I have many blogs saved in my drafts that need some work but I’ve not got round to it as I’ve been dealing with a colicky baby for a few weeks now, so it’s been a bit hard fitting everything in. There is however light at the end of the tunnel and Little F seems to be a much happier baby and a lot more settled at night.
What is colic? I’m sure there’s a fancy medical explanation, but essentially it’s a long period of crying for more than around three days per week that can’t really be explained. The crying is fairly intense, and tends to happens in the evening, anytime from around 5pm onwards, so after night feeds and a day fighting with entertaining a toddler, it can be *fairly* hard going. Sometimes I join in the crying, sometimes I zone out, other times I hand him to my husband and we take it in turns feeling slightly crazy trying to soothe him.
I figured I’m not the only person going through this, but a lot of people seem to be unsure about it, so I thought I’d put together some tips on how we try to deal with it:
- Tiger in the tree hold – this is an actual thing, but we find putting Finn in this position calms him, sometimes completely, other times enough that he just grumbles rather than full on screams.
- Rocking/swaying from side-to-side – “Don’t rock him, you’re making a rod for your own back” oh how I LOVE other people’s unwanted advice. Ignore that, save your sanity. Sometimes rocking is your best friend, it just works, ignore anyone who tells you not to, do what you have to for your sanity and to comfort your small person.
- Car rides – pop them into their car seat and take them for a drive, preferably a long stretch of road with no red lights and roundabouts!
- Pram rides – if you don’t drive, then pop them in the pram and get wheeling them around, I actually prefer this to a car journey as the crying isn’t as intense in the open. I also think the fresh air and movement is great for settling upset little ones.
- Wear your baby – sometimes babies just want to be held really close, try a sling or a wrap to keep baby close to you.
- Baby “medicines” – these aren’t technically medicines but try Infacol (from birth) or Gripe Water (from one month old). Sometimes a drop of this seems to be enough to distract them from why they were crying, I’m not really sure how they work if I’m honest. There is also Colief which you add to their milk in a bottle and Nelson’s do a powder called Colica – I’m no medical professional (clearly) so check with a Health Visitor or other medical professional before trying.
- Share the load – prolonged periods of crying can be enough to drive anyone a little crazy, so share the load. Swap with your partner, Ben and I are really good at tuning into each other and knowing when we’re at breaking point. Sometimes you just need someone to take the baby into another room for ten minutes – there’s no shame in that.
- White noise – just to add to the volume of noise in your house, pop the hoover on and see if that makes a difference – or there are some apps available to download with a selection of sounds. We’re quite partial to our Ewan the Dream Sheep – although we use him as more of a sleep aid than a colic fix.
- Ask for help – I mentioned to our Health Visitor that we were going through a colic time, although I felt we had it under control, it’s always an idea to get some advice from a professional in the first instance, they can also check-in to make sure that you are doing ok as well.
- Pop the baby down – it won’t do them any harm to simply be set down for five minutes while you step into another room, in fact it will probably do you some good.
Also, my experience of having two children who have had colic is that you will come across a few types of people:
- Parents whose children have never had colic and seem bemused by what you’re talking about
- The older generation who have all sorts of useful advice such as letting them cry it out or say “this too will pass” – you won’t want to hear it but they really are just trying to be helpful
- People with no children who will ask you what is wrong with your baby – avoid these people until it passes 😉
- Parents who have recently gone through it or are going through it at the same time and completely understand your current situation, embrace these people (maybe not physically, it depends on how well you know them)
Finally, you will get through it, this too will pass – ha! Seriously it will, and although you won’t look back at it with fond memories, you’ll really how strong a person you are to be able to handle it. Colic is hard, especially in the early sleep-deprived weeks, remember to go easy on yourself, you’re doing a great job.