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Surviving with a colic baby

Let me first say that both, my wife and me, are in our mid 30’s, meaning that we are a bit higher up on a scale of being the parents for the first time. I’ve never thought that it may be an issue, but I’ve now realized that I have less stamina and nerves that I’ve thought that I would. I’ve always felt that I’m in the same shape as I was 10 – 15 years ago, but nope… that’s not the case.

We did a lot of reading during the pregnancy and we’ve thought that we are ready for everything. Well… it hit us where we didn’t expect to be hit.

The first problem happened when our baby boy got neonatal jaundice. The kid was taken away from his mom and put on phototherapy, where they would bring him back to his mom every few hours to eat. And even then he was too weak to properly eat, so they’ve had to give him some formula as well.

All of that caused complication when we’ve brought him home from the hospital. We’ve tried nursing, but that didn’t work and we’ve had to give him formula as well. Of course, all of that caused too much stress for the poor baby’s digestive system and the colic started. It was just devastating for us to watch the poor thing scream in pain after almost every meal. No to mention that he was not sleeping almost at all. We were lucky if we would get him to sleep in the evening, and even that would happen after at least an hour of trying to calm him down. Of course, lack of sleep and constant stomach issues resulted in a nervous baby (when we read that the healthy infant should sleep 14 – 18 hours a day we’ve both wanted to cry).

That’s also where we’ve started experimenting with all kind of things to help him, and ourselves, out. Some things worked, some didn’t, but at the end, we managed to find few things that helped. The issue has not been fully resolved and we are not yet fully out of it, but the progress has been huge. We are still having problems with gasses and the digestive system, but not that many. Our son now sleeps 8 – 10 hours during the night, waking up for feeding only once. And he gets right back to sleep after that night meal. He is also taking a few 45 – 60 minutes naps during the day.

All that is resulting in a more satisfied baby, as he is getting more sleep and is not feeling a constant pain. It can be seen with him smiling and even playing on his own from time to time. I can’t describe what a relief that is. There are still moments when we both just want to run out of the house screaming, but we can see some light at the end of the tunnel now. We know that he will be a happy baby soon.

Few things that helped us:

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1. Shushing
– White noise saved us. It helps to soothe the baby. It mimics the sound from the womb, helping the baby to calm down. It works much better than I’ve ever imagined that it would. It also helps to cover any outside noise, like passing cars of barking dogs in the neighborhood.  First, we’ve tried just a hair dryer sound from youtube on our phone. However, after a while, we’ve decided to invest in a dedicated white noise machine. It keeps the baby asleep and it also helps us sleep during the night.

 

2. Carrying the baby
– Babywearing is a huge comfort for colicky baby. As you would probably spend a lot of time holding and rocking your baby, having a good baby carrier will save your arms and back from pain. Also, if your baby does not like being in the baby cart (my son would cry every time when we’ve tried to take a walk driving him in the cart), this is a perfect solution for being with your baby outside. Some carriers can also carry a lot of weight, so you will be able to carry the kid even later when he’s much bigger and can already walk. I have personally tried ErgoBaby Four Position 360 and didn’t have to look for anything after that. It can be equipped with an Easy Snug Infant insert for carrying babies under 4 months of age as well. It was a perfect solution for us. However, after talking to some other parents, we’ve found out that a baby wrap would also work, as well as the Mei Tai carrier.

 

3. Probiotics
– The main cause of colic is an underdeveloped digestive system and the lack of good bacteria. There is all kind of probiotic products out there. We didn’t want to experiment too much, trying all kind of products. After a lot of reading, we’ve decided to try Biogaia Protectis Drops. To be honest, I can not say for sure if that worked or his digestive system got stronger on its own,  but we did see some progress after 2 weeks.

4. Feeding
  – If the baby is not breastfed, or you’re combining nursing and formula (as we are), it’s important to try some specialized food. Anti-colic formulas are less caloric and lighter to baby’s stomach. We’ve been using Gerber Good Start Soothe Non-GMO Powder Infant Formula and we’ve seen a huge improvement right after first few meals.
– Feeding bottles are making a huge difference. We’ve been using Avent bottles, but the kid was taking a lot of air while eating, causing stomach problems. We have then switched to Tommee Tippee bottles that claimed to be specially designed to avoid colic. The newborn teats seemed to cut down my little boy’s wind too as it took less air while eating. The nipples are made to mirror the natural breast and therefore make it easier for the infant to latch on and suck – especially for infants who are both breast and bottle feeding. Inside the bottle, there is a wand/straw that goes almost to the bottom of the bottle. At the bottom of the wand is a “patented air vent” that sucks the air out of the milk and thus reduces the air in the infant’s tummy.

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