“…From Everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” -Luke 12:48
I had wanted to have a baby for as long as I could remember. The day we found out we were pregnant we were through the moon. I had fantasized about becoming a mommy since being a little girl playing with her dollies and now it was finally coming true.
Fast forward, through a pretty grueling pregnancy filled with five months of all day sickness and gestational diabetes, and the day finally came for us to meet our little baby. Finally, I thought, after 9 months of preparing for his arrival, he was about to be in our arms, our precious baby boy.
It was love at first sight. I mean how could it not be? Those teeny tiny fingers and toes, the button nose, the cutest little lips you’d ever seen and even the little cries were adorable. The visitors poured in to see this new bundle of joy and they all oohed and ahhhed over what my husband and I believed had to be the cutest baby ever born. It was exactly what I had envisioned and dreamed about…until…
We came home, the visitors slowed down, the hubby went back to work and the “honeymoon” stage was over! The once perfect little baby was now all of a sudden screaming (no longer a cute little cry) all day and night. I never slept more than two hours. I rocked, I bounced, I swung, I fed, I changed, I sang, I burped (for hours) and then I lost my mind!
I always loved my baby but I no longer liked him. I was EXHAUSTED! Beyond exhausted. The sleep deprivation and crying felt like a cruel form of torture. He was the cause of my complete mental and physical breakdown. No one had told me about this kind of horror. You never think you will be that mom who wants to throw her kid like a football out the window, but I had become that mom.
Now for those of you who have what I like to call the “angel baby” you might be reading this in complete shock! “How could she say those things? or even think those things?” Well, then, this post is probably not for you.
I vividly remember one hot night when my husband was at work, it was around 2am, and our son just kept crying and crying and I was at my limit. He wouldn’t sleep and I didn’t know what else to do. My husband and I both love to sleep so much that I thought, how could we have a baby that won’t sleep? I was so lost and frustrated that I banged my fist on the bed and yelled so loud “You are NOT my child!!” I swear my neighbors must have heard me because all of the windows were open. Looking back I realize that night we were both crying out for help!
I felt like I had read all the books, but nothing had prepared me for this. So we went to the doctor in complete frustration and confusion. One word…”Colic”. You hear about it, but most people brush it off as no big deal. “Oh, try some gripe water or some gas drops.” Are the most common responses of advice. But I’m here to tell you that didn’t work for us and if you are feeling, or have ever felt, the same way I did, helpless, take comfort in knowing you are NOT ALONE.
Here are some things that we tried that I think did help slightly, although in the end I believe it really is a time sensitive thing. The older the baby gets the less sensitive they seem to be to certain things. Now, I’m no doctor, but I will just share from experience what seemed to help.
- With both babies we used something called Colic Calm. Its an all-natural serum that you put in their mouth and I feel like it did help in the more immediate sense, but not long term. I also like the brand Highlands; they make teething tabs and cold tabs, which we have used and liked and they also make colic tabs.
- I always tried to keep them upright (especially after feedings). I either held them, put them in a carrier like the Moby Wrap or Ergo (every mom has her favorites), or placed them in something with an incline. We liked the Nap Nanny, which they don’t sell that particular one anymore but there is a similar one called the day dreamer sleeper and my friend with twins loves it. Also the Rock n Play Sleeper from Fisher Price is really great.
- My next suggestion came from another mom who had two of her own and had been down the same path as me. Since I was breastfeeding she had me look at what I was eating and how it may be affecting my milk in the baby. So she suggested I cut out all dairy!! Some babies are very sensitive to lactose and the only way to find out is to cut it out completely to see if it makes a difference. This was very hard for me because I love dairy, but I did see some small improvements when I gave it up. The more obvious foods to cut out of my diet were any gas producing foods like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, beans, etc..Other things to avoid were anything spicy, or even food with too much garlic. Basically the more bland the better. The last thing was even trying to cut back on too much sugar or caffeine. This was a huge sacrifice of love for me. Maybe that’s another reason I didn’t like my baby because I felt like I had to give up so many of my favorite things just so I could feed him. The struggle was real. Here is a more detailed list of foods to avoid from another mom blogger.
With our first we realized that he spit up so much and had to be upright all the time, otherwise he would just cry, so the doctor actually suggested an acid reflux medicine. We went through a couple different ones before we found one that worked the best for our little man. This was definitely a last effort after we had tried lots of over-the-counter products.
- Another friend of mine suggested sitting on a pillates ball. Sounds crazy? Well, so was I! So the hubby blew up the huge, weighted pillates ball and we sat on it with the baby. The gentle up and down motion was just enough to soothe and sometimes even get him to fall asleep. Not to mention it got my abs back into shape! haha!
- With our second I had read about the benefits of adding a pro-biotic. So we ordered a baby probiotic from Gerber called Baby Soothe. We added it to her bottle or just dropped it in her mouth. This did seem to help in the long term, but not immediately.
- When all of these options weren’t enough my sister in law introduced me to The Happiest Baby on the Block. I thought, well, that’s not my baby but I would like it to be. So I checked it out. Its a pretty basic set of steps to try when the baby is fussy and its not because they are hungry, wet, etc…The basic steps are called The 5 S’s: Swaddle (very tight with both arms & legs tucked in), Suck (a pacifier or thumb), Side (lay them on their side so you can reach their ear), Shush (a pretty loud shush sound right in the baby’s ear), Swing (gently as you shush give a little swing or bounce). You can see live examples on YouTube if you search for The Happiest Baby. You can read more about Harvey Karps method here. This did work for us, sometimes pretty immediately.
- Beyond the colic, acid reflux and just seemingly endless screaming from both babies we also dealt with horrible constipation with our second baby (we are getting real up in here). It got so bad she had gone seven days with nothing and was MISERABLE and made everyone around her MISERABLE too. So finally the doctor suggested (after we tried prune juice and got nothing) baby glycerine suppositories. It was a miracle! Yes, this may be gross for some of you…but she finally went and the house was quite for a little while!
As far as getting better sleep, I may write an entire blog on this later, but in short we hired a sleep specialist. Someone that actually comes into your home, evaluates what you are doing and gives you tips on how you could be doing it better so that you can get some sleep. I am not ashamed to say this was the best money my husband and I ever spent!!! After just 1-2 days of following her guidelines our baby was sleeping through the night and taking naps longer than 20-30 minutes! This suggestion only works once the baby is at least five months old (or at least that’s when our specialist would start to work with families). For those of you in the SoCal area her website is called good night baby. If you are not local she does have options to do everything over phone/email or just google sleep specialists in your neck of the woods, you may be surprised what you find.
Another suggestion I have for you is to create your own support group. It may just be your mom, or a sister, but for me it was anyone that had gone through the same thing as me. I even started a private message group on Facebook with some other mommy friends where I felt safe to ask “stupid” questions about being a mom or problems I was experiencing.
And in the end I suggest prayer. I quoted a scripture at the beginning of the blog…”to those who have been given much, much will be expected.” I realize now that my life has been richly blessed, which is why God knew I could handle not one, but two, difficult babies (and pregnancies). I think of it as a badge of honor to say I survived those very difficult months with both of my babes. And through it all I prayed. Some of you may not believe in prayer, and that’s ok, but for me it helped tremendously, especially when I would call my mom at 2am and she would pray over the phone with me. It gave me just enough strength to get through the night and be able to face the day again and maybe even do it with a smile.
I know that I was also given this struggle so that I could share it with others and help someone, anyone, that might be going through the same thing that I did. I hope you find this helpful and encouraging that this won’t last forever and you are doing a great job. I love my babies…to the moon and back, but I realize I will never be one of those moms who sees a baby and misses when they were that small. I see a baby and think…”I’m glad we are past that stage.” Now my babes are almost 3 and almost 1 and both are sleeping through the night, Praise Jesus! To those of you in the thick fog of a sleepless night, I think of you and pray you too will get some rest very soon. There is light at the end of the tunnel and remember this…you have been entrusted with the greatest gift possible, a child, to love and raise and to go out into this world. The days may be long but the years, the years are very short.
Love to every kind of parent out there!
A little funny thought for you…For every one good picture there are usually about 10 bad ones…I thought I would share one of our more “real” moments with my son not wanting to sit still and a miserable look on his face, the baby was crying (like usual) although you can’t really tell and us parents trying to smile through it all…but we also happened to get a good one too thanks to a very patient photographer! Thanks Eyelet Images.