Colic refers to the situation where an otherwise healthy infant frequently cries or becomes restless without any apparent cause. It is characterized by crying episodes lasting more than 3 hours a day, occurring at least 3 days a week, and persisting for over 3 weeks. At times, parents may find it challenging to soothe their baby’s crying, which can exacerbate the stress already experienced by new parents who are often fatigued.
Colic typically emerges a few weeks following birth and tends to peak between the ages of 4 to 6 weeks. Fortunately, most infants outgrow colic by the time they reach 3 to 4 months of age.
Symptoms of colic
It is typical for babies to fuss and cry, but babies with colic tend to cry more frequently than most, despite being healthy otherwise. Additional characteristics of colic may include:
- Crying without an apparent reason, such as being fed or having a clean diaper.
- Consistent crying episodes, often occurring at a particular time each day, although they can happen unpredictably.
- Physically manifesting signs like clenching their fists, curling up their legs, crying as if in pain, or turning bright red.
- Babies may ingest air while crying, leading to gas accumulation, which can cause their abdomen to appear swollen or feel tense. Relief from these symptoms may occur after passing gas or having a bowel movement.
What causes colic?
The exact cause of colic remains uncertain among doctors. However, potential contributing factors might involve:
- Pain or discomfort stemming from gas or indigestion
- Immaturity of the digestive system
- Issues related to overfeeding or underfeeding
- Sensitivity to either formula or breast milk
- Overstimulation of the baby’s senses
- Early signs of childhood migraine headaches
- Emotional responses such as fear, frustration, or excitement
How is colic diagnosed?
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