As you can see, we know a lot about what colic isn’t. We still know relatively little about what it is or what to do about it. A small minority of babies who initially seem to have Colic will actually turn out to have Constipation, Lactose Intolerance, or a Food Allergy. This will become clear to you & your doctor in time. You should not “jump to conclusions” about these diagnoses before they are symptomatically apparent. The only theory about Colic that has not been completely disproved is the neurodevelopmental one, but it hasn’t been proven either. As medical professionals, we want to avoid doing harm to the baby, making false statements, or hold out false hopes. As a parent, you should focus on the following:
- Never hesitate to bring a baby with Infant Colic into see us for an exam to rule out possible medical causes of crying unrelated to colic. Babies initially thought to have colic sometimes turn out to have not only food allergies later (proven by the development of diarrhea, blood in the stool and growth difficulties) but sometimes they have something as simple as an ear infection which can be easily treated. Sometimes other medical problems are found, but these are almost always apparent in a complete history and physical here in the office.
- There is light at the end of the tunnel. Infant Colic tends to start at a few weeks of age and builds to a crescendo between 2-3 months and then subsides and is almost always gone by 4-5 months of age. You should rest assured that if we have done an examination and found no medical problems, the baby will outgrow the colic and subsequent to that, there will be no long-term consequences for the child.
- Colic is not associated in any way with later physical or emotional disease.
- It is not your fault your infant has Colic, and your inability to sooth this newborn is not a reflection on your parenting ability.
- You should seek out the support of other parents who have been through this before.
- You should avoid trying measures to soothe the baby which are over-stimulating in nature.
- Try swaddling, reducing stimulation, “white noise”, or the SleepTight device. Avoid resorting to treatments which have been proven not to work (formula changes, gas drops) or which are dangerous (tranquilizers). Always consult with your doctor before trying a new treatment.
- Give yourself a BREAK. Leave the baby with your partner, a grandparent, friend or babysitter when you need to get away from the crying.
- You should always call the office if new symptoms beyond the crying develop.