I’ll just say it: Colic is a nightmare.
Hearing your baby cry endlessly, for no obvious reason, is isolating. This probably isn’t what you dreamed motherhood would be like — the double edged sword is that a colicky baby can lead to postpartum depression and anxiety, marital problems, and a lack of bonding between parents and baby.
It’s been thought for several generations that colic had no cause and just had to be lived with; that crying is “good for the baby’s lungs” (yes, really), that it’s purely gut related, that it’s based in emotional reasons, that there’s nothing you can do, and that you’re doing something wrong if your baby is that unhappy.
Feelings of guilt come naturally for parents of colicky babes. We’re here to help find a happy medium in all of this research and speculation.
Dr. Sears has many articles for coping with colic, including possible causes, how to tell the difference between a fussy baby and a colicky baby, and tips for comforting your baby.
One thing you can try, that everyone should probably consider doing anyway–and that the AAP recently released a recommendation for–is probiotics.
Probiotics are live bacteria that help regulate gut health — they balance the “good” and “bad” bacteria, and can keep intestinal discomfort at bay, among many other benefits. Yogurt, fermented foods like sauerkraut, and kombucha are delicious ways to get a nice dose of probiotics. But for babies, consider probiotic drops.
Drops can be given to baby on a spoon, in breast milk or formula that’s not too hot to harm the bacteria, or put directly on the breast before a feeding. They’re considered safe for newborns, but run it past your pediatrician if you have concerns.
More detailed evidence of probiotics’ benefits for babies can be found in that new article released by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Sling back some coffee or tea before reading — it’s full of medical jargon — but long story short, the results of three studies showed that colicky babies given a probiotic cried significantly less than babies given a placebo. Of 345 babies, the half that received probiotics were almost twice as likely to find “success” than the half that did not receive probiotics.
Success as in, less crying. More harmony in the household. Less guilt. Less stress. It’s worth a shot, right? If you know a family with a colicky baby, consider including probiotics in your meal train care package. A warm dinner, some coffee and/or wine, a yummy snack or two, and a little bottle of gut health drops. It might sound strange, but it very well could make a big difference in their postpartum journey.