It all started when he was 3 weeks old, I called my midwife frantically asking, “Um, is it normal for newborn babies to cry for hours at a time? I tried feeding, carrying, swaddling, singing, rocking, humming, giving him the pacifier and nothing is working to comfort him! He just cries loudly & inconsolably… this can’t be normal. What am I doing wrong?” She simply answered, “No, it’s not normal for babies to cry for hours. It’s likely he is suffering from infantile colic.” And that was it, she didn’t elaborate. I was left hanging and wondering how to manage my colicky infant.
During his crying bouts, my poor baby looked like he was in pain. He would arch his back, his face turned a bright pink, he would clench his fists, draw up his tiny legs and the most heartbreaking part, he refused to be comforted. There were very few quiet, happy moments to relish, as his colic made it difficult to enjoy his
early days. Of course, sleepless nights were expected with a newborn baby, but
he cried so excessively that a few crying hours quickly turned into sleepless
days and even sleepless weeks. I was stressed & depressed & kept thinking that it’s no wonder that the sound of crying babies is linked to cause shaken baby syndrome.
Naturally, I was worried so we went to see his pediatrician. “Your baby is healthy. He cries because he is colicky, which is quite a common condition - one in five children have colic. Colic can manifest at 2 weeks of age, peak at 6 weeks of age and usually subside at 3-4 months of age. Because there is no known cause, current treatments [such as gripe water & Infancol] have not been proven to be effective so parents usually just let the condition take its course,” is what his pediatrician told me. My baby being healthy was a huge relief, but because his relentless screaming had already made me feel helpless, frustrated and anxious, finding out there is ‘no effective treatment’ caused even more anxiety and frustration. Despite being desperate to help ease my son’s discomfort, I was still very reluctant to try any drugs that haven’t been proven to be safe and effective to treat colic. Conflicted and resentful with my decision, I tried nothing and, like other parents, I just ‘let it ride out’. Coincidently, at about 4 months when my
son’s colic was starting to wane, a naturopathic doctor friend told me
something that, although belatedly, provided me some comfort. “You know, in
Italy, probiotics have been clinically proven to be a safe & effective treatment for infant colic for at least 10 years. Canada is just a bit behind. It’s all natural & so won’t do any harm; perhaps you should try giving him probiotics to help with his colic.” At first, I struggled to be happy about the news because by now, my son was crying less often & seemed to be nearing the end of the colic stage. But then, I experienced my ‘Aha’ moment! With this news, I knew I had to pay it forward to help inform other moms about how probiotics can help with their colicky babies.
Serendipitously, I then became involved with a clinical study approved & conducted by Health Canada & The Hospital for Sick Children investigating the use of probiotics to treat colic. I was reassured knowing that the probiotic drops used in the study has been clinically proven safe for infant use so I had no reservations to stand behind the study. So now, my mission is to seek out & help moms with
colicky babies to participate in this Probiotics for Colic clinical study, not
only to ‘pay it forward’ to support & inform other moms, but also to help
spread awareness about the clinical study that would improve science to
discover an effective treatment for Infantile Colic. My son is turning one
in 2 weeks and now, I am just in awe of his happiness, ability to sleep soundly
through the night and enjoyment of cuddling. Of course he still cries, but it’s
definitely not as loud, intense or frequent. And at least now, he cries for
reasons that are clearly discernible: he’s hungry, needs changing, overtired,
teething, or needs some attention. The best part: now my hugs & kisses
usually is all he needs to comfort & calm him!
My internal dialogue keeps questioning what my son’s colicky past might mean for his future, although his pediatrician has reassured me that there is no evidence of any long-term effects. I think I want to have more children, but my son’s colic has led me to waiver in indecision because his colic has really shaken my confidence. Everyone says, “You can’t have such bad luck that you would have
two colicky babies”, but how can they be so sure? Then I hear the giggles, see
the smiles & feel the hugs and with knowing that probiotics, being safe & effective, can help with a colicky baby, my reluctance is dissolved.
For more information about the Health Canada & SickKids Hospital’s
Probiotics for Colic clinical study, please contact Kim Chau
(firstname.lastname@example.org) or 416-813-7283.