Colic in Infants

General Illness Information


Medical Term:

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 a  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.

Risk Factors

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.

General Measures:

  • 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:

Medications are usually not helpful for colic. Simethicone (for gas) may be prescribed.

Activity:

No restrictions.

Diet:

  • 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 :

None expected.

Prognosis

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

Other

Nothing Specified.