Infant colic, also known as painful bowel spasms or contractions, are characterized by long crying spells, which occur during the first months of the baby's life.
Mothers suffer especially as they do not understand the reason for crying and feel powerless to comfort their baby. They are easily detected when the baby stops being quiet and calm, and begins crying and screaming at the end of each afternoon and at the beginning of the night. The crying becomes constant and can last up to three hours, since there is nothing that can prevent it. Parents get desperate and frustrated to finish, and in the end, very tired. This situation is what defines infant colic, which is usually more typical of first-born than second or third.
Infant colic has been a concern for parents and pediatricians for several decades, especially in countries of "Western" culture, even though it is relatively common among newborns. It is estimated that around 30 percent of babies have colic at the end of the afternoon. However, several studies have found that in less "advanced" countries or cultures, where the common practice is to carry babies continuously on the body, babies cry very little and, surprisingly, do not have colic.
For this reason, the appearance of infant colic has been associated with a need for physical contact with the mother. There are other theories that link stress with the appearance of colic in the nursing baby, such as the adaptation of the baby to life outside the womb. The type of diet can also be a trigger, since the protein in cow's milk can cause allergies in babies, favoring the appearance of colic.
Colic usually occurs around the second or third week of the baby's life and usually lasts up to 12 weeks. The improvement is slow, but gradually subsides until disappear completely at the end of the third month of life. From that moment on, if the colic persists, the pediatrician should be consulted to find the causes of the problem.
Frequently, colic starts at the same time each day and it appears suddenly. When babies cry, they also tend to move their legs and arms, shrinking them and later stretching them, expressing agitation and nervousness. The crying can be so intense at times that some babies are deprived. When crying, the baby swallows air and this often causes more pain from the accumulation of gas and can make the baby's stomach look bloated and hard.
Despite the abdominal pain, colicky babies eat and gain weight normally. The diagnosis of colic is based on the parents' description of their baby's crying. But a physical exam is important to make sure the baby doesn't have a hernia or some other medical problem that needs attention.
You can read more articles similar to Infant baby colic, in the Infant Colic category on site.