Colic. You cruel, cruel mistress.
If you’re anything like me you worked diligently (and rather enjoyably) trying to get pregnant. You then proceeded to hate the first three-four months of insane nausea, but promptly following this period of hell developed a healthy pregnancy sweat (they call it a glow, HA!) and could not wait to meet the bundle of joy you worked so hard to make. Oh man, the shopping, the planning, in my case the crocheting (don’t judge me, old-lady crafting helps me relieve stress and anxiety, I’m not 80 years old I swear), all that hype and excitement. Lets ignore labour for the sake of this particular blog post and go on to say “YAY baby is born and he’s so awesome!” – that’s the first 24 hours. Then breastfeeding torment sets in and shortly afterwards
demons colic possesses your baby.
My amazing little squish turned into a shrieking blob who couldn’t tell me what he wanted, and was rather insistent that I dance around the house at all hours of the day and night in order to soothe him. Now you must understand, I had pictured myself to be a no-nonsense mama, the kind who could hold her own against any crying/tantrum/nonsense her future children would throw her way. HA HA – dumb-ass. I couldn’t handle the crying for even a second, I went into straight blown mommy fix it mode. What’s that saying? Men plan and god laughs? Well Moms dream of idyllic angels and then our newborns piss on us (projectile poop is also a thing).
So here I was – a new mom, way out of my depth. Needless to say the lack of sleep, and one of the top anxiety inducing factors for me – the inability to have control of the situation, definitely messed with me. So what did I do? I researched like a madwoman and tried every freaking method in the book to get my baby to chill so I could get like 5 seconds of shuteye PLEASE.
Here are a few things that worked, or at least helped us survive this stage:
The Teddy Bear
Now, this isn’t just a regular run of the mill teddy. Noooo, this is a heat pack teddy I bought for myself for the days when Aunt Flo the Ho would come to visit and my stomach would cramp up. Teddy is basically a stuffed animal with specially treated millet grains inside, you shove him in the microwave, and a minute later he comes out all nice, cozy, and warm. In a stroke of genius I decided to try it on my newborn (safety precautions were taken) – I figured if the kid was soothed when he was sleeping smack dab on top of my husband or myself, then heat seemed to help his belly. So I hand-me-downed my teddy.
This is the elephant version of our Teddy:
But you can also get something similar for less – with this plush toy, the microwavable part of him is actually removable so you’re not stuffing the entire toy in the microwave:
Now for safety reasons I obviously would NOT recommend plopping this thing directly on your newborn. Its much too heavy, and even though he was killing me slowly, I didn’t want to hurt the little guy – I’d spent way too much time growing him and then trying to get him out to squander the effort by squishing him. I would lay Asher on his side, roll up a blanket placed behind his back so he stayed on a slight angle, and then I would sit teddy (yes, sit him) right by Asher’s belly. The lying on his side position seemed to help with belly trouble, it prevented the back of his head from becoming flat (added bonus), and allowed me to gently place the heat pack by his stomach (never directly on the skin, always a clothing and blanket barrier). Voila, a solution was born… okay well not a solid solution, but it helped about 25% of the time, which was better than nothing.
By all accounts with all the squatting I was doing with my newborn, I should have had the arms and ass of a Goddess. Now you would think that this would be considered a win right? NOPE, not only do I hate working out (loser, I know), but I did not, in fact, end up with a gorgeous ass – I just ended up with carpal tunnel in my wrists and sore thighs. Warning: Sleep deprivation and squatting are not a safe combination! Enter – my wonderful new best friend, the Baby K’tan Breeze.
Baby K’tan Breeze Baby Carrier, Black, X-Small (Looks like its currently on sale, #winning)
I fervently started joining all the Baby Wearing groups on Facebook and decided that this was the best soft carrier option for me. It was stupid easy to use, and I didn’t have to juggle a newborn while figuring out how to wrap 500 meters of fabric around myself. It consists of two looks that are already sown together, so you just slip it over your head and slip baby in. Win, win. The K’tan kept my little-bundle-of-screaming-joy happy, but more importantly gave my arms a rest. Added bonus? I could get stuff done – like eat breakfast before 2pm!
I loved the Breeze model in particular because of it has a mesh and breathable side – let’s face it as convenient as baby wearing is, its freaking HOT, sweltering if you have a summer baby like I do. The mesh side of the carrier lets some fresh air in so Asher wasn’t boiled alive on our walks outdoors (parenting win).
Magic Elixir – or Colic Drops
Okay, I shouldn’t actually say that these were a Magic Elixir or some kind of miracle worker (I wish), my child still had fits of screaming and never slept, but I feel like it psychologically helped the entire family and did seems to soothe the little one for periods of time. It was like “hey, there’s a medicine for the reason my child is going nuts, lets use that!” – the act of doing something, ANYTHING, to actively help baby was empowering and reduced my anxiety.
Being the super paranoid new mama (anxiety disorder heightens the crazy in me people), I not only completely overhauled my cleaning supplies, detergents, and soaps, but I wouldn’t buy anything for my child that wasn’t natural or organic or deemed super safe. I became a pro at scouring ewg.org and ewg.org/skindeep/ for the safest products, and swore by mommy blogger gimmethegoodstuff.org, and obviously asked every single mother who was willing to answer my questions, before I bought ANYTHING my child would smell, touch, lick, or come within a 2 meter radius of.
I finally settled on Cocyntal baby colic treatment (which is a homeopathic remedy), and BioGaia Protectic Baby probiotic drops that work to promote healthy gut flora. Now, I personally suck when it comes to taking probiotics and vitamins, I never remember to do it and I never stick to the regimen, but anxious me made a point of not making that mistake with my baby (that or the exhaustion magically fueled a sense of profound responsibility in me). They seemed to help settle Asher’s tummy for however a short period of time, but they definitely helped.
(I wish they’d had a 2 pack of BioGaia on sale when I bought these, I paid like 50$ for 1 *face palm*)
Your kid, unless you have nerves of steel, is going to drive you crazy at this stage. As a result I found it was really important to remember to take care of myself. This is a concept which seems to be hard for all parents, but I think its especially hard for an anxious parent. You’re so fueled by your worry for this little life you’ve brought into the world, this nugget that you’re so insanely obsessed with (it’s a love hate relationship really) – you’re constantly questioning if taking time for yourself is too selfish. We have to remember that ‘if I’m losing it, who is taking care of the baby?’ It was this concern about my own sanity (insanity?) and ability to care for my child effectively, coupled with the support and prompting of my wonderful family, that got me to let go, even if for very short periods of time.
Don’t be scared to ask for help, if people are offering it, TAKE IT. Take some time for a bath, read a book, watch an episode of a TV show you’re probably 2 months behind on, get your parent/grandparent/neighbor (whoever you trust) to watch the baby, and go get your nails done (applies to dads on mat leave too, ain’t nothing wrong with a nice pedi)! Hell even just leaving the house to run a quick errand was like heaven for me! It made me feel so productive and fancy (yes, fancy, when you’re covered in baby pee and poo and breast milk 24 hours a day 7 days a week, taking a shower and leaving the house to run errands makes you feel down right FANCY). It’s not just about helping the baby with Colic, it’s about helping the parent (that’s you) get through this tough phase.
Remember guys – Colic is temporary, this too shall pass… and then you’ll just be on to the next shit show that comes with parenting!
What did you do to help your babe through their Colic? If I ever get brave enough to have another one I could sure use your tips and tricks!