Colic Vs Reflux: What’s The Difference?

Colic vs reflux is something many parents are confused about. When your little one is so distressed, and crying for hours, it can be very difficult to begin to figure out which one it is – colic or reflux. There are some differences between the two.


Colic Vs Reflux



The first thing to think about in the colic vs reflux debate is the symptoms. In additions to pained crying, colic symptoms include:

  • Red face
  • Clenched fists
  • Bringing knees up to the stomach
  • Noisy tummy
  • Crying but unable to be soothed or settled

Reflux symptoms include:

  • Coughing while feeding
  • Bringing up milk or vomiting during or after feeding
  • Unsettled during feeding
  • Swallowing or gulping after burping or feeding
  • Not gaining weight
  • Crying but unable to be soothed or settled



Colic can occur in babies at around two weeks old, but in most cases, it will have gone by the time your little one reaches six months old. However, it’s very difficult to live through when it seems that there is no way to offer your baby any comfort. Colic is a build up of gas in your baby’s stomach.



Reflux is another very common ailment for babies. It can occur before your little one is eight weeks old. The cause of reflux is to do with the muscle development of the oesophagus. If the muscles at the end of the oesophagus haven’t developed fully, they can allow some of the stomach acids to come up the oesophagus.


How To Help Your Little One

The most important thing that you’ll be wondering whether you think your little one has colic vs reflux is how to help them. There are some things that you can do that might make a little difference.

If your little one has colic, regular winding may help. Winding is especially important after feeding, but you may want to wind your little one frequently throughout the day. This may stop gases from building up. You may also need to experiment with different winding positions to find the one that gives your baby the most relief.

You can try a colic remedy such as Infacol, which contains simeticone which works by condensing all the little bubble of trapped wind into one easier to pass bubble.  Remember, colic won’t last forever, and is just a small stage in your little one’s childhood.

If your little one has reflux, the help you can offer is different to what you would do for colic. For reflux, you should try feeding your baby while keeping them as upright as possible. You’ll also want to keep them upright after feeding. Feed your baby slowly, and try feeding little and often if formula fed. Winding regularly, and even winding mid-feed may help relieve reflux.

Reflux will usually go away on its own, but if you feel that your little one is suffering severely, or if their weight gain is being affected, consult your health care provider. Your GP will be able to diagnose reflux, and may give your little one some prescription medication that can help. You might want to keep a diary of your baby’s symptoms, and how often they occur to bring with you to the doctor.