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Baby Colic

Nov 18, 2007
I've been a stay at home dad now for a while and have seen lots of changes and challenges with our baby son. In the past 4+ weeks one of those challenges has been my sons crying. Its extremely frustrating as a parent to have a baby that cries frequently, but even more so when there is no apparent reason for the crying.

Even more frustrating can be the strain this puts on the parents relationship. Normally I consider myself a very patient and rational person, it is what has made me successful as a manager in my career. However, I found myself becoming very short tempered and all around an unpleasant person to be around. To make matters worse my wife could not understand my frustrations, or didn't appear to anyway, and consistently made comments about my ill-temper, sometimes calling me a butt head which only infuriated me further. So on that note, Moms and Dads if your spouse is having similar troubles with a crying baby, I'll give you a hint on what it is that I finally realized I needed from my wife during this time. I felt that my ill temper was mis-understood, and considering I was unable to cope with the crying or do something about it I was a bad parent and that my bad mood made me a poor spouse as well. This only makes matters worse, and looking back I wasn't a bad parent and found that I was doing everything a father should do. What I needed from my wife wasn't a miracle, I needed her to acknowledge, even though she may not understand where my feelings were coming from, that I was having a difficult time dealing with the incessant crying, not to call me names or judge me. I needed her to listen to what I was saying. Now everyone has a breaking point and one day I did. I called my wife and told her that the crying was just not right nor normal. I read all over the Internet that when your baby cries to just hold them and comfort them, but I questioned the logic of doing so when you took care of all the babies needs and the crying persisted for hours. It didn't make sense to me to put myself through this and get angry and upset from the noise and the inability to calm or meet the babies needs. Many sites with similar questions about what to do with a crying baby had various parents seemingly scorning them for not knowing how to take care of their baby and not just holding and comforting them, ignoring the fact that these were good parents and they had. That only makes it more frustrating when you read the same thing over and over, you begin to question your parenting and if you are a fit Mom or Dad. So I asked my wife to get us an appointment with our pediatrician.

So the next morning we went to the pediatrician and when asked what the visit was for, I explained the reason of persistent crying. The doctor asked about times and duration and if the baby seemed to have gas or not and then examined our babies health. Turning to his intern Doctor he asked so what does that sound like to you? And very quickly he said colic. Not even realizing it their was a pattern to his crying, about 45 minutes after waking up my son would cry for an hour and a half, then nap. then repeated itself after his nap but this time it would be for about 3 hours, then nap. then he would be good for a couple hours and start again until bed time. He was sleeping through the night though. So colic is by my understanding simply a condition when a healthy baby cries without any discernible reason and usually during a specific period of the day.

My next question to the doctor and the one that I had while searching through the Internet was, "So now that I know what is wrong with my son, how do I as a parent handle it?" The Doctor laughed a little and said, "When you have done all the normal things to help comfort and sooth your baby; feed, change the diaper, hold them, and try to comfort them, you need to let the baby cry and remove yourself from the area and go to another room and simply check on him every 15 minutes or so and ensure once again all his needs are met and if so and the crying persists leave once again for another 15 minutes and repeat. He stated that holding him was only going to cause me to get frustrated and that good parents do can do bad things under these circumstances. He also stated that with a colicky baby holding him would not do him any good and when checking on him you would re-enforce the idea that you are there to help him and comfort him and ensure needs his needs are met but that staying was not necessary and inadvisable for both our sakes." Now what a relief to my I'm not a bad Dad! I told my wife what the Doctor had said and I believe for the first time she actually understood what I was going through. That understanding and the Doctors advice has made the situation more bearable for both myself and my son. I'm once again the patient good natured person I once was and enjoy the times that we are together.

One lesson I learned from this experience is that if something seems overwhelming and abnormal to you, you should see your Doctor and get his advice - professional opinion, to diagnose the problem and let him advise you as to changes to be made or if what you are experiencing is normal. Just knowing where you stand in your unique situation with your son or daughter will make it that more bearable.
About the Author
I am a stay at home dad and write about my experiences about houseparenting and being a stay at home dad at my house parenting site.
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