Infantile colic is described as the inconsolable crying of an infant during the first few months of life. While crying is a normal aspect of development in a baby, excessive crying that cannot be controlled can be stressful and a cause for concern for both parents and physicians. There is no definite answer as to why a baby experiences colic but there are some organic causes, although these instances are rare, that may need to be ruled out initially. For a complete list of organic causes, visit www.aafp.org. Generally, a diagnosis of infantile colic involves a system of ruling out other physical causes. When dealing with a baby that cries excessively, physicians look for what they call the rule of three. This rule of three consists of crying for more than three hours a day, at least three days per week and for a period of time longer than three weeks in an infant that appears otherwise healthy. Other signs that may indicate infantile colic include the crying and screaming appearing during the late afternoon or evening hours with the infant pulling their legs up to the their stomach, a flushed face and clenching of their fists. These episodes can begin suddenly and last for only minutes or for hours.
Unfortunately, when it comes to infantile colic, there does not seem to be much of a treatment to help alleviate the excessive crying. Studies have been done studying the effects of the infant’s diet, conservative care that has been offered and if being held has any benefit. These studies have shown that neither massage therapy nor chiropractic care provides any relief of symptoms compared to placebo. Some studies that addressed anti-gas drops, simethicone, provided results similar to placebo results while two other studies of simethicone showed no improvement in colic. Infants who are breastfed compared to formula fed babies present with colic just as regularly. It is recommended to continue with breastfeeding or, if bottle-fed, not switching formula because doing so does not seem to have any effect on colic. Many parents try white noise such as running a vacuum cleaner or a turning on a device that offers static sounds or womb sounds. This white noise can sometimes help an infant to fall asleep. There are some supplements that can be purchased that claim to help alleviate colic symptoms but it is important to speak with a pediatrician before trying any herbal remedies. Because there are so many types and brands of supplements with varying degrees of dosages with no regulations, parents should refrain from this option if possible. A common worry from parents is that a baby with colic will have a bad temperament compared to a baby who does not exhibit colic. A follow-up was conducted with a group of infants, some exhibiting colic and others who did not, and at this one year assessment, there were no present differences between the infants. No health problems were present in the infants who had colic, such as asthma or allergies.
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