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Baby Colic Causes

Possible Biological Causes of Colic

Several biological patterns have also been studied, looking for a possible cause of colic. These include:
 
  • Feeding practices (underfeeding, overfeeding, swallowing air)
     
  • An imbalance of certain chemicals, including serotonin
     
  • Exposure to tobacco during pregnancy or the postpartum period (the risk for these infants developing colic is twice as great).
     
But how much each of these factors may contribute to causing colic is not known.
 

Could Psychological or Social Influences Cause Colic?

Researchers have also looked at whether physiological or social factors could cause a baby to develop colic. Two areas that have been studied include:
 
Temperament
Temperament is the part of your baby's personality that is there from the moment they are born. Two aspects of an infant's personality, their adaptability and distractibility, may play a role in whether they develop colic.
 
Babies who do not adapt well to transitions have a difficult time contending with basic changes in environment during the day, but the difficulty is usually greatest during the evening hours.
 
Parents of these babies are challenged nightly as things slow down, signaling sleep time. Falling asleep is a big transition to get through. Going from crying to calm is another difficult transition. Not having the ability to adapt to these transitions well, the baby might cry until they simply cannot cry anymore for the day.
 
Babies that are easily distracted are prone to being overstimulated. When this occurs, things can escalate quickly into a difficult crying session. Unfortunately for these infants and their caretakers, the techniques often used to calm a crying baby (such as rocking, singing, and walking) can all cause the baby to become overstimulated.
 
(Click Temperament and Colic to learn more.)
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