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A Crying Baby May Really Need Your Help

You may remember an article I posted last year about controlled crying and how you can coach your baby to stop on his or her own or, better yet, to let you know when something is wrong.

A healthy baby who cries for an extended time for no obvious reason, however, may have a more serious problem: Infants older than three months who cry incessantly may be at risk for lower IQ and behavior problems in their childhood years, according to a new study.

At younger ages, excessive crying among otherwise healthy babies is usually described as infantile colic, a common condition that affects up to 40 percent of babies, according to experts. Researchers found such unexplained crying that lasted for 6 months was associated with later hyperactivity among 8- and 10-year old children followed from infancy.

Prolonged crying after the colic stage was also associated with poorer results on tests that measured cognitive development both in infancy and at 5 years old. At 6 months of age, for example, infants with prolonged crying scored nearly five points lower on an intelligence test than those in the comparison group, who did not show any signs of colic at any age, and lower than those whose colic did not persist beyond three months.

Yahoo News November 1, 2004

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