PART 3: WHAT COULD BE THE CAUSES OF COLIC?
THERE ARE 4 MAIN THEORIES AS TO THE CAUSES OF COLIC:
- Altered gut microbiota (a healthy set of microbiota or bugs is essential for good gut function and good immunity)
- Altered gut motility- in other words the little gut does not move in a smooth, co-ordinated fashion.
- Hypersensitivity to normal light and sound- in other words the little brain is easily overburdened by the “normal” stimuli around it and thus “overreacts” or tries to “offload” by fussing or crying.
- An exacerbation of normal crying: colic babies may be on the upper end of “normal” crying.
In addition, factors such as feeding difficulties (eg taking in a lot of air, over-feeding or underfeeding, struggling with a good latch) can contribute, as can family stress/anxiety.
Chat with your healthcare worker to make sure that “medical” conditions can be ruled out, for example a cow’s milk protein allergy, reflux or lactose intolerance.
RED FLAGS which could indicate “medical pathology” include;
- Blood or excess mucus in the stools
- Not gaining weight adequately
- Other signs such as eczema rashes
- Severe vomiting
- Feed refusal/ difficulty getting enough volumes in
These conditions may indicate that the child has more than colic and needs specific management.
Colic is so tough for the parents/caregivers but essentially not harmful to the baby. Recent studies, however, have suggested that colicky babies, especially those who do not get enough sleep, may be at marginally higher risk of internalising problems (eg anxiety, poor emotion regulation) in childhood.
Therefore, it is important to recognise colic and manage it as best we can.