Colic, for those who don't know, according to WebMD.com, is: "a baby who cries more than three hours a day more than three days a week for at least a month has colic." Unlike most babies who cry for food for a diaper change etc, babies with colic cry inconsolably for seemingly no reason at all. Colic usually ends once the baby is three months old but can last up to when they're 5 months old."
Our little babe cries every single day of the week for a minimum of 5 hours straight. It starts in the evening between 4 and 6 pm and will last until 11 pm..or 2 am.. or sometimes doesn't stop until 6 am. Chris and I consider ourselves fortunate when she starts settling down at 11 pm. And of course there are some days where she just cries the whole day.
For me it was a bit of a relief when the doctor formally diagnosed her with colic. It was good to know that although this enormous and nearly unbearable amount of crying isn't normal, it wasn't because we were doing anything wrong, it's just a phase that she must go through that will eventually pass.
Other than the lack of sleep, for me what is the hardest to handle is not knowing what to do. Being completely lost after trying everything we can think of and nothing has eased her discomfort. I feel stressed, anxious, helpless and frustrated not being able to comfort my baby when she's visibly in torment.
I feel stressed, anxious, helpless and frustrated not being able to comfort my baby when she's visibly in torment.
Dealing with colic on top of everything that is already taxing with having a new baby (constant around the clock feeding and changing) makes it hard to want to do this again. It is so discouraging and we feel helpless. Everyone tells us to enjoy this time with her, "before you know it she will be crawling and getting into everything and you'll never get a break." We try but it's difficult to enjoy this time. We don’t get a break and we are in agony. I've read about many couples who have had to recover from the months that their child had colic.
Jane just turned two months old this week and we haven't had a break from her screaming and crying. On good nights I get three hours of sleep broken up over the course of the night. Luckily Chris can sleep through her crying but for me I'm unable to catch up on sleep. I feel like I'm walking a thin line between holding it together and crashing. Recently I had a bit of a breakdown, Jane was up for 72 hours straight. Chris and I became completely exhausted and hopeless. I sat on the floor crying uncontrollably holding our screaming baby. I had nothing left. After witnessing my distress Chris offered to take Jane for a day and give me a break (and boy did I need it).
After having a day off to do things that I enjoy (going to the nursery to pick up a few plants and getting my nails done) I came home feeling rested, rejuvenated and ready to deal with non stop screaming and crying without having a breakdown.
With a colicky baby you find yourself desperate to find anything to soothe the crying. Swaddle her, change her, cool her off, stand with her in the shower, rock her, feed her, change her again, bathe her. I've read many articles suggesting the causes of colic and how to soothe it - but after trying everything we could imagine and having nothing work the best advice I could give would be to have someone watch her and take a break. Get out of the house and do something you enjoy. I feel that today's society a mom is expected to give everything to her children. She becomes nothing but a mom. She doesn’t have her own interests or passions. I think that is where people get bogged down. If I'm not taking care of myself how am I supposed to take care of my child?
It has been very straining on both Chris and I. We dread the evening. When people ask how were doing or if were enjoying being parents we feel like we have to lie, like if were honest and say how terrible it is we would look like bad parents. I'm so fortunate for his support. Always telling me how good of a mom I am to her and how strong I am for somehow, through hours and hours of screaming, I still manage to hold and comfort her. Without his encouragement I don’t think I would be able to handle it because sometimes I feel like giving up when nothing I am doing helps her or calms her.
All we can do is wait for it to end, support each other and enjoy the times when she is calm and happy.