What causes colic?

Unfortunately it is still not exactly clear what causes colic, although there are a number of theories that have been put forward:

  • It is most commonly believed that colic is caused by baby’s immature digestive tract, which cramps up and becomes painful when there is a build up of wind in the intestine.
  • This may be because of baby’s inability to digest some of his feed and also because some air may be swallowed during a feed or crying.Colic.co.za Baby 8

Thus the most classical definition of colic is the discomfort caused by baby’s digestive system not working to its full potential.
This causes sections of the intestine to cramp resulting in crying, screaming, restlessness.

  • Poor sleeping and desperate parents.
  • It is also believed that some baby’s have immature central nervous systems. Most newborn’s have a built in mechanism to block out unwanted stimuli e.g. noise and light, so they can eat and sleep undisturbed by their surroundings. However by one month old, this ability wears off and baby becomes more aware and alert to his surroundings.
  • Feeding the baby too little or too much and starting solids too early, before the gastro intestinal tract is sufficiently mature, have also been labeled as causes of colic.
  • It is believed that certain foods that breastfeeding mothers eat could reach their babies via their breast milk. These foods include caffeine, dairy products and nuts.
  • Some people believe that babies may have spinal pain due to the position they take up in the mothers womb.
  • Obviously it is very heart wrenching for a parent, particularly a mother, to witness their baby crying incessantly and so intensely, leaving them feeling desperate, guilty, tired and incompetent. This maternal stress may cause the mother to respond to the baby in a way that perpetuates or worsens the colic. Therefore it is important for a mom to relax and know that there are ways to deal with this infant condition and that the phase does pass.


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