Colic in itself is a mystery. No one really knows why babies suffer from it. While there have been a gazillion studies and years and years of research… it’s just one of those things.
Very common, very distressing and very much not welcome in any household, colic may well be a part of your lives in the early weeks of your baby’s life. And it’s something that loads of parents worry about – with so much conflicting information, it’s hard to know what to believe and what not to.
So, let’s dispel a few myths…
Colic = pain
Sometimes, but not always. In 1954, paediatrician Dr Morris Wessel defined colic as ‘crying lasting three hours per day, on more than three days per week, for at least three weeks’. More recently, definitions include fussing and crying for at least one week in an otherwise healthy infant and fussing or crying that starts and stops without an obvious cause. None of these definitions mentions pain.
‘Diagnosed with colic’
Colic is a word used to describe frequent, and inexplicable, crying. It’s not necessarily a ‘diagnosis’. A baby can experience colic for many reasons, many of which are not fully understood. What we do know, is that a baby may be experiencing some kind of tummy pain, resulting in frequent and, sometimes, inconsolable crying.
I need to change the way I feed
Whether breastfeeding or feeding formula, there is no clinical or scientific evidence that either is better or worse for a baby with colic.
Colic is genetic
Nope. There’s nothing in the genes that means your baby will or won’t have colic. Nor is there anything you did before, during or after pregnancy that resulted in your little one suffering from infant colic.
Don’t hold a colicky baby too much
This idea stems from a belief that if you pick up your baby every time they cry, they’ll depend on it. In some cases, it may be best to let little one settle themselves, but a baby crying is generally trying to communicate something with you. If your instinct tells you to pick them up and soothe them – then go ahead.
Colic can delay development
Nope, nope and nope again. There is no evidence whatsoever that a child’s development is affected if they suffer from infant colic.
There’s no such thing as colic
This is quite possibly the best one – I challenge anyone to say that to a parent who’s spent the best part of the last week trying to comfort their colicky crying baby.