Dealing with a Colicky Baby
They tell you the first two weeks postpartum are tough, but, boy, were they wrong - in my case at least. The first two weeks that Kalea was home with us were beautiful. She slept and ate and looked so adorable 100% of the time. The frequent night feedings that interrupted my beauty sleep didn't bother me at all because I was so excited to be a mom.
It wasn't until week three that I had my first meltdown. After feeding Kalea one night before bed, she began to cry and cry and cry. Picture this: clenched fists, red face, tears running down her face, sweating profusely, and flailing legs. My husband and I tried everything: rocking her, swaddling her, "shhhhh-ing" in her ear, and the list goes on. My heart was literally breaking inside because nothing we did was soothing her. I remember that after an hour of walking back and forth with her, I just lost it. My husband had to take the baby from me as I tried to breathe through an anxiety attack.
We later found out at a pediatric visit that we had a colicky baby (a baby that cries for more than an hour for 3+ weeks and nothing soothes her). While the causes of colic are still a mystery today, there are some theories around what provokes colic in babies. For our baby girl, she had more reflux than most babies and that was causing her to be fussy, especially at night.
For mothers who have experienced the challenge of a colicky baby, you know what I mean when I say that I would have done anything to be able to soothe my baby girl. The sight and sound of her crying endlessly made me feel like I was an inadequate mother, no matter how many times I read that her fussiness had nothing to do with my parental skills. On top of that, the sleep deprivation that came with being up for hours each night pacing back and forth with her just added to the first-time mommy stress. There were days (most days really) I walked around like a zombie - cleaned up on the outside, but lifeless on the inside. I made it a habit to shower before her last feeding because I knew what was awaiting me the rest of the night. Many days I cried in the shower wishing morning would come already.
Thankfully, Kalea's colicky period died down at 3 months. She is sleeping beautifully through the night (10+ hours!), which gives me time to catch up on all the lost sleep!
If you're a mom dealing with a colicky baby, know that you are an awesome mother and that this season will pass. If you know a mother with a colicky baby, do her the favor of cooking a meal, doing some laundry, or coming over to watch the baby for a few hours while she sleeps. It takes a village to raise a child, and the more informed we are about the challenges our mother's face, the better equipped we will be to provide them the support they need!