After a year of trying to conceive, enduring multiple miscarriages, and a miserable pregnancy, I thought the hardest days of becoming a mother were behind me. I was ready for the happiest time in my life. Everyone loves their new babies, right? I had no idea what I was in for. I had a tough time going from spreadsheets to spit-up, my baby refused to sleep longer than twenty minutes at a time, I tried and failed at breastfeeding, and I was super uncomfortable with post-birth medical issues. But the one thing that really destroyed my new-baby euphoria was how absolutely distraught he always seemed. He cried inconsolably for hours every day, and I had no special mommy powers to help him. “He has colic,” my pediatrician said, and I looked at him blankly. Say what? What’s colic? I could tell at the time it was something tummy related—when he cried, he pulled up his legs, and he sounded like he was refluxing, too. He hated to eat, he hated to sleep, he hated...well, everything. Being desperate for peace and rest, I ordered everything I could find that made promises to eliminate colic. From gas drops to crazy contraptions to a trip to a chiropractor, I tried it all. Here are the top five things that ultimately helped us survive.
As I mentioned, my relationship with breastfeeding was tumultuous and didn’t end well (I fared better with baby #2). So, I tried a few different pre-digested formulas to be as easy on his sensitive tummy as possible. They were more expensive than standard formulas, and they produced some nasty spit-up smells, but it did cut back some of his tummy troubles. Both Enfamil Nutramigen and Similac Alimentum were great choices, and I ended up with Alimentum. For later baby months, I found Nestle Good Start to be gentle on his tummy as well (and sweeter smelling for sure!).
Swaddling for us wouldn’t necessarily stop the crying completely, but it was the only way he would stay sleeping for longer than 4 minutes, and when we strapped him in, it helped bring his cries down from hysterical levels. My favorite swaddling blanket: The Miracle Blanket.
He needed to hear womb-like sounds to calm down. His favorite tunes were: air conditioner hums, vacuum cleaner lullabies, and his all-time favorite song - a lawn mower and heartbeat duet. The key was to loop the CD so it wouldn’t fade out - if it faded, he woke up screaming. Here are some options for white noise machines (or record your own!).
He loved motion. If you could keep him moving, he would stay calm. In the car, I’d try for a rolling stop, because if I stopped, he started screaming. My (er, his) favorite swing was the Fisher Price Ocean Wonders, and here are more great swing picks .
There are tons of choices now for anti-air bubble bottles, but at the time, Dr. Browns was what my mom friends recommended, and they worked really well. I could visibly see less bubbles going in to his gassy guts, and it made me feel like I was doing something to help!