General Illness Information
Colic in Infants
Common Name: None Specified
Description: Colic is a disorder in which an otherwise healthy infant has severe and paroxysmal crying spells (usually occurring in the late afternoon or evening).
May occur 1-2 times per day, lasting 1-3 hours occurring more than 3 days per week.
Onset under 4 weeks of age and may continue up to 5 months old.
More common in first child.
Healthy child usually fine between bouts of crying.
Baby usually consolable.
Causes: Unknown. Usually seen in high needs babies with sensitive temperaments and in aÂ small percentage may be related to milk allergy.
Prevention: No specific preventive measures. Remove any causes that can be identified.
Signs & Symptoms
- Rhythmic crying, paroxysmal;
- Infant draws up the legs to the abdomen;
- Clenches the fists;
- Back arching;
- Crying may last up to 2-3 hours;
- Excessive flatus.
Physiologic predisposition in infant
Diagnosis & Treatment
Diagnosis is generally made on history after the physician has excluded other causes of crying and irritability including inadequate feeding, over stimulation, sickness and a milk allergy. Typically, a colicky baby eats and gains weight well, seems very hungry and sucks vigorously.
- Cuddle and rock your baby whenever he cries, you can’t spoil your baby in the first 3-4 months of life e.g. use cradle, rocking chair etc;
- Playing music may help;
- During an attack of colic hold baby securely and massage lower abdomen;
- Offer baby a pacifier;
- Allow baby to cry once you are certain that everything is alright e.g.. not hungry, diaper is dry, etc.;
- Ask someone to take care of the baby to relieve you as often as possible;
- Be patient and tolerant. Since colic is not the parents’ fault, do not blame yourself.
Medications are usually not helpful for colic. Simethicone (for gas) may be prescribed.
- Interrupt feeding to burp the baby;
- Allow at least 20 minutes to feed the baby. Don’t prop the baby for feedings;
- Nipple holes should not be too large;
- Remove cow’s milk from diet for a one week trial.
Possible Complications :
All babies cry, and many have fussy periods. Crying is an important activity and means of communication. Colic is a distressing, but not dangerous, condition. The symptoms can sometimes be relieved. Colic will usually disappear after the 3rd or 4th month