At What Age Does Infantile Colic Begin and End?
“When will it end?” or “How long does colic last?” is a question parents frequently ask when their baby suffers from nonstop, inconsolable, and excessive crying, also known as infantile colic. Infantile colic is more common than many realize, affecting almost 1 in 4 infants, and is a proven cause of anxiety and exhaustion for parents. Thankfully, colic is temporary. It has a definable beginning, peak period and end. Knowing the typical course of colic gives parents comfort; as does knowing what to do to shorten the duration and minimize symptoms. So how long does colic last, and when does colic start and end?
What exactly is colic?
Pediatrician Dr. Morris Wessel first described infantile colic in 1954 when he observed healthy infants experience inconsolable crying without any medical explanation. He developed the Wessel Criteria, which has become the gold standard for diagnosing infantile colic. The Wessel Criteria is also known as the “Rule of 3’s”.
A baby is considered to have colic when he or she is otherwise healthy and yet exhibits excessive crying for more than 3 hours per day, for at least 3 days per week, for more than 3 weeks. Before a diagnosis is made, your baby’s healthcare provider will perform a complete physical examination in order to rule out medical conditions as possible causes for her symptoms. In essence, colic is a diagnosis of exclusion.
The impact of colic on parents and caregivers is significant. Studies have shown parents of colicky babies experience worry, anxiety, and depression. Because excessive crying is a known risk factor for shaken baby syndrome, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) acknowledges that parents and caregivers need additional support and encouragement when caring for an infant with colic. Knowing the typical course, and ways to minimize the duration and symptoms, is the first step toward gaining relief.
Timing of Colic: Onset, Peak & Duration
Colic typically follows a predictable course, including an onset, a peak period (during which symptoms are most difficult to relieve), and an ending characterized by resolution of all symptoms.
- What Age Does Colic Start – Symptoms of colic typically begin around 3 weeks of age. Symptoms typically occur in the evening, and last for several hours.
- When Does Colic Peak – The peak period for symptoms is typically 4 to 6 weeks of age, with symptoms beginning to wane after 6 weeks.
- When Does Colic End – Most babies have complete resolution of symptoms by 12 weeks of age.
Traditional Medicines Are Often An Ineffective Treatment for Colic
Parents have long turned toward traditional medicines to relieve symptoms they attributed to gastrointestinal causes, such as milk intolerance or excessive gas; however, numerous medical studies have demonstrated that conventional treatments are largely ineffective for colic. Frustrated parents have turned toward complimentary alternative medicines. In 2011, an article review published in the official journal of the AAP, Pediatrics, detailed the results of fifteen scientific studies aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of nutritional supplements and alternative therapies for the treatment of colic. The review concluded that nontraditional therapies have demonstrated promising results, and called for even more studies to support the findings.
Colic Calm Is the Safe, Natural, Effective Solution
Colic Calm is a homeopathic blend of nine active ingredients that shorten the duration of symptoms and according to the principals of homeopathy, stimulate the body’s own natural healing properties. Ingredients include aloe, blackthorn, caraway, chamomile, ginger, fennel, vegetable charcoal, lemon balm, and peppermint. Recommended by pediatricians, family physicians, pediatric nurse practitioners, pharmacists, lactation consultants and doulas, Colic Calm offers parents a safe and natural alternative. It’s also FDA listed, and free from simethicone, alcohol, sugar, wheat, gluten, herbal oils and extracts, soy, dairy, animal products, artificial flavors and colors.
Over 1 million infants have benefitted from the relief that Colic Calm delivers.
Other Ways to Shorten Duration and Minimize Symptoms
Complimentary alternative medicines have demonstrated positive gains within the scientific literature in recent years. The use of probiotics, nutritional supplements, herbal teas with oils and extracts, behavioral therapies, and chiropractic therapies have all been studied, with calls for further research.
A 2010 study published in Pediatrics demonstrated that infants given probiotics had reduced daily crying times within 7 days, compared to conventional treatment. Unfortunately, relief was only short term. Long-term duration of symptoms was unaffected. One group of scientists studied infants who were given herbal teas (containing mixtures of chamomile, fennel and lemon balm) three times daily. The study found a decrease in overall daily crying time, but supplementing tea for milk raises the risk for nutritional deficits. Sugar and alcohol content of herbal oils and extracts is not yet standardized, and parents are advised to use under the advice of their healthcare provider. Studies of infants receiving chiropractic therapy have demonstrated positive results; however, further research is needed before safely recommending to parents.
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- University of Maryland Medical Center. (2013, May 7). Infantile colic. Retrieved April 9, 2014, from Infantile Colic. University of Maryland: www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/infantile-colic