Baby or infantile colic is a type of condition that affects babies, typically characterized by uncontrollable crying and gastrointestinal problems. The condition is mainly defined as episodes of crying that happens for more than three hours per day for more than three days out of the week in healthy two week to four month old infants.
Although there are several treatment options, the cause for colic in babies is currently unknown. At least less than 5 percent of infants that excessively cry usually cry due to an underlying condition that isn’t entirely related to colic.
Colic itself is present in about 5 to 25 percent infants. The symptoms of colic generally disappear once the baby reaches three to four months old, though it’s known to last as least a year. Colicky babies are known to not develop any long term problems after experiencing colic.
Colic is mainly defined as bouts of infant crying that lasts for more than three hours a day, during at least three days per week.
It happens in healthy children between two weeks and four months old, though these children generally cry for an average of two hours per day, the overall duration peaking at six weeks.
When they have colic, as mentioned, their crying lasts longer. Some periods of crying commonly occur during the evening, though there’s no medical research to support it as an occurrence that’s related to the condition itself.
Some babies may be more prone to colic than others; if one or both parents experienced colic as an infant, their baby may be more at risk of experiencing the condition.
Colic generally starts when a baby is about two to three weeks old, reaching its peak when they’re two months old. It then starts to subside when they reach three months old, and typically completely goes away when they’re about four months old.
One in four babies generally experience colic in the early months of their life. Despite that, colic hasn’t been found to have a discernible cause. Many studies, in fact, haven’t linked a concrete cause to colic in babies.
Colic, like many other conditions, has many associated symptoms that appear in babies.
- Sleeping:The baby’s sleeping schedule becomes irregular, since it’s constantly interrupted by the baby’s crying episodes.
- Feeding: The baby may have difficulty feeding properly when experiencing irregular episodes of crying. The amount that they do eat per day, however, isn’t reduced.
- Gastrointestinal problems: Babies often experience gastrointestinal problems when experiencing episodes of intense crying. This can include abdominal pains and infant gas.
- Intense, uncontrollable crying: Babies with colic often cry in an intense and furious manner, leaving the parents powerless to comfort them. Their face often gets red and flushed.
- Posture: A baby’s posture changes when it experiences colic symptoms. They may clench their fists. Their abdominal muscles also become clenched, causing their knees to draw up and their back to arch.
These crying episodes commonly occur at the same time each day, typically happening in the late afternoon and evening. Crying episodes generally last anywhere from a few minutes to longer periods. The crying also happens suddenly, for no particular reason at all. Some people have linked the crying episodes to occurring often after a feeding.
All babies with colic experience the condition to various degrees. While some babies have mild symptoms, others have difficulties with symptoms that may be more severe. Parents who suspect that their child’s colic might be the result of an underlying health condition, injury or fall should see immediate medical attention.
There are also factors that can make colic symptoms worse in babies. Overfeeding to stop their crying, certain foods (usually high sugar foods and juices), stress in the household and other factors can aggravate colic in infants.
Parents are also advised to ask their doctor for general advice about finding colic treatments and remedies for their baby’s colic. Talking with a doctor can help them understand what treatment options might work best for their child.