Colic. You hear parents talking about it, but can never really understand it until you experience it for yourself. I once thought my firstborn had colic. She screamed for an hour. I was so naïve. As I went on to have more children, I thought I dodged the colic bullet. My babies were happy for the most part. Sure, they had their days they cried a little more than usual, but it wasn’t anything I could handle. Then I gave birth to my youngest. The first couple of weeks were ideal. She slept, ate, and slept some more. At about week three, she began crying at night and nothing I could do seemed to help. It started every single night around 7:00 like clockwork. She would cry and cry and cry until about midnight. With four other kids to take care of, I felt like I was failing. I couldn’t calm her down, I wasn’t helping them with homework or bedtime routines, and I wasn’t getting any sleep myself. I searched the internet for any ideas to help me find her (and myself) some relief. These are 5 things that really helped me survive those horrible colic weeks.
SWADDLE I learned how to swaddle my baby really well. When she was swaddled tight, she seemed to have a little more comfort. I would wrap her up and just walk around with her, singing and bouncing. There are tons of videos and websites where you can learn to do a tight swaddle just like the nurses at the hospital do.
WHITE NOISE With her swaddled, I found white noise helped quiet her down. First I just said “ssshhh” loudly near her ear over and over. Once I got tired of that (which was pretty quickly), I ran a hair dryer in our bathroom, while I walked her in circles. That seemed to do the trick. I often got her to finally fall asleep this way. I eventually bought a sound machine, but nothing worked as good as the hair dryer.
BABY WEAR One of my best purchases was a baby carrier. She was very content snuggled in a carrier close to my chest. It allowed me to have my hands free to start participating in night routines with my other children again. The downside to this was she had to be moving constantly or the crying would begin again. It was exhausting being on my feet, moving around all the time. I started bouncing gently on the exercise ball with her in the carrier to give my feet a break. It worked like a charm.
CHIROPRACTOR I had reservations on whether a chiropractor would help or not. However, I was at a point of desperation so I had nothing to lose. The first visit seemed so simple. It looked like she was basically rubbing her back, and it only took a few minutes. That very night, though, I saw a difference. My baby still cried and fussed, but it wasn’t as long, and it wasn’t as bad as it had been. It only got better from there. I took her to the chiropractor twice a week for a while, and then once a month. She always seemed to sleep the best the night after these visits.
PATIENCE I kept telling myself this won’t last forever. And it didn’t. It seemed to peak at 6 weeks, and by week 12 it was gone. In fact, it’s hard to remember how grueling that period was. At the time, I thought there is no way I could ever do this again. My older kids are lucky she wasn’t the first, or they might not be here. But now I think I could do it again. It wasn’t the end of the world, it didn’t last forever, and we survived.