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Baton Rouge Area Pediatricians: Identifying and Treating Colic

May 18, 2022

AdobeStock_112159641If you’re a new parent or a seasoned parent with a newborn, you have likely heard of, if not experienced, colic.   While this is a temporary condition that healthy infants can experience, it can be frustrating nonetheless.

The frequent, intense, prolonged fussiness and crying of a young child associated with colic can occur for no reason and be inconsolable. While colic can be a disruptive and stressful condition that peaks around the six-week mark, the symptoms tend to steeply decline after 3 to 4 months of age. Let’s take a closer look at colic and how you and your pediatrician can alleviate its effects.

What Causes Colic in Infants?

While the cause of colic is unknown, there are several contributing factors that can lead to its development. These factors include:

  • Food allergies
  • An undeveloped digestive tract
  • Stress and anxiety
  • An imbalance of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract

These are only a few factors that can contribute to colic in infants. The characteristics of colic developing late in the first month of life and its inconsistencies among infants, the time of day that it occurs, and the frequency and duration make it difficult for researchers to account for specific causes.

What are the Symptoms of Colic?

While babies can be fussy by nature, excessive crying and distressed behavior be can be a sign of colic. If your infant cries for more than three hours a day, more than three days a week, for more than three consecutive weeks, colic is the likely culprit. During these episodes it is common for your baby to experience:

  • Crying for no apparent reason (feeding, diaper changes, comforting have no effect)
  • Predictable timing of crying and fussiness
  • Muscle tension in the legs, arms, back, abdomen, etc.
  • Continued fussiness after crying ends
  • Intense crying that resembles screaming from pain

How can Colic be Treated by a Pediatrician?

The primary approach to treating colic is based on soothing the infant. Through different interventions and applications, you can relieve the stress that is causing the baby’s fussiness. Some effective soothing methods include:

  • Reducing visual stimulation
  • Dimming lights
  • Using a pacifier
  • Swaddling
  • Walking or rocking the baby
  • A warm bath
  • Rubbing the back or tummy of the baby
  • Playing quiet, soothing sounds

Inconsolable crying can also be a sign of other illnesses or conditions that need to be addressed. If you believe your newborn is experiencing colic, or any other health concern, the expert staff of pediatricians and nurses at Lane Pediatrics can help.

Learn More About Lane Pediatrics