Ten Universal Facts About Colic - Woodmam

In order to understand what causes colic, we first must agree on what it is. Researchers analyzing babies from all around the world have discovered ten fundamental traits of colic and colicky babies:

1. Colicky crying usually starts at two weeks, peaks at six weeks, and ends by three to four months of age.

2. Preemies are no more likely to have colic than full-term babies. (And their colic doesn’t start until they are about two weeks past their due date.)

3. Colicky babies have twisted faces and piercing wails, like a person in pain. Often, their cries come in waves (like cramps) and stop abruptly.

4. Their screams frequently begin during or just after a feeding.

5. They often double up, grunt, strain, and seem relieved by passing gas or pooping.

6. Colic is often much worse in the evening (the “witching hour”).

7. Colic is as likely to occur with a couple’s fifth baby as with their first.

8. Colicky crying often improves with rocking, holding, shhhhing, and gentle abdominal pressure.

9. Babies are healthy and happy between crying bouts.

10. In many cultures around the world, babies never get colic.

Once scientists determined the colic clues, they compared them to the popular colic theories to determine which, if any, explained them best. The researchers immediately excluded many of the crazy old ideas and what remained are today’s top five colic theories:

1. Tiny Tummy Troubles—babies suffer from severe discomfort caused by simple digestive problems (such as gas, constipation, cramps).

2. Big Tummy Troubles—babies suffer severe pain from true intestinal illness (such as food intolerance or stomach acid reflux).

3. Maternal Anxiety—babies wail because of anxiety they pick up from their mothers.

4. Brain Immaturity—immaturity of a baby’s nervous system causes her to get overwhelmed and scream.

5. Challenging Temperament—a baby’s intense or sensitive temperament makes her shriek even in response to minor upsets.

Each of these theories has its group of followers, but is any one of them the true cause of colic? Can any one of these theories explain all ten of the universal characteristics of colic?

Main Points:

Gas, constipation and overactive intestines: Why these Tiny Tummy Troubles are not the cause of severe crying

Food sensitivities and stomach acid reflux: Why these Big Tummy Troubles are rarely the cause of persistent crying

Why maternal anxiety isn’t the cause of colic

The ways in which a baby’s brain is immature, and why that can’t be the entire explanation for uncontrollable crying

What is meant by challenging temperament and why it fails to explain why babies get colic
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