Which colic treatments work and which don't?

August 2, 2018, Murdoch Children's Research Institute
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Everyone has an opinion on infant colic. But what new parents really need is reassurance and facts.

In the latest issue of Australian Prescriber, Murdoch Children's Research Institute research fellow Dr. Valerie Sung discusses the latest thinking on colic, one of the most common conditions experienced by babies under four months of age.

While colic is considered benign and self-resolving, it can have significant impacts on the family.

"Colic is one of the most common presentations to in a baby's first months of life," says Dr. Sung who is also a Royal Children's Hospital paediatrician.

"It has adverse associations including maternal depression, child abuse and early cessation of breastfeeding."

Physiological and psychosocial factors are thought to lie behind the condition, but none are definitive according to the article.

Dr. Sung discusses the latest management options for colic, such as ruling out organic causes of crying, offering parents support with infant feeding, settling, sleep and acknowledging the reality of stress colic can cause in families.

"Families can often be reassured by understanding the self-resolving nature of colic and acknowledging that it may be difficult, if not impossible, to teach their infant to self-soothe during the first few months of life," Dr. Sung says.

"Most of all, it is vital to recognise that the family is usually doing the best they can for their baby, to allay any feelings of failure or guilt, and to encourage them to take adequate breaks from their crying infant."

Explore further: Infant colic leads to no ongoing problems, study shows

More information: Infantile colic. Aust Prescr 2018;41:105-101 Aug 2018. DOI: 10.18773/austprescr.2018.033

Related Stories

Infant colic leads to no ongoing problems, study shows

June 21, 2018
Colicky babies whose crying eases within three months have no ongoing behavioural problems according to new research by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI).

Study examines probiotics to prevent or treat excessive infant crying

October 7, 2013
There still appears to be insufficient evidence to support using probiotics (Lactobacillus reuteri) to manage colic or to prevent crying in infants, especially in formula-fed babies, but it may be an effective treatment for ...

L. reuteri DSM17938 effective for colic in breastfed infants

December 27, 2017
(HealthDay)—Lactobacillus reuteri DSM17938 is effective for breastfed infants with colic, according to a meta-analysis published online Dec. 26 in Pediatrics.

Mothers' relationship happiness may influence infant fussiness

April 24, 2017
How happy a mother is in her relationship and the social support she receives may affect the risk of infant colic, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers. The study sheds new light on the factors that may ...

Probiotics do not help infants with colic, trial finds

April 1, 2014
Giving probiotics to infants with colic does not appear to have any benefit, according to a large trial published today.

Study links babies' colic to mothers' migraines

February 20, 2012
A study of mothers and their young babies by neurologists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has shown that mothers who suffer migraine headaches are more than twice as likely to have babies with colic ...

Recommended for you

Breastfeeding protects infants from antibiotic-resistant bacteria

October 18, 2018
A recent study completed at the University of Helsinki investigated the amount and quality of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in breast milk and gut of mother-infant pairs. The findings have been published in the journal Nature ...

Inflammation in the womb may explain why some babies are more prone to sepsis after birth

October 9, 2018
Each year 15 million infants are born preterm and face high risks of short- and long-term complications, including sepsis, severe inflammation of the gut, and neurodevelopmental disorders. A new report in the American Journal ...

Dummies not to blame for common speech disorder in kids

October 9, 2018
New University of Sydney research shows bottles, dummies, and thumb sucking in the early years of life do not cause or worsen phonological impairment, the most common type of speech disorder in children.

'Genes are not destiny' when it comes to weight

October 9, 2018
A healthy home environment could help offset children's genetic susceptibilities to obesity, according to new research led by UCL.

Old drug could have new use helping sick premature babies

October 8, 2018
Researchers from The University of Western Australia, King Edward Memorial Hospital and Curtin University are investigating whether an old drug could be used to help very sick premature babies.

Insufficient sleep associated with risky behavior in teens

October 1, 2018
Adolescents require 8-10 hours of sleep at night for optimal health, according to sleep experts, yet more than 70 percent of high school students get less than that. Previous studies have demonstrated that insufficient sleep ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.