It's true. Colic is MUCH harder on the parent than the infant. My daughter survived six months of colic unscathed. My husband and I are a different story. We have deep psychological scars that send us scurrying for the nearest exist every time we hear a baby cry.
As parents, we were newbies. We had never even changed a diaper when we brought our bundle of joy home from the hospital. I had heard a few horror stories about babies with colic, but never thought in a million years I would be the proud owner of a colic baby. So, imagine our horror, when on about our third week of parenting, our daughter started screaming every day around dinnertime. And, I'm talking blood-curdling, "I'm-in-severe-pain" sort of screaming. Screaming that lasted four hours and drove everyone in the household to tears.
We thought for sure something was horribly wrong.
A doctor appointment later, I was assured that my daughter was fine, and she probably just had "a little colic." Not to worry, that the colic would pass within a "couple of months".
Yeah, right. Define a "couple of months".
Those of you who have a baby with "a little colic" know there is no such thing. Experiencing a colic episode is extremely traumatic. You feel helpless, angry and frustrated when everything you try to stop the crying fails miserably. You feel like you're a bad parent or that your baby hates you. But, don't despair. Empower yourself! There are tons of strategies, tricks and products out there to help you deal with a colicky baby.
A guaranteed colic-buster we used time and time again was white noise. "What is white noise?" you might ask. Good question. Here goes.
White noise is the full spectrum of sound frequencies a human ear can hear combined together all at once. Huh?
Okay, again in layman's terms. Have you ever been in a crowd full of people, for example, at a sporting event? Everyone is talking at the same time. You can't decipher every single conversation, but you do hear the roar of the crowd (it happens to make me sleepy). That is white noise. Oh, yeah, I get it now!
Now, do me a favor. Put your hands over your ears and listen. Do you hear a roaring? What you are hearing is the white noise your own body produces within. The same noise your baby heard for 40 weeks or so while in the womb.
So, for a second, imagine you are a baby in the womb. You've spent most of your existence in a place warm and dark, where you were well fed and had no distracting noises, lights or outside stimuli. Then suddenly, you burst on the scene and have a whole big world to absorb. The stimuli eventually stresses you out, and since you can't communicate very well, the only way you know how to blow off steam is to cry and cry and cry some more. This is the latest scientific explanation of the cause of colic. Your baby is over-stimulated throughout the course of the day. To relieve stress, they cry uncontrollably for several hours. Oh, man.
So what can you do as a parent?
Recreate for your baby the feeling of being in the womb. Lower lights, reduce visual stimuli, swaddle the baby and turn on some white noise. Babies seem to be positively effected by the noise frequency of a hair dryer, clothes dryer and vacuum cleaner.
Unbelievably enough, this works! When I first heard about this theory, I was extremely skeptical. But out of desperation one day, I pulled out the vacuum cleaner and plugged it in. It was like turning off a water faucet. Immediately, our baby quit screaming. If you unplugged the vacuum, she started screaming again. It was weird. But, it worked.
Wait, though! Don't just plug in your vacuum cleaner and run it for several hours. The noise decibels will damage your baby's hearing. You need to be able to control the volume of the white noise your baby is hearing.
White noise downloads and white noise CD's are available for purchase almost everywhere. Just go on Yahoo! or MSN and do a search for "white noise baby". For just a few dollars, your baby can have the comfort of white noise, and you can have your sanity back.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cherie L. Stirewalt is a colic baby survivor and shares her colic experiences on her website Colic-Baby-Bootcamp.com. The site offers a one-of-a-kind white noise download and white noise CD to help frustrated parents cope with their fussy baby fast!