BABY COLIC - TIPS & TRUTHS
Updated: Sep 17, 2019
Thinking back I can't remember much of what happened during the time - I know there was much crying. Too much. I know that I lived like a zombie, just doing the next thing. It was the hardest time of my life and I wasn't sure whether it was killing me or making me stronger. Perhaps a bit of both!
We called the hospital the very first night we arrived home after our son was born. He screamed blue murder all night. And the night thereafter. And thereafter. Nothing soothed him. I spent hours and hours sitting on a large gym ball, holding Baby upright, softly rocking... my shoulders feeling like they were going to tear off, my lower back in agony.
The guilt! My friends were enjoying motherhood and their newborn babies while I felt hopelessly frustrated and incapable as a mom. Here is some more inspiration if you're feeling really overwhelmed right now: DEAR OVERWHELMED MOM
During that time, and with my other two babies we tried many things and learned a few lessons. Here is the bottom line in case you're not reading to the end:
There is no clear-cut, one-size-fits-all answer or remedy for colic. You might find something that helps or you might not. The only thing that really works is time. It will get better, promise!
What works for one baby will not work for the rest. Trust me, I tried it all. Three times over! The only proven thing that works is time. Usually by around 12 weeks there is a turn and they become easier.
Have you considered the possibility of reflux?
Only a doctor will be able to assist you with a proper diagnosis, but reflux babies tend to be more fussy, especially during the night. We all know that reflux babies spit up, but there is also a silent variety of reflux that involves heartburn without spit-ups. A doctor will be able to prescribe medication or suggest an anti-reflux formula.
Overstimulation is the enemy
By the time our second baby was born I read a fantastic article by Dr Howard Chilton that explains that overstimulation can cause a variety of colic-like symptoms. He says:
The reason it’s so hard for parents to figure it out for themselves is the cause is counter-intuitive and, no question, the baby looks like he or she is in excruciating pain. The baby doubles up, knees in chest, and screams like there’s a knife twisting in his gut. But it’s not about pain, it’s about overstimulation of the poor baby’s sensory nervous system.
Click HERE to read the full article.
I am no expert on breastfeeding, but they say that what you eat can affect your baby's digestive system. Please speak to your clinic sister about this if you suspect that it might be a contributing factor.
Products that you may want to try (available in South Africa)
It really is trial and error, unfortunately. These are some of the things we tried or were highly recommended. Please check with your health care provider before using any of these. I am not a medical professional. Also have a look at alcohol content when considering a remedy. If you click on the name of a product, a link will open so that you're able to read more about each one.
Other things to consider
Try new burping techniques. I watched this video by Dr Mike Marinus over and over when my babies were little. Perhaps try something new to see whether you get better results and a more content baby.
We had our baby at the chiropractor and I can't say for sure whether it made a difference, as we only took him at around three months. Many people swear by chiropractic treatment for colic though, especially for c-section babies.
Baby massage can help soothe and calm the baby. Just beware that if the problem is overstimulation, a massage might stimulate the baby even further, which is not what you want.
Babywearing is such a lifesaver. I never managed to get the baby wrap right, but was very comfortable with my Ubuntu Baba soft structured carrier. They are a bit pricey, but well worth the investment.
ParentLove - I only discovered this app after the birth of our third baby and IT IS MY DIGITAL BRAIN! You can log pretty much anything from feeds to nappy changes and medication. It has reminders and reports. Most of the functionality is available on the free version and the paid version really is affordable.
The Wonder Weeks - I have been using this app since our first baby was born. It is not expensive and provides a calendar, as well as explanations of growth spurts and mental leaps in development. It tells you exactly what to expect and when. It has helped me a lot in terms of understanding why my child was more fussy or clingy at times.
Trust your instinct
If you don't have peace about it just being colic and if you sense that something is wrong, get that baby to the paediatrician for a thorough examination. Nobody knows your child like you do. I remember my husband once insisted that I take my six month old to the paediatrician for a cough. I thought he was being ridiculous, but took him. Turns out Baby was admitted for pneumonia!
Calm mommy, calm baby
I used to feel so condemned by this statement. I honestly don't believe it to be true for everyone. It's a huge assumption and generalisation. Some babies just cry more and there isn't necessarily a logical explanation. In our household we had one colic baby, one normal baby and one fussy baby. Same household. Same calm mommy.
What about Daddy?
Listen, I know you're probably wearing leggings and your hair hasn't been washed in the longest time. You body is still recovering from giving birth and you don't have anything left to give.... Please don't forget about your husband during this time.
It's a massive adjustment for him too and he's probably trying to figure out where he fits in in the new pecking order. Remind him that he is valuable and important to you. Include him as much as possible. You're a team. Work together. Don't take out your frustration on him, but rather run to him for comfort. You need each other now more than ever.
You've got this, Mama
I see you. I know how you long to just get out, go to the mall, but if you actually had the time to do it you'd rather sleep. I know the mind-numbing soul-destroying cycle of colic. Look into my eyes.... You're going to make it. It's going to be OK. I promise you it will get easier. You just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Do what needs to be done. If someone offers help, take it! The days feel long, but the years are short. Hang in there, you've got this.
PS: In case you were wondering, my colic baby is on his way to primary school soon! He is an amazing boy and we enjoy him so much. We had two subsequent babies within the next four years, so clearly we weren't scarred too badly by the experience.