Colic

Akshat Goel
Clinical Fellow in Paediatric Hepatology, King's College Hospital, London
First Created: 11/01/2022  Last Updated: 12/01/2022

Patient Education

What is Colic?

All infants cry, especially during the first 3-4 months.

Colic is defined as an otherwise healthy baby crying for more than 3 hours a day for more than 3 days a week for more than 3 weeks even when there is no obvious reason.

Colic doesn't always mean that there's some problem with the baby, it usually goes away on its own by 4-5 months.

Why does colic happen?

There is no proof that the source of discomfort in colic originates in the gut.

Intolerance to maternal diet, smoking, depression, cow’s milk protein allergy can cause colic in infants.

As a result of their excessive air intake when crying, some colicky newborns also have gas. But the colic is not brought on by the gas.

How to understand if it's colic or the natural cry of a baby?

Colic affects healthy, feeding, and developing infants who cry in fits. The spells occur mostly as same time every day. The crying typically begins in the early evening 6 p.m. to midnight.

When having a colic episode, a baby: has shrill, high-pitched wailing that is difficult to calm, a flushed face or pale skin around the mouth, and may tense their legs, tighten their limbs, arch their backs, or clench their fists.

How is colic diagnosed?

The health care provider takes a detailed history of the pattern of crying, any triggers that led to the spells, or any other things that help the baby soothe. The doctor would then perform a clinical exam. It is a clinical diagnosis.

Usually there is no need for any investigation in a healthy baby. If the baby does not look well, then blood or radiological investigations might be needed.

What is the treatment of colic at home?

There is no known way to cure colic. However, there are ways the parents may assist.

- Ensure that the child is not hungry.

- Make sure the diaper on the child is clean.

- During feedings, try burping the child more frequently.

- Try different bottles if bottle-feed is used to see if they can help the baby ingest less air.

- Ask the doctor whether switching formulas would be beneficial.

- Walk or rock with the baby.

- Talk or sing to the baby.

- Give the baby a pacifier

- Adjust the baby's position. If baby is lying down, raise him or her. If you are carrying or holding the baby against your chest, allow to face forward. Babies enjoy seeing different perspectives on the world which diverts their attention

- Allow the baby to rest on the parents lap on his or her tummy while you gently rub their back.

- Play some music or white noise music available on apps and YouTube; some babies find that sound and movement help them to relax.

What are Complications of colic?

For parents, it is upsetting and stressful. Baby and parents experience sleep loss.

It's possible to overfeed a colicky baby in an effort to halt the crying. This could exacerbate the colic.

Parents may terminate feeds earlier.

What Advice can be given to parents while handling their colicky baby?

Close the door, place the infant in a crib on his or her back without any extra blankets or stuffed animals, and check on them in 10 minutes.

Try to relax and keep calm during those ten minutes by doing something.

Consider washing your face, grabbing a snack, take a few calm breaths, or turning on some music.

Nobody is at fault for the crying. Recognize that your baby will grow out of this stage and try to relax.

The healthcare professional for your child will make recommendations for actions that could help to calm your child.

When should the child be taken to the health care provider?

If you see the following changes in the baby:

- Vomiting, diarrhea

- not properly sucking or consuming a bottle of milk

- If the child is getting angrier when gripped or touched

- Fever of at least 100.4°F (38°C), or more

- breathing more laboriously

- is losing weight

- unable to settle down despite your best efforts

Patient Education

1-teaspoon juice of mint (phudina) given with a small quantity of powdered black pepper and honey relieves colic.


Colic Colic https://www.pediatriconcall.com/show_article/default.aspx?main_cat=general-pediatrics&sub_cat=colic&url=colic-patient-education 2022-12-01
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