Pediatrician - New Port Richey
2044 Trinity Oaks Boulevard Suite 235
New Port Richey, FL 34655
(727) 375-5437

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Posts for tag: infants

As many of you already know I became a grandpa last month!  So far it has been an amazing experience. It’s so exciting watching this new life grow and develop as well as watching my son grow as a caring, nurturing father.  It’s been a blessing to have my son, his wife and my grandson share our home.  Obviously things aren’t always perfect…especially when it’s time for bed.  My almost-perfect little grandson has decided that 10 PM – 1 AM is a great time to be awake.  Not just awake but crabby and awake.  He has a mild case of colic.

So what is colic?  Basically a baby with colic is a perfectly healthy child who is almost inconsolable for several hours per day.  Some infants are colicky all of the time, but the vast majority have a 3-4 hour time period, usually in the evening, of inconsolable crying.  The classic hours of colic are 6 PM – 12 AM.  No one really knows what causes colic.  The prevailing thought is that it is a symptom of an immature nervous system.  The symptoms of colic usually start between two and four weeks of age. Thankfully infants outgrow colic around three months of age, although some will continue through six months.

What should you do if you suspect your child has colic?  It’s not a bad idea to make an appointment with your pediatrician to rule out other reasons for the irritability such as milk protein intolerance, illness, reflux, hernia or something else.  If other causes are ruled out it’s time to figure out how to deal your baby’s irritability.  Some tips that can sometimes help comfort a colicky baby include:

  • Swaddling:  Many infants feel more secure and comforted when swaddled tightly in a thin blank.

  • Pacifier: Many infants respond well to sucking on a pacifier.  It can be a great option to overfeeding colicky babies who have a strong need to suck.  My son likes to call it the “mute button”.

  • Rhythmic movement:  Many infants find comfort in rhythmic movements such as being rocked, being in a baby swing, gentle bouncing motions, being held and walked or rhythmic patting on the bottom.  A good butt pat was a life-saver during my time working as an RN in children’s hospitals caring for infants whose parents couldn’t stay with them.

  • White noise:  Some infants find peace in the sound of running water, vacuum cleaner, clothes dryer, etc.  There are also many sound machines designed for infants with the sound of waves, nature, the sound of being in a womb, etc that can be helpful.

  • Give them to grandpa: Well at least that’s what my son does sometimes!  I love that one-on-one time even if it does cut into my sleep time.

One of the more frustrating characteristics of colic is that soothing techniques often give you only a few minutes of relief at a time until the colicky episode passes.  It can become quite difficult for parents to cope with a colicky infant after a long day and weeks or months of not sleeping well due to the responsibilities of parenting an irritable young infant.  Some parents find themselves getting tense, anxious or even angry when their child will not stop crying.  If you find your frustration rising it’s time to take a break.  It is OK to lay your crying baby in their crib for a while, shut the door and give yourself a few minutes of cool-down time.  If you have someone else to share the responsibility take turns comforting your infant.  Most importantly, never let your aggravation lead to shaking your child.  Shaking an infant can lead to brain damage, blindness and even death.

Parenting an infant with colic can be trying so don’t forget to take care of yourself in addition to caring for your infant.  Parents who have someone they trust to watch their infant can schedule date nights to get away for an hour or two, regain some sanity and hopefully nurture their relationship with each other. If you don’t have a significant other just schedule some fun time for yourself, even if it’s just sitting in a nearby park or beach for a short time. It may not feel right at first to leave your infant at such a young age but it can be a great tool to help you cope. 

I remember feeling like the colic would never end when my oldest was an infant, but lo and behold he turned into one of the most easy going toddlers and preschoolers you have ever met. If you’re dealing with a colicky infant don’t give up hope!  It will pass!     

Christopher Pope, ARNP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

          



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2044 Trinity Oaks Boulevard, Suite 235
Trinity, FL 34655