Yes, there is a way to survive and you can find light at the end of this tunnel. I am not going to tell you what dozens of people told me, “it gets better.” Hearing those three words didn’t make it better. I will tell you that I am not a medical expert and these are the tips that worked best for my family.
How to survive:
1. It is okay to set the screaming infant in a safe place and walk away. You need to do this. I would do this at about 2 to 3 a.m. and then I would walk outside on my front porch and pray. I begged God to kill me. I admit it. Postpartum depression combined with the helplessness to make things better for my child caused me to feel like a failure. I wasn’t failing my child. I was failing myself for not believing I was strong enough to overcome this struggle. You are strong enough.
2. Quit playing formula roulette. This game probably intensified the colic. I can’t speak on breastfeeding because I was not able to breastfeed due to secondary hypertension. I had to take medicines to keep myself healthy and those medicines would seep into my breast milk. So I knew I was gonna bottle feed from the start. What I didn’t know was that there are like a million different formulas each touting a special benefit for your newborn. I tried them all. With colic there is no magic bullet, you have to set your child on one formula and that is the only thing you should ride out. When full blown colic set in, this was the formula our pediatrician recommended and it brought some relief. It is also one of the most expensive and it smells like wet dog food. But it worked.
Now, there is one key word on this formula label that is going to save your life. Which brings me to survival tip #3.
3. Probiotics. We’ve all seen the commercials with Jamie Lee Curtis selling yogurt. This is the same principle. They make probiotics for babies. If the baby has belly problems, it is in their gut. Boil it down to this logical explanation. A baby was use to getting natural nutrients inside of mommy, and now you are introducing foreign substances to the baby’s belly. The belly is not equipped to handle these substances yet. You need to help their bellies by first building their bellies. Upon leaving my pediatrician’s office, I immediately went out and bought this product.
This is also expensive. And be forewarned, your child is gonna poop like they have never pooped before. It took a week before I noticed he wasn’t crying till 7 a.m. anymore. It lessened the colic down to 2 to 3 a.m. He was beginning to build his gut. In two weeks, we had an entirely different baby.
4. Have a talk with yourself, then have a talk with your baby. One of the best things I did during Colic Hell was pep talk myself. I had a five minute talk with myself. I told myself that I am the only mother this baby was going to have and I have to always be there for him. Then on a night where colic was setting in and he was screaming in pain, I told him that no matter what I would always hold his hand. I still hold his hand over a year later when he falls asleep. I apologized that his belly hurt and I told him that one day his belly wouldn’t hurt so much. I told him that we would get through this together. And we did get through it together.
5. Rely on family. You will reach a breaking point. Sleep deprivation is an awful disorienting state to live in. I am and was blessed with a wonderful mother in law who would come over and sit with our baby so my husband and I could sleep for an hour or so. It is okay to ask for help because you need the help.
6. Anything that is store bought labeled to help colic is a lie. You have now been told. The gripe water, the Colic Calm or any product associated with colic only intensified the symptoms in my opinion. Colic Calm stained everything and only provided what we felt was a longer and more intense night of Hell.
7. Common sense. This comes in the forms of baths. The warm water will calm the baby, the belly and it allows you to bond with your child. You are providing a basic need and you do not feel like a failure. Another great commons sense bonding tool to help colic is belly rubs. Rub your child’s belly clockwise. I made this a game and each time I would move my hand around his belly I would say “I love you” in different funny voices. It made me feel useful and the warmth does help the belly aches.
You are gonna make it. And Colic Hell will come to an end. And in the end do you know what happens? You become a stronger mother. You are able to look at your child and say “honey, we’ve been through worse.” Because you remember Colic Hell and you survived it. And when it is done, you will have a baby that isn’t red faced and hurting, your child can and will look like this: