Signs of Colic in Babies

Colic is a temporary condition in babies that causes young infants to experience severe abdominal pain. A colicky baby describes a healthy one who is extremely fussy or cries loudly for protracted periods without apparent cause. Crying usually accompanies this condition, leading some definitions to term colic an “attack of crying.”

Colic is a common condition – affecting between 20% and 30% of babies of average. It generally affects males and first-borns, and arises within the first three months of birth. Typically, the condition disappears after a few months. While the exact causes of colic are speculative, its signs are more obvious.

Crying or fussiness

Crying is the staple for babies in the infant stage. They cry when they’re hungry, when they’re wet and for a host of other reasons. However, a colicky baby cries for protracted periods and far more loudly, likely because of the lengthy period of pain and discomfort they are experiencing. Of course, not all babies are the same. Some babies are just a bit fussy, without sounding like a human siren. Severe colic affects some infants for the majority of the time they are awake; the result is even more crying. All babies are entitled to be fussy or fretful at one point or another, but fussiness after feeding is a common indicator of this condition as well.

A distended or protruding abdomen

One of the possible reasons for colic is air trapped inside the abdomen of the baby. The presence of gas in the intestines leads to bloating. The baby’s stomach usually appears swollen and feels hard – not the usual baby softness one would expect.

Movement of air and fluid in the intestines

A colicky baby is likely to have an unsettled stomach. One might be able to hear the mixture of gas and fluid moving around in the stomach region – the infamous stomach rumble.

Abnormal body movements

Colic is painful to babies and they have to endure this pain for a while. A notable sign of colic is the baby’s movement. The colicky baby might switch from being curled up to sudden extension of the limbs. These abnormal movements might be part of short-term spasmodic attacks if they appear infrequently. Rigidity is a key trait of colic.

One less common trait of a colicky baby is the passing of a greenish stool. When diagnosing colic, physician’s pay attention to the baby’s medical history and feeding patterns, along with patterns of crying and the aforementioned physical manifestations of the condition.