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PLAYING: Why babies cry

Why babies cry

Did you know? Up to 20% of healthy babies may cry inconsolably during their first weeks of life. This is often called ‘colic’.

2 mins to read Dec 30, 2021

If your baby is healthy but cries excessively for more than three hours a day on three or more days a week, for over 3 weeks, they may be suffering from colic.

Most parents notice symptoms of colic when their baby is between two and four weeks old and it peaks at about six weeks. Colic is often described as excessive crying in an otherwise healthy baby. Colic is particularly challenging to caregivers, who seem unable to help their babies stop crying. In addition, if your baby has colic this can lead to you feeling anxiety, frustration, and exhaustion. The good news is that babies tend to outgrow colic within several weeks.

Causes of colic

The exact causes of colic are not known. Since colic is not diagnosed in older babies, it could be related to the immaturity of a young baby’s digestive system. Their gut will naturally mature as they get older. Some experts have also suggested that the excessive crying of colic is related to the amount and types of friendly bacteria in a baby’s intestines.

In fact, multiple studies have shown that babies who were given a specific probiotic supplement, L. reuteri, had reduced crying time compared with babies that did not take the probiotic.

If you suspect your baby has colic, ask your healthcare provider for advice and whether probiotic L. reuteri may be helpful for your baby.


  • (Accessed December 29 2016) 

  • Benninga MA, Nurko S, Faure C et al. Childhood functional gastrointestinal disorders: Neonate/toddler. Gatroenterology 2016; 150:1443-55. 

  • Camilleri M, Park, SY, Scarpato E et al. Exploring hypotheses and rationale for causes of infantile colic. Neurogastroenterol Motil 2017; 29(2): doi: 10.1111/nmo.12943 


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