Is Temperament the True Cause of Colic? Woodmam

Is a baby’s temperament the key factor that pushes him into inconsolable crying? No. This reasonable theory fails because it doesn’t explain three of the universal colic clues:

Colicky crying usually starts at two weeks, peaks at six weeks, and ends by three to four months of age. Since temperament is present at birth and lasts a lifetime, colic caused by a challenging temperament should begin at birth and persist—or even worsen—after the fourth month of life. It doesn’t.

Preemies are no more likely to have colic than full-term babies. (And it starts about two weeks past their due date.) One would expect an immature preemie with a sensitive and/or intense personality to be more prone to colic than a mature full-term baby. Similarly, one would expect his colic to begin right away, not weeks to months later.

There are many cultures around the world where babies never get colic. Temperament can’t be the cause of colic because in many cultures colic is nonexistent among their most intense and passionate infants.

Goodness of Fit—What happens when two cocker spaniels give birth to a Doberman?

Since temperament is largely an inherited trait, a baby’s personality almost always reflects his parents’. However, just as brown-eyed parents may wind up with a blue-eyed child, mellow parents may unexpectedly give birth to a T. rex baby who makes them run for the hills!

Parents sometimes have difficulty handling a baby whose temperament differs dramatically from their own. They may hold their sensitive baby too roughly or their intense baby too gently. These parents need to learn their baby’s unique temperament and nurture him exactly the way that suits him the best.

So if one million U.S. babies aren’t crying because of gas, acid reflux, maternal anxiety, brain immaturity, or inborn fussiness, what is the true cause of colic? As you will see in the next chapter, the only theory that fully explains the mystery of colic is … the missing fourth trimester.

Main Points:

The First Three Trimesters: Your baby’s happy life in the womb

The Great Eviction: Why babies are so immature at birth

Why your baby wants (and needs) a fourth trimester

A “Womb with a View”: A parent’s experience of the fourth trimester

The Great American Myth: Young babies can be spoiled

The connection between the fourth trimester and other colic theories

Ten reasons why the missing fourth trimester is the true cause of colic

Once upon a time, in a faraway land, four blind wise men were asked to describe the true nature of an elephant. Each took a turn touching the beast. One by one, they spoke.

“This animal is long and curved like a spear,” said the first blind man after grabbing a tusk. The next, clutching the giant’s leg, raised his voice. “I disagree! This animal is thick and upright—like a tree.” As they began to argue, the next man touched the ear and compared it to a giant leaf. Finally, the last man, wrapped up in the elephant’s trunk, declared triumphantly that they were all wrong—the animal was like a big, fat snake.
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