What is Colic Baby? Colic Symptoms in Babies

Baby colic refers to the condition characterized by repeated and intense crying or fussing of a healthy baby. Infantile colic can be a very frustrating situation for parents because there is no apparent trigger for these behaviors and attacks usually occur in the evening.

What is Colic Baby?

Crying is a very powerful method of communication that occurs earliest, especially in newborn babies (infants). While in these early stages of growth and development, babies are not yet capable of meeting their own needs. By crying, they interact with the people responsible for their care, thus using the instinct to increase their chances of life by ensuring their needs are met.

The frequency and form of crying may vary periodically. Repetitive, unstoppable and excessive crying in healthy and adequately nourished babies is defined as colic. Although infantile colic is considered a benign condition, it can be quite distressing for babies, parents or caregivers.

Estimated to affect approximately 5-40% of children around the world, colic typically tends to appear in the second or third week of life. The age group where attacks peak is approximately 6 weeks, and it regresses in 60% of children before 12 weeks. During colic, which is characterized by symptoms such as inconsolable crying, restlessness and screaming, babies’ faces turn red and their legs are quite tense on the abdomen.

The colic criteria, first proposed in 1954, were defined as “Wessel’s rule of 3”. The rules that are accepted as diagnostic criteria for colic include symptoms lasting longer than 3 hours a day, appearing on 3 or more days of the week, and complaints starting approximately when the child is 3 weeks old.

What are the Symptoms of Colic Baby?

Symptoms that occur in colicky babies tend to occur at the same time of day. Baby colic symptoms, which are more intense in the evening as opposed to during the day and noon, appear suddenly. Babies may smile one moment and start crying the next. Babies who lift their legs up and kick, other than crying, may be doing these movements to relieve gas pains. During crying, symptoms such as swelling or hardening of the babies’ abdomen may also occur.

Crying and fussing are considered normal for infants, especially in the first 3 months of life. The main symptom of colic is that these cries occur in attacks and intensely, within the rule of threes. Apart from this symptom, there are many other signs and symptoms that may answer the question of how to understand a colicky baby:

  • Continuation of fussiness after crying stops
  • Screaming as if in pain
  • Attacks occur at a predictable time period, especially in the evening
  • Skin color changes, such as facial flushing or paleness around the mouth
  • Keeping arms or legs in a tense position

In some babies, these complaints may regress with gas passing or bowel movements. The main reason behind flatulence may be the escape of air into the stomach during long crying attacks.

Why Do Babies Have Colic?

In general, the underlying cause of colic development may not be clearly elucidated. There are various theories about the question “what causes colic”, which may be triggered by many different factors. It is generally thought that gas and digestive problems can trigger the development of colic. Since the intestines of young babies are still developing, there may be a sensitivity to breast milk or formula. Although it is thought that the symptoms of milk allergies and lactose intolerance may be accompanied by complaints similar to colic, no evidence-based theory has yet been established as the cause of colic.

There are many factors that may trigger the development of colic in babies:

  • Hunger
  • Reflux disease, in which stomach acid moves up into the esophagus
  • Gas
  • Presence of cow’s milk proteins in breast milk
  • Ready foods
  • The burping reflex is not fully developed
  • overfeeding
  • Preterm birth (prematurity)
  • Tobacco use during pregnancy
  • Problems with the development of the nervous system

How is Colic Diagnosed in Babies?

Diagnosis of colic in babies can generally be made by symptoms and clinical observation. Physicians also examine the baby comprehensively and use physical examination methods to investigate possible factors that may trigger the baby’s distress. Measurement of the baby’s weight, height and head circumference, listening to heart and lung sounds, evaluation of the extremities and genital area, reflex examinations and examination of various symptoms that may occur on the body, such as rash, inflammation or infection and allergy , constitute the basic principles evaluated by physicians within the scope of physical examination.

Laboratory examinations, imaging methods such as x-rays and other advanced tests are generally not necessary to diagnose colic in babies. However, if life-threatening infection conditions such as sepsis are suspected, blood and urine culture, imaging methods or other advanced tests may be used.

Detection of blood in stool examinations along with abdominal bloating supports the diagnosis of cow’s milk allergy. If extreme weakness is among the symptoms of colic in babies, it may be necessary to examine the brain structures with computerized tomography in addition to infection parameters. These advanced tests are especially used in babies whose crying attacks begin after the first 3 months of life and continue from the 4th month.

How is Colic Baby Treatment?

Colic baby treatment is basically planned for the triggering factor of this condition. The first stage of treatment should be to raise the awareness of parents who are anxious and stressed and that this situation will only last for a while. Parents should be especially educated about shaken baby syndrome, which is a problem that can lead to severe brain damage or even death, and they should be told that they should never resort to comforting the baby in this way.

When deemed necessary by physicians, removing factors from the mother’s diet that may pass into breast milk and trigger the development of colic in the baby and switching to a hypoallergic diet plan are among the practices that may be beneficial.

When Does Colic Go Away in Babies?

Although intense crying attacks seem to last forever, the answer to the question of when does colic baby get better can be given as “on average, it tends to end when the baby is 3-4 months old”. It is recommended to follow the symptoms of the baby during this period and to seek support from specialist physicians in the presence of changes or if crying attacks continue after this period, by contacting healthcare institutions for further research.

What is Good for Colic Babies?

Various practices that can be done with the knowledge and advice of physicians can be beneficial for colic babies:

  • Laying them on their stomachs is a practice that can be effective for colicky babies. This position change is a practice that can relieve colic symptoms in some babies and contribute to strong neck and shoulder muscle development. It should not be forgotten that this application should be done while the baby is awake and under careful observation.
  • Some colicky babies may respond positively to being held. It can provide relief from colic symptoms that occur in the evening, especially in babies who are held on their lap during the day.
  • Allowing the baby to move is another practice that can be done against colic symptoms.
  • Keeping the baby in an upright position during feeding is important to relieve colic complaints caused by reflux disease.

Apart from these practices, practices such as choosing the baby’s clothes and bedspreads from softer fabrics, massaging the baby’s body with essential oils, using pacifiers, adjusting the room temperature and light very well, or using machines that create white noise are also suggested to help the baby fall asleep comfortably at night and provide solutions for colic babies. It is among the other applications that can be made under.

It is very important to exchange ideas with your physicians before and after the application about which of these applications work and which do not, in order to answer the question of what to do for colic. In the presence of colic symptoms and other complaints, it is recommended to obtain the most appropriate colic treatment by consulting specialist pediatricians.

Abbas Jahangir

I am a researcher and writer with a background in food and nutritional science. I am the founder of Foodstrend.com, our reputable online platform offering scientifically-backed articles on health, food, nutrition, kitchen tips, recipes, diet, and fitness. With a commitment to providing accurate and reliable information, we strive to empower our readers to make informed decisions about their health and lifestyle choices. Join us on Foodstrend.com's journey toward a healthier and happier lifestyle.

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