Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Advice for Mommas with Colicky Babies



I started writing this post in the height of Schaeffer's colic.  Because I took my own advice (see #5 below) of "only do that which is necessary" I put this post on hold.  He will be one year old on Saturday and I feel like I'm just now coming out of a fog.  It has been a VERY long year.
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Having a baby with colic has made me much more sympathetic to parents of fussy babies. A crying baby is very stressful.  Baby #3 has rocked my world in many ways.  My pregnancy with him was exhausting but nothing like his first three months of life.

If he was awake, he was crying.  Hard.  Loud.  Crying like he was in pain.  The first three months of Schaeffer's life was a very difficult time.  A time that I do not want to ever re-live. I would not wish colic on my worst enemy.

I'm writing this post to myself, with hopes of remembering what worked for us.  The first chapter of second Corinthians says that we are comforted by God in our afflictions so that we may comfort others in theirs.  If you know someone with a colicky (or very fussy) baby - please send them this post.


Dear Momma of a Colicky Baby,

Don't let guilt overwhelm you or think that you did something wrong in your pregnancy. I ate better with the third pregnancy and rested more than the other two combined!  No one really knows what causes colic nor is there a proven cure, other than endurance.  Below is my list of advice to you, though in no particular order.

1. Accept help when your friends ask.  Pride is a brutal thing.  It took several weeks of the crying for me to realize I needed to accept help.

2. Eat out as much as your budget will allow.  Rather, buy take-out because, who wants to take a crying baby to a restaurant?!  When you've reached the limits of the budget, borrow money from your friends who want to help.

3. Ask for meals from anyone.

4. Let the house work go.  Do the minimum - or less.  I didn't vacuum the upstairs of my house for 4 months (and it probably would have been longer had not my mother done it for me when she was here just after Baby was born.)

5. Survival is eating, breathing and sleeping.  Everything else is extraneous.  Let someone else cook for you (see #1-3).

6. Don't  try to "schedule" this baby.  If you get him to sleep, let him sleep.  There will be plenty of time later to work on a routine.

7. Stay home. Crying is stressful enough when there's not an audience or random people giving you  unsolicited advice - advice that is probably wrong.

8. Listen to advice with a grain of salt from well meaning people who haven't had a colicky baby.

9. Get a babysitter. Pay them well.  Or, ask a friend (who's not afraid of the crying) to come over to stay with baby for a few hours just so you can get out of the house.  I had a few friends do this for me and it was so life giving!

10.  Do what's easy. It's about survival. (See #5 - eat, breathe, sleep is survival.)

11. Try everything or not.  Lots of people told me to cut out dairy (because I was nursing).  And chocolate.  And coffee.  I tried all those but it didn't minimize the crying.  I tried so many new things with this baby that I didn't try with my other two children.

12. Baby wearing was one of the things I tried with #3.  I didn't "wear" my first two kids.  Baby wearing seemed to soothe him. However it came at a cost: it was physically exhausting for me.  Shall I remind you he weighed almost 11 pounds at birth?!  At first we used a Bjorn (but it's not very comfortable for the adult), then I used a Moby wrap (but it is hot and time consuming to put on).  I eventually bought a Boba carrier at a consignment shop (similar to Ergo) and I love it, wish I'd purchased sooner.

13.  Take it one hour at a time, one day at a time.  Remember it should only last 3 months.  Not forever.  Don't let yourself think, "I can't do this for 2 more months!!!"  Instead, say to yourself, "I can do this for 5 more minutes."  Or, "I can do this until nap time."

Other things that worked for me:

- Reading The Happiest Baby on the Block and using the 5 S's.  Actually, I watched it on DVD while nursing and borrowed the copy from my library.
- Swaddling and shushing
- Chiropractics seemed to help in the beginning.  He was adjusted by Dr. Traci Bishop Kiernan at Natural State Health.  She is a chiropractor who is familiar and comfortable with adjusting babies.
- Bought this sound machine to make continuous shushing noise.  'Cuz once that baby is asleep, I don't want NOBODY waking him up.
- When not being held, he was in the swing almost continuously for 3 months.  No lie.
- Watch TV (or movies on computer) with earbuds while holding crying baby.  It helped the time to pass quicker.  I watched seven SEASONS of one show among several other things.  The nights were the worst.  He would cry unconsolable from about 7pm-1am.

This week we celebrate his first birthday.  It has taken a whole year to write this post because I've been following my own advice: survival is eat, breathe, and sleep.

I'm sure this list is only the beginning of things that Mr. Schaeffer will teach me in his lifetime.

1 comment:

Erica MomandKiddo said...

Oh my goodness! Thankfully neither of my babies were colicky but I always knew when my neighbor was trying to console hers because she would leave the dustbuster on while he was sleeping!

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