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Colic is better known as Digestive Overload because this is the cause of colic. Digestive Overload can present as a mild, or extreme case, and is brought about by unbalanced feeding practices, retained air, not swallowing enough salivary enzymes and tongue tie. This aspect of Digestive Overload behaviour can happen at any time of the day and night, but it is known to be more prominent in the evening (often labelled as the witching hour - which isn’t normal) because of the daily cycle many parents fall into providing as they try to calm their child.

When the majority of symptoms listed on this page below happen every day, or every second day, then the newborn is generally exhibiting Digestive Overload. This may be apparent from Day One, but is more often seen when a newborn becomes more aware of themselves at around two to three weeks following the birth. Digestive Overload can occur for the first year of life, and sometimes beyond.  This depends on how overloaded the digestive system has been earlier in life and how much overloading and imbalance continues.


Note: In 1954, Dr Morris Wessel held a study on the Paroxysmal Fussing in Infancy, sometimes called “colic”. For this study of 98 newborns, he had to develop a way to measure upset in the children, and so the rather abstract definition of colic was birthed as “one who cries for at least three hours per day, at least three days per week, for at least 3 weeks.” This definition for ‘colic’ has been upheld through numerous studies for 65 years, despite the changes in our world and the number of newborns that the study involved. While I respect Dr Wessel’s work, I do personally think it’s time for a new definition and I believe, after years of healing colic naturally, that Digestive Overload more appropriately defines what ‘colic’ is in these modern times.


When it comes to the diagnosis of colic, sadly far too many parents will have heard a sentence along these lines, ‘We don’t know the cause of colic, but your baby will grow out of it at around three months.” In the meantime the parents, family, grandparents are meant to just watch the baby scream in pain and wish the first three months of their life away. Thankfully, this no longer needs to be the case, because we do now know the causes of ‘colic’, and you don’t have to wait to help your baby eliminate their symptoms.
  • Irritability, grizzling, inconsolable crying, screaming.
  • Bloating, cramps, excessive gas.
  • Heightened communication around times of bowel motions from excessive wind passing through the intestines.
  • Frequent frothy and/or explosive bowel motions, constipation.
  • Weight gains that are consistently at the upper regions or beyond recommended levels, or, as colic has been described by Morris Wessel, your baby will ‘look to otherwise be thriving.'
  • Wakefulness from discomfort with episodes of longer periods of sleep, but the latter is often from exhaustion through crying and lack of sleep rather than because the newborn feels comfortable.
  • Frequent searching for something to suck (exhibiting the ‘root reflex’).
  • Arching backwards or sideways, writhing, wriggling.
  • Pedalling legs
  • Gulping their milk, seeming very hungry while being restless - sometimes refusing to feed, pulling off the nipple or when bottle-fed, having flailing arms, legs and much turning of the head because of digestive discomfort.
  • Hiccups - a newborn's natural reflex for releasing ingested air. The more overloaded they are by wind, the more hiccups they experience.
  • Blueness or darkness around the mouth, which will come and go.  This can be visible above the top lip, under the bottom lip, or both simultaneously and can sometimes spread as far as the bridge of the nose between the eyes.  This sign of wind is present for all newborns because all experience natural levels of ingested air.  It becomes more prominent as wind accumulates to overload levels.

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By learning how to nurture your baby and infant within their natural digestive capacities and capabilities while understanding and responding knowingly to their full array of cues, you can provide the care needed to prevent and remedy colic.

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BabyCues self-help book

A parenting book that delivers original, proven findings and practical know-how to help parents achieve natural digestive balance for their newborn throughout their first six months of life. This book is perfect if you want to learn how to nurture alongside your child’s natural digestive biology, while confidently understanding and being able to respond to their full array of cues. It will also help you to reduce, if not eliminate the abnormal behaviours of colic, reflux, lactose overload, dairy overload and inconsolable crying as it relays the natural causes of these behaviours, and steps you through the solutions.

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