One morning, when Shaan was about 3 weeks old, my husband and I had somewhat of a revelation. We realized that when our sweet boy was awake, most of our time was just spent trying to keep him from crying. Rocking him, walking around, singing to him, we were always doing something to keep him from losing his marbles. As first time parents, the first couple of weeks were pretty much an adjustment period for us- trekking through- not really thinking much of our routine or our baby’s temperament. However, I think that on this particular day-after three weeks of a fussy baby, we were just both like “wait…something’s not right here.” Of course, as newbie parents, we frantically phoned the pediatrician and scheduled an appointment within the next hour. We got to the office (me in my maternity pants still)) and before the pediatrician could even ask what was going on, we both just started babbling away about how “something is wrong with the baby.” We even offered up some possible reasons (maybe its formula?) as to why this baby never seemed to be in a good mood. Fast forward our non sense babbling, and the pediatrician patiently listening to us and nodding her head in understanding, she finally broke her silence and said,”sounds like colic, guys.” We, newbie parents again, were all like “whats colic? how do you treat it?”. Let’s just say the answer was not one we wanted to here. She told us to “hang in there” and before we knew it, we were already back in the car on our way home home- with Shaan baby losing his marbles the entire drive- because, obviously.
Those first couple of months were rough AS HELL and unless you’ve had a colicky baby yourself, you really cannot understand the helpless feeling and more so, the exhaustion. There were days my husband would be suited up, ready to finally return to work but would never make it out the door. He would see me pacing around our kitchen, breakfast untouched the counter, baby in one hand, and keeping pressure on my c-section scar with the other hand. He would quietly turn around, go back upstairs and return in a pair of sweats, ready to take on the day with me.
We noticed Shaan’s colic started to disappear and improve right at the 8 week mark so if you’re going through it right now, hang in there because I promise there is a light at the end of the tunnel!
We did everything we could in those first few weeks because we were desperate. Not all of it worked, but every baby is different and I wish I had a resource like this during that stressful time! This is in NO WAY medical advice, and before you implement anything- alway always consult your Pediatrician.
Awake & Sleep Schedules
It’s incredibly important and helpful to keep track of how long your baby is awake and how long he is sleeping. Pay close attention to sleepy cues like rubbing of his eyes, yawning, losing interest and not making eye contact- these are signs your baby probably is ready for nap time. Jot down just how long into your baby’s awake period you start to see these signs and you’ll notice a pattern soon enough- maybe its 45 minutes or maybe its 1.5 hours (depending on how many weeks your baby is) but keeping track of this will allow you to anticipate your babies needs and keep them from getting overtired! Missing that small window of getting them down for nap time- can really rile them up!
A great course you can take to learn more is the Taking Cara Babies course for newborns. This really taught me more about routine, implanting good habits all while doing it at my pace and in a gentle manner! I highly recommend it.
Bed Time & Nap Routine
There were a few cues we decided we would consistently give the baby when it was time for a nap. We chose to always put him down in the same dark room (love these inexpensive black out curtains from Amazon), always swaddled in his snug Ollie Swaddle and always turn on white noise. It won’t happen overnight but eventually your baby will understand that all of those things means its time to settle down and go to sleep! We also started a bath time routine which til this very day- is a major life saver for us. Each night, we give Shaan a warm bath, followed by a massage and then we rock him, feed him his bottle and put him to bed. Bedtime is the only time we feed him right before sleep. We also chose to use an essential oil diffuser in his bedroom at night and always use the same scent so it would be an additional cue!
Eliminating Underlying Factors
The idea that “colic” is really even a thing is highly debated even among physicians. Many believe some babies just have a more difficult time adjusting to life outside the womb and some believe a colicky baby is one who just happens to suffer from more GI distress than others. However there is a tiny chance something else could be bothering your baby and as a first time parent, we definitely decided to exhaust our resources and make sure we did everything to make Shaan comfortable. If you feel like you’re in a similar place, check out the resources below:
Most babies suffer from GI issues like gas but a very small number can have terrible reflux, and/or real dairy intolerance/allergy. A pediatric GI can address these issues and appropriately treat and diagnose any underlying causes for your baby. We did see a GI but Shaan did not have any symptoms pointing to dairy or reflux issues. However, it brought me some peace of mind!
You can ask your pediatrician for a referral to a chiropractor who specializes in newborn care. This is definitely a more homeopathic approach but one that some parents have found to be helpful. It is incredibly gentle ! Some chiros believe that if the baby is not aligned properly- everything else can also be misaligned and lead to feeding issues and therefore GI issues.
A cranioscaral therapist can be especially helpful if your baby has torticollis, a condition in which the baby’s head will appear tilted to one side. This can be a result of the baby’s position in the womb or a difficult childbirth. CranioSacral therapists can help correct this issue.
Getting Baby Comfortable
Swings, Rockers, & Bouncers
Sometimes a swinging and bouncing motion can be very calming for a baby. The only thing that worked for us what bouncing on this Yoga Ball from Amazon while wearing Shaan in my Lille Baby Wrap. A few other products recommended to me were the BaboCush, Day Dreamer Lounger which help keep the baby in a position that helps alleviate symptoms of reflux and gas, and of course the Indian Baby Swing aka Ghodiyu which rocks the baby.
Gas Drops, Gripe Water & Probiotics
We noticed a huge difference in the frequency of Shaan’s poopy diapers once we started introducing probiotics (we use Klaire Labs Infant probiotics) and it is something we still do everyday (he’s currently 6 months). A lot of parents recommended Gripe Water & Gas Drops & Colic Calm which are safe for the baby and can help calm them down.
Infant Massage is also a great way to help alleviate tummy trouble (youtube videos are easy to follow) and you can also try the Windi by FridaBaby!
I stuck to Dr. Brown’s Bottles because Shaan had a great latch on the nipple (milk did not dribble out while he was sucking) and the bottles were recommended to me my both my pediatrician and also lactation consultant in helping to reduce the amount of air that the baby was taking in. You can also check out Dr. Sears tips on comforting a colic baby for the best way to feed and to hold the baby!
This tough phase may seem never ending, but listen, its not like your kid is going to be 15 years old needing a sound machine and a belly massage to go to sleep! “This too shall pass” is a mantra I’ve learned to live by and one that has allowed me to look after myself. Here are some easy ways to incorporate a little self care and small ways to make life a little less stressful:
- Allow people to help you. Its hard to ask for help and it’s hard for others to know exactly how to help you. So text your friend, call your mom and ask them to drop off a meal, help do laundry or come watch the baby while you get some sleep!
- Grocery Delivery! Sites like Peapod, Amazon Fresh & Instacart allow you to get groceries delivered right to your front door. Don’t have time to cook? Door Dash, Grub Hub, Uber Eats..live your best life.
- If you can afford it, hire a doula for a few hours a day, a mothers helper or even a college student who might have some hours to spare and can offer you a hand with things around the house.
- SLEEP. If the baby naps, you nap.
- Trade off with your partner- especially during witching hour! Team work makes the dream work. I would watch the baby all night and in the mornings hand him off to my husband so I could get a few hours of sleep in!