Dealing with Colic

 
This picture of Ella was taken after her colicky days-hence-the peaceful image of her sleeping.

This picture of Ella was taken after her colicky days-hence-the peaceful image of her sleeping.

 

I thought I had done everything to prepare for my baby's arrival.  After all, I watched a ton of YouTube videos (approximately 15 a day during my last trimester), had experience with two nephews and a niece. I figured I knew the basic logistics of a newborn: make sure baby is (1) fed and (2) diaper is clean. In my mind, if those two elements were met, then baby should have been peacefully sleeping (all day, everyday, until they could walk and talk).

Well, I was wrong. As soon as my little bundle of joy arrived, I was bombarded with new terms that I didn't even know existed. First up, colic.

Starting from about 3 weeks to 12 weeks, my life was a blur. All I remember is crying. A lot of crying. Crying at all hours of the day. Crying for no reason. I'd be lying if I said I 100% remember what happened because I don't. I think my brain successfully redacted that period of time for my own sanity.

When I called Ella's pediatrician, he said she had colic. COLIC? What's colic? Is it a disease, a health condition? Is it a temporary tantrum? Is it gas? Is it stomach issues? Is it something that will ever go away? Is my life over?

I had no idea what colic was, so in typical fashion I resorted to my best friend, Google, to find out.

Well, the internet seemed to be just as lost as me. Colic was a mystery. It was defined as outbursts of unexplained crying, usually for more than 3 hours a day for 3 weeks. Here is what the internet had to say about its causes. Some websites and experts said colic was due to:

-an allergy in milk protein in formula fed babies. In my case Ella was breast fed.

-a reaction to something in my diet. It also said it would take 3 weeks for a specific food to leave my milk, so how in the world WOULD I EVER be able to find out which food was causing these attacks of crying?

-a growing digestive system muscle spasms. Okay, how unhelpful is that?

-a moody baby. GREAT, THANKS FOR ALL THE HELP.

-a gassy baby. Well I figured this one out pretty quickly, but then I also read that crying and swallowing air actually caused the gas, so which came first, crying or gas? It's like the chicken and the egg example, we will never no.

Basically the internet was not helpful in terms of what colic was or why it occurred in new borns. Thankfully there were "remedies" out there, SO I TOOK ADVANTAGE OF THEM ALL. Below are all the things I tried (unsuccessfully, of course).

  1. Gripe water- new moms swore by this, so I started giving it to Ella everyday. I didn't even see the slightest change in Ella.
  2. Gas drops- again no success.
  3. White noise- the only thing this did was drive me mad! White noise is dreadful.
  4. Swaddling- YEAH RIGHT.
  5. Letting baby cry it out- this was never an option, mainly because Ella would turn blue from crying.
  6. Moving baby around- I think this is the only temporary fix that worked for me, but she would quickly get back to crying in about 5 seconds.

I think at the end of the day, I soon realized nothing I was doing was working or going to work. So I did what most moms said I should do, I waited it out. I remember thinking that my life was over, that I would never be normal again. Ella would be crying from 2am-5am. She would rarely take naps. I felt inhumane. I was tired, I was cranky, my breasts were sore, and my baby would not stop crying. I felt like a failure. She was fed and clean and still cranky. Everything I had learned about babies went out the window.

Well, about 3 months later, her "colic" subsided. I wish I could tell you that waiting it out was easy, because it was not. I wish I could tell you that having a baby is a piece of cake, because I would be lying. Truth is, raising a baby really does take a village. I accepted all the help I was offered and I think that is how I managed to move out of that dark period of time.

Some moms are very lucky and have babies who never experience colic, but if you are not one of them, don't fret. It's not your fault. Take a deep breath, sip on some coffee and know that you are not alone. You got this.

Xoxo,

Ellen

Ellen Oganesyan