Excessive crying observed in babies during the first 3-4 months of life is defined as COLIC. This definition encompasses crying that lasts for more than 3 hours a day, occurs more than 3-4 days a week, and persists for more than 3 weeks in a healthy, well-fed baby.
For an hour, he/she has been crying incessantly, or in recent days, experiencing restlessness, crying, stiffness, are complaints frequently heard by pediatricians from parents with small infants.
Such excessive crying observed in babies during the first 3-4 months of life is defined as COLIC. This definition encompasses crying that lasts for more than 3 hours a day, occurs more than 3-4 days a week, and persists for more than 3 weeks in a healthy, well-fed baby. Restlessness and crying are actually a part of normal development in the first three months of life. However, colicky babies cry for an average of nearly 2-3 hours a day, and the crying cannot be easily stopped. The intensity of crying peaks around the 6th week and then gradually decreases. Colicky babies often show signs such as facial redness, clenching their fists, pulling their legs to their abdomen, arching their back, and having a painful facial expression during crying spells, which usually start in the afternoon or early evening. The abdomen may feel hard and swollen, and vomiting and passing gas may occur. The crying episode begins spontaneously, is unrelated to environmental factors, occurs suddenly, and cannot be predicted in advance. Colic typically begins after the second week and resolves before 4 months, but it can extend up to the 5th month in 30% of babies. Babies with prolonged colic often have feeding and sleep problems. Among siblings, the firstborns are more frequently taken to the doctor due to colic reasons.
The frequency of colic is the same in breastfed and formula-fed babies, so transitioning from breast milk to formula may not be the solution. In colic, the exact cause is unknown, but eliminating allergens such as dairy products, eggs, wheat, and nuts from the diet of breastfeeding mothers may be beneficial. If the baby is also receiving formula, using specially formulated formulas can be helpful. Since medical drugs may have side effects, it is advisable to use them under doctor supervision. Although blends of oils from herbs such as mint, clove, dill, ginger, licorice root, cinnamon, cardamom, fennel, and cumin have been shown to reduce gas, their safety and effectiveness are not well-known. Approaches such as placing near laundry or dryer, or vacuum cleaner, taking the baby for a stroll in the stroller, using a pacifier, carrying in arms, and massage have not shown definite benefits in reducing crying. However, gentle rocking and strolling in arms, providing continuous rhythmic stimulation, playing music, reducing feeding intervals, using a pacifier, responding quickly to signals from the baby, and increasing communication should be tried.
In conclusion, colic is a condition that occurs in infants during the first three months, characterized by severe and prolonged crying, with an unknown cause, and can be accompanied by a small percentage of organic problems. It does not have a definite cure and is believed to improve with neurological maturity. Although it can cause significant distress within the family, there are no lingering issues for the baby or the family after it resolves.