Signs of colic include unexplained bouts of irritability, fussing or crying which may lead to agonizing screams. Colic attacks are most common in the evenings. Onset is usually in the first 3 weeks of life. Fortunately, colic usually is gone by the age of 3 or 4 months.
Infants with colic often draw their knees up against their chests, clench their fists, tense their stomachs and pass gas. Colic is not a normal crying episode. These babies are crying because they are in pain.
Colic occurs equally in males and females and is not more common in low birth weight infants. Premature babies may show their first symptoms of colic at a later age than full term infants. The cause of colic remains unknown.
Treatment of colic should begin with a careful history and physical exam by your pediatrician or family doctor. Once organic disease has been ruled out, the doctor will advise you about managing the colic.
The treatment options include:
- Gentle massaging of the infant's stomach.
- Rhythmic stimulation provided by walking, a car ride, a rocking chair, a stroller or an infant swing.
- Singing or humming softly to the baby, or listening to music.
- Mobiles supported safely above the crib may distract the baby from discomfort. For young infants, high contrast black and white images are best.