When my son was born, the first 5 days after were like a sweet dream. We got a couple good sleeps, woke up to blissful sunshine, went for walks and thought- wow, having a second baby is EASY!
WHAT A JOKE.
What a sick joke.
The evening on day 6 was sheer hell. He started screaming right when we were all going to bed at 9pm and didn’t stop till 1am.
We did EVERYTHING we could think of but nothing would stop the horrific screaming of our newborn baby.
It really didn’t help that I was an emotional wreck and had a two year old daughter to contend with.
We thought it would end.
We PRAYED it would end.
And then we got seriously desperate because this went on
EVERY SINGLE NIGHT
for 6 weeks.
WHAT IS COLIC?
Colic is when a baby (between 3 weeks and 3 months) cries, sometimes for hours, no matter what you do. Doctors will diagnose colic when a baby cries for more than 3 hours a day, more than 3 days a week for at least 3 weeks in a row.
WHAT COLIC IS NOT AND WHEN TO SEE YOUR DOCTOR:
if your baby
- has diarrhea
- has poor weight gain
- is vomiting
- is screaming/crying only around feeding
- has signs of allergy
- seems listless and pale
If your baby has colic, my heart goes out to you.
There is a dark place in parenting that people don’t talk about.
A dark place where you have actually considered throwing your baby across the room, a place where you come face to face with things inside yourself that are unspeakable.
The main take away from this is that you come face to face with these things and find out you are strong as hell. They don’t break you, they make you.
We’ve all been there as mothers and fathers, it’s important to know that.
Here are some things you can do if your baby has colic:
TRY A PROBIOTIC
Yes, probiotics can reduce the amount of crying by 3 hours a day, if you’re lucky. Or at least significantly reduce the crying time, which I still consider lucky.
We were absolutely flabbergasted at using a probiotic. It didn’t completely stop my son’s crying but it did take it down a lot lower than 3 hours.
These are the probiotic drops we used that are recommended for babies. They were developed in Sweden specifically for babies with colic.
TRY SKIN TO SKIN
When things got desperate I would-
- strip myself to pants, no shirt
- strip my baby to only a diaper
- wrap him skin to skin and bounce/sway/rock like my life depended on it
This is the type of wrap I used with all 3 babies in the first couple months of life and have never looked back!
With my 3rd baby, I was gifted a skin to skin shirt specifically for newborns. This may be significantly faster and easier than a wrap but please note that I did not try this with my colicky baby.
GO FOR A WALK/DRIVE
It sounds obvious but sometimes you are so deep into the crying and screaming that you forget about doing obvious things (at least, I did).
Throw the baby in a wrap, go outside for a walk or put them in the car and just drive. Turn some music on. You never know what may soothe your sweet baby.
AVOID CERTAIN FOODS/DRINKS
- spicy foods
- dairy- this could potentially be an allergy as opposed to the above mentioned which may just upset your baby’s tummy. Be aware of dairy allergies.
Eliminate these foods or drinks one at a time to try to figure out if your baby is upset by what you are consuming.
If you’re thrifty, turn on a fan or stand next to the dryer when it’s on.
We bought this white noise machine and haven’t looked back because we use it for the older kids in their room now. It helps them stay asleep and sleep longer in the mornings!
TRY A BABY MASSAGE
Start when your baby is quiet but alert, not sleepy. You can massage almost all parts of their body, some areas you may get a better response than others:
- head and face
RUN A WARM BATH
After the first baby, we donated the baby bath. I found it easier to run a bath (test the water temperature on your wrist or elbow where the skin is more sensitive) and get right in with my babies.
It makes for great bonding time too!
Being able to gently hold them and swim them through the warm water is a very helpful distraction when they won’t stop crying.
The warm water is very relaxing and you can sing to them while they (hopefully) calm down.
TAKE SWADDLING SERIOUSLY
Babies spend 9 months in extremely tight quarters. They are squished up, warm and used to listening to your heart beat.
Being born is a bit of a rude awakening!
They are pushed out into a much colder atmosphere, have their butts wiped with cold cloths or wipes and are forced into clothes that aren’t nearly as warm or comforting as the womb.
If you think of it like this, no wonder babies get colicky.
Swaddling reduces over stimulation and mimics how the baby would feel in the womb. It also helps them to feel less out of control.
We used these swaddling blankets because they are made of muslin which is breathable and soft on the skin.
TRY THIS TECHNIQUE
KNOW THAT IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT
This is something that is easy for people to say to you but difficult for you to accept as the truth.
You are sleep deprived, stuck in a tunnel with no light visible at the end. You feel like a shit parent, because isn’t this the one thing you are supposed to be able to do- make your baby stop crying?
Babies have their own agenda.
Being born is a pretty crazy business, for all parties involved.
Colic will end.
It really, truly will end.
And when it does, you will be a stronger person for it. Parents aren’t given enough credit for the never ending job we do.
Getting through the day and keeping your kids alive is a FEAT.
Keeping them alive while being screamed at for hours on end (sometimes with another child to contend with) is a galldang MIRACLE.
If you need help in this critical time, try calling the Parents Helpline (1-855-427-2736). They are non-judgmental and there to help you through whatever you are going through.
But I know you got this ❤
Thursday 26th of December 2019
Our baby is 5 weeks old and we had a couple of odd nights or afternoons where she would cry and scream for about an hour or so. But now these last 3 days she has screamed and cried for hours. Last night she screamed from 5 until 10:30 NON-STOP! We tried everything and eventually putting her in the car put her to sleep. But I know that today is another day and that it’s going to start again and I’m not entirely sure I can deal with it all over again! Thankfully my husband is hands-on and super helpful because without him I think I would’ve done something horrific to my child. Thanks for your honest post! Love and strength to all you moms.
Saturday 28th of December 2019
Oh my goodness Fallon, I don't even know what I would've done if I hadn't been able to hand off my son to my husband. The screaming makes you go insane. It's awful. I'm so sorry you're in the thick of it! It will come to an end. It's hard to hold on to that thought when you're in the middle of dealing with a colicky baby. Sending you so much love!
Wednesday 5th of June 2019
Thanks for this realistic post. 4 week old and 2 year old life is REAL! Omg the crying is so insane! Ours is from like 8 or 9 till 12-1am. So tough!
Wednesday 5th of June 2019
Hey Jennifer (that's my name too!) This is kinda nuts but our son was the EXACT SAME TIME. No lie! Sending you guys love and know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, it will end ❤