Stop going on about colic…

Once he starts smiling, people around him respond. They gaze at him and he gazes back. He watches the curtains flapping by the window. Then grandma visits and she can’t take her eyes off him. With this new attention, his excitement rises to a level that makes him uncomfortable but, alas, he has not yet developed the ability to self-sooth. As the stimulation and stress levels rise he starts to get distressed. He becomes tense and begins to strain and groan, especially late in the day.

His parents become anxious, “Is he constipated? Why does he writhe and arch his back?” Soon his distress level makes him cry and scream. He is picked up and passed hand-to-hand around the family who gaze at him, trying to fathom the cause of his discomfort. The parents ask advice from neighbours to Emergency Departments and the cascade of advice starts. (from here)

Must be colic hey?  I actually don’t understand why or how so many people casually throw out “oh he’s got colic” when they clearly have no idea what colic is or what they are talking about.

Colic is uncontrollable crying in an otherwise healthy baby.  You can’t have crying, you wouldn’t say oh she’s got uncontrollable crying.  It is horrible and heart wrenching to listen to a baby cry and be unable to sooth them, therefore do some research yourself, and describe it correctly. Grrr.   People usually assume it is to do with trapped wind as babies pull their legs up (babies always pull their legs up) and therefore instantly resort to over the counter medications such as gripe water or Infacol moving on to Dentinox and maybe a little Gaviscon thrown in.  Why?  Why are we all so desperate to shove medicine down our babies as soon as possible?  Babies in Africa are just carried with their mothers, fed when needed and cared for – they don’t have this over whelming obsession with colic and related medicines.  Why is our colic worse?

And on the issue of trapped wind, what is with the continual patting, rubbing and jiggling our babies to get out this wind?  It’s not held in with an iron door, it’s an air bubble.  It’ll come up – the vomity dribble comes up, what stopping the air?  Babies burp perfectly well at other times, surely as long as they are sat up and able to breath and relax if they need to burp they will.  Plus babies who are crying need to burp because they are gulping air and crying NOT crying because they need to burp, anyway,  I digress…

As far as I can see there are two sensible approaches to dealing with this uncontrollable crying  – making sure the baby is getting enough to eat and making sure the baby is getting enough sleep.  Done.  Considering the crying occurs in the evening that gives 20 hours in the day (ish) to focus on the other bits.  Babies generally “grow out of colic” (can you “grow out of crying?”) by around 3 months, coincidentally the time that feeding routines are properly established and babies have more control of their environment.

I guess this simplistic view will irritate some, particularly mothers who babies have had “colic” and feel they did everything they could to help them.  There is however considerable research that backs this up and I promise I have done my research.  Firstly the cure for colic is often found through proper breastfeeding and ensuring the baby gets all the fatty milk and empties one boob.  And secondly bore the baby to sleep this guy might actually be my hero, as I somehow found an article that pretty much summed up all the things I had been moaning about! (and he says bee in my bonnet!)

So stop those bees buzzing and relax, lets just give our babies the chance to feed and sleep properly and maybe there will be less of this catch all term “colic”

PS this post is also awesome!

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8 responses to “Stop going on about colic…”

  1. healthiestbeauty says :

    Reblogged this on The healthiest beauty.

  2. Kate Boothby says :

    I hate the term colic!! My lo has has trapped wind since 3 weeks (now 10 weeks) and is ff due to problems with milk supply (caused by the hospital and midwife or my own lack of ability to produce enough for her to grow 😦 ) she wakes in the middle of the night crying trying to fart and doesn’t resettle until she does this, pulling up her legs it’s only for a few minutes a time but happens about 10 times plus a night, the doctor says its colic……

  3. emilytealady says :

    brilliant post. everyone Kept going on about colic to me when my Baby was crying in evening, I knew she was just hungry or over stimulated and having to Wrench her from good meaning relatives who were patting her back and tutting about her legs beinh curled up. I think I am more aware perhaps of over stimulation due to being a learning disability nurse and working with individuals with sensory issues. I totally agree about boring babies to sleep. it must be awful if your baby truly has colic but I think the word is being generalised and people can get easily confused.

    • beeeeeinmybonnet says :

      Thanks for this, interesting from another perspective as well as just the “mummy” one. It is so obvious to me when babies just need to be left alone (or facing in with mummy) but some people are so keen to “entertain” them ALL the time – let the poor things relax! Bee x

  4. gingerhippo says :

    I stopped eating chocolate and the problem was solved. Whether it was colic or not it was everything you have described. 🙂

  5. beeeeeinmybonnet says :

    Interesting – glad I have not had to go down that route!! Bee x

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