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Colic Infant--How to Survive the First Few Months

Updated on September 13, 2012
Janine Huldie profile image

Janine is a published author in Only Trollops Shave Above the Knees, appears on The Huffington Post and at Confessions of A Mommyaholic.

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In the beginning...

The long 9 months of pregnancy were behind me and all the planning and hopes and dreams I had for my first born was about to become a reality. It was the beginning of July 2009 and I was officially 9 months pregnant and due any day with my first. I remember for days at the end of the pregnancy just patiently waiting to give birth and lay eyes on my new baby. My excitement could be compared to a child waiting for Christmas morning to arrive.

Well, it was July 15th and I had my routine weekly doctor's visit. At this visit, I was put on the NST, because my doctor was concerned that my fluid levels were low. I was sent home and told to drink extra fluids and stay in bed for 24 hours to see if this would help. Lo and behold, I came back the next day and my fluid levels were even even lower, so I was told three simple words by my doctor, "Pregnancy is over!" I was to be induced in the morning.

I was induced with pitocin at 8 am Friday, July 17, 2009 and at 10:31pm that night, my beautiful, Emma Grace was born. She weighed 5 lbs. 15 ozs. and was a peanut. She was all mine and gorgeous. Needless to say, my husband and I were over the moon happy.

During the hospital stay, I went from trying to breast feed to having to give her formula due to the fact at she would not latch onto my breast and just plain refused to breastfeed. Once on formula, she seemed fine and content.

We took her home that Sunday morning. All day Sunday, she was an angel and never heard a peep from her. She even slept in her crib. We could not believe how good she was and how easy it seemed to have her home for the first day.

At 11pm that first night, Emma began to scream and would not stop. We tried everything from changing her diaper to feeding her to burping her. Nothing seemed to calm her, she screamed so loud and so much that she turned herself beet red and by 2 am, we were at a lose. My husband turned to me and said as calm as can be, "I am calling my mom, she had 4 kids and has 3 other grandkids surely she will be able to help us." God love her, she came out in the middle of the night no questions asked and took her turn at calming Emma. By 4 am, Emma had calmed a bit and slept for what seemed like and eternity even if it only was for 2 hours.

This went on for weeks, where Emma would wake at 11pm or so and cry through the night, only to calm in the early morning. Needless to say, even though I was home with her and not working, I was exhausted and spent.

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Colic...

Here is how Wikipedia defines colic: Colic (also known as infantile colic) is a condition in which an otherwise healthy baby cries or displays symptoms of distress (cramping, moaning, etc.) frequently and for extended periods, without any discernible reason. The condition typically appears within the first month of life and often disappears rather suddenly, before the baby is three to four months old, but can last up to 12 months of life.

No one quite can prepare you for Colic. It is one of those things that you truly can not be educated on beforehand. You learn by trial and error pretty much as you are going through it. Colic comes on suddenly and truly takes so prisoners.

What I learned was that if your baby has colic like ours did, they will usually have a colicky, fussy period at the same time everyday. Ours just happened to be late at night and into the middle of the night. What I would not have given to have her fuss like that during my waking hours. I mean not to diminish it, but at least if she would have cried and screamed at a normal time of the day, I think it would have been just a bit easier then when I was exhausted and just wanting to sleep.

But alas, Emma had her days and nights screwed up also and loved to sleep for hours on end during the day and then as I said would scream and cry for most of the late night. My husband joked that she just loved Conan and wanted to stay up to watch him, but seriously I lost count how many nights I fell asleep with her on the couch, because once she would calm we both were so tired we just crashed.

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Coping with Colic--Formula Switches

Our baby as I said would not breastfeed, so she needed to be formula fed. Over the course of the first month of her life, we had to change her formula 4 times. She was having issues digesting the normal, milk lactose based formula. The hospital started her on Enfamil and we tried in the beginning to stick with that brand.

At first, she was getting a bit constipated, so I called her pediatrician and was told to try Enfamil's Soy based formula. Within a day being on that formula, she went from being constipated to literally pooping almost 10 times a day and soiling too many outfits that I lost count.

The doctor told us to wait it out a few days while her body adjusted to the formula change. So we did just that. By day 5 of this, it now appeared she had a soy allergy.

So then we were told to try Enfamil's Gentlese, which has partially broken down proteins and is easier for a baby to digest and is marketed towards the fussy baby. This too was not helping with the fussiness, but we stayed the course for over a the course of another week.

Finally one of my husband's co-workers at the time mentioned that his daughter had colic and gas issues and they had put her on Similac Alimentum, which is a hypoallergenic formula. It contains pretty much no lactose or soy and is geared towards the baby who has colic and has both lactose and soy allergies. The label pretty much guarantees to reduce Colic symptoms in just 24 hours.

We talked about switching her on this formula one night and let me tell you it was 11pm and Emma was screaming again. So I got in the car and drove to Walgreen's which was open 24 hours a day and purchased our first can of this formula. I gave it to her for the first time that night even before getting the doctor's approval and never looked back. It smelled awful unmixed and mixed to be honest, but at this point I would have tried anything.

Lo and behold, this formula helped and she was quite a bit better once she started taking it. It was definitely an improvement in her screaming and colic time after the very first 24 hours and the package did not lie. Also, this formula is very expensive, but found out that if the doctor write a prescription for it, most if not all insurance companies should cover it. You have to do the leg work and get the prescription faxed over to your insurance company, but in the end it is truly worth it, trust me on this.

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Other things that helped too..

A few other things to mention that did help in conjunction with switching her formula was white noise and as well rocking her. All the books say swaddling can help too, but Emma hated it and would not let us swaddle her. Also, a pacifier can help, but Emma hated the pacifier too. Ironically, my second born daughter loved being swaddled, but that is whole other story! White noise is supposed to simulate the noise a baby hears while in the mother's womb. Emma loved white noise though, specifically the vacuum soothed and lulled her to sleep. When she finally used the vacuum too much and it died, we got her a Sleep Sheep, which she still at 3 years old loves. Also, she love falling sleep in the rocking chair, the motion really seemed to soothe and calm her too.

Summing it up..

What a new parent of a colicky baby needs to remember is first and foremost, no two babies are alike. As I said earlier, Emma's colicky time was late at night from about 11 pm to 3-4am, another colicky baby may have a fussy time from 8pm to 11pm. One just doesn't know when that time will be until they see for themselves.

Another thing is what may work to calm one colicky baby may not work for the next. As I said Emma hated swaddling and my other daughter loved it (granted she didn't have colic), but you get the point here. Also, Emma loved the vacuum and white noise, another colicky baby may hate this.

The parent/s of a colicky baby will need to try different techniques to see what is right for their baby and their situation, but for what it is worth if I have helped one person today with a baby who has colic than I feel a better and am happy that I could help someone else out.

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    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      My daughter was colicky too but it settled down pretty quickly with no need for formula switching. We gave her something called Dentinox I think and she was burping in no time, loud and long (and she's still doing it now at age 17) :o)

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Julie, too funny!! Seriously, I never heard of Dentinox to be honest, sounds a bit like Mylicon drops or even gripe water, because both are supposed to expel the gas. Thank you though for stopping by and sharing your experience with Colic.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 4 years ago from Iowa

      What a beautiful little baby. You must have felt so helpless when she was going through her colicky episodes.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      That must have been a rough period for you and your baby. Luckily I didnt have a baby with colic. I wonder if I would've had the patience since I lack it. Sure, I would have:)

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Deborah, I totally felt helpless and I remember just thinking why my baby. She was os tiny and so perfect, but seemed to be in so much pain. I still remember the first time I saw tears come out of her little eyes. I was crushed and sat and just cried with her. Thanks, for stopping by and your comment too.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Linda, you would be amazed at how you survive and deal with it. I truly remember thinking how I am going to get through this, but miraculously I did and Emma is truly an amazing little 3 year old now, for which I am so thankful for. Thank you again and again for all your continued support on here too!!!

    • weestro profile image

      Pete Fanning 4 years ago from Virginia

      As an expectant dad you've given me one more thing to add to my ever growing list of things to be scared of! I'm kidding, this was a very useful, well-written hub that I found very informative. Thanks!

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Weestro, I truly hope I didn't scare you too badly. Believe me I would never want to scare anyone before they are having their first. I can tell you this, every baby is different and I can truly attest for this, because my second daughter was absolutely an angel from the moment we brought her home. She took cat naps during the day (never seemed to have her days and nights mixed up) and slept for 3-4 hours at a time at night and would just squeak when she wanted to be fed. Even my mother-in-law who helped me one night when my husband was sick was in shock how good she was at night. But if your baby does have colic, do know that there are things you can do to make the situation for the baby and for yourself better. That is what I tried to get across in this article. Thanks for stopping by and commenting too!! And congrats on the impending on arrival of your little one :)

    • weestro profile image

      Pete Fanning 4 years ago from Virginia

      Thanks Janine, at this point everything scares me so don't take it personally! I enjoyed your hub as it was very informative and well written, thanks!

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Weestro, thank you for the compliment and can completely relate with those fears. I remember them all too well during pregnancy and as I got closer to labor/delivery with my first.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Janine, it is scary for any mum to see her baby have colic. I am so glad that Emma is better!! Agree so much that no two babies are alike and that their needs will vary considerably. Thanks for sharing this with parents and parents to be!! Will help along!!

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Michelle, truly appreciate your kindness here and for sharing this one for me. I too am very glad that Emma is so much better and she really is such a wonderful little girl now. All we went through with her was definitely worth it, because she is really the sweetest little person now!! I do hope that anyone that has to deal with colic with their small baby does understand that it does indeed get better and try to do whatever they can to get the baby some relief and themselves as well.

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 4 years ago

      Fantastic article! I love how your practical about your advise as well. So many baby articles are written in a one size fits all approach and that is simply not the case. A lot of what you wrote here is beneficial to parents of babies without colic as well. Very well done! ^_^ I'm sharing and then off to read the first chapter of your pregnancy journal!

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Oh thank you so much Sasha. I very much agree that no two babies are alike, so when giving advise I would never just assume that what worked for my kids would work for another baby. I remember reading books before I had my kids and everything would so generic and many just acted like if it worked for one baby it would work for all and that simp;y is not true. Thank you also for the votes and reading on with my pregnancy journal too :)

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      Oh, Boy....I remember when. Two of mine had colic. I had a music box I would put in with the baby and that helped. A ride in the car helped, too.

      Great Hub with good advice. Just remember there is a special place in Heaven for Mothers cause we deserve it!!

      I voted this Hub UP, and will share in all the right places.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      We, Mary my heart goes out to you that you had two colicky babies. I only had one of my two have colic, but will never forget how helpless I felt during that time and how all I wanted to do was try to make her feel better, because her cries just tore at my heart. Very true about their being a special place in heaven for Mothers and can tell you too are well deserved of that spot my friend! Thank you for the votes and shares too!!

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 4 years ago

      Love the pics. Love the feelings and sure did enjoy your writing. Did have two kids, and they went through all that, adding ear infections and those 3, 6 and one year shots. If they knew how many sleepless nights we went through, they would think twice before starting a problem in school. Way to go Janine! Valuable information here from a mom-teacher. Sharing+tweeting+pinning.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Joseph, you described 2 years for me with both my girls only being 16 months apart. Although, Lily (my second) didn't have colic, she did have ear infections and her shots right on schedule monthly for the first year too. So I can totally agree with you and relate to your comment. Thank you as always for being so kind and for the share, tweet and pin too!!

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