Colic changed our lives. For the first six months of our daughter’s life, we were lost in a hurricane of screams, doctors appointments where we would beg for a solution and endless frustration when there wasn’t one. At some point, we gave up trying to “fix” colic and instead began learning how to live with it as best we could. Eight long, exhausting, painful months later, we’re on the other side of our colic battle royale and I’m here to tell you what we learned, how we coped and what you’ve got to do to make it through.
5 Real AF Tips to Survive Colic
When my daughter was in the thick of colic, I could set my watch by her. It didn’t matter if she had already screamed all day or hardly made a peep, when 4pm rolled around, our house hit the decks because a shit storm was coming. She would go from silent to screaming at the stroke of 4 and it was a battle of stamina until bedtime. I finally figured out that if I got all of us out of the house and into the wide open, the screams didn’t seem so suffocating. I would watch the clock and just before the dreaded 4 o’clock hour, my three year old was tossed into his stroller, my daughter into her baby wearing contraption and we’d hit the ‘hood. Yes, I was concerned that someone would report a baby that was clearly in distress as we pounded the pavement, but we persevered and walked at least an hour of our scream session every single day. Total Bonus: all that walking will balance all of the stress eating and wine drinking you’re most likely participating in once baby finally lets you off the hook for the night.
So your baby has colic? Yeah, go ahead and accept that your ability to accomplish anything is pretty much shot. Feeding yourself, the dog, other progeny – those days are gone. Going out in public in the evenings? Sorry, check back in a few months. Securing a babysitter is pointless because even a paid professional can’t handle all that. And with that said, here is my best piece of advice: Outsource. Find a grocery delivery service in your area, a pre-made meal delivery company and, no matter what, find a cheap wine delivery subscription. Once I realized that I truly didn’t have to 1. leave the house with her during her peak pissed off hours and 2. that I didn’t have to run around like a mad woman during her “good” hours, my life became so, so much more bearable. True Story: I once had groceries delivered on an evening that was particularly horrific and I left a note for my shopper to please just leave the groceries on the porch and then feel free to run like Hell away from our house. I mean, what more can you do?
A classic calling card of a babe with colic is that they aren’t soothed by traditional methods, like say a swing, but are soothed by, uh, more extreme motions. For example, my little sweetheart couldn’t be bothered with a traditional baby swing but if I strapped her into her carseat and swung it back and forth, as hard as I could, as fast as I could, like a cheap, sad carnival ride, she would fall asleep in minutes. Minutes, people. One of my good friends spent the better part of her babe’s first six months in the laundry room as a regular baby bouncer wouldn’t cut it, but plop that bouncer on top of a dryer, crank that bad boy on up and baby was happy as a clam. Did I mention colic will drive you to the brink of insanity? As I think back and imagine myself swinging my baby in her carseat like a mad woman, I consider it a miracle that I wasn’t committed.
Ah Parenthood, you sexy beast. Having a safe word used to mean that it was going to be a great Saturday night, but now? Now it means “dear God, I am on the brink and you, my loving partner and other adult responsible for this pink, screaming thing we created, need to step in immediately.” Seriously, establish a safe word in a moment where the baby is not screaming and you can communicate without hating life. It will make those moments that really are soul crushing, mind numbing and heart breaking feel a little less like a pressure cooker because you know you have back up. And when your partner does Safe Word, be sure that you follow the same protocol each time: I prefer that my husband literally walk in, take the baby and I walk out. Don’t ask questions, don’t require anything of me, don’t tell me about anything happening outside of that nursery – just take over. You and your partner may want to establish what you should communicate about (has baby eaten, do you think her reflux is acting up, is this house on fire) but do so during a colic free moment so that when it hits, your strategy is in place.
If you’d like to read more about our battle with colic, check out this piece about the guilt I felt as the mother of a colicky baby – and just like I said in that piece – colic parents, I see you, I hear you and I know you are doing your best to help your family through this incredibly stressful period of babyhood.
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