7 Things Your Colicky Baby *Needs* You To Know
For an inexperienced mother, colic can be torturous. I had no idea why my child was hysterical and couldn't be soothed. I wondered what I was doing wrong and even briefly considered the possibility that my baby was possessed. I mean, there were definitely times when she reminded me of Regan from The Exorcist. But in the end she had colic and I was postpartum and exhausted so it all felt overwhelming. And while this type of newborn behavior can be exhausting and defeating for a new mom, your colicky baby wants you to know that it's just a phase and it will pass.
Approximately 15 to 25 percent of babies become colicky within their first month of life, according to Parents. Harvey Karp, MD, author of The Happiest Baby on the Block, writes that colic is "not really a diagnosis; it's a behavioral observation." Meaning, colic isn't a treatable medical condition. Instead, it's a phase and it will pass. To some parents, knowing that colic is just a phase that will disappear within a few months can be helpful. Knowing there is a light at the end of the very dark and exhausting tunnel can be a relief. However, to other parents, that same knowledge can cause the feeling of helplessness, because the parents know there is nothing they can do to alleviate their baby's distress.
For me, having my daughter cry nonstop was difficult. I didn't know what I was doing, I was recovering from a somewhat traumatic vaginal birth that resulted in a massive hematoma, was dealing with somewhat elevated baby blues and disappointment in my inability to figure out how to breastfeed my daughter, and I was driving back and forth from the hospital because of my daughter's elevated bilirubin levels. The added component of colic wasn't something I welcomed lightly, and it wasn't "just another thing to add to the list" that I took in stride. My daughter's colic nearly broke me, and imagining what she must have been going through is the only way I made it.
"I'm In Pain"
While there isn't a consensus from the medical community regarding what causes colic and if it is truly bothersome to the newborn, medical professionals do agree that the crying can cause more gas in the baby's stomach. That gas, in return, can be painful for the infant, which then results in more crying. Either way, your baby isn't comfortable.
I'm no baby expert, but my guess is that our babies are just as frustrated as we are when they are colicky. Moreover, babies can sense our anxieties and become even more distraught due as a result. When your baby is crying, she's probably trying to say she's just as frustrated as you are.
"I Need To Be Held"
Your baby wants to be held often. They've just spent the last 10 months in your womb and this world is too real and they're just trying to adjust to it. There's no such this as holding your baby too much or spoiling the baby. In other words, your baby needs to be held, especially when he or she is colicky.
"I Need To Be Soothed"
Rock your baby, massage your baby, hold your baby upright, burp your baby, hold your baby tight against you, and give her warmth and kindness. Your little one needs to feel like you're trying to be soothing. While it's almost impossible to sooth a colicky baby, it won't hurt to try.
"Please Be Patient"
Be patient with your baby. I know how difficult it is to practice patience on virtually no sleep, but your baby needs it. He or she needs you to understand that they're not torturing you on purpose. They're new to this world just like you are and you both would benefit from a little bit of patience.
"It's Not You, It's Me"
You're a great mom and you're doing everything right. I know it's tough to be a new mom, and I know you're probably still learning. But remember: your baby is learning, too. She's learning how to exist. So please know it's not your fault, it's just something inside of your baby that is causing all that crying. And it will go away soon. Just wait a little longer.
"I Love You"
Your baby loves you so much. Trust me. The moment he or she feels better your relationship will flourish into a whole new level of love. The moment that crying stops you will know exactly why you had a child. They won't always say it, but your little one will forever thank you for being such a strong and powerful woman.
Your baby will always love you. You're doing great.
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