The crying baby: what approach?

Curr Opin Pediatr. 2011 Oct;23(5):523-9. doi: 10.1097/MOP.0b013e32834a1b78.


Purpose of review: Cry-fuss problems are among the most common clinical presentations in the first few months of life and are associated with adverse outcomes for some mothers and babies. Cry-fuss behaviour emerges out of a complex interplay of cultural, psychosocial, environmental and biologic factors, with organic disturbance implicated in only 5% of cases. A simplistic approach can have unintended consequences. This article reviews recent evidence in order to update clinical management.

Recent findings: New research is considered in the domains of organic disturbance, feed management, maternal health, sleep management, and sensorimotor integration. This transdisciplinary approach takes into account the variable neurodevelopmental needs of healthy infants, the effects of feeding management on the highly plastic neonatal brain, and the bi-directional brain-gut-enteric microbiota axis. An individually tailored, mother-centred and family-centred approach is recommended.

Summary: The family of the crying baby requires early intervention to assess for and manage potentially treatable problems. Cross-disciplinary collaboration is often necessary if outcomes are to be optimized.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Colic / diagnosis
  • Colic / therapy
  • Crying* / physiology
  • Crying* / psychology
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / diagnosis
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / therapy
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Behavior*
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / therapy
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Sensation Disorders / diagnosis
  • Sensation Disorders / therapy
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / diagnosis
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / therapy