Confessions from a mother of a somewhat colicky baby

Image © Beatricekillam from dreamstime.com

Image © Beatricekillam from dreamstime.com

I’m writing this post for myself as much as for other mothers of newborns.

I have a beautiful baby girl who from 6AM to 6PM loves to gaze into my eyes, smile, coo and even enjoys the dreaded tummy time so many newborns hate. At 10 weeks old, she actually has pretty good neck control pushing up to survey the world around her. I have a beautiful baby girl who from 6PM til midnight wails at the top of her lungs, cries, writhes in what appears to be pain, pulls her legs up and is generally inconsolable. It’s not every night that this happens, probably every other night. I’ve heard of colic, but everything I’ve read about it is mysterious and vague. Every first person account from parents living through colic is different. The symptoms of colic are difficult to pinpoint, every remedy and suggestion is different from doctor to doctor.

So you see, I’m not entirely sure what to call what our baby is experiencing. In fact, I don’t feel it needs to be labeled so much as just understood. But, I feel it helps some to attach a name to whatever it all is, so I will call it colic too. I’ve been told that when your baby has colic, you will know it, but still…hmmm….I don’t think it’s that cut and dry.

Our little family is on the way up. Her sleeps are lengthening and the nights of extended screaming are lessening every week. According to the elusive ‘them’ the formula for identifying colic is “Starts at 3 weeks, goes to 3 months. Crying for at least 3 hours a day, 3 days a week for 3 months.” Before Christmas, had you asked me if Monkey #2 fit this formula, I would have said yes. Now, not so much. So, though she does not fit the mold of the ‘classic’ colicky baby, this grey area she fits into is still taxing on everyone. I still hate seeing her cry, I hate hearing her screams, and I feel helpless when I can’t do anything to soothe her. It goes without saying that whatever she is going through on a physical level is not amusing. We are all losing sleep and as a result a little bit grumpier in the day. Not to mention that both Monkey #1 and Big Monkey are losing out on quality time with me and Monkey #2. Time that is instead spent rocking, soothing and shutting myself into dark rooms to calm her.

So, here I am before you typing to ask for your help. I don’t expect that I can actually make things better just by clicking my fingers but I’m hoping that by sharing ideas and stories we can reach someone who feels at their wits end. I feel as if mothers do not talk about colic as freely as they should. If your baby has colic does it mean you did something wrong in pregnancy? Are you eating something that is being transmitted in your breast milk to cause these problems? Likely the answer to both of those questions is no. It’s important to remember that this too shall pass. I’m testament to the notion that babies do grow out of these ‘problems’. Monkey #1 had horrendous reflux and gained weight slowly in his first 6 months, yet now at 4 he is in the 95th percentile for height and the 90th percentile for weight. Things do get better, and though you may be a zombiemom now, you will sleep again one day. And as Monkey #2 rounds in on 10 weeks of life, I am slowly starting to reclaim my evenings – yeah!

I have interesting ways of trying to console her while at the same time feeling as if I am doing something productive – squats while swinging her in my arms and serenading her with modified RnB songs are amongst my bag of tricks. Have you ever had a colicky baby? Do you know someone who has? What stories, suggestions and words of encoragement can you share?

Image thanks to © Beatricekillam 



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18 Responses to Confessions from a mother of a somewhat colicky baby
  1. Maegan
    January 13, 2012 | 1:54 am

    I’m so sorry to read this, I’ve heard colic is just nearly unbearable! Thankfully we didn’t experience that here … I don’t have any words of wisdom for you. But I’ll say a prayer this phase passes quickly, for her and you!

    • Ghada V
      Twitter: OMGhada
      January 15, 2012 | 9:10 pm

      Thanks Maegan, I know in the long run it will be a blimp in her lifetime – so I cling to that thought!

  2. Isra
    Twitter: thefrugalette
    January 13, 2012 | 1:56 am

    It does get better. But I will say, after becoming a mother I don’t think I’ll ever sleep well again, no matter how old they are. 😉
    Isra recently posted..10 Step Couponing: Step 4: Where to Find CouponsMy Profile

    • Ghada V
      Twitter: OMGhada
      January 15, 2012 | 9:17 pm

      you’re right, Isra. I don’t know if it’s ever good sleep, but at least a little longer than just 2-3 hour chunks!

  3. Kimberly
    January 13, 2012 | 2:18 am

    My daughter had colic and the only thing that helped her was changing her formula and giving her homeopathic colic drops her doc recommended. Within a week, she was a different baby. I know how hard colic is, I truly feel your pain. Talk to your doc to see if there’s anything that can help. Good luck and hang in there!

    • Ghada V
      Twitter: OMGhada
      January 15, 2012 | 9:24 pm

      Thanks for the tip. I am breastfeeding at the moment, so I do make sure that the latch on is correct – to rule out gas.

  4. The Maven
    Twitter: _themaven
    January 13, 2012 | 2:20 am

    I am with Isra.

    It does get better, slowly but surely. I think as mothers we beat ourselves up with things we could or should have done or be doing differently. I do. Every single day.

    The obvious things (to me at least, but I’ve done this twice now) are have you looked at what you are eating (assuming you are nursing – I know you’ve mentioned this but maybe it’s not colic but an allergy)? Does she sleep better on an incline? Have you tried chiropractic or massage for her (I swear with the right person it’s magical and not voodoo science at all)

    I am so sorry your sweetpea is in discomfort and you aren’t getting the rest you both need.

    I hope you find a solution soon!
    The Maven recently posted..The “R” WordMy Profile

    • Ghada V
      Twitter: OMGhada
      January 15, 2012 | 9:27 pm

      When my first born had reflux we took him to a cranial osteopath and it was a tremendous help. I don’t think we are at that stage yet though. I have tried the incline and it works sometimes, and not other times.
      Thanks for the advice. I think we are slowly coming to a solution. It is 9:25pm and she is sleeping soundly. We’ve switched to night time bathing, as opposed to morning and that’s helping to calm her and perhaps get rid of gas.

  5. Nicole (Mama to 4 Blessings)
    January 13, 2012 | 7:40 am

    My 2nd one had horrible colic too! I used to place him on my legs while I was sitting down with his tummy down and burp him or it you pull their legs gently up to their tummies that helps too.

    • Ghada V
      Twitter: OMGhada
      January 15, 2012 | 9:27 pm

      Thanks, Nicole. I forgot about cycling their legs. I used to do that with my first. Will have to try it with her.

  6. Carol @ Retail Therapy
    Twitter: retaillounge
    January 13, 2012 | 7:52 am

    I have not had to deal with this – but have had friends who have and just looking at the despair in their eyes mad me relate! Thanks for the post!

  7. Lena - @elenka29
    Twitter: elenka29
    January 13, 2012 | 10:03 am

    Feel for you. I think that was is stopping me from having #3
    Lena – @elenka29 recently posted..Swiss Cheese Theory Book ReviewMy Profile

    • Ghada V
      Twitter: OMGhada
      January 15, 2012 | 9:28 pm

      Go on, have another! LOL

  8. Ashleigh Walls
    Twitter: artsavesyou
    January 13, 2012 | 11:13 am

    My son had horrible gas for about a month after he was born. Everyone kept trying to say that it was colic but he didn’t fit the mold, but the crying was horrendous. As a first time mom I thought I did something wrong. I read everything I could and just tried to pin point what it was and did my best with the gas.

    Bicycle kicks and burping and all that fun stuff. I told myself everyday that this would eventually end. And around month 2 it did. I felt sort of robbed from him being a newborn that I didn’t get to enjoy him as much.

    All I can say is try your best to enjoy her when she is having her good times! I didn’t do that enough and I hate myself for that. Slowly but surely this will pass and all the fun and giggle time will begin. Hang in there mama!
    Ashleigh Walls recently posted..Just Guide me in the Right Direction, Please?My Profile

  9. Ghada V
    Twitter: OMGhada
    January 15, 2012 | 9:31 pm

    Yes! I am definitely taking the time to enjoy her in the daytime when she is smiling and cooing. I think as you said because she is my second I realize it’s crazy to obsess over what I’m eating, doing, etc…I did that with my first.

    Thanks, for the encouragement :)

  10. Leila
    January 16, 2012 | 4:38 pm

    Regardless of doctors saying that formula has nothing to do with it (yes, I unfortunately formula fed my first born) we switched her to a more sensitive formula (gentle ease) and she was fine after that.

    With my second born, I breastfed, but he would be super colicky if I ate anything tomato based. We learned it gave him gas/upset tummy so we would give him gripe water and I learned to stay away from tomato based foods.

    I am a firm believer that their colicky-ness (is that even a word!?) has to do with diet! Good luck mama!
    Leila recently posted..Social Splash Twitter & Facebook Weekly Blog HopMy Profile

  11. […] very easily, muscle memory and all that – my body knew exactly what to do. No reflux either, though in hindsight I do think she was colicky. But, I’ve found breastfeeding while also taking care of a toddler and working part-time to […]

  12. […] mama goes BAM that gave me flashbacks. Flashbacks I tell you!  The title of mama’s post is “Confessions from a mother of a somewhat colicky baby”. In the post, mama talks about her baby girl who is sweet and lovable during the day but at night, […]

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KiwiCanadian expat adventures with my husband and 2 kids from life in New Zealand to New York and back again. Adventures in inspired family living, travel, health & fitness.Read More »