Colic starts at about 1-3 weeks of age and lasts for 2-3 months. 

Colic is excessive, unexplainable crying in the young baby.  The crying usually occurs in the evening and lasts 2-3 hours.  The rest of the time the baby acts just fine. 

What causes colic?

The cause of colic is not known, some authorities believe colic is due to overload of the babies immature nervous system by normal environmental stimuli.  Other may blame the babies' gastrointestinal tract.  Treatments of changing formula, supplementing breast milk with formula, using over the counter gas medications do not make a difference.  A baby with a milk protein allergy usually has vomiting and diarrhea and not colic.  Lactose intolerance is not a disease of childhood and therefore is not a cause of colic.  Gentle soothing motions like rocking, using a baby swing or walking the baby may help.  Swaddling the baby may help although in the beginning the baby may appear unhappy, they will calm down after a few minutes.  Using a pacifier may help although some breast fed babies may not take the pacifier from the mother. 

How is it treated?

Taking care of colicky baby is a two person job.  Getting helps from friends and family is a good idea.  Babies can sense anxiety in the parents and this may make colic worse.  Do not stop breast feeding as breast fed babies have lesser colic than formula fed babies.  Also there is no such thing as "bad breast milk" or "not enough milk".   

No matter what, remember this: colic is short lived.  "This too shall pass!"