Colic in Infants
Colic is a condition that causes intense crying,
intermittent abdominal pain
in infants for no apparent reason.
What is going on in the body?
Infants with colic typically have periods during the day or night
during which they cry and fuss intensely for no obvious reason. These periods
often occur at the same time each day. Normal comfort measures, such as
rocking or feeding, seem to be of no help. The fussing may persist for several
hours despite the best efforts of the parents. It may then end abruptly,
with the baby falling asleep. In most cases, the fussy time is in the evening and
lasts for several hours.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
The cause of colic is unknown, and it does not appear to be brought
on by anything in the baby's environment. Babies with colic are quite sensitive
to changes in their environment and are easily set off by these changes. They respond
intensely. Once set off, they
do not seem to be able to quiet themselves or to be quieted by others.
Colic usually begins between 2 and 4 weeks of age. It reaches its
maximum intensity at about 8 to 12 weeks of age. Colic usually resolves
by 4 months of age, although it can persist for several months longer. Roughly
20% of infants will exhibit symptoms of colic. It is seen more often in boys than
in girls and more often in first-born children than in later ones.
The following factors are believed to increase an infant's risk for colic:
feeding too quickly
upper respiratory infections,
such as the common cold
upsetting changes in the baby's environment