In this population-based study the colic incidence was 9.4%, according to telephone interviews with the parents made when the infants were 5 weeks of age (n = 1628), and parental concern about infant crying was common. However, 7-day diaries of colicky and control infants (n = 116 + 119) revealed low distress amounts in colicky infants in general. In the subgroup of Wessel-colicky infants (n = 37), distress episodes were frequent and long lasting, and there was a high proportion of colicky crying versus fussing and normal crying. Even if there may be a reduction in the infantile colic incidence and support for the hypothesis that infantile colic is at least partially "in the eye of the beholder," that is, the concerned parent, a subgroup of infants may be more "genuinely colicky." Women who had stated in late-pregnancy interviews that there is a risk of spoiling an infant with too much physical contact were more likely to have infants with colic, and their infants were more distressed, even when given the same amount of physical contact. This finding warrants further elucidation.