Colic Symptoms and Treatment in Infants

Aysel Karaca Ünlü

Colic is one of the most common problems of today’s babies that new mothers frequently encounter. As the number of mothers who came to the hospital because of this problem is quite high, I wrote my first content for and I wanted to examined what causes colic and what are the methods that can solve the colic problem in infants. A normal baby can cry for about 3 hours a day when he is at an average of 2 weeks. As of the 12th week, we expect this period to decrease to approximately 1 hour. If the baby cries for more than these times, it may be a symptom. Excessive crying in infants may be due to physical reasons such as illness, malnutrition (over / under feeding or lack of feeding), ear pain, diarrhea or as a result of caffeine-type irritating substances passing through breast milk.

What is colic in infants?

Infantile colic, commonly referred to as colic in public, is defined as long-term crying seizures in infants aged 1-4 months, which are difficult to sedate. Gas pains are not the cause of crying but they come as a result. Crying spells in infants occur without apparent cause, which may cause anxiety for the mother or other caregivers.

When does colic begin in babies and what are the symptoms of colic in infants?

Crying attacks in infants starts in the 4th – 6th weeks, it cuts down when the baby is 3-4 months old. The most prominent finding of infantile colic is excessive crying, which starts especially in the afternoon and evening hours. During crying attacks, the baby looks uncomfortable, distressed and anxious. Usually brings the knees closer to the belly, and reddened face arises. The baby with colic is not sick. The baby may be stubborn about crying, but this does not give any definite evidence of a physical problem or pain.

On the other hand, not every crying spell is colic. If the baby has fever, decreased absorption, bloody & mucus stools and severe abdominal tension, this may be a symptom of the disease. Therefore, it is very important for the doctor to evaluate the patient with detailed history and physical examination in the diagnosis of infantile colic.

How is colic diagnosed in infants?

This condition supports the diagnosis of colic if the baby is silent with rhythmic shaking and patting slowly 1-3 times per second in an environment without stimulants, and starts to cry again when it is stopped.

The diagnosis of infantile colic is made according to the ROMA IV criteria issued in 2016 and should include all of the following criteria. Symptoms should begin and end within the first five months.

There should be repetitive and long-term crying, fussing or moody attacks that appear without any reason and cannot be prevented or soothed by those who take care of the child.
The infant should not have developmental delay, fever or signs of disease.

How to treat colic in infants?

The aim is not to treat the colic here, but to help the baby to survive this difficult period for the baby’s development with the help of mother or the person responsible for the child.

Infantile colic is never a reason to stop breastfeeding and breast milk should never be stopped in breast-fed infants.

There are studies that show probiotics (such as maflor, biogaia, enterogermina, bakso, kaleidone drops, etc.) are effective in the treatment of colic, as well as studies showing that they are ineffective. Although positive effects of fennel extracts and sucrose solutions on crying times have been shown, there is insufficient information about possible side effects. The efficacy of simethicone-containing drugs (metsil, sab simplex drops, etc.) in the treatment is controversial.

Although studies with herbal products in the treatment of infantile colic have shown beneficial effects of some products, there is insufficient evidence to recommend them for treatment. In addition, the use of herbal mixtures of which the contents are not fully known may have undesirable consequences for the mother and baby.

If there is an additional complaint or finding suggestive of cow’s milk protein allergy with long-term crying seizures, it may be considered to remove milk and milk products from the mother’s diet or to give eHF or AAF for 2-4 weeks in infants fed formula milk. Soy-based formula milks are not recommended for treatment.

Frequently asked questions in infantile colic;

Why does my baby have colic?

There is usually no single cause. Typically, the problem depends on the relationship with the environment in which the infant is susceptible to biological interaction. Colic usually occurs when there is nothing abnormal in the infant or family (the baby is dry, no intertrigo, full stomach, etc.), but it is mostly observed when families are unable to establish a compatible relationship with the infant. (such as the reflection of stress and fatigue in the mother to the baby)

Why is my baby so gassy?

There is no evidence that the intestines are guilty in colic. Gas pains occur as a result of crying rather than for reason.

Could colic be due to allergies?

Problems such as milk allergy or gastric reflux are no more than 10% of prolonged crying. If such a diagnosis is made, it’s not colic, it’s allergy. Milk allergy has no relation with colic.

Should we change the food?

Bebelac Gold NutriKonfor formula can be used only in infants using formula food because of the content obtained by fermentation method. However, food changes are not an effective solution in treatment. In addition, breast milk should never be discontinued in breast-fed infants.

How long will my baby cry?

Infants diagnosed with colic should not have long-term crying seizures after 5 months.

Does excessive crying harm my baby?

Excessive crying does not turn into other conditions, but the factors that cause it can cause sleep problems and other behavioral concerns in the infant after colic disappears.

Child Health and Diseases

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