That’s right, I am talking about SEVERE colic.
Not the ‘Oh my baby is fussy for a few hours in the evening’ or even the ‘my baby screamed for an hour last night’.
I’m talking about the baby who is always screaming and fussy when he’s not nursing. Who will stay awake until he falls asleep mid-scream.
To the dad who walks his baby around the house in tears for two hours as his baby screams, enduring the mental agony of helplessness both for his wife and his newborn child.
To the mom who smiles and laughs least she cry in gut wrenching distress unable to be heard above the screams of her baby.
To the parents who do in fact get less than 3 hours of sleep per night and never without a child in their arms.
To the person of aching muscles only understood by those who have held a baby in the bathroom for 3 hours straight unable to move a muscle, lest the child who you love wake up and lose the little sleep they desperately need. To the mom whose eyes shed as she stares at the bags under her baby’s eyes unable to force them closed despite how hard she tries.
To the parents who listen to countless pieces of well intended though ignorant advice of parents who don’t really understand the situation though they think they do.
To trying every idea anyway just in case it could possibly be a magic cure. To the feelings of failure that rip at your soul when your significant other goes back to work and you are left cold calling friends and family to hold him for a few hours lest you accidentally drop your child.
To the confusion felt with every “sleep” article you read about putting your baby down drowsy, or that they are only meant to be awake for an hour at a time.
To the panic you go through knowing your very survival depends on a collection of shaky crutches that could get kicked out from under you at any time.
To the guilt you feel as you miss church again but can’t go because you didn’t get enough sleep to make it safely. And then the immense guilt you feel when you go and it works out fine so you feel as though you were just making up excuses.
To the dad who’s devastated he can’t take a breastfeeding session to give the mom a break.
And to the baby who tries anyway.
To the mom who’s body can’t heal because the child’s constant cluster feeding causes your hormones to be imbalanced.
To the mom who feels faint rocking her child and is unsure if she’ll be able to go out and get the mail.
To the mom who’s struggling through the elimination diet who hasn’t had a sip of caffeine in weeks because she feels like she has to breastfeed, because it’s the only thing that can consistently keep her baby from screaming.
To the 3 am runs to the store for any baby remedy that claims to help colic. To the extensive research on the safety of those products. To the hour after you give your baby gripe water for the first time after reading the warning labels as you wait for your child to have an extreme allergic reaction.
To finally resorting to co-sleeping even though you swore you never would. To laying awake with your baby on your chest pleading with God to let him live despite co-sleeping.
To staying awake listening to your child breathing. Triple checking their nose and mouth for the thousandth time.
To that odd night where your baby sleeps at 9 or 11 and you can’t sleep since your current schedule is 4am-11am, so you lay awake wondering if you are squandering the only shot you had at sleep that night.
To the mom who leaves the pediatrician’s office owing 105 dollars with her heart shattered as the doctor suggests things that will never work, won’t listen to understand, and just says the “colic” word over and over and over again.
To the mom who wants to scream as loud as she can because if one more person says he’s cluster feeding and it’ll be over in twenty four hours, or that he has colic and that a 2 hour break from screaming means he’s not in pain. To the baby who screams so hard he learns to walk.
To the parents who’s light at the end of the tunnel is that your college aged baby won’t be nursing to sleep in his dorm room.
To the first nap he takes outside your arms. To the first time he opens his eyes after you lay him down and he goes back to sleep. To the small victories.
Every time your child goes to sleep before 4am or goes back to sleep after less than 5 hours awake. Or to the first night they feed for an hour and a half and go back to sleep without screaming!
To the huge satisfaction you get out of letting your spouse sleep while you also feel jealous it wasn’t you and won’t be you for months.
To the nights he’ll fall asleep with Daddy so you can sleep on your stomach for two hours which you’ve been dying to do since you got pregnant. I understand. I’ve been there. And I know it’s hell.
Things to Try to help your baby:
1. Nutramigen Formula. If your baby, like mine, is allergic to literally everything then I would highly recommend trying them on Nutramigen Formula. The bottle doesn’t say
exactly what it is, but the two primary ingredients are corn syrup solid and vegetable oil. It is also partially digested. YUMMMM!
Within 48 hours of being on this formula the screaming stopped entirely. Within 2 weeks he started taking naps voluntarily after being awake about an hour. It was a life saver! What I would do if I were you is try the formula for at least a week, and pump during that time. If it cures your baby like it did ours you can just leave them on it, or you can try the elimination diet and continue breast feeding.
We left him on the formula and are so glad we did.
2. Try the Elimination Diet. You can find plenty of medical articles on this but here’s the gist of it. Sometimes baby’s stomachs have a hard time digesting difficult-to-digest things. For example, cows milk. Start there then try ditching caffeine.
I was very skeptical of this at first because my baby didn’t have any severe symptoms. No rashes, throwing up or anything like that. On the outside my baby was perfect, gaining weight and looking good.
But after a week and a half off of dairy, the inconsolable screaming stopped. He could be helped to calm down without a breast and sometimes even without mom. Give this a try because who knows, it could be your golden ticket out of here.
3. Colief. If your baby is dairy sensitive this stuff can break down the milk some and ease discomfort. Great for helping your baby if you went on the elimination diet and forgot to check a label one day.
4. Buy a Rock and Play. It’s like the only thing out there with an incline that’s deemed safe even by the fear mongering haters. You can get them for thirty dollars or less from a consignment shop. We usually put a fuzzy blanket over it so that it can be softer and it makes an excellent back-drop for pictures!
5. Mylicon Gas Drops. These can help your baby pass gas which could be an issue. (Simethicone is the generic name is tons cheaper. If you want my opinion try Mylicon first. It tastes better and has a better dropper. If it helps get the cheap stuff and use the expensive dropper.)
6. Gripe Water. This is similar to a gas drop. Try out both see which works better for your baby.
To the parents in the pits of despair, from the mama who’s been through it but got 10 hours of
sleep last night. You can do this, you can make it, your baby will always be worth it.