My baby had colic, and I am writing this to assure you that 1) it’s not your fault, 2) it will not last forever, and 3) there is a way to survive those sleepless nights and incessant screaming.
Here are some of the things that helped my family and I cope with the madness (and to those who don’t have colicky babies, I assure you that I am not exaggerating – it is madness, and every parent who survives it deserves a medal).
Chant, ‘It’s not me, it’s not me, it’s not me.’
One of the biggest myths about colic is that you did something to cause it: maybe you ate something for lunch that doesn’t agree with your baby, or something in your pregnancy went horribly wrong. One of my kids had colic, the other did not, and I did exactly the same thing for both of them. Of course, you don’t think logically at 3 a.m, especially when your hormones are raging and you are feeling horribly fat and stupid from lack of sleep, as all new moms do. So don’t even bother thinking or explaining. Just say this simple three word phrase over and over again: it’s not me, it’s not me, it’s not me.
Take shifts…and find a way to make yours more bearable.
It’s useless for both you and your partner to stay up together, and then collapse at approximately the same time. Take turns. During my shift, my husband would sleep downstairs to get a full night’s rest so he could handle the next night. Admittedly, I felt pretty miserable all alone in the nursery, stuck with the baby with no one to even talk to. So I found a way to make it easier for myself. Knowing I would pace up and down for hours, I moved the tv to the nursery and watched silly shows. I stocked my iPod with favorite feel good music. I had a box full of my favorite snacks (diet be damned!). Heck, do whatever works for you. You deserve it. Consider it battle rations.
Get those swaddle blankets
Swaddling helps, really. But if your baby’s a squirmer, he’ll work his way out of the tightest swaddle. And when he does, and wakes up, you’re in trouble. So I got those pre-cut swaddling blankets that hold together with Velcro, and a sling (which feels like swaddling, but left my hands free). Best thing they ever invented, aside from the bouncy seat (works for some kids, not for mine—bring your baby for a trial run at the mall before buying it, so you know).
Boost your energy reserves
Do anything and everything to arm yourself for the colic. Try these energy boosters. Take frequent naps. And do whatever it takes to build that sense of humor, because believe me, humor will get you through it. I watched funny DVDs, called up my funniest friends during the day for pep talks, and constantly joked with my husband about the situation. It is hellish, I won’t mince words, but let’s look at the bright side. Your baby may be colicky, but he is still (wonderfully, amazingly, miraculously) your baby, and you love every bit of him. Even when he screams like a banshee.
Photo from babycaredaily.com