The Cause of Colic: Do Doctors Finally Have the Answer?

crying babyColic! That mysterious thing that makes your baby cry forever and he won't stop. Why the crying? Why so much crying?!? People have been trying to figure this one out for centuries. Is it tummy trouble -- or is it something else? Well, the latest news on colic points to tummy trouble.

A new study found that babies with colic also happen to develop a certain intestinal bacteria later than babies who don't have colic. Without that proteobacteria and probiotics, perhaps babies are having stomach pains, or getting gassy, and that's what causes colic. Have we finally found the cause of colic -- and does that mean we've finally found the cure?


Eh, probably not. I'm skeptical. First of all, this was a very small study -- just 24 babies! And it's really interesting that the researchers found a connection between bacteria and crying. But like I've said a bunch of times, just because two things happen together doesn't mean one causes the other. Correlation is not causation, as they say. So more work needs to be done before we can say this is THE answer to colic.

Anyway, I just never bought the tummy troubles explanation for colic. I have friends who went on elimination diets and swore that helped (after months of experimenting, so maybe their babies just grew out of colic by then?!?). But my pediatrician suggested the book The Happiest Baby on the Block. It suggests colic may be more about how under-stimulating life is outside the womb (too quiet, seriously). Their method for dealing with colic is to re-create the conditions of the womb for your baby. Which for us meant swaddling my son tightly, jiggling him a certain, very careful way, and running the vacuum cleaner all at the same time for a couple hours every night. Good times!

So colic -- is it caused by tummy troubles, or is it under-stimulation? We still don't know! So moms will continue living without wheat/chocolate/dairy and running their vacuum cleaners in the hopes of buying ourselves a few crying-free hours. When it comes to colic, there are no easy answers.

What do you think really causes colic?


Image via bbaunach/Flickr

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