Dealing With Colic :: I Didn’t Sign up for The Unhappy Baby

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After two difficult years of struggling with infertility, my husband and I were ecstatic over the arrival of our baby girl. We had visions of family walks and family game nights, our little angel swaddled up beside us peacefully sleeping without a care in the world. We had a (then) 10-year-old, and we just knew what help she would be, and how much she would love having a little baby sister to cuddle

Then came day two home from the hospital…

We were up all night screaming and struggling to feed. Day two turned into what would be weeks and months of an abnormally long bout with infant colic. Colic is typically a short-term issue and resolves itself within three to six months for most infants.

Our situation with colic was complicated and ended up lasting for about two years. 

I was tired and frustrated, fearful and bewildered. I researched and eliminated, changed diets, changed formulas. I did probiotics and gas drops, made countless trips to the pediatrician, and tried all the shushing, white noise, and swaddles you could imagine. I walked outside, did baths, held and bounced, rocked and sang, baby wore and strolled – all to no avail.

I was at the end of my rope and felt as though nobody heard me or understood what we were going through. Each time we went to the pediatrician and I voiced my concern, I felt as though I was dismissed, and that I was overreacting.  

Doing a quick google search on colic, you will see it mentions that colic is typically a short-term problem (lasting 6-12 weeks), cause unknown (but assumed to be caused by G.I distress), and there is no formal treatment. Another thought is that the infant may be overwhelmed by the world’s stimuli, which causes bouts of crying, which in turn causes the baby to swallow more air; thus producing more gas. Yet another idea is that the stress of the parent is projected onto the infant, and the infant is reacting to the caregiver’s stress.

Essentially colic can become a cycle of discomfort and stress for both mama and baby.

I believe most would agree a mother (a new mother especially) would be concerned with her baby who appears to be in pain with no solution, she herself is sleep deprived and in the throes of postpartum recovery no wonder she is stressed! Colic can become one of those, ‘which came first – the chicken or the egg’ situations. 

Every challenge I’ve had in parenting has been one I felt unprepared for; just like infertility – none of these issues were on my life radar. I wasn’t prepared for a baby that was unhappy all the time. It was almost as if I felt like God owed me a healthy and happy baby since we had gone through so much to conceive.

I didn’t think the first year I would have to avoid social gatherings, going to grocery stores, and date nights. When I tried to leave the baby with people, they usually called within the first hour saying she was inconsolable. The stress on our marriage and family was trying. Particularly to my older daughter who didn’t understand why baby sister is always crying, and why mommy is so consumed by it.

Having a newborn can already be an isolating time, and without a doubt exhausting. Add into that equation a baby who nobody wants to keep because they are always screaming, and it can be that much more lonely. 

Looking back, I wish I would have reached out more to my community for help. Colic is a real issue, and we should affirm families dealing with it. This is a struggle in which they will need to rely on others for support. Whether that is your church, small group, family, or friends. Having meals delivered the first couple of months is wonderful, but I’ve found sometimes it’s the weeks and even months after when you’re really fatigued that you may need even more help than you did in the very beginning.

There is no shame in asking for that help, and even communicating that to your own doctor or your child’s pediatrician. Friends, don’t be afraid to check in on those new mamas; maybe show up with a meal to drop off or a few groceries of basic items.

As moms, we also should be willing to accept the help offered by our people. It’s okay to let go and let others carry you when you’re feeling weary. It’s also my prayer that those in the medical community who are involved in pediatrics or women’s care would validate, encourage, and offer support to those families who are dealing with infant colic. While some deem it as not a ‘real medical issue’ the effects of colic are difficult on the family unit.

Keeping in mind that (as in all things) this, too shall pass. While you’re in the thick of the trial, it seems as though it will never end. Eventually, it does, and you realize that you went through that so you could be there for another new momma who is in that season of life who may be dealing with the same thing you once did. 

Did your baby have colic? Share your story with us.

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Sarah has lived in Columbia since she was a kid, but it never felt like home until 2012 when she married her husband, David, and moved to Forest Acres. They met in 2010 when she was as a single mom, and have two children together, Hannah (age 4) and Titus (age 1), and Madison, (14). Sarah has a cosmetology degree, and is a part time stylist, while being a full time wife and mama. She has a deep desire to connect with other women, whatever season, to remind them they are not alone. She is a 'social' introvert, a deep thinker; who pays no attention to details, loves reading, but never finishes a book, she has a strong love for God's word, and despite her many flaws she desperately wants to be used to further the kingdom. She is a foodie, coffee drinking, wanna be perfectionist. She can identify with blended families, infertility, teenage parenting, and mental health issues.

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