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Definition  

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.

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Causes  

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 .

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Risk Factors  

Factors that increase your baby's risk for colic include:

  • Mother smoking during pregnancy or after birth
  • Age: 2 weeks to 4 months old
  • Sensitive temperament
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Symptoms  

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:

  • Loud crying that may last for several hours
  • Inability to be consoled
  • Turning red from crying
  • Pulling arms and legs toward body and then stretching limbs out
  • Passing gas or burping due to swallowing air while crying
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Diagnosis  

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.

* The doctor will consider other conditions that may cause inconsolable crying, such as:

  • Allergic reactions or hypersensitivity to certain formulas, lactose intolerance, or gas
  • Feeding problems
  • Problems with sleep cycles or processing things in the environment
  • Constipation
  • Illness such as an ear infection
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Hernia
  • Blockage of the intestinal tract

To help determine if your baby has colic or another condition, your doctor may ask:

  • Is your baby eating well?
  • Is your baby producing 5 to 8 very wet diapers each day?
  • Is your baby producing stool normally?
  • Is your baby having colic-free periods?
  • Does your baby have a fever?
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Treatment  

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:

  • If breastfed, consider making changes to the mother's diet. This may include avoiding cow's milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, and fish.
  • If bottle-fed, consider using a whey hydrolysate formula. Make sure to warm the formula before giving it to your baby.
  • Bottle feedings may need to be slowed down. Try using a nipple with a smaller hole.
  • Burp your baby well after feeding.