I can’t believe it has been more than 3 years since I read this book! This mommy book report is long overdue. First, I should share with you how I even came to know of this book and read it. In the spring of 2009, I was struggling, really struggling to soothe our newborn daughter. She cried, and cried and cried some more. After leaving the pediatricians office somewhere around 6 weeks old and being told she was colicky and to just swaddle her and use white notice to soothe her (all things which I totally believe in because they had ALL worked like a charm for our son, but things which we had already tried and which had already failed for stopping the crying of our daughter at this point), I picked up a flyer for a probiotics seminar sponsored by the local children’s hospital, at the bottom of the flyer under the speaker’s name, in small print was, “author of the book “Colic Solved”. I thought, what do I have to lose, I was severely sleep deprived (as many new parents are at 6 weeks) and headed out the door, leaving my husband with a screaming baby, promising I would be home to nurse her in 2 hours.
At the seminar I met Dr. Bryan Vartabedian, a gastroenterologist who is the author of the book and who was the speaker that night at the probiotics seminar. I stayed after the talk was over to ask Dr.V as he is known to so many, about COLIC, because at this point in the game, I really had no idea what it was, other than a whole lot of crying and a pretty miserable baby. As I described to him some of the things we were noticing at home, he urged me to get his book and read it and then to go to my pediatrician with the information. I went home that evening feeling empowered to learn more about this mysterious label of COLIC that I had been told my daughter had…. And thus this book report…. What I learned made me realize that COLIC is really no more descriptive than some of the other vague diagnoses out there (ie, autism, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, or cerebral palsy, none of them define a root cause). I am thankful to Dr. V for writing this book and sharing his own personal experiences as a dad and a doctor to help parents who are at their wit’s end, because they cannot soothe their child…
In this book, Dr.V introduces the idea that colic may be in fact caused by, “something physical may be in fact wrong” causing a baby to cry so much. With estimates of 1 in 5 babies having unexplained irritability, you can imagine that Dr.V’s advice is welcome to the eyes and ears of parents who have lost countless hours of sleep and been told they must wait it out until the child “outgrows” it.
Dr.V weaves I his own personal experience of living with a child with Colic, as he introduces his journey with his daughter, Laura, who once treated for acid reflux, transformed into a happy little baby.
The history of colic is explored and Dr.V paints a clear case on why a baby can’t have colic as a diagnosis. The reflux 101 chapter is a great mini anatomy lesson in GERD, including explanations of motility and LES, as well as other conditions that can mimic GERD.
Chapter 3 is where the light bulb went on for me… As I read 7 signs of reflux in your baby… And realized my child had 6 or the 7 signs!! It was this list that I took along with the book to our pediatrician appt the next week, armed and ready to advocate for my little screaming baby. When I read the table that listed “less than obvious” signs of reflux, and realized Baby A had nearly all of them, I really knew we needed help, quickly.
In retrospect, looking back through the book 3 years later, it is ironic to me that in the chapter “recognizing the sick baby” that many of the symptoms listed in this chapter we have experienced in the last 3 years, but at the time I was reading the book (when she was 6 weeks old), they were not on my radar. Dr.V even mentions metabolic disease as a “sinister” problem associated with vomiting, poor feeding, fever, and strange behavior… Although these symptoms, for us appeared much later. This quote is a bit eerie for me to read again… Since “colic” was Baby A’s first sign to us that something painful was going on.
Unexplained screaming and colicky behavior may once have been passed off as a speed bump of infancy, but we now know that it may be an indicator of underlying problems.
The “other colic” is defined in chapter 5 as milk protein allergy, and honestly this was my first introduction to the world of food allergies!! I have had many a friend who has played “formula roulette” with their baby, trying every brand under the sun! Dr.V describes clearly in this chapter the symptoms, testing and possible solutions for milk protein allergy, as well as the “why” behind it all. He also promotes breast milk is best for a fussy baby, with modifications to moms diet if milk allergy is at play, yet decipher all the confusing types of formulas in case a parent is going that route.
The next chapter, “The care and handling of your baby” chapter is one that I feel EVERY parent of a colicky should read BEFORE introducing medication. This chapter offers practical advice for things a parent can try, from positioning, to burping, to rice cereal recommendations. The illustrations in this chapter go a long way to describing what is going in inside your baby’s tummy. But, if none of the solutions from Ch 6 work and you are moving on to try reflux medications, this chapter describes them ALL in great detail, as well as pros and cons of each type.
Overall , I highly recommend this book for anyone who’s pediatrician (or mother in law, or great aunt) has told you your baby has COLIC..because it could be so much more, yet there are things you can DO to help your child!
To make a long story short, we eventually ended up seeing Dr. V in Houston with Baby A and he helped us to try to get to the bottom of her tummy troubles, feeling very strongly that they were allergy related. We are thankful for his help and though Lady A still has tummy issues to go along with the other symptoms, we are very grateful that some of the changes that were made, have nearly put an end to the COLIC.
You can read an Excerpt from Colic Solved HERE.
You can watch a video of Dr. V talking about Colic HERE at 5 minutes for mom.