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What is Colic in Babies?

What is Colic in Babies?

Colic refers to frequent, prolonged, and intense crying spells or fussiness in an otherwise healthy baby. In cases of colic, there may not be any apparent factor causing the baby's crying, and interventions aimed at soothing the baby may not be sufficient to stop the crying. Therefore, colic in babies can be quite challenging for parents.

The uncontrollable crying episodes that occur during colic typically peak around six weeks of age in babies. Between the third and fourth months, the crying spells begin to decrease. If you're curious about questions like: What is colic? What are the symptoms of colic? What causes colic? What is the treatment for colic? You can continue reading for answers.

Symptoms of Colic in Babies

Babies, especially in their first three months of life, may cry frequently. Factors such as gas pains, hunger, and a full diaper, as well as the need for maternal affection, can contribute to a baby's crying. Typically, when the factors causing a baby's crying are addressed, the crying stops or decreases. In cases of colic, however, none of the usual methods to soothe a baby's crying are effective, and the baby continues to cry for an extended period. Some of the symptoms that may occur in babies with colic include:

  • Uncontrollable crying in the form of screams with a painful expression,
  • Crying occurring seemingly without any reason even after hunger or diaper changing needs are met,
  • Fussiness alongside or without crying,
  • Crying attacks usually occurring in the evenings,
  • Redness of the skin or changes in skin color,
  • Clenched fists and raised legs towards the abdomen with stiffening of the body during crying,
  • Intense and uncontrollable crying in babies may indicate colic.

Additionally, intense crying episodes in babies may occur due to pain or discomfort. It's important to seek professional advice if babies experience excessive crying spells or other symptoms of colic.

What Causes Colic in Babies?

While there isn't a definitive cause for colic, numerous factors can contribute to its development in babies. Some factors that may contribute to the development of colic include:

  • Underdeveloped digestive system,
  • Insufficient healthy bacteria in the digestive system,
  • Sensitivity to certain foods,
  • Inadequate and unbalanced feeding of the baby,
  • Stressful family environment,
  • Consumption of foods by the mother that the baby is sensitive to,

These factors can lead to the development of colic in babies or exacerbate existing colic. Preventing such factors is important in preventing colic in babies.

How to Calm a Colicky Baby?

In cases of colic, uncontrollable crying is common in babies. However, certain methods can help to some extent in calming a colicky baby. These methods include:

  • Using a pacifier,
  • Taking the baby for a drive in a car or a stroll in a stroller,
  • Walking around with the baby or gently rocking them,
  • Swaddling the baby in a blanket,
  • Giving the baby a warm bath,
  • Massaging the baby's tummy or back,
  • Playing white noise such as the sound of a hairdryer or vacuum cleaner, reminiscent of sounds in the womb,
  • Dimming the lights and limiting other visual stimuli.

Proper management of factors such as gas, hunger, or the need for a diaper change that may cause babies to cry can lead to a decrease in crying spells in colicky babies.

Treatment for Colicky Babies

The main goal of treating colicky babies is to eliminate other factors triggering crying and to ensure the baby's comfort. Some methods that can be applied in the treatment of colicky babies include:

  • Proper Feeding Practices: In babies breastfed by their mothers, the foods consumed by the mother can affect the baby through breast milk. Therefore, the food choices of the mother are crucial for babies breastfed with breast milk. Paying attention to the foods consumed by the mother, limiting caffeine intake, discontinuing dairy consumption if the baby is allergic, and using medications under the supervision of a doctor may help alleviate colic symptoms. Babies fed with formula may be sensitive to certain proteins in the formula. Therefore, changing the formula, trying to feed the baby smaller portions more frequently, ensuring the formula is at body temperature, and feeding the baby in an upright position may contribute to preventing crying spells.
  • Holding the Baby in Proper Positions: Holding or rocking babies in the correct position can help prevent crying spells in cases of colic. Massaging the baby's back during colic, holding the baby in an upright position, and rocking the baby in arms or using a suitable baby swing can help the baby relax. The role of parents is significant in the treatment of colic. Eliminating other factors that may cause the baby to cry can contribute to calming a colicky baby.

How to Recognize a Colicky Baby?

During infancy, crying due to reasons such as gas, hunger, or the need to relieve themselves is normal. However, colicky babies continue to cry despite being healthy and having their needs met. Crying without any apparent reason, crying at the same time every day, and crying in a distressed manner are among the main symptoms of colic. The presence of these symptoms may indicate colic in a baby. There are no specific tests to diagnose colic. Colic in babies is diagnosed by a doctor. A diagnosis of colic can be made based on a physical examination by the doctor and the history provided by the family.

When Does Colic Start?

Colic typically begins when a baby is around 2-5 weeks old and usually resolves when the baby is 3-4 months old. However, colic can occur at any time during infancy.

Frequently Asked Questions About Colic

Crying, especially in the first few months of a baby's life, is quite normal. However, frequent crying in babies prompts parents to seek answers to some questions. Some frequently asked questions about colic include:

How to Tell if a Baby's Crying is Colic or Normal?

Colic involves a specific type of crying in babies. Colicky babies cry frequently despite being healthy. Crying associated with colic typically peaks at the same time each day. Some factors that distinguish colic crying from other situations include:

  • Crying without any identifiable cause and ineffective soothing methods,
  • High-pitched screaming,
  • Redness of the skin,
  • Drawing up of legs towards the abdomen, stiffening of the body, clenched fists, and overall tension.

The presence of these factors may indicate colic in a baby.

When to Consult a Doctor?

In some cases, a baby's crying may not be due to colic. Close observation of factors influencing the baby's crying is crucial for their health. Some factors that may necessitate consulting a doctor regarding a baby include:

  • Having a body temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or higher,
  • Sleeping more than usual,
  • Eating less than usual,
  • Having watery or bloody stools,
  • Frequent vomiting, Failure to gain weight,
  • Persistent discomfort in the baby.

Experiencing the above conditions in babies may be due to a condition other than colic. In such cases, it's essential for the baby to be examined by a doctor for their health.

Infancy is a special period where basic needs are met by parents. Spending the infancy period under appropriate conditions and meeting the basic needs of babies are crucial for ensuring a healthy adulthood.

If you want to contribute to your baby's healthy growth and development, don't neglect routine hospital check-ups. Liv Hospital provides routine check-ups during infancy and offers information services related to infantile diseases.

* Liv Hospital Editorial Board has contributed to the publication of this content .
* Contents of this page is for informational purposes only. Please consult your doctor for diagnosis and treatment. The content of this page does not include information on medicinal health care at Liv Hospital .
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15 May 2024
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