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1. (Science: symptom) gradual onset of pain that increases in a crescendo fashion until it reaches a peak of severity and then slowly subsides.

2. (Science: paediatrics) a syndrome in early infancy characterised by episodic loud crying, apparent abdominal pain (legs drawn up and rigid abdomen) and irritability. This common condition occurs in about 1 in 10 babies and lasts from 2-3 weeks of age to 3-4 months.

factors include swallowing air during feedings, overfeeding, parental anxiety and cows milk allergy. Parents should realize that colic is a benign condition and excessive crying is not harmful to the baby.

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