New research suggests that babies who are born to mothers who suffer from migraines are more likely to develop colic than babies who are born to migraine-free mothers.
In the study, the results showed that mothers who have migraines are 70% more likely to have babies who develop colic between the of ages 4 and 8 weeks old. That's a pretty significant number, which is what led researchers to begin asking why.
Amy Gelfand, MD, who is the lead author of the cross-sectional study started to wonder if colic was actually the baby in distress because of a severe headache. Given no one really understands the root cause or treatment of colic, aside from perhaps gas drops that seem to ease stomach discomfort, maybe we've all been assuming the baby's pain is in the wrong place.
"Infant colic being associated with migraine really opens up a door for us to think what migraine looks like in the developing brain," she said at the American Headache Society's (AHS) annual meeting of 2019.
"People will ask me if these babies are really having a headache. Clearly, they are experiencing distress," she added. The research suggests that babies could indeed be "inheriting an increased sensitivity to stimuli" from their mothers, which is a whole new ball game in the world of infant colic treatment.
What we wonder, however, is what is it that makes the inconsolable crying "turn on" at a specific time every single day?
We know that babies typically have bouts of colic in the evenings (from 6 pm until 9 pm for example), so perhaps it's because of the days stresses that they're getting overwhelmed and end up developing a bad headache. Then, expressing their discomfort in the only way they know how, they thus scream for hours on end until it passes.
Although other variables could be at play, there seems to be a strong link between migraines and colic showing that infants could indeed be suffering from them as well. Gelfand says that given colic typically peaks at 5 to 6 weeks after birth, it may have something to do with neurological development rather than gut development.
Whatever the cause may be, Gelfand's research along with others in the field help to bring us that much closer to figuring out a treatment for infant colic, something that's long overdue!
New studies are now being conducted to see if reducing the number of stimuli a colicky baby receives will help reduce colic episodes.