Colic is an excessive crying episode where the baby is inconsolable and for which THE CAUSE IS UNKNOWN.
By definition, colic is an episode of intense crying, irritability and restlessness that lasts at least 3 hours a day, 3 days a week for at least a week. The episodes start and stop without reason.
Colic can occur in babies as young as 2 weeks old, but the most intense period is between the age of 6 and 8 weeks, and may last until the age of 3 or 4 months. Up to 20% of children suffer from this condition.
The cause of colic is not yet well identified. Different hypotheses are proposed which are mainly related to an intestinal alteration. A food allergy is often seen as the cause of colic. This assumption is, however, unfounded. Note that a food allergy is characterized by different symptoms, including growth retardation and refusal to drink, while a baby with colic will gain weight normally.
One theory also focuses on the psychological aspect of the child and mother, which would contribute to the development of colic. It would be a question of brain immaturity and bad temper in toddlers, along with stress in the mother that can be felt by the child.
It is increasingly recognized that colic is part of normal child development. The fact remains that this intense crying contributes to fatigue in parents as well as frustration. To help manage colic, see the following article.