Our Lady of Colic

August 31, 2011

It’s getting worse. And by “it” I mean colic. And by “colic” I mean an immeasurable crapstorm of crying, flailing, and general unhappiness.

Last week I said it might be getting better, but that was just the calm before the storm. A few days later he just started to freak out.

It all started with bath time. He woke up one morning and decided, well–I’ll not be doing that anymore. When we stuck him in the sink he let out a war cry to wake the neighbors. Since then, it’s been a struggle. The only hope of a peaceful cleaning is if Baby Daddy does it very gently and very slowly. Not me. No amount of cooing and singing and gentleness makes a difference; I am the bath time witch.

Immediately following the bath strike, baby also decided to give up the breast. Not all the time, but when the evening comes–he’s all boobed out. I don’t get it. He is obviously hungry, but when I try to nurse him, he goes ballistic. And I don’t mean just crying, I mean s c r e a m i n g. He hurls himself away from my body, fists clenched, guns blazing, and just wails. Either I’m all dried up or he just prefers steak and potatoes. Regardless, it hurts my feelings.

You may say: just use formula. You may also say: don’t you dare. I say: that stuff is expensive! It is tempting though, especially because he loves it. He sucks it down faster than you can say “baby crack” and then sleeps through the night. It’s crazytown.

Also crazytown is the fact that this kid refuses to lie down. He wants to be up, awake, and moving around all the time. Lying on his back or his belly is not an option. Sometimes I have to hold him all day long. All day long I tell you! He rotates between sheer joy and extreme despair, with only short breaks for naps and boobs. I’m beginning to wonder if he is really Charlie Sheen disguised as a infant. I thought newborns were supposed to sleep all day. Lies.

Earlier this week Austin came home mid-afternoon to find us both sitting on the couch very frustrated. The baby had been crying all day and I was out of ideas. When I handed him off, however, he fell right to sleep.

Again, feelings hurt.

This seemingly bipolar pattern repeated itself yesterday when I took Waylon in for his two month check up. All morning he was a looney bin, but the second we arrived at the doctor’s office, he clammed up and sat in his car seat like it was his own personal lazy-boy. He even went as far as cooing and smiling at the nurses and doctor, glancing at me from time to time to see if I was watching. I kept saying things like “He’s not normally like this” and “He usually cries a lot,” but no one seemed to hear me. Even when he got his shots, he stopped crying as soon as I picked him up.

Finally I said, “Look–this baby has colic. He’s pretending right now, but he really does cry all the time for no reason and sometimes he won’t eat. It’s awful.”

Our doctor just nodded. “Having a baby is hard…”

Fine.

I’m going to be honest, a few days ago I was ready to give up breastfeeding (and parenting) all together. But I talked to a few wise women (who promised it WILL get better) and have decided to be more rational. It will get better. It has to get better. It’s just hard to remember at five in the morning and he’s choking down gripe water and kicking me in the gut and I think I might pass out from exhaustion.

It’s kind of like post-birth pooing. Everyone said it would get better, but I didn’t believe it because it wasn’t happening even 6, 7, 8 weeks later. And then finally it was okay again.

Patience.

***

26 thoughts on “Our Lady of Colic

  1. Anonymous

    You just crack me up! I admire your honesty. If you want to talk to a diehard breastfeeding mom, call me. Been there, done that….and more. It sucks…..literally, but it’s the very BEST THING IN THE WORLD! Bottom line….do what ya gotta do!

    Reply
  2. Ellen

    My heart breaks for you… I can’t imagine what your dealing with and I have been praying up a storm for you and the little guy! I was lucky my daughter’s colic lasted maybe a month, I adjusted what I was eating and was good to go.
    It is normal to feel the way you do and I know you have probably heard this many times but it does get better…. Keep soaking up his coos and smiles :) He is such a handsome little guy! Remember your a strong mom! You can do this!

    Reply
  3. Mary

    Hilarious. Best post yet.

    So sorry about the colic. It is a real bugger. It WILL get better. Can’t say that enough.

    Reply
  4. Rose

    Oh Kate….I so much appreciate your honesty in writing. You articulate so well what I went through with each of our children. There were times when Gerry would come home after loooong days in the office and he would find me in the pantry crying and declaring that I have just ruined my kids for life. That this was the worst day ever and I’m sure each of our offspring will be delinquents because of me.
    Being a mother is hard….no doubt. You’re an outstanding mom…you’re sensitive, intuitive, creative, and filled with love….what more does Waylon need than that.

    Reply
  5. Amy

    Hang in there, Kate! Is little Waylon still reflux-y? I have some tips of things that worked for Alivia if that’s the case (it caused her to be very uncomfortable when laying down). But I won’t bombard you with them if you aren’t interested. Just let me know, I’d be happy to share. And things will get better – and you’ll do whatever it is that you need to for your little guy – formula or breastmilk. He WILL be fine! And you’ll survive this, too! And when his first birthday rolls around, it’ll seem like just a blink ago you were holding this tiny little new being! :)

    Reply
  6. Grace Miller

    When I was very frustrated with our fussy baby someone told me that fussy babies are very intelligent and it’s their way of dealing with their frustration of not being able to communicate yet. What consolation that was – NOT! We did laugh about it later though. Maybe you can too. Keep on being a loving mamma. You WILL get through this.

    Reply
  7. angie derstine nyce

    Hi Katie….remember me from high school :) So i have been enjoying reading your blog about Baby Baer, but i have to tell you that Waylon sounds a lot like Harrison! I could relate to so many of your posts. First of all, Harrison was and still is at times a cat napper and he is almost 8 months old. That can be the most frustrating thing cause as soon as you get them to sleep they are waking in no time while you’ve just started a chore. Harrison would do 30 minutes on the dot! I had done research trying to fix the problem such as keeping him up later, putting him down sooner, etc. but nothing seemed to work. Once i finally accepted my cat napping baby, i was much happier and realized that the housework may not get done. That’s how i try and look at things now. Once you think you have them figured out, they throw ya for a loop and do something completely different.This is a season of life, and like other moms say it does get better. Trust me i heard that in the beginning and i never thought it would come true. All the good times with the cooing and smiling totally outweigh the screaming in the middle of the night. As far as nursing goes. Harrison did well at the hospital, but when we got home he was a hit or miss with nursing. I had an at home nurse come do his stats after he was born and talked to her about my problem. I showed her what he did and she basically told me to have the confidence to make sure he eats. When he was screaming and arching his back like he didnt want it, the nurse gently “forced” him to my breast and eventually he latched on. She kept telling me, “you are the mom and know whats best for your child, he needs to eat and he will.” Now obviously i was not that thrilled if this screaming match was how it was going to be every time we nursed, but once again that termed rolled around and it did “get better”. However, you do what is best for you and your sanity and there is nothing wrong with formula :) It can be quite convenient . As far as when he is screaming, have you tried putting a blow dryer next to him. The noise always quieted Harrison down. Katie, i feel for you, totally. You are doing a great job! No one can care for this baby better than you, even if you don’t think so. The Lord entrusted you and your hubby with little Waylon and he will give you the strength to get through this. Ok, i will stop. Sorry if this post made you roll your eyes, but i had the urge to encourage you!! Thanks for being so real.
    -ang

    Reply
  8. Jennifer Jo

    Have you tried cutting x, y, z (ie, dairy, caffeine, etc.) out of your diet? I never had to, but I have friends who claim it saved their sanity…and their babies’ lives.

    Reply
  9. motleymama Post author

    @Jennifer Jo–> I haven’t drank caffeine since the day I found out I was preggo, but I wonder about dairy and wheat. I am going to try cutting both out and see if it works. If it does, I may throw myself a small pity party mourning the loss of cheese.

    @ang–> Thanks so much for your message. You’re right, I just need to accept this baby for who he is and not compare him to all the “good babies” I keep hearing about. Maybe Harrison and Waylon can be friends someday? Apparently they share similar interests.

    @grace–>I’ve heard that too! Makes me laugh. If this is a sign of intelligence, we might be in for a real Einstein.

    @amy–> Thanks Amy. Tips always welcome. I will send you an email.

    @dr perfection–>yep. I had a cousin who had that problem. I hope that’s not the case for me (I don’t think it is).

    Reply
  10. Amber

    Remember you’re not alone in this. Many mothers have been through the same thing and survived. It is a stage and I know stages can seem to last FOREVER but they do pass. And then it’ll be just a memory. You are doing a great job!

    Reply
  11. Elizabeth {e tells tales}

    Sigh, you know I know about all this. Different baby, same story.

    First, I have to disagree with dr perfection’s advice…more formula fed babies have issues with colic than breastfed babies. So that is not the solution. Plus the breastmilk is doing amazing things for his long-term health. We’re still giving Everett baby probiotic drops to help with his digestion.

    I know what it’s like to have your kid basically bitch-slap the breast though. I finally figured out that it was two things–his colic and the fact that my right breast is an overproducer (it’s like he was eating from a fire hydrant lying down…gasping and gulping and swallowing all kinds of air and then screaming and arching his back). Now that he’s past his colic he still gives my right breast the side eye–so I start him on the left until after my let down passes, then switch him over to the right. If he still struggles with it, I pump some of the milk off first.

    Also know what it’s like to have Mike come home and put the baby RIGHT TO SLEEP when he’s been fighting me on it all day. I think it’s a combination of the baby smelling the milk on me and just wanting to eat himself to sleep and the fact that babies can get sick of people too–I’m sure they “smell” the frustration on a frazzled mama.

    You know if you ever need to bounce crazy ideas off anyone, you can email me.

    E

    Reply
  12. Tamara

    I really understand everything you are talking about. Baby Zain gets the Colic from time to time or I should say from night to night :( Does the gribe water works? I also understand the constipation situation because it HURTS!!! Like you said, paciants and hopefully it will get better. My mother in law said one day I will be missing the Colic nights when the baby starts teething.

    Reply
    1. motleymama Post author

      We used gripe water and felt like it helped at times. I wouldn’t say it’s a “miracle cure” –but I think it helped calm him down. If you ever need someone to talk to, feel free to contact me. The era of colic is dark, my friend.

      Reply
  13. Tamara

    Thank you, You are so sweet! I feel that you are a super hero! You take care of the baby, do housework and still have time to write. Keep it up, I love reading your blog.

    Reply
    1. Kate {motleymama} Post author

      Ah yes, here we are in December and the answer is YES.

      And part of what helped me get through it was people reassuring me that IT WILL GET BETTER.

      So listen when I say IT WILL GET BETTER!

      …until teething comes along.

      Reply
  14. Pingback: Top Ten Posts of 2011 | Motley Mama

  15. Pingback: End Of The Week Snacks {9.7.12} | Motley Mama

  16. Jess R

    Just found your blog. Can’t stop reading it. My little girl and I have struggled with our breastfeeding relationship from the get go. I EP’d after the first five days for about five weeks and am two-ish weeks in to trying to nurse again. She screams and rips herself off the boob at night–I get so frustrated and husband ends of giving her a bottle of my pumped milk for her last two feedings so far…I hate it.

    Any suggestions for getting her on to the boob to feed in the evenings? She nurses fine in the mornings to early afternoon and the one time I fed her when she woke up in the middle of the night.

    Reply
  17. Angie

    It’s so great to read this………I just survived getting thrashed by my 8 week olds little fists on my boob until he went to sleep in my husbands arms. When did this colic issue get better?

    Reply

Say hello.