Colic is commonly described as a behavioral syndrome in neonates and infants that is characterized by excessive, paroxysmal crying. Colic is most likely to occur in the evenings, and it occurs without any identifiable cause. In the setting of colic, a detailed history should be obtained regarding the following: Timing of crying: Crying by infants with or without colic is mostly observed during evening hours and peaks at the age of 6 weeks, Amount of crying: The amount of crying is not related to an infant’s sex; the mother’s parity; or the parents’ socioeconomic status, education, or ages, Characteristics of crying: Compared with regular crying, colicky crying is more turbulent or dysphonic and has a higher pitch, Family’s daily routine, Possible other causes of excessive crying (eg, having hair in the eye, strangulated hernia, otitis, sepsis); colic remains a diagnosis of exclusion. The incidence of infantile colic was 13%; possible infantile colic was 8%. No seasonal variation was found. The mean amount of total crying was 241 min/d (95% confidence interval [CI], 216 to 266 minutes) in the colic group and 112 min/d (95% CI, 95 to 130 minutes) in the control group during the first recording week. The mean amount of colicky crying was 122 min/d (95% CI, 102 to 142 minutes) in the colic group and 19 min/d (95% CI, 12 to 26 minutes) in the control group.
The incidence of colic was 13% with no seasonal variation. Parental perception of infantile colic correlated well with the amount of crying. The following should be kept in mind in the workup of a patient with colic: Laboratory studies are usually not indicated unless another condition is suspected, If the patient’s stools are excessively watery, testing them for excess reducing substances may be worthwhile; positive results may indicate an underlying GI problem, Stool may be tested for occult blood to rule out cow’s milk allergy, Irritability and crying may be associated with GERD because of the pain associated with esophagitis. Dietary changes may include the following: Elimination of cow’s milk protein in cases of suspected intolerance of the protein, In infants with suspected cow’s milk allergy (CMA), a protein hydrolysate formula is indicated, Uncommonly, amino acid–based formulas may be needed to manage suspected CMA, though evidence may be lacking for use in colic, Soy-based formulas are not recommended, because many infants who are allergic to cow’s milk protein may also become intolerant of soy protein. Researchers used behavior data to treat colic — along with information about levels of maternal depression and paternal involvement — to develop a care plan for each baby who came to the clinic. They offered strategies for helping babies sleep better: if babies cried after feedings, researchers would consider whether reflux was a possibility. For catnappers who couldn’t seem to consolidate their sleep, researchers might suggest stricter schedules to help encourage a more defined sleep/wake cycle.