Cultural Practices Regarding the Management of Infant Colic by Women in Limpopo Province, South Africa

Aluwani A. Bele1, Hilda N. Shilubane1, *, Mygirl P. Lowane2, Enneth T. Nkhwashu2
1 Department of Advanced Nursing Science, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa
2 Department of Public Health, Sefako Makgato Health Sciences University, Ga-Rankuwa, South Africa

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© 2021 Bele et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Advanced Nursing Science, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa;



Infant colic is a self-limiting condition reported in the past decade. It is a syndrome distinguished by uncontrollable crying in a healthy baby and begins in the early weeks of life and settles around six months. This study aimed to explore the understanding of infant colic and the cultural practices regarding its management by women in a particular village of Limpopo province in South Africa.


A qualitative phenomenological, exploratory and descriptive design was used to explore cultural practices regarding the management of infant colic by women at the particular village of Vhembe District, Limpopo province. Participants were selected based on their availability or accessibility for study purpose. Data was collected through unstructured interview, observational notes and field notes from 16 participants. The central question was: “What is your understanding of infant colic, and how do you manage it?” Tesch’s eight steps of open-coding was used to analyse data. Ethical clearance to conduct the study was obtained from the University of Venda Research Ethics Committee. The local authorities permitted interaction with the participants in the villages. The trustworthiness of the study was ensured through credibility, dependability, transferability and confirmability.


The misconceptions about infant colic, use of self-medication, cultural norms, taking the baby to the traditional and religious practitioners emerged during the analysis.


The traditional approach to managing infant colic not be ignored because their forefathers discovered the formula, and it must be included and respected by citizens in the country.

Keywords: Infant colic, Management, Cultural practice, Women, South Africa, Misconceptions.