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?