Now that we are on the other side of colic and have our happy baby, I want to give encouragement to those who are currently going through this awful time and feeling robbed of enjoying your little baby. As nursing became pleasant and manageable, Benji would get more and more fussier in the evenings and this was no longer due to his feedings. Without realizing or knowing what colic was at that time, and dealing with our breastfeeding struggles, I would say that colic started as early as 3 weeks of age, it just wasn't as predictable.With our firstborn, Cyril we did not experience this type of crying and knew that something was "off" when our baby would start screaming at the same hour of day, every single day, and would scream for 2-4 hrs at a time, and nothing we did would truly settle him.
So let me give you a definition of colic:
"Colic is a frustrating condition marked by predictable periods of significant distress in an otherwise well-fed, healthy baby. Babies with colic often cry more than three hours a day, three days a week for three weeks or longer.
Nothing you do to try to help your baby during these episodes seems to bring any relief. Colic can be distressing for both you and your baby. But take comfort: Colic is relatively short-lived. In a matter of weeks or months, the colic will end, and you'll have weathered one of the first major challenges of parenthood." -The Mayo Clinic
At about 6 weeks of age, we realized this screaming in the evenings for about 3-4 hours was a constant. The peak of colic is known to be between 6-8 weeks after birth, and this was true for us. It would start at about 5pm and would go on until 9pm, every single night. He screamed as if somebody was hurting him. We started avoiding going places around these times (hard to do during summertime and having a two year old who also needs attention). At about 11 weeks old we went on a trip with my sisters family where we stayed in the same condo, I was nervous on going since I hated being around people at the time my baby screamed since I didn't want any pity looks (my sister was very understanding and supportive, but the protective mama bear in me didn't want anyone to see my baby in distress). That weekend was the weekend we realized the evening screaming was slowly disappearing, but we didn't think much of it. We came home and gave it another week and it was GONE! He is now such a smiley baby! Our evenings are so calm and pleasant. We no longer avoid places. And honestly I truly started enjoying him when colic ended. I still sometimes wonder what it was and why he went through it. Maybe it was due to the fast and dramatic birth he had, or maybe it had nothing to do with it. I might never know. So here's a little encouragement to you moms battling with colic. HANG IN THERE. Know that you will get through this and that you will be on the other side. Get some help. I found that when I felt like I could no longer do it, my husband would take over to give me a little break and it was such a relief to have some time to pull myself together or even tend to my toddler. Keep a good attitude during this horrible time. Have hope! Your baby WILL be happy!
Here are some things that worked for us, I hope they work for you too!
Homemade Gripe Water Recipe:
-1 cup water
-1 1/2 tablespoon fennel seed
-1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
-1 teaspoon loose chamomile tea or use a tea bag if preferred bring to a boil and cool
Give baby 5mL in a syringe as needed. If you are nursing, drink this yourself so baby can also get it through your breastmilk. Also double the recipe and store in your fridge for up to three days.
Things that made ALL the difference:
Seeing a Chiropractor! Infant adjustments are nothing like the adult ones, so don't lose me here. A baby adjustment could be as gentle as you feeling the firmness of a tomato at the grocery store, and I seriously think Benji didn't even feel it when we brought him in. He slept for HOURS peacefully right after and the next day. I wish I brought him in sooner.
Going Dairy Free or Using a Dairy Free Formula: Pretty early on I started noticing mucous in Benji's stool. I brought it up to his doctor and he suggested I go off of dairy and see if anything changes. Sure enough, no more mucous (except the occasional slip up on my end), and the fussiness decreased.
Bouncing On The Edge Of The Bed or The Exercise Ball With the Baby Swaddled: This is one of those things that you randomly do and it tends to WORK! These are my favorite swaddles.
Carrying A Bottle of Pumped Milk Wherever You Go: Only my husband knows how important this was for us, hahaha (trust me it's only funny now). When I couldn't get to nurse him fast enough and while we still struggled with breastfeeding, giving him a bottle was the only way to keep him
Make Sure Baby Gets Burped After Each Feeding AND Belly Naps if possible: Such simple things that truly make a difference. I always had Benji nap on his belly in the living room, in his boppy lounger. That way I could see him at all times, and these were some of the longest naps he has ever had!
And these were my survival items, and in my opinion any newborn must haves:
1. Colic Tea: This is a colic must have! I went through so many of these cans. I always had a few tea bags in my diaper bag and while other people around me drank coffee or other yummy drinks, I drank this diluted chili tasting tea! Ha! These were also super convenient since I couldn't always get to making my own gripe water.
2. Baby Swing: This Fisher Price swing was such a big hit with Benji and one of my best baby purchases. I had no plans on buying this enormous thing, but boy did it keep him calm. Almost five months in and he's still loving it!
3. Probiotics: I think this is another one of those things that lessened the severity of his crying. Both Benji and I took these (since I was nursing). I have searched sooo long for a good dairy free probiotic and didn't find anything that was dairy free or gluten free (why give a newborn gluten so early on?!) until our naturopathic doctor mentioned this HLC High Potency probiotic. These do have to be refrigerated so if you can find these locally, do so! But if not, you can order them through Amazon, I would just make sure to call them and make sure they send you an ice pack and maybe do expedited shipping. I would split the capsule, put half of it in his bottle and drink the other half myself.
4. Digestive Enzyme: While trying to figure out why Benji was so fussy, our naturopath suggested we try a digestive enzyme and see if it helped incase he was having a hard time digesting my breastmilk. But since I started going off of dairy and saw huge improvements, I'm not sure if this made a difference, but maybe it did. Worth looking into for a fussy baby who is breastfed.
5. Dohm Machine: Colicky babies love white noise, and this Dohm machine is by far the best white noise out there in my opinion. We also brought this with us on our trip and it helped to block out outside noise when he was asleep.
6. Baby Shusher: This "Soothing Sleep Miracle" is something that I wish I had when we dealt with colic. But unfortunately I found out about it after colic ended and probably still should have gotten it for car rides. Benji loved the "shhh" sound I would make and it would help him quiet down. But this little cool machine lasts up to 30 minutes and turns off. Maybe a next baby must have? Haha
7. Essentail Oils: I am not a huge oil person but came across a highly rated oil on Amazon and gave it a shot. I added 1 or 2 drops of Digest Ease into one tablespoon of coconut oil and mixed it well. Rubbed a tiny amount into Benji's belly. It seemed to helped. I also diffused Anxiety Ease in the room and loved the smell! There are tons of fancy diffusers out there, but I love this simple one.
***I am not a professional, these are just things that seemed to bring some relief for us.
Although I found some relief in the things listed above, nothing truly 100% got rid of colic for us until it went away on it's own.