You finally deliver that little one and begin to settle into your new life. Suddenly, without warning, your 3 or 4 week old baby has a crying jag lasting for hours. Nothing you do will help her calm down. You weather the storm, take a deep breath and carry on. The next day at exactly the same time, baby does the same thing. This becomes a ritual, and you're at wits end. Welcome to the world of colic!
Colic is a mysterious condition. Doctors know more about what colic isn't rather than what it is. Many experts don't even agree on what it isn't. Basically, colic is repeated episodes of inconsolable crying in an otherwise healthy infant. It often begins a few weeks after birth and continues until the baby is three or four months old, sometimes longer.
My oldest son was in intensive care for a week. During that time, he was very hypersensitive to all stimuli. After I got to hold him for the first time, he calmed down enough so that the nurses removed the "minimal handling" sign attached to his incubator. By the time we were able to bring Eric home, the nurses felt we had a very sweet, calm-natured baby. I felt that way too as we settled into the routine at home. He only cried when hungry. I truly felt I had my "perfect baby" after trying for so many years to be a parent. On the very day that Eric turned a month old, he became fussy. From that day until he was four months old (and then periodically until he was six months), he screamed for hours on end. He was still hypersensitive and too much activity would set him off. I felt like the worst mother in the world!
We tape recorded the vacuum cleaner and played that in his room. It would help sometimes and not others. We taped water running from the faucet. It would help sometimes and not others. We taped the dryer with the same results. The car helped a lot. We'd put him in the car seat and take off. He'd sleep, wake up as soon as the car pulled into our driveway and the crying would start. He went for lots of walks as the stroller seemed to help. My husband would get up at 3 am and play his guitar for Eric. We sang Old MacDonald until I thought I'd throw up.
Magically, Eric woke up on his four month birthday, and he was SMILING! We made it through the day with no tears, no vacuums or faucets running or dryers constantly turned on, no sudden car rides and best of all - no Old MacDonald's Farm! For the next two months, Eric had two personalities while he was awake. He was either extremely happy or extremely unhappy. Finally at six months, we settled into a fairly even-tempered consistent routine.
There were times when I thought we'd never survive. I knew I wouldn't have another child (glad I changed my mind on that one!) and was absolutely certain that I was the worst parent in the whole world because I could not make my child happy.
Are you in that situation? If so, have heart . . . this condition is only temporary. No one dies of colic. You aren't a bad parent. You will get to sleep again . . . someday. Here are some internet resources to help you through this. Try everything at least twice because what works one day may not the next. And remember - be good to yourself during this time. Try to get a few minutes away from your baby. It's good for you AND baby. A relaxed mom is a better mom!
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