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October 12, 2012

HNS: Colic

I don't remember the first time it happened. But happened, almost every day afterwards. Every day, I would dread 4:00 p.m. Dread. By 5:00 p.m. it was in full swing. I would count the seconds until Morgan came home. And we would count the seconds until it would stop. 

Henry would cry purple face scream. For hours. And hours. And hours. Nothing we could do, or did, helped. Ever. I have no idea what wanted or needed. Probably nothing. That's the frustrating thing about colic.

Colic is defined as unexplained crying for more than 3 hours at a time, 3 or more days a week. 

It generally starts sometimes around two weeks of age and lasts until around three months. It peaks between 6-8 weeks of age. Like with my experience with Henry, it usually starts and ends around the exact same time every day no matter what you as parents do. Generally, and I mean generally, these babies are not in pain, hungry, or have any physical ailment. 

So, how does this fit with high needs babies and toddlers? A baby can be high needs without having suffered from colic. However, Henry's behavioral specialist said that high needs personalities are very, very common among babies that had colic. 

I think colic is probably one of those things I couldn't wish on anyone, even my worst enemy. To watch your child be so fundamentally unhappy for so long it heartbreaking, frustrating, nerve-wracking for any new parent. Colic makes it impossible to focus on anything else, your family, your job, your relationship. It brings to the edge of sanity and leaves you there. 

After experiencing months of colic myself, I have a few tips to share for those who are currently suffering from colic. 

Most importantly, do whatever you need to do to keep yourself calm and keep your baby safe. Even if that means leaving your baby in its crib, shutting the door, and walking away. Go and have a good cry, a shower, a meal. YOU ARE NOT HURTING YOUR CHILD. You are protecting them. Horrible things can happen when frustrations, anger and sleep-exhaustion get too high. 
Try everything. Swaddling, white noise, showers, walks, vacuum, bounce, swing, rock. Not for the baby. Most likely its not going to help, at least not for long. Do it for you. It will make you feel better to feel like you are at least controlling something. The absolute lack of control really can be daunting. Doing that little thing that gives you some power in the situation.

Accept that this is NOT your fault. There is nothing YOU are doing wrong. Nothing. This is just something that some babies have. You could not have prevented this. And it will end. The earlier you do this, it becomes just a little bit easier. There's no need to carry around extra guilt.

Try to enjoy your baby in those non-colicy moments. Hold on to those seconds. Remember them on hour 2.5 of screaming. I found it helped not resent Henry so much.

But what happens when colic isn't just the only cause of crying? Next week's topic - Acid Reflux and other Medical Issues and High Needs Babies.

Read More Resources and References

Did you have a baby with colic? Have any tips for new parents with a colicy baby?

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Lindsay said…
Love this. The original pediatrician we saw thought Ethan had colic, but turns out it was reflux. I was so relieved when the pediatrician who diagnosed his reflux started him on Gelmix and the incessant crying stopped. It's so hard to not blame yourself and just cry, cry, cry. Love this series!
Steph @ The Kat Almanac
We never knew if AJ had colic for sure but I know that laying him on his changing pad and rubbing his tummy and mrunning my hands over his body starting at his head and striking down to his feet really helped!
Anonymous said…
Found you on Pinterest. This sounds exactly like our now 21 month old, high needs personality, colic, reflux, AND she had 16 teeth pop through by 15 months! Honestly, I think I have a little PTSD from the whole experience. I'm scared to have another, sadly.