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Symptoms and Causes of Colic

Infantile colic has been around for a long time. In 1954, Dr. Morris Wessel, a well-known New Haven pediatrician, defined an infant with colic as “one who, otherwise healthy and well-fed, had paroxysms of irritability, fussing, or crying lasting for a total of three hours a day and occurring on more than three days in any one week for a period of three weeks.”

It is also important to remember that not all fussy babies suffer from colic. Most infants normally cry two to three hours per day, but this is usually spread out during the 24-hour period.


The crying or fussing most frequently begins suddenly and often after a feeding. Symptoms include stomach or intestinal pain. There is abdominal pain, distension, insomnia, extreme fretfulness, or hysteria. The child cries out, pulls the knees up to the stomach, and has a distended stomach. The child may be red in the face and symptoms worsen at night.


Abnormal amounts of gas are passing upward or downward through the infant’s stomach and intestines; this is causing pain. Infant colic usually begins around the 3rd or 4th week and clears up by the 12th week. It occurs in 1 in 10 babies. According to Natural Remedies Encyclopedia, “food allergies are a frequent cause. Colic is rare in countries that subsist on regular food and do not use medicinal drugs. Mothers who are given drugs during labor and delivery are more likely to give birth to babies who have colic. Milk formulas which use pork skin to fortify the vitamin D is frequent cause of allergies and infant colic.”

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