Do Babies Get Migraines?

by Shannon Evans

The internal world of an infant is a fascinating and mysterious one. Although moms and dads can come to intuitively tell when their baby is hungry, tired, bored, or overstimulated, there is still a huge breadth of experience in the life of an infant that you can only guess at. Sometimes seeing your babies in pain, and their inability to tell you what hurts, can drive parents to desperate straits. Trying to figure out, do babies get migraines, and what a parent can do about it, is one such problem.

In 2012, a study published in Neurology associated colic in infants with migraines, raising concerns from parents everywhere that their babies might be experiencing the worst headache known to man, completely unbeknownst to their parents. The results of the study indicated that women with a history of migraines were more likely to have a colicky baby than women with no history of migraines. Researchers were unable to definitively say that infants were experiencing headaches, but maintain there is reason to believe colicky babies experience a hyper-sensitivity to light and noise similar to that of an adult with a migraine.

In an interview with Romper, Danelle Fisher, MD, chair of pediatrics at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, says that while it's possible for babies to get migraines, it is extremely rare. Since preverbal babies can't explain their experiences, signs to look for include facial paleness, sleep problems, incessant fussiness, and vomiting.

Fisher continues on to say if an infant is suspected to suffer from migraines, a thorough evaluation should be performed by their pediatrician, with a likelihood of lab work or imaging needed as well. Prescription medicine is available for chronic cases, Fisher tells Romper, but those are exceptionally rare.

If you have true concerns about ongoing pain your infant seems to be experiencing, definitely talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Even if a migraine isn't the likely culprit, an unhappy baby can mean a headache for everyone.