When I was expecting my first born I was so excited to finally become a mom while at the same time completely delusional about what my maternity leave would be like. I had plenty of friends who were already moms so it wasn’t like I was completely nieve about the lack of sleep and tremendous change in lifestyle my husband and I would face. Yet still I pictured calm moments where we could nap together. I planned on being an amazing breast milk producer and packing my fridge with it for the days I went back to work. I had a few household projects I wanted to take care of too. Also given my job I planned on checking in with work quite a bit too. Delusional all.
Zachary had an easy birth but after week five he stopped being that ‘easy, sleepy baby’ we thought he was. He had lungs and he liked to use them. A lot. Breastfeeding wasn’t a dream either. I was definitely not a big producer. For a good while we were all pretty sure his cranky demeanor was due do hunger. Thus began my pumping madness. In an effort to up my “production” I was feeding and then pumping. I was never napping. That’s for darn sure. I was also spending loads of that time trying to soothe my little guy. Reading books, doing household projects. Fat chance! When I admitted to friends that he was challenging me they had loads of suggestions: the swing, going for walks, a bouncy seat, baby wearing. I tried them all. I modified my diet thinking maybe the foods I was eating were affecting my breast milk. Nope that did nothing too.
Eventually, I started supplementing with formula. No change. At the witching hour and then well into the night he would be inconsolable. After I started supplementing at least I knew he wasn’t a screamer because he was hungry. At week ten my auntie came through town. I’m pretty sure she thought I didn’t know what I was doing or was exaggerating about my little Zack. She said she was the expert and I needed to take a break. I think she basically pushed me a little on my way out the door. Four hours later when I got back I knew wasn’t just fussy because of me or my ineptitude. She had one word for me: Colic.
Started a deep dive on research about Colic and eventually checked in with my pediatrician about it too. Although all babies use crying as a form of communication when your baby is crying for lengthy periods of time for no reason (they aren’t hungry, wet, too hot or too cold) frequently the diagnosis is colic. While the specifics of the cause is unknown but it is frequently tied to digestive discomfort. I also learned I wasn’t alone 3 in 10 babies are colic-y and for most excessive crying began at week six. Ah ha, my son was ‘advanced’.
Below are some of the tips and remedies we tried. Some days they worked some days they worked, some days they worked in combination, some days nothing worked. He grew out of it at about 5 months. Most babies grow out of it between 3 and 4 months. Grrr he was delayed.
One of my new mom friends recently let me know about Gerber® Soothe products to help soothe colic-y babies and reduce cry times. They come in two formulas one for breastfed babies (Gerber® Soothe Colic Drops) and one for formula fed babies (Gerber® Good Start® Soothe Infant Formula). Research indicates that the type of bacteria in the infant’s intestine may determine whether a child is colicky. This suggests a role for probiotics to help support a balance of good bacteria in the digestive tract of colicky infants. In particular, the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri has been clinically shown in multiple studies to reducing crying time in colicky infants. Both types of GERBER® Soothe products (Drops and powder formula) contain L. reuteri is a probiotic that is safe for infants and naturally found in breastmilk. I so wish I had had this as another tool in my arsenal.
- Walk, walk, walk. Place the baby in a carrier on your tummy (facing either way…whichever works). Now bounce and walk away. If you can try outside.
- Go for rides in the car.
- Swaddle your little one nice and tight.
- Try a baby swing.
- Try a bouncy chair.
- Try the colic carry. Face your little one down over your forearm. The head is supported by your hand. The gentle pressure on their tummy might help release some pent up gas.
- Put a warm washcloth on your baby’s tummy.
- Try a warm bath.
- Move your baby’s legs like they are peddling a bike. This could also help release gas.
- If you are breastfeeding cut out irritating foods like onions, broccoli, garlic, maybe even dairy.
- Try Gerber’s help line . 1-800-203-4565. They have experts available (Registered Dietitians, Certified Lactation Consultant and Certified Baby Sleep Consultant) to answer any questions
- Talk to your doctor. They might be more up to date on additional colic research.
What are your formula for happiness tips for dealing with a colic-y baby?