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Keywords

Crying, Fathers, Infant colic, Parenting

 

Authors

  1. ELLETT, MARSHA L. CIRGIN DNS, RN
  2. APPLETON, MORRIS M. BSN
  3. SLOAN, REBECCA S. PHD, RNCS

ABSTRACT

Purpose: To elucidate the experience of fathers living with a colicky infant.

 

Study Design and Methods: Interpretive phenomenology using in-depth interviews with 10 fathers of colicky infants. Reiterative interview reading, repeated meaning unit sorting, going back to the literature, and discussions gave way to emerging themes.

 

Findings: The overall experience is one of "falling into and arising from the crying abyss together as a family." Four themes emerged: (a) falling in, (b) hitting bottom, (c) weaving strands to make a rope, and (d) climbing out.

 

Clinical Implications: From their stories, fathers provide insight useful to nurses assisting families of colicky infants through a very difficult time. Nurses should talk to fathers directly about the possibility of colic, and teach both parents what it is, how long it usually lasts, and what can be done about it. Anticipatory guidance as well as discussion about colic during newborn health visits can help parents to vocalize their feelings, and learn what actions to take when the stress of colic becomes overwhelming.