Is colic a myth?

accreditation
It started about a week after my baby was born. The Crying. The Inconsolable Crying. Our cute little bundle of joy transformed into a screaming creature writhing, in what seemed to be, the utmost agony.

He cried at the drop of a baby hat. When I dressed or undressed him, when I tried to bathe him, even when I tried the healing art of massage – he would burst into the most piercing wailing that sent one of our cats bolting out the door and into the night. He has not been seen since.

Surely not colic!

My mother came to visit, took one look at her new grandson and declared that he had colic. My husband and I recoiled in horror. Not colic! The most dreaded of the C-words, the bane of all new parents! Within days, I received a call from my aunt, whose first-born son also had colic. She tried to reassure me that this too would pass and then told me horror stories of how as a new mother, she had spent most of her days in pyjamas and feeling like she was losing her mind.

Pretty soon, we were trying everything to stop our son's crying. We drove ourselves crazy with miracle cures and dietary advice. We saw a chiropractor and a paediatrician who diagnosed reflux and told us to crush impossibly hard and tiny pills and feed them to a screaming baby.
This only resulted in us becoming more frustrated and baby becoming more irritated.

Doctor Internet...


I turned to the internet and learned that that no-one really knew what colic was. It occurred in about 20% of babies and affected boys and girls equally. It typically began around two to three weeks after birth, usually stopping mysteriously at three to six months of age.

According to familydoctor.org, when inconsolable crying lasted for more than 3 hours a day and happened at least 3 days per week for more than 3 weeks, it was called colic. These were babies who were not hungry, had been changed, and were healthy and eating well.

They just cried a lot - for no discernable reason.

Then I found some dissidents who claimed there was no such thing as colic. Debra Rich Gettleman wrote that what people called colic was usually reflux, made worse by overfeeding, or sleeping problems. She said her husband (a paediatrician) had never heard of a case of colic that hadn't improved significantly once the baby was fed only every three to four hours (up to four months of age).

Professor Frank Oberklaid and Dr Leah Kaminsky, in an excerpt from "Our Child's Health" wrote: "Recent research confirms what some authors have been saying for many years – there is no such thing as colic. It is probable that a very small proportion of babies who are said to have colic suffer from an identifiable medical problem. However, the common ‘diagnoses’ of too much wind or milk allergy are made far too frequently, with very little evidence that they represent real conditions in this age group. Repeated studies suggest that infant crying and fussing is a normal part of development and that it gets better with time, whatever you do."

I still don't know if our baby had colic or not. All I know is that the crying stopped. Maybe it was the chiropractor or cutting out caffeine or maybe, just maybe, my aunt and Professor Oberklaid and Dr Kaminsky were right and he got better with time. I really don't know. I'm just relieved that my baby seems so much more content and happy. Now if only my cat would come back too…

Do you believe that colic is real? What have been your experiences?
 
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Authorities should bring in the army already
10% - 1288 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
51% - 6422 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
35% - 4473 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
3% - 433 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.24
-0.2%
Rand - Pound
19.82
-0.1%
Rand - Euro
16.78
-0.5%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.54
-0.5%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-0.1%
Gold
1,789.14
-0.2%
Silver
20.31
-1.4%
Palladium
2,289.00
+1.5%
Platinum
960.50
+1.5%
Brent Crude
97.40
+1.1%
Top 40
64,617
+2.3%
All Share
71,265
+2.1%
Resource 10
65,851
+2.1%
Industrial 25
87,063
+2.8%
Financial 15
15,964
+1.3%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE