What is colic? References about the causes of infantile colic

Compiled by Gwen Dewar (last updated 12/2013)

Here is a list of references about infantile colic and inconsolable crying. I cite them in my articles

• "What is colic? A critical review of the scientific evidence."

and

• "The causes of colic: How disease and differences in brain chemistry can explain excessive, inconsolable crying in young babies"

I've organized the references by subtopic. If you want a specific reference cited in the overview, scroll down to "General references about colic" below.


The benefits of increased physical contact and parental responsiveness for normal (non-colicky) babies

Anisfeld E, Casper V, Nozyce M, and Cunningham N. 1990. Does infant carrying promote attachment? An experimental study of the effects of increased physical contact on the development of attachment. Child Dev. 61(5):1617-27.

Barr RG, Konner M, Bakeman R and Adamson L. 1991a. Crying in !Kung San infants: A test of the cultural specificity hypothesis. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology 33: 601-610.

Hunziker UA and Barr RG. 1986. Increased carrying reduces infant crying: a randomized controlled trial. Pediatrics. 77(5):641-8.

Evidence that increased carrying of infants doesn't prevent or eliminate colic

Barr RG, McMullan SJ, Spiess H, Leduc DG, Yaremko J, Barfield R, Francoeur TE, Hunziker UA. 1991b. Carrying as colic "therapy": a randomized controlled trial. Pediatrics. 87(5):623-30.

St James-Roberts I, Hurry J, Bowyer J, Barr RG. 1995. Supplementary carrying compared with advice to increase responsive parenting as interventions to prevent persistent infant crying. Pediatrics. 95(3):381-8.

St James-Roberts I, Alvarez M, Csipke E, Abramsky T, Goodwin J, and Sorgenfrei E. 2006. Infant crying and sleeping in London, Copenhagen and when parents adopt a "proximal" form of care. Pediatrics. 117(6):e1146-55

Cross-cultural evidence for the existence of colic

Akman I, Kusçu K, Ozdemir N, Yurdakul Z, Solakoglu M, Orhan L, Karabekiroglu A, Ozek E. 2006. Mothers' postpartum psychological adjustment and infantile colic. Arch Dis Child. 91(5):417-9. (Turkey).

Chen IL and Chwo MJ. 2006. [The problems and management of excessive crying and fussing in infants] Hu Li Za Zhi. 53(4):17-23. In Chinese.

Garg P. 2004. Infantile colic--unfolded. Indian J Pediatr. 71(10):903-6.

Leung AK and Lemay JF. 2004. Infantile colic: A review. J R Soc Health 124: 162-166.

Oshikoya KA, Senbanjo IO, Njokanma OF. 2009. Self-medication for infants with colic in Lagos, Nigeria. BMC Pediatrics 9: 9-16.

Saavedra MA, da Costa JS, Garcias G, Horta BL, Tomasi E, Mendonça R. 2003. [Infantile colic incidence and associated risk factors: a cohort study] J Pediatr (Rio J). 79(2):115-22. In Portuguese.

Talachian E, Bidari A, Rezaie MH. 2008. Incidence and risk factors for infantile colic in Iranian infants. World J Gastroenterol. 14(29):4662-6.

Diseases and disorders that may cause excessive, inconsolable crying

Ali AM. 2012. Helicobacter pylori and infantile colic. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 166(7):648-50.

Anabrees J, Indrio F, Paes B, AlFaleh K. 2013. Probiotics for infantile colic: a systematic review. BMC Pediatr. 13:186.

Barlow CF. 1994. Migraine in the infant and toddler. J. Child Neurol. 9: 92-94.

Bartrop RW and Hull D. 1973. Transient lactose intolerance in infancy. Archives of diseases in childhood. 48: 963-966.

Bhatia J and Parish A. 2009. GERD or not GERD: the fussy infant. J Perinatol. 29 Suppl 2:S7-11.

Buckley M. 2000. Some new and important clues to the causes of colic. Br J Community Nurs. 5(9): 462, 464-465.

Critch J. 2011. Infantile colic: Is there a role for dietary interventions? Paediatr Child Health. 16(1):47-9.

Duro D, Rising R, Cedillo M, Lifshitz F. 2002. Association between infantile colic and carbohydrate malabsorption from fruit juices in infancy. Pediatrics. 109(5):797-805.

Forsyth BWC. 1989. Colic and the effect of changing formulas: a double-bind, multiple crossover study. Journal of Pediatrics 115: 521-526.

Gelfand AA, Thomas KC, and Goadsby PJ. 2012. Before the headache: infant colic as an early life expression of migraine. Neurology 79(13):1392-6.

Jan MMS and Al-Buhairi AR. 2001. Is infantile colic a migraine-related phenomenon? Clinical Pediatrics 40: 295-297.

Heubi J, Karasov R, Reisinger K, et al. Randomized multicenter trial documenting the efficacy and safety of a lactose-free and a lactose-containing formula for term infants. J Am Diet Assoc. 100 :212 –217.

Heyman MB. 2006. Lactose Intolerance in Infants, Children, and Adolescents Pediatrics 118(3): 1279-1286.

Kanabar D, Randhawa M, Clayton P. Improvement of symptoms in infant colic following reduction of lactose load with lactase. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2001;14(5):359–363.

Lindberg T. 1999. Infantile colic and small intestinal function: a nutritional problem? Acta Paediatr Suppl. 88(430):58-60.

Lothe L, Lindberg T, and Jakobsson I. 1982. Cow's milk formula as a cause of infantile colic: a double-blind study. Pediatrics. 70(1):7-10.

Lothe L, Ivarson A, Lindberg T. 1987. Motilin, vasoactive intestinal peptide and gastrin in infantile colic. Act Paediatr. Scand. 76: 316-320.

Lothe LI, Ivarson S-A, Ekman R, Lindberg T. 1990. Motilin and infantile colic. Acta Paediatr Scand 79: 410-416.

Lucassen PL, Assendelft WJ, Gubbels JW, van Eijk JT, van Geldrop WJ, Neven AK. 1998. Effectiveness of treatments for infantile colic: systematic review. BMJ. 316(7144):1563-9.

Romanello S, Spiri D, Marcuzzi E, Zanin A, Boizeau P, Riviere S, Vizeneux A, Moretti R, Carbajal R, Mercier JC, Wood C, Zuccotti GV, Crichiutti G, Alberti C, Titomanlio L. 2013. Association between childhood migraine and history of infantile colic. JAMA. 309(15):1607-12.

Savino F, Castagno E, Bretto R, Brondello C, Palumeri E, Oggero R. 2005. A prospective 10-year study on children who had severe infantile colic. Acta Paediatr Suppl. 94(449):129-32.

Savino F, Cordisco L, Tarasco V, Calabrese R, Palumeri E, and Matteuzzi D. 2009. Molecular identification of coliform bacteria from colicky breastfed infants. Acta Paediatr. [Epub ahead of print].

Savino F, Grassino EC, Guidi C, Oggero R, Silvestro L, and Miniero R. 2006. Ghrelin and motilin concentration in colicky infants. Acta Paediatr. 95(6):738-41.

Savino F, Pelle E, Palumeri E, Oggero R, and Miniero R. 2007. Lactobacillus reuteri (American Type Culture Collection Strain 55730) versus simethicone in the treatment of infantile colic: a prospective randomized study. Pediatrics. 119(1):e124-30.

Szajewska H, Gyrczuk E, Horvath A. 2012. Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 for the Management of Infantile Colic in Breastfed Infants: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. J Pediatr. 2012 Sep 14. pii: S0022-3476(12)00920-1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.08.004. [Epub ahead of print]

Weissbluth L and Weissbluth M. 1992. Infant colic: the effect of serotonin and melatonin circadian rhythms on the intestinal smooth muscle. Med Hypotheses. 39(2):164-7.

Evidence that colic has a basis in differences in brain chemistry

Barr RG, Young SN, Wright JH, Gravel R, and Alkawaf R. 1999. Differential calming responses to sucrose taste in crying infants with and without colic. Pediatrics. 103(5):e68.

Barr RG, Rotman A, Yaremko J, Leduc D and Francoear TE. 1992. The crying of infants with colic: A controlled empirical description. Pediatrics 90: 14-21.Barr 1999

Lucassen PL, Assendelft WJ, Gubbels JW, van Eijk JT, van Geldrop WJ, Neven AK. 1998. Effectiveness of treatments for infantile colic: systematic review. BMJ. 316(7144):1563-9.

St James-Roberts I, Goodwin J, Peter B, Adams D, and Hunt S. 2003. Individual differences in responsivity to a neurobehavioural examination predict crying patterns of 1-week-old infants at home Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology 45(6):400-407.

Infantile colic and parental distress

Akman I, Kusçu K, Ozdemir N, Yurdakul Z, Solakoglu M, Orhan L, Karabekiroglu A, Ozek E. 2006. Mothers' postpartum psychological adjustment and infantile colic. Arch Dis Child. 91(5):417-9.

Brand S, Furlano R, Sidler M, Schulz J, Holsboer-Trachsler E. 2014. Associations between Infants' Crying, Sleep and Cortisol Secretion and Mother's Sleep and Well-Being. Neuropsychobiology. 69(1):39-51.

Pauli-Pott U, Becker K, Mertesacker T, and Beckmann D. 2000. Infants with “Colic"—mothers’ perspectives on the crying problem. J Psychosom Res. 48(2):125–132.

Radesky JS, Zuckerman B, Silverstein M, Rivara FP, Barr M, Taylor JA, Lengua LJ, and Barr RG. 2013. Inconsolable Infant Crying and Maternal Postpartum Depressive Symptoms. Pediatrics. 131(6):e1857-64


General references about infantile colic

Akman I, Kusçu K, Ozdemir N, Yurdakul Z, Solakoglu M, Orhan L, Karabekiroglu A, Ozek E. 2006. Mothers' postpartum psychological adjustment and infantile colic. Arch Dis Child. 91(5):417-9. Epub 2006 Feb 1.

Barr RG. 1998. Colic and crying syndromes in infants. Pediatrics 102: 1282-1286.

Barr RG. 1990. The normal crying curve: What do we really know? Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology 32: 356-362.

Barr RG, Trent RB, and Cross J. 2006. Age-related incidence curve of hospitalized Shaken Baby Syndrome cases: convergent evidence for crying as a trigger to shaking. Child Abuse Negl. 30(1):7-16.

Barr RG, Konner M, Bakeman R and Adamson L. 1991a. Crying in !Kung San infants: A test of the cultural specificity hypothesis. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology 33: 601-610.

Barr RG, McMullan SJ, Spiess H, Leduc DG, Yaremko J, Barfield R, Francoeur TE, Hunziker UA. 1991b. Carrying as colic "therapy": a randomized controlled trial. Pediatrics. 87(5):623-30.

Barr RG, Rotman A, Yaremko J, Leduc D and Francoear TE. 1992. The crying of infants with colic: A controlled empirical description. Pediatrics 90: 14-21.

Barr RG, Young SN, Wright JH, Gravel R and Alkawaf R. 1995. Differential calming responses to sucrose taste in crying infants with and without colic. Pediatrics 103(5): e68.

Brand S, Furlano R, Sidler M, Schulz J, Holsboer-Trachsler E. 2014. Associations between Infants' Crying, Sleep and Cortisol Secretion and Mother's Sleep and Well-Being. Neuropsychobiology. 69(1):39-51.

Buckley M. 2000. Some new and important clues to the causes of colic. Br J Community Nurs. 5(9): 462, 464-465.

Chen IL and Chwo MJ. 2006. [The problems and management of excessive crying and fussing in infants] Hu Li Za Zhi. 53(4):17-23. In Chinese.

Critch J. 2011. Infantile colic: Is there a role for dietary interventions? Paediatr Child Health. 16(1):47-9.

Forsyth BWC. 1989. Colic and the effect of changing formulas: a double-bind, multiple crossover study. Journal of Pediatrics 115: 521-526.

Hill DJ, Hudson IL, Sheffield LJ, Shelton MJ, Menahem S, and Hosking CS. 1995. A low allergen diet is a significant intervention in infantile colic: Results of a community-based study. J. Allergy Clin Immunol. 96: 886-892.

Lindberg T. 1999. Infantile colic and small intestinal function: a nutritional problem? Acta Paediatr Suppl. 88(430):58-60.

Lothe L, Lindberg T, and Jakobsson I. 1982. Cow's milk formula as a cause of infantile colic: a double-blind study. Pediatrics. 70(1):7-10.

Lothe L, Ivarson A, Lindberg T. 1987. Motilin, vasoactive intestinal peptide and gastrin in infantile colic. Act Paediatr. Scand. 76: 316-320.

Lothe LI, Ivarson S-A, Ekman R, Lindberg T. 1990. Motilin and infantile colic. Acta Paediatr Scand 79: 410-416.

Lucassen PL, Assendelft WJ, Gubbels JW, van Eijk JT, van Geldrop WJ, Neven AK. 1998. Effectiveness of treatments for infantile colic: systematic review. BMJ. 316(7144):1563-9.

Lucassen PLBJ, Willem JJ, Gubbels JW, van Eijk JThM, and Douwes AC. 2000. Infantile colic: Crying time reduction with a whey hydrolysate: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Pediatrics 106(6): 1349-1354.

Maxted AE, Dickstein S, Miller-Loncar C, High P, Spritz B, Liu J, and Lester BM. 2005. Infant colic and maternal depression. Infant Mental Health Journal 26: 56-68.

Murray L and Cooper PJ (eds). 1997. Postpartum depression and child development. NY: Guilford Press.

Pauli-Pott U, Becker K, Mertesacker T, Beckmann D. 2000. Infants with “Colic"—mothers’ perspectives on the crying problem. J Psychosom Res. 48(2):125–132.

Rautava P, Helenius H, Lehtonen L. 1993. Psychosocial predisposing factors for infantile colic. BMJ. 307(6904):600-4.

Rhoads JM, Fatheree NY, Norori J, Liu Y, Lucke JF, Tyson JE, and Ferris MJ. 2009. Altered Fecal Microflora and Increased Fecal Calprotectin in Infants with Colic. J Pediatr.J Pediatr. 155(6):823-828.

Romanello S, Spiri D, Marcuzzi E, Zanin A, Boizeau P, Riviere S, Vizeneux A, Moretti R, Carbajal R, Mercier JC, Wood C, Zuccotti GV, Crichiutti G, Alberti C, Titomanlio L. 2013. Association between childhood migraine and history of infantile colic. JAMA. 309(15):1607-12.

Savino F, Castagno E, Bretto R, Brondello C, Palumeri E, Oggero R. 2005. A prospective 10-year study on children who had severe infantile colic. Acta Paediatr Suppl. 94(449):129-32.

Savino F, Cordisco L, Tarasco V, Calabrese R, Palumeri E, and Matteuzzi D. 2009. Molecular identification of coliform bacteria from colicky breastfed infants. Acta Paediatr. [Epub ahead of print].

Savino F, Grassino EC, Guidi C, Oggero R, Silvestro L, and Miniero R. 2006. Ghrelin and motilin concentration in colicky infants. Acta Paediatr. 95(6):738-41.

Savino F, Pelle E, Palumeri E, Oggero R, and Miniero R. 2007. Lactobacillus reuteri (American Type Culture Collection Strain 55730) versus simethicone in the treatment of infantile colic: a prospective randomized study. Pediatrics. 119(1):e124-30

Sijmen AR, Brugman E and Hiraing RA. 2001. Excessive infant crying: The impact of varying definitions. Pediatrics 108: 893-897.

Soltis J. 2004. The signal functions of early infant crying. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27:443-490.

St James-Roberts I, Goodwin J, Peter B, Adams D, and Hunt S. 2003. Individual differences in responsivity to a neurobehavioural examination predict crying patterns of 1-week-old infants at home Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology 45(6):400-407.

St James-Roberts I, Alvarez M, Csipke E, Abramsky T, Goodwin J, and Sorgenfrei E. 2006. Infant crying and sleeping in London, Copenhagen and when parents adopt a "proximal" form of care. Pediatrics. 117(6):e1146-55.

St James-Roberts I, Hurry J, Bowyer J, and Barr RG. 1995. Supplementary carrying compared with advice to increase responsive parenting as interventions to prevent persistent infant crying. Pediatrics. 95(3):381-8.

Vik T, Grote V, Escribano J, Socha J, Verduci E, Fritsch M, Carlier C, von Kries R, Koletzko B and the European Childhood Obesity Trial Study Group. 2009. Infantile colic, prolonged crying and maternal postnatal depression. Acta Paediatr. 98(8):1344-8.

Content last modified 12/13