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Causes of Infant Colic

Aug 17, 2007
Doctors and parents alike are confused as to what actually causes colic and why up to 25% of babies suffer from it. Of course, there are some doctors that don't believe in colic while others believe it is a very real condition that should be acknowledged by parents and the medical community alike. Regardless, if you have a baby suffering from colic you are certainly very aware that colic is a real condition and one that deserves your attention.

In general, colic is more a result of a variety of symptoms rather than one condition on its own. Generally, babies suffering from colic cry, moan, groan, grunt, have hiccups, reflux, spasms, and red faces with balled up fists. Generally, these symptoms are a result of gas that gets trapped in the baby's digestive system, usually the intestinal tract. There is no real evidence as to why, however babies delivered via cesarean section experience colic more frequently than babies delivered normally. Some doctors believe this is the case because babies delivered vaginally get straightened out and decompressed as they are delivered, something cesarean babies don't experience. Nobody knows if this is a true cause of colic or not, but it is a theory.

Up to 25% of all babies experience colic so there is something in common among these babies even if it has not been pinpointed yet. Doctors do believe colic is related to the digestive process and worsens as evening approaches. There are also other theories as to why colic develops and the causes.

Stages of Development
One particular theory is that colic occurs because babies grow so quickly and as a result digestion does not take place properly, causing pain when food is moving through the intestines and during the entire digestive process. This theory is supported because babies generally outgrow colic within a few months, however the theory has yet to be proven.

Temperament
All babies have their own personalities and there are some happy babies while others are not so happy. It seems that more often than not the not so happy babies are the ones to suffer from colic rather than the happy ones. This is a theory that has not been proven, but real life parents notice the crabbier the baby the more likely they will have colic.

Stress
Stress is a known cause of digestive problems so it seems rational that babies with high levels of stress are more likely to develop colic. It has been proven that firstborn children are more likely to have colic than other babies because the new mom is stressed and passes the stress and fear to her child, resulting in colic. Many studies show that confident mothers seem to have fewer babies with colic than more stressed out moms.

Allergies
Another theory is that food allergies or lactose intolerance causes colic. However, it is strange that about the same number of babies that are breast fed develop colic as their formula fed counterparts. Also, some babies with colic seem to respond well when an iron supplement is added to their food. These are all signs something is going on with the baby's diet, but each baby is different and finding the dietary issues your baby is having can take some time and a lot of trial and error.

It is still a mystery why some babies develop colic and others don't and there may be a variety of causes that result in colic in your baby. However, there are some things that will help your baby feel better even though it takes time to find the solution. So, be patient and do everything you can to soothe and comfort your colicky baby.
About the Author
Vickie Barnes is a colic veteran of two colicky babies. Please visit her website ColicHelp.com, for more support and resources for dealing with colic.
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