SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.13 número1Good-bye to Liselle ViljoenHealth promotion needs of Hammanskraal families with adolescents orphaned by HIV/AIDS índice de autoresíndice de materiabúsqueda de artículos
Home Pagelista alfabética de revistas  

Servicios Personalizados



Links relacionados

  • En proceso de indezaciónCitado por Google
  • En proceso de indezaciónSimilares en Google


Health SA Gesondheid (Online)

versión On-line ISSN 2071-9736
versión impresa ISSN 1025-9848

Health SA Gesondheid (Online) vol.13 no.1 Cape Town  2008




The experiences of first-time mothers with colic infants who seek help from medical professionals



Leigh CoxI; Vera RoosII

IBNurs (Wits), MCur (RAU), Psychology Honours (UNISA)
IID Phil (Psychology). Professor, School for Psycho-Social Behavioural Sciences, Psychology, North-West University, Potchefstroom





The purpose of this study was to describe the experiences of first-time mothers with colic infants. The research design was qualitative, exploratory, descriptive and contextual. Data were collected by means of in-depth, semi-structured, phenomenological interviews and a descriptive analysis was done. The results show that the real experience of having a baby did not meet mothers' expectations. Furthermore, colic babies were anxiety-provoking and mothers struggled with feelings of failure. They searched for an explanation for the colic, but felt disillusioned with the medical profession. Mothers exhibited a need for a containing figure. They also reflected on their relationship with their mothers. Mothers felt ambivalent towards their babies and marital relationships became strained. Lastly, mothers renegotiated their identity. Based on the results, suggestions for mental health professions were made with regard to providing parent-child therapy, support for the mother and strengthening the marital relationship. The importance of psychological interventions was emphasised as a source of support for these mothers.

Keywords: infant colic; first-time mothers; parent-infant relationship; psychological support


Die doel van hierdie studie was om die ervarings van eerstekeermoeders met koliekbabas te beskryf. Die navorsingsontwerp was kwalitatief, ondersoekend, beskrywend en kontekstueel van aard. Data is ingesamel deur middel van indiepte, semi-gestruktureerde, fenomenologiese onderhoude en 'n beskrywende ontleding is gedoen. Die resultate het getoon dat die beleefde ervarings om 'n koliekbaba te hê, nie aan die moeders se verwagtinge voldoen het nie. Voorts veroorsaak koliekbabas angs en moeders stry teen gevoelens van mislukking. In hul soeke na 'n verklaring vir die koliek, voel hulle ontnugter met die mediese professie. Moeders het 'n behoefte aan 'n ondersteunende persoon uitgedruk en gereflekteer op hul verhouding met hulle eie ma's. Moeders het ambivalent oor hul babas gevoel en hul huweliksverhoudings het gespanne geword. Laastens het moeders hulle identiteit as moeders heroorweeg. Op grond van die resultate word voorstelle vir professionele geestesgesondheidwerkers met betrekking tot ouer-kindterapie, ondersteuning aan die moeder en versterking van die huweliksverhouding, gemaak. Laastens word die belangrikheid van sielkundige intervensies in die hantering van koliek as 'n hulpbron vir hierdie moeders beklemtoon.



“Full text available only in PDF format”




BARADON, T & JOYCE, A 2005: The theory of psychoanalytic parent-infant psychotherapy. (In: Baradon, T ed. 2005: The practice of psychoanalytic parent-infant psychotherapy: Claiming the baby. London: Routledge, pp 24-40).         [ Links ]

BARR, RG 1990: The normal crying curve: What do we really know? Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 32(4):365-362.         [ Links ]

BRITTEN, N 2000: Qualitative interviews in health research. (In: Pope, C & Mays, N eds. 2000: Qualitative research in health care; 2nd edition. London: BMJ Books, pp 11-19).         [ Links ]

COHEN, LJ & SLADE, A 2000: The psychology and psychopathology of pregnancy: Reorganisation and transformation. (In: Zeanah, CH ed. 2000: Handbook of infant mental health; 2nd edition. New York: Guilford, pp 20-36).         [ Links ]

CRESWELL, JW 1994: Research design: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. London: Sage.         [ Links ]

CROCKENBERG, S & LEERKES, E 2000: Infant social and emotional development in family context. (In: Zeanah, CH ed. 2000: Handbook of infant mental health; 2nd edition. New York: Guilford, pp 60-90).         [ Links ]

FRANKEL, RM & DEVERS, KJ 2000: Study design in qualitative research - 1: Developing questions and assessing resource needs. Education for Health, 13(2):251-261.         [ Links ]

GIORGI, A & GIORGI, B 2003: Phenomenology. (In: Smith, JA ed. 2003: Qualitative psychology: A practical guide to research methods. London: Sage, pp 25-50).         [ Links ]

JOYCE, A 2005: The parent-infant relationship and infant mental health. (In: Baradon, T ed. 2005: The practice of psychoanalytic parent-infant psychotherapy: Claiming the baby. London: Routledge, pp. 5-24).         [ Links ]

LIEBERMAN, A, SILVERMAN, R & PAWL, JH 2000: Infant-parent psychotherapy: Core concepts and current approaches. (In: Zeanah, CH ed. Handbook of infant mental health; 2nd edition. New York: Guilford, pp 472-484).         [ Links ]

LINCOLN, YS & GUBA, EG 1995: Naturalistic Inquiry. Newbury Park: Sage.         [ Links ]

LINDBERG, L 2000: Infantile colic: Aetiology and prognosis. Acta Paediatrics, 89(1):1-2.         [ Links ]

LONG, T & JOHNSON, M 2001: Living and coping with excessive infantile crying. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 34(2):155-162.         [ Links ]

MAXTED, AE; DICKSTEIN, S; MILLER-LONCAR, C; HIGH, P; SPRITZ, B; LIU, J & LESTER, BM 2005: Infant colic and maternal depression. Infant Mental Health Journal, 26(1):56-68.         [ Links ]

MCLEOD, J 2001: Qualitative research in counselling and psychotherapy. London: Sage.         [ Links ]

MORRIS, MW; SMITH, S; CRESSMAN, J & ANCHETA, J 2000: Evaluation of infants with subdural hematoma who lack external evidence of abuse. Pediatrics, 105(3):549-553.         [ Links ]

PAPOUSEK, M & VON HOFACKER, N 1998: Persistent crying in early infancy: A non-trivial condition of risk for the developing mother-infant relationship. Child: Care Health and Development, 24(5):394-424.         [ Links ]

PAULI-POTT, K; BECKER, K; MERTESACKER, T & BECKMANN, D 2000: Infants with "colic" - Mothers' perspectives on the crying problem. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 48:125-132.         [ Links ]

RÄIHA, H; LEHTONEN, L & KORVENRANTA, H 1995: Family context of infantile colic. Infant Mental Health Journal, 16(3):206-217.         [ Links ]

SA HEALTH INFO 1999: Ethics issues in qualitative research. (Accessed: 5 April 2006).         [ Links ]

SILVERMAN, D 2000: Doing qualitative research: A practical handbook. London: Sage.         [ Links ]

ST JAMES-ROBERTS, I; CONROY, S & WILSHER, K 1996: Bases for maternal reports of persistent infant crying and colic behaviour. Archives of Childhood Disease, 75:375-384.         [ Links ]

ST JAMES-ROBERTS, I & CONROY, S 2005: Do pregnancy and childbirth adversities predict infant crying and colic? Findings and recommendations. Neuroscience and Biobehavioural reviews, 29:313-320.         [ Links ]

STERN, DN 1995: The motherhood constellation: A unified view of parent-infant psychotherapy. New York: Basic Books.         [ Links ]

STIFTER, CA & BONO, M 1998: The effect of infant colic on maternal self-perceptions and mother-infant attachment. Child: Care, Health and Development, 24(5):339-351.         [ Links ]

STIFTER, CA; BONO, M & SPINRAD, TL 2003: Parent characteristics and conceptualisations associated with the emergence of infant colic. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 21(4):309-322.         [ Links ]

WADE, K; BLACK, A & WARD-SMITH, P 2005: How mothers respond to their crying infant. Journal of Paediatric Health care, 19(6):347-353.         [ Links ]

WESSEL, MA; COBB, JC; JACKSON, EB; HARRIS, GS & DETWILER, AC 1954: Paroxysmal fussing in infancy: Sometimes called 'colic'. Paediatrics, 14(5):424-434.         [ Links ]

WINNICOTT, DW 1964: The child, the family and the outside world. Middlesex: Penguin.         [ Links ]

WURMSER, H; RIEGER, M; DOMOGALLA, C; KAHNT, A; BUCHWALD, J; KOWATSCH, M; KUEHNERT, N; BUSKE- KIRSCHBAUM, A; PAPOUSEK, M; PIRKE, K & VON VOSS, H 2006: Association between life stress during pregnancy and infant crying in the first six months postpartum: A prospective longitudinal study. Early Human Development, 82(5):341-349.         [ Links ]



Prof Vera Roos

Creative Commons License Todo el contenido de esta revista, excepto dónde está identificado, está bajo una Licencia Creative Commons