Colic is inconsolable crying in a healthy newborn baby with bouts of fussiness and irritability. The condition has no known cause but is harmless, although it can be very distressing for parents or carers. It's very common, affecting up to two out of every 10 babies.
Colic usually affects babies in the first few weeks of their lives but generally goes after about four months. Crying can be intense and furious and it may last for several hours a day over a few weeks. Although crying can occur at any time, it usually gets worse in the late afternoon and evening, and can affect your baby's sleep.
Although colic isn't thought to be due to pain, your baby may look uncomfortable or appear to be in pain. Babies may arch their backs, draw up their legs to their tummy, become red in the face and pass wind.
Colic isn't a serious condition. Research shows that babies with colic continue to eat and gain weight, despite the crying. If your baby doesn't do this, see your health visitor or GP.
The main problem with the condition is the stress and anxiety it creates at home, especially if it's your first child. You may find being unable to comfort your new baby stressful, as well as finding it difficult to cope with the constant crying, so it's important for you to have support and to take a break if things get on top of you.