A baby’s cry is a funny thing. I remember the moment my little chicken was born. I held my breath, waiting to hear him cry. This miracle sound that tells you he is breathing. And it was then, and only then, that I allowed myself to catch a breath with him.
Fast forward 6 weeks and I find myself searching the web high and low to find the way to make it stop! Everyone knows babies cry. But no parent is prepared to face the number of hours the crying can actually go on for. It is heart breaking to see and hear your wee one in such a state and not be able to help him.
When a baby starts to cry we check the obvious first. Is he hungry? Does he need a clean nappy? Does he have wind? Is he hot/cold? Does he just want a cuddle? If the answer to all of these is NO I start again from the top. He might have become hungry while I checked everything else.
This can go on for hours. And it can happen at either 3pm or 3am. So, why does my baby cry all day?
What is baby colic? Wikipedia defines it as “episodes of crying for more than three hours a day, for more than three days a week, for three weeks in an otherwise healthy child […] Associated symptoms may include legs pulled up to the stomach, a flushed face, clenched hands, and a wrinkled brow”.
My baby boy ticks all of the above boxes. So I head to the pharmacy to get something to help him with his baby colic. The pharmacist asks if he cries after feeds or all day. All day is my answer. She then says it might not be colic and asks how I’m feeding him. Breastfed. In her opinion it could be that he is not feeding enough.
I buy some Gripe Water just in case and head home to re-consider my feeding skills.
Back to Square One
Back to square one, as I am not so sure it is baby colic anymore. I must consider the possibility that he is not getting enough milk. My little chicken usually feeds 5 to 10 minutes. Technically this is not long enough. My Health Visitor advised he should feed for at least 15 to 20 minutes. But I know I have a very fast flow. I can hear him guzzling and I can see the milk coming out the sides of his mouth while he feeds. Also, he is bright and alert while awake and has plenty wet nappies through the day.
I am not going to second-guess my ability to breastfeed my child. He is feeding enough and his crying is caused by something else. I asked for help on a Facebook breastfeeding support group. I found that many other mummies out there are in the same situation. One mother told me to read about the Period of PURPLE Crying.
Period of PURPLE Crying®
This term refers to a period in the baby’s life during which he will cry more. This period starts around the baby’s second week of life and generally lasts until he is 3 months old.
PURPLE is an acronym to help parents know what to expect during this period, it stands for:
- P: Peak of Crying. The crying will increase until it peaks at 2 months of age.
- U: Unexpected. Your baby will start crying unexpectedly.
- R: Resists Soothing. It will feel like nothing you do can make the crying stop.
- P: Pain-like Face. Your baby will seem to be in pain, even if he is not.
- L: Long-lasting. Crying can go on for hours.
- E: Evening. It might get worse in the late-afternoon or evening.
This has been a revelation for me. It has helped me understand that my baby’s crying is normal and it does not mean there is anything wrong with him. It is tough, especially when I am tired and his crying won’t let me sleep. But now I know it will end. We just need to pull through it and in 6 more weeks everything will be better.
Check out this post on “7 Ways to Soothe a Crying Baby” for for related help.