Colic Infant--How to Survive the First Few Months
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.
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.
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.
Read Mama Kim's Article on Swaddling Here:
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.
My Other Pregnancy/Baby Related Hubs:
- Trying to Conceive (TTC) and The Dreaded Two Week Wait (TTW)--My True Experience with Both
This Hub chronicles a period in my life when my husband and I began to try to conceive our baby for the very first time. It deals with the trials and tribulations of first trying to conceive. It also deals with a bit of heart break for us, but how we
- My Pregnancy Journal from My First Pregnancy--Chapter One
This hub article details my first pregnancy that I wrote down my innermost thoughts in a journal as I was experiencing them. This is the first chapter in this series and delves into the very beginnings of my pregnancy.
- Give Me A Sign--The Surprise That Turned Out to Be a a Gift and Blessing in Disguise
This hub discussed how I found out about my second pregnancy. It also discusses the loss of my grandmother and how are death brought about new life.
- Placenta Previa--True Life High Risk Pregnancy Story
This hub article is about my second pregnancy. Specifically it is about my pregnancy turning high risk, being on bed rest and the healthy delivery of my baby.