Study Finds No Long-term Harm from Colic

Colic can make the first three months of life really tough for both the baby and its parents. Adding insult to injury is the worry that all that crying may have long-term negative affects on a baby and their development. But parents can stop worrying, as a new study has found that colic has no long term behavioural affects on babies.

Research conducted by the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, (MCRI) found that there is no long term behavioural affects where the crying associated with colic resolves itself within three months.

The study, published in the Journal of Paediatrics, provides a great relief for parents of colicky babies; there’s no need to worry about the long term affects of colic and the wellbeing of their baby. Dr Georgie Bell, a lead researcher on the study and mother of colicky baby, has said that while it’s a difficult time for parents and babies, it wont have any long-term affects on their child’s behaviour.

While colic can have short term effects on a family’s overall wellbeing, such as exhaustion, post-natal depression and early weaning, there were no long term effects to worry about. One in five babies suffer with colic and it can increase the risk of post-natal depression. Dr Bell had her own experience with post-natal depression and colic and says “If someone had been able to tell me that things were going to get better, it would have made my experience different”.

The study looked at a group of 99 infants with colic and 189 infants without colic. It tracked babies behaviour from infancy through to toddlerhood and found there was no difference in sleeping, eating or temperament between the babies that had colic, and those that didn’t.

The authors write that “This study demonstrates that infants with true colic, ie, with crying that self-resolves, do not experience adverse effects on child behaviour, regulatory abilities, temperament, or family functioning in toddlerhood”.


You can read more about colic here, here and here.

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