Colic through the eras…

Before the Colic Era (BCE)…

Oh, the dreaded Colic. It strikes fear into the heart of all. I still shudder at the very mention of the word. When I was pregnant with the twins I pleaded with whoever might have the power, not to inflict my children with this horrific ‘disease’. Surely I wouldn’t be so unlucky as to have two screaming babies? Surely because I was having such an easy pregnancy, they would be happy, healthy and placid? On my Google quests I read horror stories of babies screaming for 12 hours at a stretch. I think what scared me the most was that nobody actually seems to know what causes it and therefore nobody knows how to ‘cure’ it. Causes are said to range from over-stimulation to a baby’s inability to digest milk. So in other words, it could be anything.

The Colic Era (CE)…

The first two weeks with the boys were easy. Their days were pretty sleep-heavy and parenthood felt doable. And then in their third week, the wailing started. So I wasn’t to be spared after all. And I had this to look forward to for the next 10 weeks? We fell into a dreadful routine. Every night after their 6 o’ clock feed, they’d start crying and crying and crying. Eventually after their 10 o’ clock feed they’d pass out from sheer exhaustion. The only way I coped was to distance myself from the crying. I had to build up an immunity to it otherwise I would go off the deep end. This is easier said than done because as all mothers can tell you, a baby’s cry affects you to the very core. I think our bodies are physiologically geared towards reacting. And the baby is 100 % geared towards getting us to react. My partner accused me of Ferberization or letting them just ‘cry it out’, but I needed to survive. But as you can imagine, my survival was laden with guilt!

After about 6 weeks of reading and of hearing that the boys would get over it and to just wait it out, a friend told me about Colief. Colief drops contain an enzyme that breaks down lactose. So if your child is lactose intolerant Colief will help. Quite a few babies are in their first three months until their own enzymes kick in. The constant and embarrassing and inopportune farting was an indication that the boys might be having some difficulty with their digestion, so I started giving the boys the drops in the hope that it might help. Their discomfort diminished considerably. They still couldn’t get to sleep at 6, but at least they weren’t crying and crying and crying. My guilt was alleviated, a little. I was trying to do something to make them feel better instead of just waiting it out. Then at 11 weeks they suddenly slept from 7 until 10 and then a few days later, they slept through until 2. Since then they’ve been sleeping until their 2 o’ clock feed and Colic, is a thing of the past.

After the Colic Era…

The Colic Era was long and hard. It feels like the longest period of your life, while you’re in it. Hence the use of the word ‘era’. The 12 week mark is like a small but very shiny beacon at the end of a difficult and arduous journey. Yet as I’ve moved past the beacon, I’ve realised it’s not as shiny as I thought it was. In fact it’s a bit tarnished for me. There’s so much hype about Colic that you think everything will be easy and relaxing afterwards. All of a sudden when the first day of the thirteenth week dawns, your child will wake up with a smile, a gurgle and a laugh. But my boys still cry. They’re still grumpy and moody. Unfortunately now I have nothing to attribute their behaviour to. They can digest milk. It’s too early for teething. What now? It seems now that Colic was in fact easier to deal with because it’s so well-known and documented. There is also an end-date. But I think I’ve discovered a new ailment. My sons have UCS (Unexplained Crying Syndrome). Maybe this idea will catch on. Then we mothers can complain about our crying children and have others shrug their shoulders, smile sympathetically and say: “Don’t worry. It will pass. You just have to wait it out.”

The Face of Ferberization...


5 thoughts on “Colic through the eras…

  1. Thank you for the education … had no idea Ferberization (an adverb) was actually a methodology developed by Dr Ferber. From friends and family that had to deal with colic … a few have sworn by Dr Karp’s methods (

    I must say there is always a flip side too … what do you do when a baby doesnt cry … or complain … ever. I must say I am not sure that this is also the optimum because then you do not know what the baby is feeling. You do not develop the understanding or knowledge of what may be affecting the baby or that they are infact in some sort of distress. And you certainly start questioning the possibility that there might be a larger issue, like possible damage to the brain, neurons etc. ICU babies often develop a hugh pain threshold and a tolerance to being uncomfortable, poked and proded etc. So in our case … the baby has learnt not to complain it seems. Now instead of pacing up and down trying to calm the baby down, one just doesnt sleep, getting up to constantly to check for signs of life and clues as to what the baby might infact be going through, hoping that there may be some sign like a cry, whimper or gurgle. Oh yes and as a parent you start encouraging crying … a little disturbing to passers by who catch wind of this type of encouragement.

    • I never thought of it that way! I suppose parethood is difficult, however you cut it. If your baby cries too much or not at all. There is the constant worry and fear of the unknown. It’s such a sharp learning curve that you can never be prepared enough for. Wouldn’t it be nice to have something in the middle?! But I guess our children will be who they are.

  2. Oh I can so relate to all of that wish I could have known about Colief back then!
    Dont worry about the boys crying they need to communicate somehow and this is how till they can speak. If they just cry and u not sure why its also their way of letting off some steam from their day., its hpw they do it so dont get too worried xx

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