A short semi-structured interview with the parent or carer helps ensure that a colicky baby is otherwise healthy2. Parents should exclude common causes of crying that arise from discomfort, such as hunger or temperature12.
The rule-of-three can aid diagnosis. Colic usually lasts7:
Possible questions to ask parents:
If parents cannot provide clear feedback on the pattern of crying, consider asking them to complete a cry diary. A cry diary will help parents identify whether their baby’s symptoms have changed or new ones have emerged, and post-diagnosis, a cry diary can assess whether existing techniques need to be tried for longer, amended, or if it’s time to try something different2. See the example below.
The causes of colic are thought to be physiological/organic (gastrointestinal immaturity and cow’s milk allergy) or non-physiological/behavioural (parenting behaviours and response; temperament of the infant).
Considering the following may help the differential diagnosis:
Parents should seek further medical attention if the baby experiences any red-flag signs or symptoms such as3,17,18:
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