Table 1

Community based prospective studies with occurrence rates for infantile colic, ranked according to methodological quality

First author Country
Source of study population
Infant's age at assessment
Methods of data collection
Definition of infantile colic as used for occurrence estimate Period of data reporting on occurrence Eligible (n) Recruited (n) Completed study (n) Occurrence of infantile colic (%)
Canivet29 1-152 Newborns from hospital1 Wessel's criteria1-159 or medication prescribed0–3 months40920915215%
SwedenInfants followed from birth to 12 weeks2 Wessel's criteria without the 3 weeks criterion211%
QS=4Weekly diary for 1 day, questionnaire (crying a problem?)3 Crying/screaming >1 hour/day during 4 days/week in one week317%
4 Crying is a problem for the mother43%
Høgdal32 Newborns from hospitalUnexplained paroxysms of crying or fussing for at least 90 minutes each day for a minimum of 6 of the preceding 7 days or periods lasting at least 3 hours a day in 3 of the preceding 7 days0–6 months43536536019%
DenmarkInfants followed from birth to 6 months
QS=4Structured telephone interviews at age 1–2–6 months
Rubin35 Newborns from hospitalUnexplained prolonged crying0–3 months12691146101926%
UKInfants followed from birth to 1 year
QS=3Mothers kept record of any problem on feeding/crying
Michelsson28 Well baby clinicsCrying with which mothers felt the need to seek help0–3 monthsnr1-154 nr785%
FinlandInfants under age 1 yearor
QS=2Questionnaire and 24-hour diary at arbitrary visit1-151 Crying for more than 3 hours per day14%
Rautava37 Birth register5 item scale, ranging from no colic to a lot of colic; colic defined as “a lot of colic” and “quite a lot of colic”0–3 months15821443120428%
FinlandInfants at age 3 months
QS=2Questionnaire given at scheduled visit
Rinne41 1-153 Well baby clinicsQuestion: how much does the baby cry?0–3 monthsnrnr11312%
FinlandInfants under age 1 yearData on infants under 3 months crying more than 3 hours/day are given
Lehtonen33 Newborns from hospitalParoxysms of crying for 3 or more hours per day, 3 days or more per week during at least 3 weeks0–3 monthsnr122195913%
FinlandInfants followed from birth to 3 months
QS=1Questionnaire given at birth to be returned at 3 months
Hide34 Birth registerMother's interpretation of the infant's cry as colic0–3 monthsnrnr84316%
UKInfants followed from birth to 1 year
QS=1Health visitors recorded data at 6–12–26–52 weeks
  • 1-150 QS = quality score: range 0–6 (for details see table 3).

  • 1-151 Data on infants younger than 3 months.

  • 1-152 Study with prospective and retrospective part; only prospective data in table.

  • 1-154 nr = not reported.

  • 1-153 Study on Finnish and Colombian infants; only data on Finnish infants in table.

  • 1-159 Wessel's criteria: crying for 3 hours or more on at least 3 days in at least 3 weeks.