An Introduction to Single Mom Life: Colic
Why is my newborn crying so much at night?
I had this question on repeat from week 2, all the way through month 3. While my son did cry some during the day, the bulk of his crying was at night. He cried for hours. Nothing helped him calm down. I was scared. I was unsure as to what was wrong with my beautiful baby, and I did not know how to fix it. I cried with my son. I was so tired, drained, and just broken. I called his pediatrician one morning, and brought him in later that day. The doctor said he had colic. I had no idea what colic was. I had heard the term on older TV shows, but I did not think it was real. Well, it was. The doctor recommended a few things: anti-gas drops and gripe water. Mainly, the doctor told me that colic goes away on its own and I need to hang in there. I had hopes that the recommendations would help get rid of the colic so my son could rest at night, and I could get some rest as well. Something had to work. My son shouldn't be spending his first weeks of life violently crying all night every night.
Symptoms of colic
- Intense screaming and crying that lasts for hours
- Increased fussiness after crying has ended
- Reddening of the face
- Stiff arms, legs, clenched fists, tense stomach, arched back
What I did for my colicky baby
1. Anti-Gas Drops (used as directed by Pediatrician)
2. Gripe Water (used as directed by Pediatrician)
3. Gentle belly massages
4. Advanced Colic Drops (ask your Pediatrician first. Your LO has to be a certain age to take this).
6. Burp your baby after every feeding and throughout the day.
7. Get a baby swing.
8. Have your baby sleep upright (I had my son sleep in a rocker for the first few months of his life. It definitely helped).
"Sleep when the baby sleeps, that way you can comfort him during colicky fits."
Easier said than done. Even with the recommendations the doctor gave me, my son still had his colicky fits. When he was sleeping, I was gathering laundry, cleaning up, finding something to eat, restocking his wipes, clothes, diapers, sheets, etc. There wasn't any time to sleep. After a few months of very little sleep, I ended up asking my family for help. Many people thought that I was crazy for waiting to ask for help for so long, after all, I lived at home. My family is down the hall from me.
Guys, being a mom is hard work, whether you are a single mom, or you have a partner/spouse. The age-old saying of "It takes a village" is true. It DOES take a village. It is impossible to do everything completely alone, especially when you have a colicky newborn. I tried and I ended up developing postpartum anxiety (I will get to that in the next article). If you have a colicky newborn, please ask for help. Don't even attempt to handle it on your own.
I'm not saying that you rely on family/friends full-time (I still don't. I currently raise my son by myself). If you need a break, reach out. Remember, you are not alone in this. I will tell you without a shadow of a doubt, colic DOES go away.
When colic finally ended
After dealing with a colicky baby for the first few months, it was a relief when symptoms began to disappear. The first time he slept through the night was a relief (it also scared me because I thought something happened to him because I didn't hear a peep from him). He had some bad nights after that, but they were few and far between.
When he finally grew out of it, he became the best sleeper. I was able to catch up on much needed sleep, and the rest helped me become a better and more attentive mom. I wasn't going through each day as a 'mombie.' I had energy. I was able to multitask, and I was able to have longer play times with my son.
Colic does go away. As hard as it is, single mama, you have to hang in there. If your have resources at your disposal, use them. Have someone watch your LO while you rest, shower, eat, etc. A little break makes all the difference. You need to be healthy for your beautiful baby. He/she depends on you. If you're not happy, baby won't be happy. Do this for your baby. The early days of mommyhood are not a time to become stubborn.
A message to all the single mamas out there
"You're doing a great job, mama!"