How to Deal With Colic
If you are like me, you have probably heard the term colic before but never really paid much attention. I had heard of colicky babies and babies that cried all the time, but it never clicked until I had one of my own.
My daughter began having crying spells when she was two weeks old. In the weeks that ensued, I received many words of advice from family, friends, and strangers about what I needed to do to fix the problem. I would like to share with you my experiences with each of these “fixes”.
Given that I was breastfeeding, I received many comments about how this might be causing the colic. Various aspects of breastfeeding were the “culprit,” such as the food I was eating, the air she was gulping, or the fact that somehow, some way, my breast milk was incompatible with my little girl.
Out of desperation, I did meet with a lactation consultant. Although I was given what was probably good advice about holding my baby and ensuring she was drinking and not just suckling, the colic continued even after my appointment.
I do have to admit that my little girl was very gassy, and quite often, passing gas would bring on a crying spell. Whether this was the cause of the colic or an effect, I can’t say. However, in an attempt to remediate what I believed to be one of her problems, without quite knowing why she had the problem, we began using gas drops after a visit with her pediatrician. The active ingredient in these drops is simethicone, and they act by breaking giant gas bubbles into little gas bubbles.
Did the gas drops work? I can’t say for sure that they didn’t help, as quite often when the drops hit her lips, the crying would stop (although this, I know, was not the action of the medication which obviously needed to reach her intestines to break up the gas). So, perhaps, this gas medication was merely a placebo, placating my little baby until the next big fart came along.
Whatever we did to comfort her seemed to work for a few minutes. Dancing, rocking, wrapping, music, pacifier, you name it, we tried it. The only positive I can say about comfort measures is that I do believe us trying to comfort her was better than letting her cry. Unlike other types of crying, colic does not resolve itself and can go on for hours. So even the night my husband held her for an hour with earplugs in while she cried was probably better for her than an hour without his arms around her.
The Real Cure
After having made it through the colic, the only cure I can say with 100% certainty that has worked is time. Just like I read around her 3rd week, the colic would cease somehow, mysteriously and magically, around 3 months. And it did.
So the only advice I can genuinely offer to parents dealing with colic is to tough it out, and after 12 weeks, the crying will probably abate. Of course, if you believe your baby has a different reason for crying, seek medical advice. But in the case of our little girl, it seems when she was able to open her eyes to the world around her, somehow, the world inside of her that was so rattled seemed a little easier to deal with.