He cried at the drop of a baby hat. When I dressed or undressed him, when I tried to bathe him, even when I tried the healing art of massage – he would burst into the most piercing wailing that sent one of our cats bolting out the door and into the night. He has not been seen since.
Surely not colic!
My mother came to visit, took one look at her new grandson and declared that he had colic. My husband and I recoiled in horror. Not colic! The most dreaded of the C-words, the bane of all new parents! Within days, I received a call from my aunt, whose first-born son also had colic. She tried to reassure me that this too would pass and then told me horror stories of how as a new mother, she had spent most of her days in pyjamas and feeling like she was losing her mind.
Pretty soon, we were trying everything to stop our son's crying. We drove ourselves crazy with miracle cures and dietary advice. We saw a chiropractor and a paediatrician who diagnosed reflux and told us to crush impossibly hard and tiny pills and feed them to a screaming baby.
This only resulted in us becoming more frustrated and baby becoming more irritated.
I turned to the internet and learned that that no-one really knew what colic was. It occurred in about 20% of babies and affected boys and girls equally. It typically began around two to three weeks after birth, usually stopping mysteriously at three to six months of age.
According to familydoctor.org, when inconsolable crying lasted for more than 3 hours a day and happened at least 3 days per week for more than 3 weeks, it was called colic. These were babies who were not hungry, had been changed, and were healthy and eating well.
They just cried a lot - for no discernable reason.
Then I found some dissidents who claimed there was no such thing as colic. Debra Rich Gettleman wrote that what people called colic was usually reflux, made worse by overfeeding, or sleeping problems. She said her husband (a paediatrician) had never heard of a case of colic that hadn't improved significantly once the baby was fed only every three to four hours (up to four months of age).
Professor Frank Oberklaid and Dr Leah Kaminsky, in an excerpt from "Our Child's Health" wrote: "Recent research confirms what some authors have been saying for many years – there is no such thing as colic. It is probable that a very small proportion of babies who are said to have colic suffer from an identifiable medical problem. However, the common ‘diagnoses’ of too much wind or milk allergy are made far too frequently, with very little evidence that they represent real conditions in this age group. Repeated studies suggest that infant crying and fussing is a normal part of development and that it gets better with time, whatever you do."
I still don't know if our baby had colic or not. All I know is that the crying stopped. Maybe it was the chiropractor or cutting out caffeine or maybe, just maybe, my aunt and Professor Oberklaid and Dr Kaminsky were right and he got better with time. I really don't know. I'm just relieved that my baby seems so much more content and happy. Now if only my cat would come back too…
Do you believe that colic is real? What have been your experiences?