Colic the great big pediatrician copout.

When my oldest son was born he cried, a lot, I mean all the time, like 20 hours a day, for months, and months, and months.

My oldest was a remarkably healthy little guy, with a bunch of little problems. He had reflux, he had torticollis, he couldn’t coordinate his suck to nurse, he almost never slept and he cried.  For the 1st year he generally slept no more than 20-45 minutes at a time and then cried for 2 hours, 24 hours a day for a year.

I can easily say it was one of the hardest, most exhausting years of my life. I begged my pediatrician for help. I was told it was “colic” and there was nothing we could do.

Do you know what “colic” is? It’s a way for the Dr. to say, “I have no idea why your baby cries a lot, he just does, so let’s give it a name to make you feel better.” Hey Doc, why don’t we figure out why the baby is crying instead?

For my son, it turned out that after 5 months the reflux and torticollis were resolved. But, the crying and lack of sleep continued.

At 2 1/2 he was still waking up 8-12 times a night like a newborn. My pediatrician’s only advise was to get some therapy for myself to learn to deal with it. I just don’t think therapy would teach me to deal with acute sleep depravation and exhaustion. So I found a new pediatrician.

I knew that my son’s reactions to things were a typical. I knew he should be sleeping more by then. I was logging both of our sleep…it wasn’t enough for either of us. My original pediatrician kept dismissing me an overwhelmed 1st time mother.

The new pediatrician sent us to a pediatric pulmonologist for a sleep study, and to a pediatric neurologist for testing. My son had a sleep disorder and sensory processing disorder.  The SPD was addressed with a year of occupational therapy. It made a dramatic, night and day difference. The sleep disorder was strangely enough addressed with increasing his iron intake. Again it made a huge difference, for all of us.

My son is almost 9 years old now. We still monitor his sleep condition and work with his SPD. But all of our lives are so much better, happier and easier now.

Moms out there, colic is not a real diagnosis. Saying, “your baby cries a lot and we don’t know why” is not a diagnosis. Work to find out why. There is a reason. Don’t accept “colic” as your answer, particularly if it goes on for a ridiculously extended period of time. Advocate for your child, because if you don’t, no one else will.

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