Sunday, June 22, 2014

How we survived colic

Monkey was 2 weeks old when the crying began. It was slow and subtle at first, each day was just a little more crying than the previous. By 3 weeks, she was crying between 6-8 hours a day. What was I doing wrong?!

When she turned 6 weeks old, the crying and screamed lasted upwards of 14 hours a day. I was drowning in self loathing. How could I let my baby cry like this everyday and not be able to soothe her?

Colic is no joke. And until you experience it for yourself, you can't understand how grueling it is.

Monkey was a baby of firsts. First child I nursed exclusively. First to not go to daycare. First to not gain weight likes babies should. First to make me doubt my own sanity. Because of these firsts, I knew the only reason for all of the screaming and crying was me.

I tried cutting certain foods from my diet (dairy, sugar, gluten, caffeine).
I tried holding her in every imaginable way ever (cradle, football, tummy on my arm, upside down, rightside up).
I googled every topic of crying babies ever for some glimpse of hope that it was something I was or wasn't doing (I could fix it if I just knew)
I screamed back at her when I had nothing left to try.

The doctor was little help. She offered a sympathetic look when delivering the news of colic and what it meant, and then moved on to her next patient. We were on our own.


I nursed Monkey exclusively during her colic and questioned myself every day because of it. Is she not getting enough? Could she be allergic to my milk? It MUST be my milk causing her to have such terrible tummy pain. Do we switch to formula to see if it helps? Is she sensing that I don't enjoy nursing and feels this way because of that? Everything I googled and every nurse I talked to recommended the same thing, keep nursing.  If it's bad with breastmilk, it will be worse with formula. Breastmilk is easier to digest on their tiny tummies and she was already having a hard time. 

I didn't switch to formula during this period for her. Mostly out of guilt. I am not a mother who enjoys breastfeeding. It was a hard task, made even more daunting by the endless crying and constant worry. 20 months later, I still wonder if making the switch to formula wouldn't have helped. 


My back and arms ached from holding her nonstop. I couldn't do anything around the house that I needed to do (cook, laundry, dishes, play with my 3 year old). I couldn't stand the intensity of the screams if I laid her down. I tried a BabyBjorn carrier which made the crying worse. I tried a sling that I couldn't ever really get comfortable for me or her. I tried a Moby wrap recommended by a friend. It didn't stop the crying, nothing stopped the crying, but it made it more manageable when I had my hands free to do something else (anything else). 

The trick that helped Monkey was folding her legs up (like they are in the womb) and placing her into the wrap. Her legs provided a small amount of pressure on her tummy while she was held against my body and it seemed to give some relief to the uncomfortableness. She was even able to take a few short naps while tucked tightly into the wrap. Hellelujah.


It was so hard to get away from her while she was colicky. I felt such guilt leaving her with anyone else because I knew how hard it was to deal with after only a few minutes. I was home with her all day and all night and it doesn't take long to be worn down completely. There were times listening to the neverending crying that I began to understand how parents could snap on their infant and cause great harm. Whether it's your husband, mom, sister, whomever... take a break from the crying everyday

Having someone help and understand what it's like, makes you feel less crazy. It's not just you doing something wrong. If you think you might harm your baby or yourself, seek professional help immediately, and please don't feel ashamed about it. 

When colic ended, it was slow and subtle at first, each day was just a little less crying than the previous. Then it was just a painful and distant memory.

How have you dealt with colic?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for leaving some love!

You may also like:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...