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The C word

14th September 2012

Colic, that is.

D has had ‘colic’ since he was about a week old. I say ‘colic’ in inverted commas because I think the word colic has negative connotations; I tend to think of it as what people say is wrong with a baby when “there is nothing wrong”.

I don’t believe that babies cry for no reason. I especially don’t believe that D cries for no reason. His ‘colic’ is caused by wind that he can’t get out, and while a lot of people think this is the very definition of colic, I find it’s been used as almost an excuse; something to tell parents when they don’t know what to do for their inconsolable child. It could be wind, it could be a food sensitivity, it could be early teething, it could be over tiredness/stimulation, it could be something else. All of these are actual reasons though, and I’ll be damned if I’m leaving my son to cry just because “there’s nothing I can do”. Even if there’s no consoling him (and sometimes there really isn’t), I can try massaging his tummy, cycling his legs, bouncing him on my knee or walking him around. Even just being there and holding his hand. I’m not going to tuck him up in bed and let him wail himself to sleep, as it seems I ‘should’ be doing (or that’s the vibe I get from some people). “It’s colic. Your child is not in pain when he has colic” said one doctor… Ok, so maybe not pain per se, but he is in some rather obvious discomfort and I want to do everything in my power to ease that :(

On the other hand… A colicky baby is hard work. D has very few moments of calm :( I can see exactly why exasperated parents leave their babies to ‘cry it out’ – I’m very lucky to have the patience of a saint, but even so I have been tempted to walk away for a while sometimes. When you feel like there is literally nothing you can do, you’ve not slept all night or had any time to yourself all day and the screaming just gets louder, it really isn’t easy. It makes you feel like a terrible parent who can’t soothe their own child, and in extreme cases you might feel like taking actions you’ll later regret. When it gets to that point (thankfully the latter has never happened), I try and remember that I’m trying my best, and he knows I’m there for him.

Of course, everyone is told that colic is a phase and it’ll magically clear up after 12 weeks. Oh yes, like morning sickness, you mean? That which I had for over 5 months? Yes, I look forward to that… D is 15 weeks tomorrow and in recent times it has got worse, not better. I feel so terrible for him though :( His entire existence has been this cycle of sleep-feed-cry. I do hope it passes soon and we can all enjoy his life a bit more. :)