COLIC - It leaves parents and babies crying!
By Jodie Lynn
Colic drives parents crazy and leaves them plagued with sleepless nights and sometimes without meals? Why? It's what and when it usually happens. The baby cries nonstop for one to four hours. In ninety percent of most cases, the baby is usually healthy. This crying can begin as early as in the first month of life and generally goes away by the third or fourth month - but can last for six or so months. The crying generally begins in the early evening and can range from one hour to more than six. It could even last through much of the night. Everyone in the house is affected by the loud wailing and it is usually inconsolable. The baby becomes very upset as tempers and frustration may rise in all concerned parties.
Physicians have little to offer as the causes range far and wide in reasons. Some think that the cause is unknown. Many think it might be related to the baby's immature nervous system combined with over stimulation. Some pediatricians feel that the crying is caused by abdominal pain. (This is based on the observation that most babies tend to draw up their legs and even pass gas when they cry.)
Still, some doctors thinks this is the way baby's communicate and a need needs to be met. If that need is not met, the baby becomes panicked and upset to the point that any ability to help the baby is futile. Needless to say, the whole scenario becomes a topsy turvey cycle.
Personally, I think it could be a little of all three. So what can a parent do?
#1. Talk with your pediatrician and get some ideas.
#2. Wait for the baby's nervous system to mature and try to cut down by strictly minimizing the outside stimulation he experiences.
#3. Listen and ask advice from other moms. If you are formula feeding, it could possibly be part of the problem. Ask your doctor to check on it. If you are breast feeding, maybe a change in your own diet needs to be altered?
Several years ago, Time Magazine said that more and more parents seek the help from relatives, friends and other parents for family challenges and parenting skills. I believe they are right. Here are some tips I have used over the years. Some are from experience, my pediatrician and some are from parents who have been there.
Try to never let your baby cry. You cannot spoil a baby.
Hungry? How long has it been since the baby last ate? Some breast fed babies eat every two hours. Formula fed can be as frequent as every three hours.
Tired? Maybe the baby just is too over stimulated and needs to cry a little before going to sleep. Hold and rock the baby and try to sing a song in a soft voice.
Needs to suck but may not be hungry? Offer a binky.
Bored? Can baby's become bored? Many doctors say they can. Offer some type of stimulation like black and white pictures of various designs, musical mobiles or lights and sounds.
I kept a journal on my babies and wrote down patterns, time of day they cried and what they had eaten. I also kept notes on what worked to soothe them -- and when. Like clock work, they cried two hours before dinner every night for the first three months. I placed them on top of the washing machine in their carrier for part of a wash cycle - ten minutes - and they stopped. The carrier should never be left unattended but held securely in place with both of your hands.
Hold baby and vacuum. The sound and movement is soothing.
Played the radio and gently swung the baby to and fro in a front fit baby carrier (material sling for babies).
Took a drive in the car (almost always worked), played the same tunes over and over.
Rocked and sang the same songs over and over while gently patting baby on bottom.
Turned on dishwasher and pulled bassinet in front of it. The sound was soothing to the point, we both fell asleep.
Above all else, if something doesn't work after a few minutes, switch to something else. Last but not least, let another adult try. Ask for help and step out of the picture...and always remember, this too shall pass and never underestimate the power of prayer.
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