Eight years ago I thought myself the world's worst mother. Many parent's who have experienced life with a colicky infant will know exactly what I mean. I was bombarded with accusations like: 'You had her in the wind' or 'You ate too mush spicy food'. These allegations were certainly hurtful and equally false. The well meaning folks around me believed too much myth surrounding the diagnoses and offered very little helpful advice. I would like to share with you what I did find helpful.
First I think it is important to talk about what colic is. Colic is the diagnosis given for an infant who is otherwise healthy that screams frequently and for long periods of time without relief. Despite desperate attempts at consoling, and maybe a small amount of bribery there was simply no way I could comfort my daughter. It seemed that she was set on a course to simply cry for an allotted amount of time and I was not going to deter her from that. Her's was a classic case of colic, it started when she was 2 weeks old and by around 3 months the colic simply disappeared. While it was great to get my first night of sleep in 12 weeks I did have to wonder what had happened.
Although there is really no cure for colic and it must simply run its course there are tricks you can use to ease the symptoms and provide a small measure of temporary ease. First it is important to note that gas is not colic. Gas is a symptom of colic but gas can be treated while colic can not. Since a baby who has colic can have increased gas pain a good infant gas relief drop such as Mylicon can be helpful. Mylicon and other generic brands are recommended by pediatricians as a treatment for gas relief in newborns. These products work by increasing the rate of gas leaving the body, while also changing the surface density of gas making it easier for an infant to pass it. This is a temporary treatment for colicky infants and may not work for every baby; however minimal the relief it is still relief so I encourage you to try it.
After a week of colic I was doubtful the problem would go away soon and I began to look for a treatment for the different symptoms I noticed. I thought of way's I could clam my daughter when she was in these crying stages because it seemed that she was overly distraught. I played music sometimes loud, other times softer depending upon her reaction. I massaged her because she tensed nearly every muscle below her neck. I gave her frequent warm baths on the worst nights because when I feel awful that's what I want. None of these things are scientific in nature they were simply a product of a desperate mind searching.
Some of the easiest remedies were the most creative. I bounced her a lot on my knee, sometimes this made things better. I made a small heated rice sock and placed it over her tummy while she was tightly swaddled. This invention was born out of necessity. I didn't feel a heating pad would be safe so I tried to invent a way to mimic the soothing effects of one.
Most importantly I stopped listening to outsiders. I no longer kept her on a forced schedule. Every peaceful minute she slept was a miracle and there was no way I would wake her intentionally. I let her nurse extensively at some sessions, even when she took frequent naps while nursing. The care I provided her really can be summarized by saying it was only about her. As long as she was well fed, changed and clean I tried very hard to let her moods dictate the rest.
I think the hardest part of parenting a colicky infant is feeling helpless. When your child is crying for a long time without a break you feel as if you can't "DO" anything. That feeling of inadequacy can led to serious problems, even depression. My advice is to do everything! If vacuuming works, do it. The 5th stroller ride of the day is still a good idea if it works. Remember that colic is temporary, and it will pass. Finding pleasant ways to pass that time may be difficult but it isn't impossible.
It is important to remember there is nothing you did as a parent to cause colic. Respectively there isn't anything you can do to cure it although there are many products on the market that would lead you to believe that you can. Treat the symptoms your baby exhibits knowing all the while that every baby is different. Most importantly take time to take care of your needs also. You won't do much good for your baby if you are hungry, tired, and frustrated. Keep in mind, this too shall pass.
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