Colic in Babies: Personal Experience and Coping Tips
Feb 5, 2022 I have two children - a daughter who is three and a son who is 10 months. Their pregnancies, labor/deliveries and personalities couldn't be more different.
I remember being around a young mom who’s son is about 6 months younger than my daughter. Her son had colic and was just miserable no matter what she did. I remember looking at my husband and saying, “wow, that must be a terrible existence.” I had NOOOOO idea that I’d be experiencing the same issues with our son!
Meeting My Son for the First Time
Our son was born on 6/19/19 at 4:45 a.m. He was a big boy – weighing 8 pounds 12 ounces and was 21.25 inches long. He was perfect and I loved him as soon as I saw his face!
Our daughter was able to take a pacifier right away and loved it. Nicholas was the complete opposite. No matter what we tried, he would gag and spit it out. I swear I purchased every nipple size, brand, make and model of pacifiers on the market and nothing worked.
The only thing that would pacify him for an extended period of time was me. I breastfed both of my children for 6 months. It is such a labor of love! Kudos to anyone who can make it past one year, but it just was not for me. I felt like a fat cow whose udders were always leaking at the most unfortunate of times.
Due to the fact that Nicholas wouldn’t take a pacifier, I was the only thing that could get him to fall asleep and keep calm. As frustrating as it was, it did pass when I stopped breastfeeding.
Enter Colic Symptoms
The first couple nights home with Nicholas, we knew that he was going to be a challenging kid. Although he slept well at night for us, typically 3-4 hour stretches right away, he was super fussy all day and just seemed uncomfortable.
He’d cry for no reason, even if he was changed, fed and just woke up. I also felt like he spit up quite frequently. Looking back, I don’t think it was any more than a normal baby, but I was looking for something to blame the colic on and that was the easiest thing; acid reflux.
Our pediatrician did put him on medication, but that didn’t improve his mood. We eventually weaned him from that knowing that it wasn’t acid reflux that was his issue.
Boost Your Child’s Speech Development!
Improve language & communication skills with fun learning!
I thought, well maybe it’s gas. This boy could and still does poop and fart with the force and stink of a grown adult. With that thought in my head, I proceeded to buy Amazon out of Gripe Water and probiotic drops.
Did those drops work? Not really. He still screamed and fussed with no end in sight. Our friends and family told us it was because he was the second and we had a double whammy because he was a boy. Is that true? I have no idea. I will say, from what I’ve seen, the second child does seem to be the bigger challenge, BUT I’m not a scientist and haven’t done research on the topic.
How Did We Deal
I wish I could tell you that it was easy, but it wasn’t. There were days where our patience was so short. On top of not getting enough sleep, we were trying to keep our daughter entertained and happy.
It was hard.
I always tell everyone that I was glad I had postpartum depression with my daughter and not my son, because I’m not sure how I would’ve dealt with his personality.
Don’t blame yourself or your baby for the crying — colic is nobody’s fault. Try to relax, and know that your baby will outgrow this phase.KidsHealth.org
Here are some things that we did to keep our sanity for those first 9-10 months:
- Rely on family. I have wonderful in-laws that are close to us and I relied on them frequently to watch the kids. It gave my husband and I a little break to sleep, recharge and refocus.
- Cry it out. Now, listen, I know a lot of people are going to disagree with me and that’s okay. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it did for us. On those days when Nicholas was super fussy and I knew that all his needs were met, we let him cry. I’d leave him in his crib for 5 minutes and I’d go outside and take a nice deep breath. The truth is – I am a better mom when I am calm and collected. There were times I couldn’t get him because I was angry or upset that he was so fussy all of the time.
- Get checked out by a doctor. We did take Nicholas and made sure nothing medical was going on such as food allergies. I cut dairy out of my diet, nuts and seeds, everything that could’ve caused him discomfort. Once everything checked out okay, we went to other options like gripe water to help.
- Take shifts. There were many times where my husband would take the main shift with Nicholas and then I would take the next shift. This got easier once I stopped breastfeeding because he could get the bottle during the night. If you’re exclusively pumping and dealing with colic, try and pump enough for a bottle and let your husband/partner take a night shift. You’d be surprised how much a little more sleep helps with your mood and patience the next day.
- Make sure you are taking care of yourself. Drink plenty of water and eat nutritious food. If your body doesn’t have proper fuel, it won’t be able to deal with the marathon that is mom/dad life.
As with any stage, please know that it gets better. Nicholas is 10 months and although he is still quite fussy (darn teething), he has improved since he was able to crawl.
The moments with our kids are fleeting and I’ve been told by parents who have older children that we will want these days back and will wish for these problems because with older kids come bigger problems.
Good luck and hang in there!