What is Colic?
Colic is the term given to the condition that causes a newborn baby (under 3 months of age) to cry intensely and constantly for no other apparent reason (such as tiredness, hunger, etc.). In between the bouts of crying the baby appears and acts normal, but the crying itself is 'fussy' but the cause generally unknown. Colic is estimated to affect one in ten (10%) of all newborns.
What causes Colic?
The causes of colic are not entirely agreed upon by the medical establishment. One school of thought suggests that colic is the result of gas in the baby's digestive system, while another school of thought states that colic is the result of the baby being extremely sensitive to its environment coupled with its inability to control its own crying, therefore becoming more and more stressed. One thing is agreed on however, and that is that a colicky baby doesn't mean that the infant is unhealthy. Most babies that suffer from Colic are indeed perfectly healthy and normal.
Needless to say, much research is being conducted into the causes of colic, but this is likely to be of little comfort to parents with a colicky baby.
How to determine if my baby has colic?
A child with colic is likely to cry intensely and incessantly for long periods of time for no apparent reason and, it goes without saying, this can be extremely distressing for the infant and frustrating for the parents. One of the biggest problems for parents of babies is that the younger they are the harder it generally is to determine the exact cause of their crying. If your child is crying for reasons that aren't entirely obvious, look for signs of a fever, bruising, swollenness, redness, spitting up, or any other symptom that you can think of that might be causing your child undue distress. If none are apparent, there is a strong possibility that colic may be the cause.
Generally speaking, medical professionals determine a baby is suffering from colic if that child cries for more than three hours a day, for three or more days in a week, for a period of more than three weeks. Of course, by the time the parents have put up with an intensely crying infant for up to three weeks, they generally know that colic might be a prime candidate as to the reasons why the child is crying. Nevertheless, not all babies who cry have colic so always seek professional medical advice if your baby is continually crying for no apparent reason. Never blindly assume it is colic.
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