by Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD
Colic is excessive crying in a baby with no obvious cause. During these episodes, it is very hard to console the baby. This intense crying occurs regularly over at least a few weeks. It is more common during the night.
Colic can start as early as 2 weeks of age. It is the worst at 6 weeks. Colic often disappears by age 5 months.
The exact cause of colic is not known.
Colic-like crying can be caused by certain common problems. Your doctor will look for these issues.
Risk Factors TOP
Factors that increase your baby's risk for colic include:
These symptoms may be caused by colic or other discomforts. Some may not require medical care. Talk to your doctor if your baby is having symptoms such as:
The doctor will ask about your baby's medical history and symptoms. A physical exam will be done. Your baby's weight or weight change will also be checked. Let the doctor know how your baby acts during colic, how long colic lasts, and when it occurs.
To help determine if your baby has colic or another condition, your doctor may ask:
A treatment plan will be chosen based on your baby's condition. Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment that cures colic. There are steps you can take to help reduce the discomfort your baby feels.
Support for Baby
Make changes during feeding time:
Talk to the doctor about alternative treatments. Certain supplements that may be helpful include:
Other strategies that may help include:
Support for Parents
It is upsetting to see your baby crying and not being able to help. The high-pitched crying of a colicky baby is also difficult for anyone to listen to. Try to keep in mind that most babies with colic are healthy. Most will outgrow colic by 3-4 months of age. Know that it is not your fault that the baby does not stop crying. To help you get through this period consider:
If you ever feel angry or violent towards the baby, put your baby in a safe place and step out of the room. Call someone for help right away, like your doctor. There are many services available to help you deal with your emotions. The doctor can refer you to these services.
There are no guidelines for preventing colic because the causes are not well understood.
American Academy of Pediatrics
About Kids Health
Colic. Healthy Children.org, American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: http://www.healthy... . Updated January 2, 2013. Accessed May 13, 2013.
Colic. American Academy of Family Physicians' FamilyDoctor.org website. Available at: http://familydocto... . Updated March 2010. Accessed May 13, 2013.
Infantile colic. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/ . Updated April 22, 2013. Accessed May 13, 2013.
5/14/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : Aviner S, Berkovitch M, Dalkian H, Braunstein R, Lomnicky Y, Schlesinger M. Use of a homeopathic preparation for "infantile colic" and an apparent life-threatening event. Pediatrics. 2010;125(2):e318-23.
8/23/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : Savino F, Cordisco L, Tarasco V, et al. Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17 938 in infantile colic: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Pediatrics. 2010 Aug 16. [Epub ahead of print]
Last reviewed May 2013 by Michael Woods
Last Updated: 5/13/2013