“One day you’re going to look at him and think, ‘I really love him.'”
These were the well-meaning words that Fox’s pediatrician spoke to me at his 1 month check-up. I was shocked, confused, a little miffed, but mostly sad. All I could do was bow my head in shame that, to this woman, I must somehow be conveying that I don’t truly love my son.
Fox had been crying non-stop. It started at two weeks old where he cried every night around dinnertime for 5 hours straight. When Fox was three weeks old Tyler went back to work, coinciding with a new wave of troubles beginning with an increase of nonstop painful screams, this time from roughly 5:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. No naps, no breaks. I soon learned that he had colic.
Being home alone without access to any friends or family to help me, continuing to work my stressful full-time job from home, and struggling with physical and emotional recovery while trying to figure out how to be a new mom was earth-shattering. My husband felt helpless, I felt alone, and Fox was miserable.
The oddest part was that Fox smiled while he cried. I could tell in his eyes that he wanted so badly to be happy, but his little body was failing to comply.
I never thought colic would be something I would have to deal with so I was completely unprepared. I did some research and found that 3 out of 10 babies will suffer from colic at some point.
Even though there’s no scientific cure for colic, I found ways through trial and error to get through nearly five months of incessant crying. Here are some tips to managing colic and the emotional waves that come along with.
Even if for only a few minutes, the fresh air always helped Fox calm down. Our backyard is filled with palm trees which quickly became his favorite to watch sway in the breeze and he giggled whenever he’d watch me pick a tangerine from the tree, eat a section, and spit the seeds into the air!
Find Your Happy Place
When my husband got home from work he would immediately take Fox and I would retreat to my craft room to silently pour myself into a jigsaw puzzle and reruns of The Office. The mixture of Dunder Mifflin humor and the shift of focus from non-stop mama to a mindless activity really helped to pull me away from my thoughts for a moment.
Ask for Help
I’m guilty of failing at this step. We don’t have a soul here in San Diego to watch Fox, so Tyler and I are constantly leaning on each other to take turns. Don’t be weary of asking friends and family to drop by for an hour or two while you nap or shower.
Write It Out
Believe it or not, this blog is a product of colic! It was important to me to keep my creativity fresh and break away from baby talk and diapers and remember who I am as a person, not just as a mama.
Don’t Push Your Limits
If you have a colicky baby, it may not be the best season in your life to sit down at a nice restaurant or stay at that swanky boutique hotel. We tried both of those things and I can tell you now, tears were shed and not just by the baby. Don’t add the unnecessary stress – no one is going to get a bite to eat. The only thing you’re going to get are some icy glares.
Consider Switching Brands of Formula
When push came to shove, I decided to switch up Fox’s formula. As soon as his gut flora took notice, his crying rapidly improved. Although, the real game changer was when we were recommended Gerber Soothe Colic Drops. Gerber Soothe products contain L. reuteri, a probiotic that reduces crying time in colicky infants according to multiple studies. This is the same probiotic that is naturally found in breastmilk. From there, Fox transitioned to sleeping in his crib and we all felt a little better. By 4.5 months old his colic had completely disappeared and now it seems like everywhere we go we are complimented on how well-behaved he is. We simply had less crying, more smiling!
Fast forward to one of Fox’s most recent doctor’s appointments and his pediatrician warmly confirmed her hypothesis that now I know what true love feels like. The truth is, I’ve always loved my son more than words could describe. But now that we’re through the hard part and he’s nearly always smiling and laughing, I can truly enjoy being a parent.
Have you ever experienced colic within your family?