C is for Colic
1st September 2018
Looking back on the early weeks with my babies, I’m always wearing rose tinted glasses. I can’t recall the tiredness, the crying or the grumpy moments when I’d had enough of being a Mummy. But my diary reminds me when I go back in time and revisit how I felt. In the same way that the pain of contractions can’t quite be recalled in precise detail, those moments of total frustration at not knowing why your baby is crying or gribbling can be easily forgotten. But they were very real at the time, the sense of feeling totally overwhelmed, tired and tearful. Not being able to see the wood for the trees is an expression that springs to mind.
What I can recall is having a coffee with Hannah and crying into my flat white about how tired I was, why Bertie cried so much at night. How I had run out of ideas on how to help him fall asleep, worrying I was getting it all wrong.
I’m not sure if it was the white noise app set up on a sonos speaker (total impulse purchase by my husband!) the lavender infuser, the baby massage oil after his bath, or the position I held him in after his last feed. But he just started to settle, the crying in the night just stopped. I had some sleep and the whole family benefitted.
Bertie (or my other 2) never actually had colic, so I can’t begin to imagine how hard it is for those parents dealing with a baby who cries constantly. It must be so exhausting and worrying. Hence this blog on colic, to try and offer a bit of sign posting in the right direction.
Firstly it’s totally normal for babies to cry. Up to 2 hours a day in fact. But when it’s more than that, and the bouts of crying last longer than 2 hours, then its often labelled as colic. Colicky babies tend to be very red in the face when they cry, pulling up their legs to their chest and clenching their fists.
It can start as early as a few weeks, but its normally settled before they are 6 months old (phew!)
So what can you do? Well there are lots of suggestions/ideas/thoughts out there on what might help.
In terms of products, you could look at Infacol or Colief to help. These are liquid medicines that are given in little droppers straight into babies mouth prior to a feed. They help break up wind and ease gripe pain and are available in supermarkets and chemists.
Holistic therapies such as cranial osteopath and reflexology may benefit your little one hugely. Especially if you had a an instrumental delivery (forceps or ventouse) We have some local recommendations if you need them, just get in touch.
Your GP or Health visitor may be able to help, sometimes just having someone to talk to or suggest something else that you could try is helpful.
There are supportive organisations online too, Cry-Sis are one www.cry-sis.org.uk who offer a downloadable PDF of information as well as a helpline that you can call for free advice.
Try a sling, it allows you to carry baby, keep them close and upright. Check out Cheltenham’s sling library, offering you the opportunity to hire a sling and try before you buy. You can find them on Facebook.
Look for your family and friends around you to help – sometimes all you needs is a half hour break. Time to have a shower. Pop to the shop. Have something to eat. Identify the times of day that perhaps seem worse than others (its normally tea time/early evening) Arrange some support for that time. Perhaps get someone to help out with dropping round some dinner, or hold the baby for you. Or take the pram out. There is always someone willing to help.
Have a moan/chat/cry with your antenatal mum mates. Those WhatsApp groups that Baby Journey encourage are rife with activity in the depths of the night.
Finally, write it down. Or just make notes if you can. Then like me, you’ll read them back one day and appreciate that these things are only ever a phase, and that nothing is ever permanent. Which should be every new parents mantra. It certainly is mine.