Colic is something that unless you have personally been through it, you cannot fully comprehend it or its impact on a family. As a colic ‘survivor’, I had so many comments from family, friends and strangers regarding the subject. Some helpful, and some completely not. Here are some of the most unhelpful things people said to me when we were in the thick of it:
1. All babies have a witching “hour”
Nope. At 10 months, baby H definitely does have a “witching hour” from around 5pm until her bed time. Colic screams are a far cry (no pun intended!) from a witching hour. They are not a cranky grizzle or multiple meltdowns, they are a solid piercing scream with no interval. One that hits you in your core and makes you feel sick. One that no matter what you try, cannot be consoled.
2. She/he looks happy to me
The majority of colicky babies do not cry 24/7 (some do and I feel even more for those mamas and dads). Baby H screamed solidly for around 5 hours each evening, but for the rest of the time she was a pretty content baby (albeit a sleep thief). The insinuation here that you are exaggerating is really unkind and only made me feel worse.
3. It’s probably because you are quite stressed and the baby is picking up on that
Whilst I am not a medical professional, I still sincerely doubt this is the true cause of colic. Plus it is SO unhelpful. Being a new parent is stressful for many, and having a screaming baby can add to that stress. You know what isn’t a destresser? Being told to stop stressing.
4. Have you tried feeding her? Maybe she is hungry
I kid you not, someone suggested this to my husband and I. Both of us barely even responded as we were dumbfounded that someone would think we had not tried that. During a colic episode, nothing would console baby H and believe me we tried pretty much EVERYTHING. This well meaning advice extended to asking if we had a routine, if we put her to bed too early / too late, if she was too stimulated, the list goes on. Believe me when I say we really did try everything, and I have come to the conclusion that sadly with colic you just have to ride it out.
5. Did you know your baby is crying?
Baby H would scream every single evening 6-11pm without fail, sometimes it would grace us beyond these hours too and those were the worst. Sometimes she would fall asleep at 5:45 I would un-tense slightly, thinking maybe tonight we would escape it. But like clockwork, as if she had her own pocket watch, come 6pm it would begin. My husband and I would take shifts to hold her and rock her until eventually around 11pm it filtered out and she fell asleep, exhausted. Ironically she still woke every 1-2 hours so the ordeal clearly tired me out more than her. Sometimes we would take her out of the house in her pram, her laying there with her angry scream, and multiple times we were stopped with what I’m sure where well-meaning individuals (although at the time I considered them busy bodies) and asked if we knew our squishy bundle of joy was screaming bloody murder. I barely even knew how to respond. It made me feel like a terrible mother, like they thought I wasn’t tending to my child. I wanted to scream that she did this every evening, that there was nothing I could do. Instead I would usually just half smile, thank them, and mutter something about her having a bad day.
It is important to remember that colic DOES end. For us twelve weeks came, the magic number we had been given for the screaming to end, and I felt so cheated when it still returned night after night. Sixteen weeks was our magic number, and it literally just ended. As promptly as it arrived. One night she did it, and the next she didn’t. It was over. The damage it has left goes much greater, I am still not sure if I want another baby for fear of it happening all over again. Time shall tell I suppose if I ever move past this. If you’ve dealt with your own colicky baby, I salute you.
If you’re in the thick of it, hang in there mama – you got this ❤️