Excessive crying could be a sign that your baby has colic. No-one knows what causes colic, but it is thought that it is a kind of stomach cramp, and it does seem to cause the kind of crying that might go with waves of stomach pain – miserable and distressed, stopping for a moment or two, than starting up again.

The crying can go on for hours and there may be little you can do except try to comfort you baby and wait for the crying to pass. In most cases, the intense crying occurs in the later afternoon or evening and usually lasts for several hours. You may notice that your baby’s face becomes flushed, and they may clench their fists, draw their knees up to their tummy, or arch their back. Colic usually begins within the first few weeks of life but often stops by the time your baby is four months old, and by six months at the latest.

If your baby has colic, they appear to be in distress. However, the crying outbursts are not harmful and your baby will continue to feed and gain weight normally. There is no clear evidence that colic has any long-term effect on a baby’s health.

If you are concerned, talk to your health visitor or GP. It can be a good idea to make a list of the questions you want to ask so you don’t forget anything. It can help if you keep a record of how often and when your baby cries, e.g. after every feed or during the evening.

Keeping a record can also identify times when you need extra help. You could think about possible changes to your routine e.g. if your baby tends to cry a lot in the afternoon and you have got into the habit of going out in the morning, try going out in the afternoon instead and see if that helps.