Michelle Noehren

    Investigating Colic

    Posted October 5th, 2012 by

    Written by Michelle Noehren for CTWorkingMoms.com

    My fellow CTWorkingMoms.com blogger Carly has a friend whose 3 month old baby is extremely colicky. Trying to advise her today on what to say to her friend brought up some feelings from my own experience with this issue. You see, my daughter was colicky for SEVEN months straight. She would cry and cry and I would post countless Facebook status updates about the fact that I was losing my mind. Everyone has a suggestion for what you should do – run the hairdryer/vacuum, bounce them on a ball, turn the dryer on and let them lay on top of it, go for drives in the car, go for a walk etc etc. For me, and I know for many others, these suggestions only brought temporarily relief from the crying, if that.

    I’m still not sure what words would have helped me as I went through this. I can 100% say that it DID get better and now that there’s about a year of distance from when the crying finally stopped, I can look back at that time with more clarity.

    Do you believe that there is a reason babies are colicky? That it might not be gas, or nutrition, or your breast milk? That maybe it’s something that little girl or guy is going through, emotionally? I had never even considered that point of view until I read Kate Street’s post about the c-word (READ IT, seriously).

    For my situation, as I look back, it makes so much sense to me. I had a very traumatic birth experience and my daughter was born into this world also in a state of trauma. (Read my birth experience part 1 and part 2 for more details). The trauma had a deep and profound effect on me – I had severe anxiety for weeks and cried many, many tears.

    If this experience had such a profound affect on ME, an adult who can at least understand what’s happening around her, can you imagine what kind of affect it had on my newly born little girl? How scary it must have been to go from the warmth and comfort of my body to a world, that at first look, was horrifying?

    No WONDER she cried, and cried, AND cried. It wasn’t about the formula giving her gas, it was about her dealing with the fear she felt when she was born. I wish I could have had this clarity while I was going through it. Maybe I could have been more compassionate, more understanding and more patient, knowing that this was her way of expressing herself. No matter what though, I’m glad I can see this clearly now, because as any mom who has had a colicky baby knows, it shakes you to the core and stays with you for a long time after the crying has stopped.

    Here’s hoping that my piece today might help one person gain insight into their baby’s crying. If you’re struggling with a colicky baby right now, or have in the past, I would love to know – do you get what I’m saying here? Does it resonate with you in any way?

    Michelle Noehren is the founder and editor of www.ctworkingmoms.com and www.goddessgallery.tv. Follow her latest adventure – Love Notes From Your Body via Facebook and Twitter.

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    January 10, 2013 at 12:17 pm by Rachel

    Thanks for this post Michelle, it’s really hard to feel sympathy for your crying little one. You view it as them causing the problem and that they can just stop.

    It’s good to remind ourselves that it’s not their fault and that they are not doing it on purpose. We need to keep reminding ourselves of this as it helps us to understand and avoid blaming or even getting angry with our baby.

    Mine are now out of colic but I hope your post helps those still dealing with it.

    Another resource that may help is http://www.facebook.com/colickybabies which provides a community of parents going through the same thing!


    October 9, 2012 at 2:40 pm by Holly

    I think we always want to think there is A cause for colic. It’s only natural – it’s such a horrible thing to cope with while you’re going through it, and it’s in our nature to keep trying to find a cause (and therefore a cure) for the crying. In my experience however (and from hearing from many, many parents), there is no single cause. Sometimes a dairy intolerance, gas, or reflux can be a cause, or a contributing factor. Often, lack of sleep leads to colic-like behaviour as well. But sometimes, nothing helps except the passing of time, unfortunately. It never hurts to try everything you can…just make sure you go easy on yourself if you can’t narrow down a cause :)



    October 6, 2012 at 3:20 pm by Rebecca

    I like Liz Beth’s points.I think colic has a physical cause. I don’t think it is from emotional trauma.We just aren’t smart enough to figure out what causes it. I do think babies cry when stressed, but I don’t think colic is caused by stress. I do understand wanting to find meaning in the extreme distress that colic is for mother and baby.The only meaning I could ever find is that it is just awful! One of my babies did have colic, but he only had it two hours a night for six weeks. Looking back, I wonder if it was due to giving him doctor recommended vitamins with iron which he probably didn’t need since I was nursing him. I agree be with your baby through it. If you are too stressed, put the baby in a safe place and take a break. Don’t let anyone tell you there is nothing physically wrong with your child if your baby is letting you know otherwise.Doctors are sometimes too quick to dismiss children and women’s health concerns.


    October 6, 2012 at 1:03 pm by Liz Beth

    I had a colicky baby as well. My son would wake up crying about the same time every night. I think it was mostly gas. Simethicone drops helped some, but I sensed it was a physical discomfort I couldn’t completely identify. It was rough. We dealt with it as well with my daughter, but not to the same degree (and she was 6 weeks early). I breastfed, and neither child has shown any signs of milk allergy or intolerance. I have wondered if it had to do with an underdeveloped digestive system. Both my kids grew out of it within a year. Be a detective as much as you can, but please do not drive yourself crazy with the what-ifs. My kids are both teenagers now, and believe me, we parents will always have something we are guessing about. Most importantly, find a pediatrician who listens and advises insightfully, and be present to your child so that he/she knows that you are with him/her even if you don’t know what is going on.


    October 5, 2012 at 1:19 pm by Sara- The Rockin' Oily Momma

    I only have one child, and we haven’t had to deal with colic, but this explanation makes sense to me. I had read that gas was a problem that probiotics could be helpful. This makes sense to me, even in a child without colic. I am sure it is very hard. I will go check out the link you posted.


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