Infant colic (also known as baby colic, three month colic, and Infantile colic) is a condition in which an otherwise healthy baby cries or screams frequently and for extended periods, without any discernible reason.
The condition typically appears within the first two weeks of life and almost invariably disappears, often very suddenly, before the baby is three to four months old.It is more common in bottle-fed babies, but also occurs in breast-fed infants. The crying frequently occurs during a specific period of the day, often in the early evening.
Baby Colic Symptoms
It is not uncommon for newborn babies to go through periods when they appear abnormally irritable or seemingly cry for no reason. However, if you suspect your baby is suffering from colic, you may look for the following symptoms:
In most cases, colic is the worst pain a baby has thus experienced. It is usually manifested as an acute abdominal pain with intense spasmodic cramping, but since colicky babies cannot describe exactly what distresses them, it is hard for parents to know the precise cause of their distress. Infantile colic is most common in the first few weeks to four months of an infant's life; rarely does it endure past six months of age.
Symptoms of colic
Colic tends to appear in the first two to four weeks of life, and peaks at around six to eight weeks of age. Usually, the baby seems quite happy until the late afternoon or early evening. Symptoms include:
What Causes Colic?
Doctors aren't sure what causes colic. A milk allergy was once considered to be a possible culprit, but doctors now believe that this is rarely, if ever, the case. Breastfed babies get colic too; in these cases, dietary changes by the mother may help the colic to subside.
And it's now believed that colic is probably not caused by gas. Research suggests that more often than not, colicky babies develop gas as a result of swallowing too much air while crying.
Some evidence suggests that colic occurs when food moves either too quickly or too slowly through a baby's digestive system. Other theories are that colic is due to a baby's temperament, that some babies just take a little bit longer to get adjusted to the world or a day and night cycle, or that some babies have undiagnosed gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Many parents worry that they're doing something to cause the colic, but there's no evidence that a parent's anxiety or personality can have that effect.
Both formula and breast milk can be linked to a baby's colic.
Occasionally breastfed babies become colicky because of something in their mother's diet. Some mums find that if they stop drinking cow's milk and other dairy products, the situation improves. If you're breastfeeding, try cutting out dairy products for a few days to see if that makes a difference. If your baby's colic improves, you have your culprit. If not, don't give up hope -- and at least you won't need to deprive yourself of butter and milk.
Some breastfed babies seem to be bothered if mum indulges in a lot of spicy food, wheat products, or cruciferous vegetables. Again, to test if these foods are making your baby uncomfortable, avoid eating cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, caffeine, alcohol, and other irritants for a few days. If your baby seems better, reintroduce the foods into your diet, one at a time, allowing a few days between reintroductions. It should be fairly easy to pinpoint which one is causing your baby problems: if he starts fussing again after a food is reintroduced, then you'll know that's the offending substance. You'll have to abstain from it until your baby outgrows his sensitivity, which usually at around 3 months, but that's a small price to pay for a happy child.
If your baby is bottle-fed, you might try switching formulas to see if that's the irritant. And whether you're feeding your baby formula or breast milk, make sure that you're burping him during and after feedings - it helps relieve the pressure that builds up when he swallows air.