Baby colic - Infant colic (also known as baby colic and three month colic) is a condition in which an otherwise healthy baby cries or screams frequently and for extended periods, without any discernible reason.
The condition typically appears within the first few months of life and almost invariably disappears, often very suddenly, before the baby is eight months old. It is more common in bottle-fed babies, but also occurs in breast-fed infants. The crying frequently occurs during a specific period of the day, often in the early evening.
Since the cause is not conclusively established and the amount of crying differs between babies, there is no general consensus on the definition of "colic". Having ruled out other causes of crying, a common rule of thumb is to consider a baby "colicky" if it cries intensely more than three days a week, for more than three hours, for more than three weeks in a month.
Causes: There is no commonly accepted explanation for colic.
Traditionally, colic was ascribed to abdominal pain resulting from trapped gas in the digestive tract. This theory is not yet discredited, and some recent scientific evidence seems to support it, yet it is no longer universally accepted as the general cause.
Some doctors claim that it is a combination of a baby's sensitive temperament, the environment and his immature nervous system, which make him cry easily and then not being able to control it, while others believe that it originates in problems in the baby's digestive system, specifically because of the build up of gas which can not be released. New studies at the Colic Clinic at Brown University demonstrate that nearly half of babies with colic have mild gastroesophageal reflux. It is also possible that some cases may be the result of lactose intolerance.
Recent research raises a number of hypotheses including a link to the onset of melatonin production by the pineal gland which does not begin until 12 weeks of age (about the time colic seems to disappear), the effect of circadian rhythms or smoking and increased stress levels of the prenatal mother in the third trimester.