Handling Baby's Colic

Decoding Colic

Maybe you're thinking to yourself right now, My baby does seem to cry a lot. How do I know if he has colic? First, consider his pattern of crying. Many (but not all) babies with colic become predictably inconsolable at the same time each evening. I had one parent say that 6 p.m. was her child's witching hour. Her baby was relatively high maintenance during the day, but somehow she seemed to manage, until about 6 p.m. each night. It was right around the time when her husband came home from work. Her son's crying would ramp up in intensity, her husband began to think his own son hated him, and she would drop into a sobbing mess on the floor, feeling like a complete failure for not being able to create her ideal "happy home."

Next, look at how your baby cries. Colicky babies often look like they are in terrible pain. They arch their backs and grimace, often seeming to try to crawl right out of your arms. Consider how they respond to your attempts to soothe them. Colicky babies characteristically don't respond easily to basic attempts to calm them, such as holding and cuddling. This is one of the most frustrating parts of parenting a baby with colic. Doing what comes naturally when these babies cry often only makes them more upset. We laugh because we had a beautiful rocking chair in my daughter's nursery that never got used. She hated being held and rocked. Swaddle her up and sit with her on top of the washing machine with it running, though, and she would inevitably fall asleep within a matter of minutes.

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