You can call them the walking dead. They stumble around in bare feet, soles dirty because they haven't showered in days. Strange fluids coat their shirts and tangle once-lustrous locks. And you could probably drill for oil in the black circles under their eyes.
Oh, and these zombies? They'll be clutching babies, desperately trying to get them to stop crying.
Such is life with colic. Sleepless nights with a screaming baby would turn anyone into a zombie, especially if you have to deal with it for weeks on end.
There are about a million different theories for what causes colic, though most experts say the exact cause is still unknown. They usually diagnose colic by ruling out other potential problems, like a hernia.
Whatever the actual cause, there are a few warning signs that you are dealing with a colicky baby, instead of just a cranky one ...
- Inconsolable crying. A colicky baby will cry and scream and then cry some more, despite every effort you make to comfort and console him. If you’ve tried all the traditional soothing techniques, met all his needs, and he's still bellowing, consider yourself warned.
- Predictable crying. Most babies with colic will start crying right around the same time every day -- very often after mealtime and usually in the evening. And the cries will be super intense, so break out the ear plugs and get ready for some out and out screaming, while you try out different soothing techniques.
- Posture change. Because colic attacks come on quickly, your baby may suddenly tense up, clenching her fists and drawing her knees up toward her chest. She may also arch her back and tighten her abdominal muscles -- it looks horrible and painful, and makes her difficult to hold, but stick with it.
Colic can be very hard to deal with especially for the parent spending all the time caring for the baby. You are exhausted. You are frustrated. You are angry and cranky and dirty, and oh, did I mention exhausted? Everyone gets pushed to the breaking point when colic invades the room.
So if you do notice these patterns and symptoms, call your pediatrician. At the very least, she can rule out other problems. At the most, she can help you figure out the best way to ease on through the colicky months. Because it will pass ...
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