Oh the screaming baby. What is suppose to bringing so much joy to your life and home is suddenly doing anything but that when your wee one suffers from colic. Many brand new parents feel as though it's something they're doing wrong, or a plethora of other things, when nothing could be further from the truth. Just try hard to keep your wits about you and remember that it does end. If you're new to the world of parenting, here's what ya need to know :)
What's the Baby Ingesting?
While colic is never the "fault" of a parent, there can be reasons for it that you can prevent - such as if your little one is allergic to the formula you are feeding them, and even in the rare circumstance, be allergic to the mother's own milk. Discuss openly with your pediatrician your concerns, feeding patters, colic patterns, etc. Information is power, so keep a log of when your baby seems more fussy. Is it within a certain amount of time following a feeding? Perhaps something as simple as adjusting amounts the baby is being fed, when the baby feeds, even how could contribute to its unrest. Maybe the baby is not getting fed enough and is still hungry, so they cry.
It's also possible that they are getting overfed, as some first time parents think their child is "supposed" to eat a certain amount since that is what they are told so they keep trying to fill up an already full child. This can produce gas and uncomfortable bellies. Maybe the baby has a side of their neck that is out of alignment and they don't nurse well on when held a certain way so they don't eat properly. Above all else, observe and chart things to see if there are any patterns that may go unnoticed simply because the first time parent is so overwhelmed.
If at all possible, when your precious one seems on a never-ending yelling binge, take a break before you lose your cool. If you are lucky enough to have others in the house that can take over, by all means recruit the help. Maybe you have a fabulous neighbor that will walk with the baby for an hour while you get your head together. And remember, while very hard, there is nothing wrong with simply putting your baby in their swing, carrier, or crib for a few short minutes and letting them "cry" - even though it breaks your heart to do so.
It's better to allow them to cry, set a timer and walk into another room for that allotted amount of time than it is to get so frazzled you lose your temper with that small wonder. The baby is not crying to drive you crazy, though it can sometimes feel that way! And occasionally if you place their carrier on a running dryer and walk away for a few minutes, the wiggling roaring action can even soothe the baby. Just be careful the carrier is firmly secure before you walk off if you try that trick. And while you are "in another room" taking a break, be sure to be able to hear the baby still and if the crying abruptly stops, do quietly peek in to make sure that nothing is wrong.
Alter Your Approach:
If your baby is just unhappy inside, try walking outside. Take the stroller out and stroll the baby around the block. Yes, they may yell. Yes, people may look at you like you're a mean parent. If you feel the need to explain that the baby has colic and you all need a change of scenery, do so. But remember you do not have to. If you are simply walking around your neighborhood and the baby is crying in the stroller, as long as you know the baby isn't hurting, you owe no one an explanation. First time parents many times worry more about the feelings of those around them than their own well being.
Now that's not to say take the child in the mall or a restaurant and let them squall and disturb others, but that also means you can go outside in the sunshine and the world and it will be fine. Sometimes simply putting the child in their car seat and driving around the block can calm them and also give you a change of heart too. Do what it takes and don't be afraid to do it for yours and your child's needs. If this means driving 15 times around the block at 1 AM but it is effective, by all means, go for it!
And above all, remember that even if you are a first time inexperienced parent, they call it "your" child for a reason. You really do many times know what is the best thing for YOUR child and try hard not to listen to well meaning outsiders anymore than you have.
Jennifer Rodriguez writes about health and education. Her recent work is about the pros and cons of online nursing programs.
Samantha Lippard Date 5/10/2013
I haven't had a colicky baby but I will use this advice if any future kids are colicky!
Rachel N Date 5/10/2013
I have not had a colicky baby but my best friends little guy is. I will have to point her in the direction of this article.
dannyscotland Date 5/10/2013
My second baby was colicky. She was diagnosed with acid reflux and put on medication which thankfully helped her so much. We tried different formulas, smaller amounts at a time, and nothing had worked for us. My advice would be that if you have a baby who will not stop crying, talk to your pediatrician. Mine was able to notice small movements that she was making that I didn't see or know enough about and that led him to diagnose her with reflux. She was swallowing it back down instead of vo
Kristen B Date 5/10/2013
Our 2nd was colicky & it was awful not formula related because everything we tried he was still the same....I was never more excited to see a baby grow up when he outgrew it at 6 months
Phaedra M Date 5/11/2013
My son was born premature 14 weeks early and had colic real bad when he came home from the NICU. With a combination of formula change, reflux meds, colic calm (over the counter homeopathic remedy), and some probiotics (sold at walgreens) he eventually outgrew it. It was the worst thing ever to watch and hear him scream and not know what was going on.
Zabdi Di Date 5/13/2013
Good to me both of my babies never had comics problems.
They were happy babies so do I :)