Also known as: baby colic, infantile colic.

What is colic?

While all babies cry, a baby who cries excessively for no apparent reason and cannot be soothed between the ages of 3 weeks and 3 months (worst at 6-8 weeks of age) and who cries for more than 3 hours per day, for more than 3 days a week for at least 3 weeks in a row is described as having colic. Mostly it disappears by 8-14 weeks of age. Colic is common (1 in 5 babies) and normal among some babies.

What causes colic? 

The cause of colic is unknown. Several theories of why it happens include an underdeveloped nervous system or digestive system, oversensitivity to the environment around them, changes in the normal bacteria in the gut and many others.

What are the symptoms of colic? 

Predictable, intense, inconsolable crying episodes for no apparent reason that happen around the same time each day. The baby may curl up his legs, clench his fists or tighten his abdominal muscles and pass gas or have a bowel movement near the end of the episode.

What are colic care options? 

While colic is frustrating for parents, there is no proven treatment for it. Changes to feeding technique and/or experimenting with techniques such as rubbing the infant's abdomen, providing "white noise," etc. may help soothe the infant. Over the counter Gas-relief medications or probiotics are safe, may be tried and may sometimes be beneficial. Other medications may have complications and should not be given without prior consultation with your Pediatrician. 

Reviewed by: Jose R. Rosa-Olivares, M.D.

This page was last updated on: 12/5/2017 1:17:22 PM

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