Colic and tummy problems

Colic, constipation, diarrhoea, vomiting are common tummy troubles that your baby can face. Here’s what to look out for and how to deal with them.


Colic is when your healthy baby cries a lot and nothing can help to soothe them. While it isn’t harmful, it can be upsetting to watch when nothing can calm them down. Excessive crying is when it happens for more than three hours a day, more than three days a week. Breastfed and formula-fed babies are both affected equally by colic. Your doctor will be the best person to offer solutions and assure you that it’s nothing more serious.

Experts don’t know exactly what causes colic but there are theories that it could be to do with your baby’s digestive system maturing which, in turn, can lead to ingestion and wind. Feeding your baby when they seem hungry instead of trying to get them into a routine can help to soothe them. Try massaging your baby’s tummy in clockwise motions to help move along trapped wind and poo. Make sure you burp them after each feed too. Just remember, your baby probably isn’t in pain and the crying isn’t down to something you’ve done wrong.


All babies vomit occasionally and it’s pretty normal, but of course none of us like to see our little person not very well. Vomiting can happen because of a tummy bug, infection, indigestion, and even crying and coughing. Reflux — when your baby brings up milk — can affect up to half of all babies. Dribbling milk after feeds happens because your baby’s digestive system is still maturing; fortunately, when it does, reflux should go away by itself.

Don’t worry too much if your baby vomits from time-to-time. Make sure they stay hydrated with extra milk feeds of breastmilk or formula. However, your baby being sick a lot can be concerning and you should see your GP immediately or call 111.


Diarrhoea can be caused by a viral infection, immunisations, antibiotics and allergies. It can sometimes be tricky to spot. The occasional runny poo is normal, but if your baby is pooing much more than usual and it has a watery consistency, this is when it can be a sign of diarrhoea. Runny poo can also be an indicator of constipation; there could be a blockage in your baby’s bowel and only runny poo can slip past.

Keep them hydrated with extra milk or formula feeds. Make sure you change your baby’s nappy often and use a barrier cream to soothe their skin. Diarrhoea should clear up by itself after a week, but if it doesn’t please speak to your doctor.


It’s normal for your baby to strain or cry when they poo; it’s only when they seem in a lot of pain or discomfort that they may be constipated. Other things to look out for are dry, hard poos, blood in their nappy and a loss of appetite. Formula milk can sometimes lead to constipation because it’s harder to digest than breastmilk.

Lie your baby on their back and try gently massaging their tummy and moving their legs in a bicycle motion to help relax their muscles. If symptoms of constipation persist please speak to your doctor or healthcare professional.