I have always wanted to do a little post about my experience with Colic, purely to help other new moms out there who are going through it with their little ones. The purpose of this post isn’t to scare anyone, or put anyone off from having or ever wanting babies. The aim of it, is to encourage other moms who are going through something similar.
Lets get into it shall we?
Colic : is defined as episodes of crying for more than three hours a day for more than three days a week for three weeks in an otherwise healthy child between the ages of two weeks and four months. This could be due to an immature digestive system, or being overly stimulated , to a combination of the two.
Uh, But God!?
I never truly understood “Colic” until Malakai had it. When I fell pregnant I said to God : “Okay , God if I do this pregnancy thing please can I not have morning sickness (and I didn’t) and oh ya about Colic can I please be excused from that too? (uh how about no) . Don’t you just love how we make these deals with God sometimes? (haha). I never entertained the thought of Colic because I thought I was excused from it.
Roller coaster of chaos begins
I had heard from other moms whose babies were born a week or two before Malakai saying “enjoy the first two weeks – all they want to do is eat,sleep,poop then repeat – its pure bliss”. Nope, NEVER experienced that at all! He screamed from the moment he was born! He cried non stop, and it looked as though he was in serious pain! No matter what we tried (from medicine, to burping,to changing,rocking) nothing seemed to help! A crying baby can leave a first time mom feeling so helpless! We took Malakai to his Paediatrician , and he also confirmed that Malakai had Colic by assessing his symptoms (he had a bloated tummy, would arch his back, had clenched fists etc) It devastated me when the doctor confirmed that it was Colic, I think because I was still hoping that it wasn’t !
We eventually took Malakai to see a Chiropractor who specializes with Colic babies and he noticed that Malakai had spinal tension from being squished up in my belly. The Chiro massaged the tension out, also dangled him by his feet (upside down) to help straighten and lengthen his spine and he also showed us some expert baby burping and massaging techniques to help alleviate the Colic symptoms. It helped a little,but he would cry EVERY night for 6 hours from (wait for it) 12 am until 5:30 -6:am (yip, lucky us!). All he wanted was to be held and rocked. Rasheed and I took turns (tag teaming) sleeping on the couch.
The Famous “Mom Guilt”
There were moments during these screaming sessions that I would feel angry , then I would feel guilty for feeling angry (Hate mom guilt). I felt the only times that I would be able to bond with Malakai was when he was a sleep, which also made me feel guilty (cause it was hard to connect with him when he so upset) . I felt anxious,and teary eyed most of the time. The stress started affecting my breast milk production which in turn made me more stressed! I then decided to put Malakai on Soya based formula (which I felt guilty about –lol never ending mama guilt!) .You see with Colic, there is nothing you can do but really just wait until your baby’s digestive system matures (Not the answer you were looking for? ) . Those days seem like such a blur, maybe because it was a blur from all the sleep deprivation but I remember one moment in particular that changed my attitude towards the Colic.
The light at the end of the tunnel
Malakai was crying one day for about 5 hours and I was so tired of rocking him that I sat down on a chair holding him and I desperately started praying to God. I said “God out of all the things I asked not to happen , you let it happen” (yeah , I was feeling VERY sorry for myself!). But in that moment I felt this sense of calm, comfort and peace like no other and I clearly heard him whisper into my heart “ It shouldn’t always be easy when youre a raising a legend!” . In that moment I started crying, and realized that I let the anxiety, the fear, the disappoint speak so loudly into my heart that it was crippling me emotionally and effecting my confidence as a mother. Soon after Malakai fell asleep on my chest, and I just felt this sense of my inner spirit rising up and saying “Bring it! Whatever it takes to raise a legend, I will do it!” and guess what , a few days later Malakai’s Colic cleared! Hello! I let it go, faced it head on and then it ran! It amazes me to this day, that whatever challenges we face , God knows we are SO capable of overcoming it! Its such a HUGE compliment that he has so much faith in us , even when we don’t !
Tips of advice that helped me through it
Repeat with me
- You are a good mama, and you are doing your best with the sitation that you are in. Even though you feel helpless, and frustrated don’t let that effect your confidence as a mom!
Don’t let it define your child
- Don’t let the Colic itself define your child. I remember sometimes wondering “I think Malakai will be a very angry, tense, and needy baby” . Once the Colic passed he became thee most relaxed, happy, chilled and independent baby!
Have a support group
- Be open and honest with your family and closest friends with what you are going through, you will be surprised how they will go out of their way to help you! Which in turn helps you to be a better mama! Have a support group of people that you trust.
Cry me a river
- It’s okay to cry with your baby, and have your moments too! Just don’t stay there for too long!
- If you feel that you get to that stage where you feel so frustrated and angry, put your baby down in their cot (somewhere safe) step out of the room for second, and have a moment to breath. Reason being is because some times women have unintentionally hurt their babies whilst feeling frustrated. There were times were I would get so frustrated I would put Malakai down in his cot, put on the kettle and make some tea and gather myself. Then go back into the room for round two. It seriously helped.
Let it go
- Once the Colic passes, don’t let the anxiety you once carried with you in that season stay with you! Let it go! Shake it off!
- Speak constant life into this situation. I remember I used to say to mom “Today he was a bit better, but I think the Colic is still there!” And she turned around look me dead in the eye (Greek Mama Style) and said “Speak life into it your situation Cas, your words have power!” Which made me aware of what I was speaking over Malakai. Speak LIFE!
- Remember it’s easy to take out your irritation and frustration out on your partner. Remember they are on your team, besides you want them in your corner fighting with you not against you.
A few practical things
(Please note I am not an expert or a doctor, these were just a few things that worked for us).
- We tried a few different bottles in the beginning , purely because Malakai drank really fast which would make it hard for his stomache to process the air bubbles. Eventually we started using Dr Browns (and we still use it) as it had the best results for Malakai.
- We also switched to using Soya based formula, as we felt with the normal formula it was harder for him to digest.
- The chiropractor helped quite a bit, especially with showing specific burping techniques for Malakai.
- We also would Bennetts Colic Mixture (if it was really bad) . We found out of all the products that were out there, that one worked the best for us.
Moms, all you can do is take one day at a time, even if you have to take it hour by hour , do so. I know I used to hate being told this “It will pass”, but looking back – It’s true , it does pass! Chin up, you’ve got this!
If you have any other extra tips or advice that helped you during a time like this, please share with us! We would LOVE to hear about it!