The observation that babies with troublesome crying improve quickly
during hospital admission suggested that, if true, a common, quickly
reversible, factor may operate. Histories from the parents of such babies
suggest that much work goes into trying to console them. It is
hypothesised that this may lead to excessive/inappropriate stimulation and
the improvement seen in hospital reflects a reduction/change in
Two studies were undertaken: 1) To validate the first observation subjects
would have to be randomised to home or hospital management. Study 1 was
a pilot study which indicated that too few carers were willing to be
randomised but there was strong indication of improvement in mothers'
distress and in crying in hospital. In a group advised to reduce
stimulation at home similar improvement justified the second study. The
subjects enrolled for Study 1 were paired with age-matched controls.
Biographical data and a measure of carers' distress in the two groups was
compared. In this way, a description of the cohort was obtained. 2)
Study 2 was a randomised controlled study of the effect of advice to
reduce stimulation in addition to an empathic interview. Non-parametric
statistical methods, which described qualitative change, were used to
measure change in crying and in carers' distress. The results indicated
that the advice was helpful.
Whether this advice is any better than any other advice and whether
stimulation is reduced is not known. In any event these studies suggest
that most infants with troublesome crying are unlikely to have an
underlying organic disorder
Previous research into the effect of interventions in infant colic have
examined the effect of the intervention on crying and fussing times. The
subject is difficult to study because of difficulties with the definition of
'colic' and crying and fussing. This is the first undertaking of a
systematic study of the effect of an intervention to treat troublesome
crying in infants and the first time non-parametric statistical methods
have been used.