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Gastroenterol Nurs. 2003 Mar-Apr;26(2):60-5.

What is known about infant colic?

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  • 1Indiana University School of Nursing, Indianapolis 46202, USA.


The ancient Greeks were the first to mention infant colic in recorded history; yet in 2002, the cause of infant colic is still unknown. Review of the infant colic literature suggests there are at least five possible explanations-cow's milk/soy protein allergy or intolerance; immature gastrointestinal system; immature central nervous system; difficult infant temperament; and parent-infant interaction problems consisting of either the transfer of parental anxiety to the infant or the inability of the infant to give clear cues about needs to the caregiver. It is likely the cause of infant colic is multifactorial because it has proven to be so elusive. One or more of the above explanations (or as yet an undiscovered explanation) is likely to play a role in the development of colic in a given infant. Determining the most probable explanation for each infant and then selecting interventions based on this explanation is likely to be more successful in preventing or decreasing the length or frequency of episodes than the various trial-and-error approaches to treatment currently recommended by healthcare providers. Infant colic is an important clinical problem that is amenable to nursing intervention.

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