Colic: Myths About
Colic is unexplained crying that occurs in babies who have a sensitive temperament. It may relate to a settling in process to life outside the womb and all the sound, lights, temperature changes, and handling that go with it.
The most common misconception about colic is that it is due to abdominal pain. Indeed, when a baby cries, he does draw his knees up to his abdomen and his abdomen becomes hard. However, all crying babies draw up their legs in this manner when they cry. And babies need to tighten the abdominal muscles to help them cry. It doesn't mean that they are having stomach cramps.
Colic is not caused by gas pains. Although crying babies swallow lots of extra air, it doesn't get trapped in babies. It's either belched up or passed from below. The stomach and intestines in humans are not a closed system as in horses.
Colic is not due to the small amount of iron added to formulas.
Colic is also not due to cow's milk allergy. Although 3% of babies are allergic to cow's milk, they develop diarrhea, vomiting, noisy breathing, nasal congestion and itchy skin rashes as well as increased irritability. Also, allergic infants don't have excessive crying just twice a day, they cry after every feeding.
If you suspect allergy, change your baby's formula to a soy formula. If you are breastfeeding, eliminate all milk products from your diet for 7 days. But do this only if your baby has other allergic symptoms as well as excessive crying.
In summary, medicines for gas or stomach cramps and changing formulas are not helpful for colic. If you have questions about colic, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 11/1/2002
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.