The NHS website defines colic as prolonged episodes of crying in a baby that otherwise appears to be healthy. Symptoms include intense crying bouts lasting several hours usually occuring in the afternoon or evening. Babies suffering with colic may appear to have abdominal pain, drawing their knees up to their chests and arching their backs during an episode. Colic can be extremely difficult for parents to deal with, and it’s something that parenting blogger Anna Whitehouse, also known as Mother Pukka has been through first hand. We asked Anna to give us the low-down on colic, and the things she did to help her first born Mae.
What were the first signs of colic you noticed / when did you decide something wasn’t quite right?
It was at 3am one night and my first born, Mae, had been crying relentlessly, I remember bursting into tears and crying non-stop. I felt like ‘my one was broken’; I was broken. I reached out to friends at this point and booked into the doctor as I realised it was more than just a crying baby.
What action did you take?
After consulting my GP, it was confirmed she was suffering with colic. I used Tommee Tippee’s Advanced Anti-colic bottles because they have a triple venting system and heat-sensing strip to minimise babies’ air intake.
I was told movement helps so I walked her around in the carrier a lot and became a master swaddler to support her stomach. I also booked onto a baby massage course so that we had a routine before bedtime that might soothe her pain. It was a little bit of everything in the hope that something would work.
What advice would you give to mums with newborns – what should they look out for?
To seek help and not battle on in silence. To realise that while you might not be able to fix it immediately, there are small things you can do on a daily basis to ease the pain for both of you. Getting out of the house is important. Baby massage was the saviour for me because it meant I could talk to mums who were going through the same thing. There was a point where five of us (with colicky babies) were sat in a circle with all the kids crying and we looked into each other’s eyes and laughed instead of cried because we were most definitely not alone.
Did you breast/bottle feed or formula?
I breastfed for the first year and interspersed with bottle towards the end because I wasn’t producing enough milk. She’s ravenous most of the time (like me) so didn’t really care where it came from!
How did you cope?
My friends and family were a big support. I felt like I was a rubbish mother if I couldn’t fix it alone but after turning to my friends I soon realised that wasn’t the case! Speak to your friends and there’s sure to be someone in your network that will have suffered with it too.
How long did it last for?
Sometimes it was an onslaught of one hour 30 mins with me shushing and blaring white noise out there. It completely varied but I did get through it and to all the other mums out there, you will too.