether for a while.

Egg and soy can also cause allergies . If the mother loses weight while breastfeeding , pollutants stored in the fatty tissue are dissolved and then passed on to the infant via breast milk. If the child is not breastfed, the following considerations can be useful: The instructions for use on the milk powder explain exactly how the milk is prepared. After preparation, the bottle must stand for 10-15 minutes to allow the air to escape from the mixture. The foam crown must not be administered.

It may also help to change the brand or manufacturer. The milk may be mixed with caraway tea . In some cases, a defoamer can also help.

Outlook & Forecast

Three-month colics are usually harmless. The acute phase of the disease is a great effort for the child and the parents, but after three months the symptoms go away on their own. Consequential damage is not to be expected and the child is developing normally after the three-month hospitalization has worn off.

In individual cases, the illness can cause psychological problems in the parents. Due to the lack of sleep and the ongoing stress associated with the recurring colic, depressive moods, personality changes or fears then set in, among other things. Existing mental illnesses can worsen.

However, the three-month colic itself usually does not lead to long-term health problems. The prognosis is accordingly positive. If the disease is recognized and treated early, it often subsides before the three months and is less stressful for the child and the parents as it progresses. However, diarrhea can cause a lack of fluids and nutrients, which can lead to dehydration . If the symptoms of dehydration are treated quickly, the chances of recovery are good.


The basic prerequisite for a happy baby is a good relationship with the caregivers and peace to sleep. A baby needs breast milk until its own digestive system has developed for other foods.

Otherwise, all factors that can provoke allergic processes in the baby must be eliminated. Babies are also happy about a bottle of tea, for example sage tea , chamomile tea or caraway tea. After the meal, the air should first escape from the stomach before the child is put to sleep.


In most cases, the measures or options for aftercare are relatively severely restricted in the case of three-month colic. First and foremost, those affected are dependent on an early diagnosis in order to identify and treat the cause of the three-month colic. The sooner a doctor is consulted, the better the further course of this disease.

For this reason, early detection of this disease is paramount. In most cases, the treatment itself is carried out by the parents or by the relatives themselves, who are usually trained by a doctor in order to alleviate the symptoms of the three-month colic. However, if the measures are not successful, a doctor must be consulted again in any case.

In many cases, the parents are dependent on the use of milk powder if the child cannot take breast milk. Proper preparation is important. In some cases, tea can also be used to dilute the milk. However, regular examinations should also be carried out by a doctor to monitor the child’s body. The life expectancy of the child is usually not reduced by this disease.

You can do that yourself

If a baby suffers from three-month colic, care should be taken when feeding that it does not drink too quickly. Sitting upright can also help prevent air choking, and regular belching during and after meals is made easier. When feeding with a bottle , a teat hole that is too large or foam formation can lead to increased swallowing of air and thus to flatulence.

The flatulent components of some foods can be passed on to the baby via breast milk and trigger colic: Breastfeeding mothers should therefore avoid eating cabbage, onions and leeks . Individually, other foods can also cause complaints in the infant, which may have to be found out by an elimination diet.

A quiet environment and a regular daily routine have a positive effect on the baby’s well-being and can promote falling asleep. Sometimes carrying around, rocking in a baby carrier or going for a walk in the stroller is also helpful, soft music or a steady source of noise can also help to calm the baby.

In the case of acute colic, a gentle abdominal massage with caraway oil can provide relief, and heat applications also have a relaxing effect. Since three-month colic is also a great burden for the parents, they should not be afraid to accept help from relatives or friends and to occasionally take a break from themselves.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.