Infant colic is a common problem that affects around 20% of infants.1 Primarily identified by an infant’s irritability or repeated crying,2 colic can have adverse impact on an infant’s feeding habits, such as the premature cessation of breastfeeding.3 Left unresolved, colic can have additional impact on parents and babies from a family and financial perspective.4-7
The symptoms of colic may include: 2
- Recurrent and prolonged periods of crying, fussing or irritability without obvious cause
- Fever, illness, or no evidence of infant failure to thrive
Other, more immediate signs include crying that: 2
- Develops early and peaks at 6-8 weeks
- Worsens in the afternoon or evening
- Lasts several hours
- Improves at 3-4 months
For a family whose baby is experiencing these symptoms, colic can lead to severe stress and, in some cases, postpartum maternal depression. 8 With this in mind, it’s best to first educate parents on the prevalence of infant colic, and reassure them an end is in sight. Often, infant colic will resolve within four months. 9
Breastfed infants should continue with breastfeeding. If a baby is formula-fed, advise parents to look out for a nutritionally complete formula that’s specially designed for the dietary management of colic.
¹ Vandenplas Y et al. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2015;61(5):531-537.
2 Benninga MA et al. Gastroenterol 2016; 150(6): 1443-1455.
3 Howard CR et al. Breastfeed Med 2006;1:146-55.
4 Keefe MR et al. Nurs Res 1996;45:4-9.
5 Atkman et al. Arch Dis Child 2006;91:417-9.
6 Rauvata et al. Paediatrics 1995;96:43-7.
7 Indrio et al. Eur J Pediatr 2015;174:841-2.
8 Keefe MR et al. Nurs Res 1996;45:4-9.
9 Vandenplas Y et al. Acta Paediatr 2016;105:244-52.