Part 2: What is COLIC ?

 In short, colic is excessive fussing or crying in the young baby who is otherwise well and thriving.

The formal medical definition (Rome IV criteria) of infantile colic satisfies 3 criteria:

  1. Recurrent and prolonged periods of infant crying, fussing or irritability reported by caregivers, that occurs without obvious cause, and cannot be prevented or resolved by the caregivers (traditionally defined as more than 3 hours a day, more than 3 days a week of crying).
  2. Symptoms start and stop in an infant who is less than 5 months of age.
  3. There is no evidence of infant failure to thrive, fever or illness.

Colic typically presents in the second or third week of life, peaks around 6-8 weeks and gets better by 16 weeks in the vast majority of cases. Crying can occur throughout the day, and peaks in the hours between 6 am and midday, and 6 pm and midnight.

In a crying bout, the infant typically clenches their fists and brings up their legs, leading to the hypothesis that it may be related to gut discomfort.

However, we now know that colic is not only simple gut cramps, and many theories have been postulated to explain the causes of colic, including:

altered gut microflora and neurological hypersensitivity (“sensitive” babies).

“Sensitive gut, sensitive brain” is how I often explain it. More of that in the next post.