I’m not a bad mom – really. But I certainly felt like it for the first 18 months with my first son. Our caregiver said she could only stand one day. My best friend – a psychologist – told me that I probably wouldn’t be able to go back to work after a year of maternity leave. And neighbours would avoid eye contact because I’m sure they thought I was neglecting my child. Because he had colic.
Many readers know that my son went through colic. But I’ve never really admitted the full extent of the turmoil that swept our house for 18 months. So in the spirit of our new blog, I will dish it. I was kicked out of mommy and me pilates. (Twice). And then excused from a breastfeeding group with nurses due to the excessive noise. People would come up to me on the street with advice (constructive criticism..). “I think he’s hungry! Wet! Tired! Overstimulated!”
What kind of mother would take a child that screams for an hour into a grocery store? The kind that needs groceries and has no other option, thank you. If you would care to watch him at home while I shop I would be grateful. But he will cry – no matter how many needs you satisfy. And he won’t get tired BY THE WAY – not even after 4 hours straight. It went on and on, and experts weighed in as close friends worried my husband and I would drive off a dock hurdling the whole family into the ocean in our LandRover.
Along with the other suggested colic remedies, we were introduced to Boiron camilia. I had used their arnica montana as a homeopathic remedy after giving birth and we decided to try the camilia. Typically recommended for teething, this natural herb is free of acetominiphen and anisthetics and is fully safe for babies. More important, it had a calming effect on our little (screamer) monkey. You twist the tip off the plastic tube of the convenient individual dose and can even slip the liquid into baby’s mouth while nursing (or better yet, have them pretend it’s a nipple and suck it out). We would have ‘picnics’ and I would have chamomile tea when he had his ‘medicine’.
Now that my two boys are bigger, though not quieter (now they never stop talking), they catch colds at school and get boo boos as they tumble. Insect bites while tree climbing are common. Boiron has (thankfully) expanded their lineup so I can keep curing the boys with natural medicines.
DAPIS gel is an ointment to relieve hives, itching and promote the healing of insect bites. Now they tell me. (I didn’t have to buy all of that mosquito netting after all.) The flip cap ensures a tidy application and the 40g tube is easy to slip into a purse or diaper bag.
I was one of those parents taken aback by the research on and subsequent removal of traditional childrens’ cough syrups from the pharmacy shelves. And it, of course, became another bone of contention with the older generation, “Well I gave it to you and you turned out fine! Kids these days…” Thankfully, STODAL honey-based cough syrup is great for kids over one year of age and – ahem – looks like any other ‘traditional’ cough syrup. So your mom doesn’t need to know that you’ve changed up the parenting practices. It’s so yummy my kids keep asking for it on their pancakes. When you come from Canada and it ousts maple syrup you know you’re onto something. (It now also comes in sugar-free). Unfortunately it doesn’t make the kids drowsy, so they keep talking and talking, but at least they’re not keeping me up at night with the cough. And I have Boiron camilia with my nighttime tea, so I’m relaxed anyway.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Boiron. As always our opinions are our own.
Having a baby who is only a few weeks old cry, inconsolably, on and off for hours at a time is a dramatic challenge. Parents are exhausted, and often feel conflicting emotions that cause them to question themselves and the health of their baby. Parents of colicky babies can become isolated and confused at a time when being connected and calm would be so much more helpful. There are more lay theories about colic than virtually any other pediatric disease, and while some of these may have some truth to them, none of them have been proven, and some are just wrong.
Colic is a mysterious catchall phrase for generally unsettled babies.The definition of colic is a baby that cries for more than three days a week for more than three hours at a time. It is not considered serious, but presents as extended and uncontrollable crying in any baby that is otherwise healthy. It can happen at around two to four weeks of age and can last for three months or longer.
It is believed that colic is related to the baby’s digestive system, or a combination of their temperament and an immature nervous system. A baby may be highly sensitive to the environment and because the baby’s nervous system is immature, he or she is unable to regulate crying once it starts. Crying can be at any time of day but seems to be at its worst in the evening. Babies may look uncomfortable, draw their legs to their stomach, get a red face and pass wind. Some refuse food and it is also common for them to have difficulty falling and staying asleep.
The crying and the anxiety it produces creates stress in the home and it may help for parents to have enough support to be able to take a break once in a while. The good news is; however, that babies that exhibit colic still seem to eat and gain weight normally.
Before you seek medical attention you should make sure that you have eliminated all other possible reasons for discomfort, including hunger, tiredness, lack of contact, startling (sudden noise), undressing (is baby cold?), temperature or some identifiable source of pain.
There is no proven cure for colic, but you may want to consider changing your formula (if lactose allergy suspected, try soy-based instead) if the baby is bottle-fed, or monitor your own diet more closely if the baby is breastfed. Babies find cruciferous vegetables, beans, soft fruit, spicy food, caffeine and alcohol difficult to digest. If there is a history of lactose intolerance, breastfeeding mothers could try eliminating cows milk from their diet.
Make sure baby is burped frequently and consider changing the shape of the nipple if they are bottle-fed, some help to reduce the amount of air the baby is getting. If the baby is breastfed, make sure the latch is good, then baby isn’t taking in air. You could try Boiron’s Cocyntal, a natural, homeopathic remedy to help with colic.
BC Ministry of Health. Baby’s Best Chance: Parents’ Handbook of Pregnancy and Baby Care. (free at local BC health unit)
BC Ministry of Health. Toddler’s First Steps: A Best Chance Guide to Parenting Your Six-Month to Three-Year Old. (free at local BC health unit)
Karp, Harvey. The Happiest Baby On The Block: the New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer.
Murkoff, H., A. Eisenberg and S. Hathaway. What to Expect the First Year.
Spandikow, B., William Sears and Martha Sears. The Fussy Baby: How To Bring Out The Best In Your High-Need Child.
Spock, B. Dr. Dr. Spock’s Baby and Childcare.