Before we talk about curing colic, lets just talk about reducing crying and fussiness in infants. To do this, I recommend The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvy Karp. You can get the book or DVD at amazon.com (see the link to the right). This program combines five proven techniques for soothing a baby.
- Side/stomach (holding the baby so he is on his side or stomach)
- Sushing (making a shhhhhhhh sound to the baby's ear, or white noise CD)
- Swinging (rocking, bouncing, etc)
- Sucking (pacifiers, your finger, baby's thumb)
Individually, most of these have been shown to calm a baby. Together, they provide a powerful combination of soothing techniques to calm your cyring baby.
These techniques and the cure for colic below are described in the class "Reducing Crying and Curing Colic."
Now for colic...
Colic is excessive crying in infants, with no physical symptoms. About 1 in 6 families consult their doctor about colic. Colic is typically defined as crying for at least 3 hours per day, for 3 days per week, for 3 weeks. There have been many research studies testing various treatments for colic. Many studies show that colic (excessive crying) can be made better but not eliminated. It seems that almost any method of encouragement and support for the parents makes colic better.
There is only one line of research that demonstrates an effective treatment which "cures" colic (reduces the crying to a typical level of about an hour per day). In 1984 the results of a research study by Bruce Taubman, MD, was published in Pediatrics, a medical research journal. The results of his second study was published in Pediatrics in 1988. Both of these studies showed that colic could be treated, and that the effect of the treatment reduced crying from about 3 hours per day to about 1 hour per day (which is close to a typical level of crying). These studies have been largely ignored by other researchers in the field of infants and crying. In fact, there have been no other published studies that have tested the treatment used by Taubman.
But research results found by only one researcher are suspect. To be considered "proven by research" there needs to be studies by different researchers that show the same effect. In 1996, Sharolyn Dihigo, a graduate student in nursing at The University of Texas at Arlington reproduced the Taubman experiment for her master's thesis. Her research showed the same results as Taubman, that there is a simple and effective treatment (cure) for colic. In her study, crying was reduced from an average of 3.8 hours per day to 1.1 hour per day. Although Dihigo's study was not published in an academic journal, it was reviewed by her faculty advisors and published as a Master's Thesis. So now the Taubman method has been demonstrated by 2 independent researchers.
This research is important for 2 reasons. First, if you have a baby with colic, you will want to know how to quickly reduce your baby's crying. Second, by using this simple treatment method, you can prevent your baby from developing colic. You will have a happier baby (and possibly avoid the pain and agony of dealing with a colicky baby). If you would like to learn how to cure or prevent colic, just take the class on Reducing Crying and Curing Colic. You and your baby will be glad you did. (You could also read the book by Dr. Taubman, Why Is My Baby Crying.)