Table 2

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

First author
Source of study population
Infant's age at assessment
Method of data collection
Definition of infantile colic as used for occurrence estimate Period of data reporting on occurrence Invited (n) Participated (n) Occurrence of infantile colic (%)
van der Wal43 Well baby clinic1 Crying >3 hours/day0–3 months2 1801 82618%
NetherlandsInfants at age 2–3 months2 Crying a lot214%
QS=5Questionnaires to be filled out by nurse/physician at scheduled visit and questionnaire at home3 Difficult to comfort310%
Canivet29 2-151 Newborns from hospital1 Wessel's2-159criteria or needed medication0–3 months254224112%
SwedenInfants from mothers who refused to participate in prospective study2 Crying/screaming >1 hour per day during 4 days/week, in one week2-154 215%
QS=4Telephone interview at age 5–7 months3 Crying is a problem for the mother312%
Lothe31 Newborns from hospitalIntermittent unexplained excessive crying, many times a day, at least 4 days a week, and continuing for 1 week, at least 3 hours per day0–3 months24221917%
SwedenInfants followed from birth to 12 weeks
QS=41. Questionnaire given at birth (n = 78)
2. Telephone interview at 3–4 months (n = 141)
St James-Roberts19 Birth registerReferral to professional for crying1–3 monthsnr2-153 10010%
UKInfants under age 1 yearor
QS=4Mailed questionnaire (CPQ)2-152 Crying for more than 3 hours per day29%
Alvarez30 Birth registerNeed of professional help0–3 months17414015%
DenmarkInfants under age 1 yearor
QS=4Mailed questionnaire (CPQ)Crying for more than 3 hours per day21%
Crowcroft42 Birth registerQuestion: was your baby colicky?0–1 month72 99567 17218%
UKQuestionnaire administered by health visitor at age 1 month
Thomas36 Source not reportedRecurrent episodes of unexplained crying and irritability >1 week2–52 weeks1 02296420%
USAInfants 2 weeks to 12 months of age
QS=2Questionnaire personal or by telephone
Ståhlberg20 Birth registerGas problems or infantile colic leading to unexplained periods of crying and restlessness‘Early infancy’43132340%
FinlandMailed questionnaire to each 10th child at age 14–38 months
  • 2-150 QS = quality score; range 0–5 (for details see table 4).

  • 2-151 Study with prospective and retrospective part; only retrospective data in table.

  • 2-152 CPQ: crying patterns questionnaire.

  • 2-154 The definition including the 3 weeks criterion was considered unrealistic to search for retrospectively (see table 1).

  • 2-153 nr: not reported.

  • 2-159 Wessel's criteria: crying for 3 hours or more on at least 3 days in at least 3 weeks.