If you’ve never had to deal with colic, get on your knees now & thank the Lord above. Believe me, there are about 10000000 other things I’d rather endure than hours upon hours of a screaming-til-she’s-red-in-the-face-and-sweating baby who can’t seem to be helped. We’re 9 weeks in now, and I’ve learned a thing or two about helping our sweet girl with her 24/7 belly ache and, in turn, how to make parenting more bearable. Ready? Write this down:
Buy wine and lots of it.
Just kidding. Well… kind of. It’s like the louder she screams, the tighter my shoulders become, and a glass of wine here and there definitely seems to make them feel a little less like concrete.
Anyway, here’s what actually helps:
- Invest in Dr. Brown’s bottles
These bottles were praised long before our sweet Ellie was ever even considered. If you’re not familiar with them, they have a vent system to reduce the amount of air baby takes in when he/she eats. They’re kind of a pain to wash because of all of the pieces, but I would personally rather wash 5 trillion parts than listen to a screaming baby day in and day out.
My cousin has a special needs preemie who had some intense bouts with reflux and, in turn, colic. There were days that he was absolutely inconsolable for hours on end when I babysat him. Eventually, they invested in these magical bottles and it was like the little dude did a complete 180. We switched from the special bottles for breastfed babies to Dr. Brown’s when Ellie was about 3 weeks old because we’d endured about as many all day long fuss fests we could stand and it was a game changer! I found an entire box of these at a yard sale in the spring and only paid $2 for them. Why you ask? They belonged to a friend of the woman who was hosting the yard sale. The friend was supposed to help price & set up, but didn’t. The woman hosting the sale was NOT happy with her friend and sold everything that belonged to her dirt cheap. Her loss, my gain. Buy some! You probably won’t get 6 for $2, especially if you buy them new, but they’re worth it.
- Take that baby to the chiropractor
This was recommended to me by a friend who uses natural remedies for everything and swore that taking Ellie to a chiropractor would help. Guess what? IT DID! Prior to having her adjusted, she positively despised the car seat and if she was awake during the day, she was also screaming. I was at my wits end and ready to leave her on someone’s doorstep, so I called them and they worked her in the same day. As it turns out, Ellie’s lower back was out of alignment, which explained her disdain for diaper changes & car seats. She became much more tolerable to be around following our visits to Dr. Vincent. Some people will argue that this was the placebo effect, but even those who weren’t stuck listening to her screaming 24/7 agreed that she seemed to be in a better mood. That was putting it lightly.
- Buy some Mommy’s Bliss gripe water
I didn’t have any idea what this stuff was until we had Ellie, but let me tell you, it works. It was recommended by pretty much every parent that Mr. Cooper works with, so once he began talking about The Banshee (our loving nickname for Ellie) at work, they all insisted we invest in some. According to What to Expect, gripe water is, “an over-the-counter liquid supplement of sodium bicarbonate and herbs (such as fennel, ginger, chamomile, cardamom, licorice, cinnamon, clove, dill, lemon balm or peppermint, depending on the formula). In addition to soothing colic, it’s marketed as a remedy for teething pain, hiccups and flatulence, among other ailments.”
We use Mommy’s Bliss because it uses a lot of natural ingredients (and I had a coupon for it) and we haven’t been disappointed by it!
- Have him/her checked for a tie
From the beginning, Ellie struggled with latching during breastfeeding. Often times, once she was finally on the breast, she had trouble staying on the breast. By the end of week 1, I had bleeding nipples, a screaming newborn, and I was about 30 seconds away from completely losing it. As it turns out, Ellie has a posterior tongue tie which means she can extend her tongue out, but she is still restricted with moving the center of her tongue which is critical for eating, both on the boob & the bottle. Signs of ties include excessive fussiness & excessive gas, milk runs out of the baby’s mouth, they tend to have reflux, etc. Prior to formula being introduced, midwives & doctors would check for ties immediately after birth and clip it. Following formula, however, the percentage of breastfeeding mommas plummeted and so the practice of clipping the ties died out too because it wasn’t as noticeable if momma wasn’t suffering with shredded nipples. You’ll need to see an IBCLC or someone on this list to get an accurate diagnosis & revision. There will probably be another post on this topic alone ’cause I could go on for days with this one!
- Swaddle that little munchkin into submission
We refer to Ellie’s swaddle me as her baby straight jacket. She originally didn’t seem to be fond of being swaddled, but there was one night that she fought her sleep from 10PM to 2AM, and when I say ‘fought’ I mean she was physically kicking & swinging her tiny arms to keep herself awake. Once I finally realized what she was doing, I wrapped her up like a baby burrito, poked a paci in her mouth and rocked her while patting her butt (what is it with babies and butt patting, anyway?). Ten minutes later, she was done, praise the Lord! She manages to Houdini her way out of every swaddle attempt with her muslin swaddle blankets, so we have to use the swaddle me because of the velcro to keep her wrapped up tight.
You know how everyone tells you, “Sleep when the baby sleeps!”? It’s easier said than done, but they’re right. I was used to my routine, used to having a (mostly) clean house, and sleeping in my bed when I was good & ready for it. Things change when you have a kid because they do not give a rip about your preferences. I learned the hard way that you have to have different priorities when you have a little one. Things still have to get done when you have a baby and you’re going to be the one doing it because those energy-siphoning little monsters aren’t going to pull their own weight for a good while. My advice? Pick what absolutely has to get done (i.e. food, doing enough laundry to have clothes to wear & a towel to dry off with, showering) and let everything else wait. Will you be able to sleep every time the baby sleeps? No. But I was amazed at what even a little power nap did for my sanity. And sometimes, it’s just not worth even moving the kid. Sleep when you can, where you can, even if it means spending all night in the same position on the couch.
If you read this post because you’re currently dealing with a baby who has colic, momma (or daddy) my prayers are with you! The good news is colic typically peaks at 6 weeks & slowly tapers off until it’s gone (usually) by 12 weeks, but Lord have mercy, those feel like the longest weeks of all time. Hang in there, we’re on our way out and I can say that it really does get better! (And the wine does help in the mean time 😉 )
Have suggestions of your own? Comment below!