Colic or Infant Colic is typically described as an otherwise healthy baby who screams for three or more consecutive hours per day, five or more days per week, for three or more consecutive weeks without any other specific reason for the screaming. Symptoms often times get worse in the early evening or after eating, and babies who do not burp well are often most symptomatic. Infant Colic and Infant Acid Reflux often share the same symptoms and are often treated the same way. The symptoms include persistent and inconsolable screaming, gassiness, and funny stomach noises. Symptoms in babies typically start at around 1 month of age and usually last until between 3 and 4 months of age. However, some infants have symptoms until they are 12 months old, or so.
What causes Colic?
Health care providers do not know exactly what causes these episodes. There are many theories regarding causes, but nothing has been proven as of yet. Some studies have shown that babies of mother’s who smoked while pregnant are at increased risk of Colic. However, many infants whose mother’s did not smoke during pregnancy end up with Colic, as well.
Other health care professionals believe that Colic is actually just a natural digestive function that all humans experience. The termed used is “Fourth Trimester Theory.” When humans eat food our body starts a process called the gastro-colic reflex. This is when the intestines start contracting to move stool down and out of the body to make room for the food coming into the body. In adults and older children this process starts about 30 minutes after food is consumed. However, in infants this process starts immediately. This theory is based on the belief that some infants are more sensitive than others and they can actually feel this happening, which causes discomfort.
More on Colic
There are many theories regarding the causes of Colic, but nobody seems to know for sure. There are some steps you can take to help your babies pediatrician diagnose Colic verses GERD (infant acid reflux) or a more serious condition.
- Keep a journal of when your baby eats and how much food is consumed.
- If you are nursing, keep track of the start time and end time and if the baby ate on one side or both sides. Also, if you are nursing try letting your baby drain one side before switching. This allows the baby to get more hindmilk. Hindmilk has more nutrients and is more filling for the baby than foremilk.
- Track the beginning and end times of crying episodes.
- Track what you attempted to do to calm your baby, and what did and did not work.
- Journal any abnormal behaviors or body positions that your baby is demonstrating.
- Write down any other symptoms you may notice like increased spitting up, vomiting, abnormal stools, rash or fever.
- Make sure you write down any questions you have for the doctor.