Friday, April 29, 2005

Coping With Colic

Colic is described as inconsolable crying for 3 hours or more per day or night. This inconsolable crying happens at least 3 days per week. Typically, colicky babies start showing the prolonged crying of colic when they are around 3 weeks old. The crying, in general, tends to worsen when babies are around 6 weeks old and last until babies are 3 or 4 months old. Unfortunately, the cause of colic is not known for sure. Just as unfortunate, is the fact that there is no known cure for colic. Some theories concerning the cause of colic include an immature nervous system, gas, allergies, and reflux.

To the parents of a colicky baby it may seem as though these 3 to 4 months of constant crying will last forever. Parents can become exhausted and depressed from the demands of dealing with an inconsolable baby for hours on end.

Here are some ways to cope if your baby has colic:

Take some time for you. Enlist the help of family members and friends in getting some time away from baby. You will be a better caretaker for your infant if you are not overstressed, so try to get out once a week and do something just for you. If possible, arrange to have at least a few hours alone with your spouse. You need couple time too!

Put your baby down. If your baby’s crying has been making you feel too frazzled and stressed out, put her down in a safe place, such as a crib, and leave the room. Leaving your colicky baby in her crib for a few minutes will not harm her at all and will allow you a few minutes to calm down.

Seek advice and support. There are many people who will understand just what you are going through and can help by giving advice and support. Look to family, friends, and support groups for help. Do not forget about your baby’s doctor. He or she will usually have some helpful advice for you.

Remember it is not your fault. Feelings of inadequacy are normal and common for parents of a colicky baby. Just remember you are not a bad parent. You did nothing to cause your baby to have colic. Eventually the crying will stop and colic will be a distant memory.

Before deciding your baby has colic, always have your baby’s pediatrician give a thorough examination to rule out underlying medical conditions.

Suggestions to help soothe your baby:

Swaddle your baby. Many babies feel safe and calm when all bundled up

Movement soothes some infants. Wear baby in a sling as you walk around the house. Use an infant swing. Go for a ride in your car. Rock in a rocking chair. Get outside for a walk.

Make white noise. Some infants are calmed by hearing white noise from things such as vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, running water, hair dryers, and fans. These noises remind babies of sounds they heard while in the womb.

Remember, this tough time will pass. Good luck!

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