My Baby Has Colic & Doesn’t Sleep
My Baby Has Colic and Won’t Sleep!
UGH! If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you have an adorable little newborn who has colic or you suspect they have colic. Either way, you’re likely exasperated at the amount of crying and feeling a bit helpless or frustrated because it’s really hard.
So, first off, a massive virtual hug for you. It’s hard, I know! I’ve been there, but have hope!
Danielle Anderson described her experience with her colicky baby on the website Scary Mommy, “Somewhere around two weeks, our baby started crying. A lot. Not that weak newborn cry that tugs at the heart-strings, but a BLOOD-CURDLING SCREAM and he could do it for HOURS at a time. He would clench his little fists, his face would turn bright red, and he would scream. It would start somewhere between 5 and 7 p.m. and it would last until midnight, sometimes later. Every single day.”
What is Colic?
Colic is defined as a young baby crying for more than 3 hours a day, for 3 days a week, for at least 1 week, without an obvious reason for the crying.
The crying typically happens late afternoon and in the evening. Your baby may appear to be in pain, with clenched fists, going red in the face and arching their back. They’re typically inconsolable.
You may be feeling helpless because you can’t get the crying to stop. It can feel like torture. It may not help, but you’re not alone. Approximately 30% of babies struggle with colic.
Ever heard of the Period of P.U.R.P.L.E. Crying?
PURPLE crying isn’t because your baby turns purple when crying so hard. The letters stand for.
P: Peak of crying
U: Unexpected – comes and goes without explanation
R: Resists soothing
P: Pain-like face
E: Evening – crying may occur more often in the evening.
The good news is that it will come to an end. You can find more info at: PurpleCrying.info
Can I Give My Baby Anything That Will Help?
There’s no evidence of any magic remedies that will help. Some parents find improvement with osteopathy or chiropractic care. (Please ensure you find someone who specialises in newborn babies.) Anti-colic drops or homeopathic remedies are another option.
It’s always important to rule out other potential causes of the tears. Other possible causes of upset include reflux, silent reflux, milk protein intolerances, or other intolerances.
Be sure to consult a medical professional for support.
What About Sleep?
If you have a baby who is screaming, it’s unlikely that your baby is getting enough sleep. The first step is to do what you can to avoid your baby from becoming overtired.
If the crying is happening later in the day, try and ensure your baby doesn’t become overtired earlier in the day, which could make late afternoon more difficult.
Once a baby becomes overtired, their bodies get a surge of stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline), which can stay elevated for several hours after, even if your baby sleeps, so avoiding overtiredness can help.
What Else Can You Do?
Some babies are comforted by skin-to-skin contact, or a warm bath. Baby wearing or a or using a swing can help.
If you’re having a hard time, remember, there may not be anything you can do to stop the tears, so, as hard as it is, it’s okay put your baby down in a safe place for a few minutes and re-group. Removing the pressure upon yourself to fix the tears can help too.
Ask for Help!
It’s REALLY hard and if you are having a hard time, there’s NO shame. It doesn’t reflect on your ability to parent at all. Speak with your partner, friends, family, health visitor, or GP. Please speak with someone!
Mary Foster is the founder of Sleepy Lambs Sleep Consulting, and mum of three little ones (at one time three under three).
She’s a proud Canadian, loves living in England and is passionate about healthy sleep with a strong focus on emotional wellness, using her education background in science.
In 2018, we launched a comprehensive training program to become a Certified Sleepy Lambs Sleep Consultant and franchise program. Opportunities are available worldwide. Visit SleepConsultantCourse.com for more info.