Wednesday, August 12, 2009

surviving colic

The first couple of weeks after we brought our little guy home from the hospital were a breeze. He nursed and slept… slept and nursed. The whole newborn thing was a piece of cake… or so I thought. I clearly remember telling someone on the phone, “I can’t believe how easy this all is!” Then one day it all changed… drastically.

It was right around our little guy’s third week. My husband had to be in NYC for business so he was off early for the day. I got up with the baby, ready for another day of nursing, sleeping, changing, repeat. The baby had an entirely different idea for the day. The crying started mid-morning… and progressed to inconsolable screaming shortly thereafter. I tried all that I could think of to soothe him… breast, rocking, pacifier, swaying, stroller ride, and so on. Nothing worked. After three plus hours of crying, and countless calls to my husband demanding that he come home now, I called the pediatrician. I explained to the nurse the morning we were having, and she told me, “It sounds like it could be the beginning of colic.” That dreaded word. No, it absolutely was not colic. It had to be something else. Being convinced that there had to be something wrong, I made an appointment to bring him in.

There was nothing “wrong”… it was colic… and it wasn’t going away anytime soon.
To say dealing with colic is a challenge is an understatement. It is hard… very hard. The worst we experienced was eight hours of straight crying. I remember moments of complete physical and emotional exhaustion where I would put the little guy in his bouncer… still crying of course… and just curl up on the floor next to him and cry myself. As a mother, it is incredibly difficult to not be able to soothe your child. All you want to do is make it all better.

Determined to at least make my son as comfortable as possible and to lessen the colic (and resulting crying) to whatever degree I could, I sought out every tip and trick I could find. My first move was to make drastic changes to my diet (since I was breastfeeding). I cut out all dairy, acidic and spicy foods. I started seeing almost immediate results. I turned to music and rhythmic motion. One of the best tricks we learned (actually a favorite of my husband’s) was to bounce on an inflated exercise ball, while holding baby. We bounced for hours! We never tried the car seat on top of the dryer trick (which some moms swear by!), but we did on occasion find ourselves on extended destination-less drives through our neighborhood. The sound and vibration of the engine running would usually calm the little guy down… key word being usually. Night after night and week after week, my husband and I took turns swaying and shushing, rocking and walking.

All the books tell you the same things… there is no real known cause for colic… there is no real no known cure for colic… and that more often than not it is gone by three months. I was cautious in believing the last point, but maintained hope that it was true. Thankfully, for us, it was. Almost as quickly as it started, it subsided. Seemingly overnight, our little guy was a whole new baby.
Even though he is just ten months now, those times now seem like a distant memory. I have to really think back to remember how difficult it was. He is such a happy and easy-going baby, full of smiles and giggles. He brings more joy to our lives than we could have ever dreamed possible.

Colic is hard… very hard. While going through it, one might wonder how they are ever going to survive it… but they will… and it will all be worth it.

4 comments:

Theta Mom said...

You poor thing! I can't even imagine how draining that must be. You are already functioning on lack of sleep and that drama just adds to the mix. Glad to hear you both went through it successfully and that he is thriving. :)

badmommymoments said...

Oh my goodness, I can't imagine what that must have been like. It must have been amazing when it stopped.

And hey, if you could get through that, 2's and 3's will be a breeze!

Sophia's Mom said...

Colics are terribly frustrating for both baby and mommy!

Thank goodness that episode has passed.

One thing that worked like a charm for us was Mylicon drops! I swear by those. I didn't try the carseat on the dryer because I've read in a lot of places that it just isn't safe.

I have a blog award for you on my blog.

http://wannabeworkathomemommy.blogspot.com

KimmyD said...

I had a girlfriend that had a baby that was colic and I remember what she went through. When I was pregnant, I prayed that the baby would be not colicky. I was exhausted as it was I can't imagine having to go through that.