Monday, 23 July 2012

Maybe I Have Colic Too?

Frostina has colic.

It's not the worst case of colic I've ever heard of, trust me I've heard some stories. But it's distressing nontheless. She cries and screams and just won't settle. Usually it happens around 7 or 8 at night and can continue until midnight. It's not every day, although we have been on a 3 day streak.

I've read all the books and tried a bunch of different things to help calm her. Nothing seems to work except holding her close, walking around, and waiting until she finally wear herself out and falls asleep. By this time, The Hubby and I are also exhausted and we all fall asleep. After an episode of colic she sleeps very well and wakes up the next morning in a great mood. As if the events of the night before never happened.

It's strange watching your happy baby suddenly transform into a unhappy fussy little person. It's frustrating when there's nothing you can really do to fix it for her. We don't know the cause and we really can't fix it until she gets a bit older and grows out of it. Until then we just have to learn how to cope with an unpredictable baby.

I can relate to Frostina's mood swings because I am having them myself.

I'm not sure exactly what is going on with me. Is it normal baby blues? Is it post natal depression? Is my period getting ready to start again and I have PMS? Whatever it is, my hormones are still not settled and as a result I swing from feeling totally happy and in love with my baby to totally exhausted and feeling like I can't handle another night of crying.

I have noticed that my moods have a timetable of their own. I wake up each morning happy and fresh. I feed Frostina with enthusiasm and we enjoy our time in the activity center and swing. We go out for walks and sometimes meet up with friends. The two of us are a happy pair.

As evening comes, something changes. I find myelf feeling tired and riddled with fatigue. Not just physical fatigue, but emotional fatigue. It is at this point where my doubts and insecurities start to kick in. My mind fills with questions and doubts.

Did I do everything right today?
Did I give her enough tummy time?
Did I give her enough stimulation via music and the activity center?
Did I cuddle her enough?
Why didn't I manage to give her a bath today?
Is it ok to let her sleep in her daytime clothes or should I be switching her to pajamas?
Is it bad that I haven't figured out a bedtime routine yet?
Should I be reading books to her?
Am I a good mother?
Am I doing a good job?
Am I doing everything right? - I seem to be obsessed with doing everything right.

Exhausted with this list yet? I know I am.

This list of questions and doubts (and lots more) starts floating around in my head. Am I a good mother? Does the fact that I doubt myself make me a bad mother? Does the fact that sometimes I wish there was someone else who could swoop in when she's crying and make it all better make me a bad mother? Don't get me wrong, The Hubby is amazing and a huge help, but sometimes (especially during her fussy colicky moments) all she wants is me.

As the evening turns into night and these doubts and worries have had a chance to stew in my head I start to get anxious. Anxious that she will be colicky again tonight. Anxious that it's my fault that she's so fussy and won't settle. Worried that she will cry until late in the night and I won't be able to get enough sleep to make it through the next day.

This anxiety and worry exhaust me and I get to the point where all I want to do is go to bed and sleep. Of course, this isn't possible during a night of colic because no one could sleep through the crying. So I often find myself crying right along with her.

The worst part of it all is that I get mad at myself for feeling this way. After all, she is my rainbow baby. When we lost our son I longed for sleepless nights and dirty diapers. I always swore that if I was ever lucky enough to have a rainbow baby I would embrace it all. I swore I would never complain, because a fussy baby is always better than a dead one.

So I beat myself up for being ungrateful. How can I have a moment of unhappiness about Frostina when she alive and here with us?

She's my take home baby. The one I prayed for. The one I wanted more than anything in life. So how can I reconcile the fact that sometimes I just wish I could escape from all the crying? Not ever to escape from her of course, but sometimes I just wish the crying fairy would come in and calm her down and get her to sleep.

Last night I had a talk with The Hubby about my moods. He's a bit worried as well. Neither of us can figure out exactly what it is or how to deal with it. So for now we're taking it day by day and hope that in time it will go away.

That's when I realized that my moods flux just like Frostina's. We both wake up each morning happy as can be and get fussy at night. So that's when it hit me. Maybe I have colic too?


  1. *Hugs* I can totally relate. Baby G is my rainbow and take home baby, but I've had a hard time bonding with him and he gets fussier and fussier as the day goes on. It isn't colic though; he just doesn't like to nap no matter how tired he is. We're all on edge by the time we get to bed. I've beat myself up for hating his fussy moods and not being able to handle them, and even questioning why I wanted this in the first place?!

    I think your questions are normal for any mother though. I have come to the conclusion that you really don't know what you're in store for with a baby until the baby arrives (I was going to work from home 1 day a week, but no naps equals no work getting done so that idea went out the window fast).

    Things do get better, but if you're concerned about your mood I would make an appointment to see your doctor/midwife. I thought I was overwhelmed with motherhood but it turned out I had PPD. My midwife said diagnosing it can be tricky because it's normal to feel overwhelmed. She figured it out because I told her I didn't like breastfeeding and I was losing interest in things (such as spending time with people). I'm taking meds for it and that helps (I think G could tell I was at the end of my rope by evening time after spending all day with him).

    Despite the help, I still ask myself the same questions you've been asking yourself, so try not to beat yourself! You're not alone!

  2. Very normal. I was overwhelmed with motherhood as well (I think everyone is) and one of our girls had colic as well. I couldn't believe I could go from begging to have kids to wondering what I had done to myself. For our colicky girl tummy massages involving her legs worked great (friends would laugh that I could get her to toot on command with it) but lifesaver. Good luck :) Hope it passes quickly.

  3. BIG HUGS! You never know when PPD will rear its ugly head. Have you tried swaddling? It really helps my two.

  4. Random thoughts: Swaddling is great. Tight! Maybe hold her upright to soothe her during those times. It worked wonders on my daughter when she was at that witching hour phase. Make sure she hasn't been awake more than 45 minutes or so before a nap. That can create a devilish baby. :) And talk to a doc about your moods. They're totally normal, but they suck. I remember how much PPD hurt my brain. It was awful.

    Also, I swear the first 3 months are the hardest. Then it's like they flip a switch. Hang on, Mommy! You're doing a great job, because you're trying. That's all parents can do.

  5. Sending you hugs because I know you definitely are a good mother. All mothers worry about the things you've been worrying about. I don't think the worrying ever stops from here on! And it's no wonder you are feeling exhausted by Frostina's colic. Things will honestly get better soon.

    And in answer to a couple of your questions...
    My daughter HATED tummy time so we didn't do it as much as the health visitors said we should. She turned out fine and even crawled at an early age.
    You're not actually meant to bathe a baby every day because it's dries their skin out so don't worry if you haven't got around to doing an actual bath.
    Should you be reading books? I don't think it matters at such a young age as long as you are talking to her lots. I talk to my baby all the time. Even when he's out in the pushchair I ramble on to him. And I used to actually sing to my daughter out in the pushchair when she was a baby!
    I can be 100 percent sure that you are giving enough cuddles. It's hard not to shower cute babies with cuddles! Especially when they are you're own.
    And don't obsess over doing things right. Just go with the flow. Mother's instinct is a wonderful thing and pretty much most of the time when you think something's right it is.

  6. Let yourself do some things wrong. I can understand why you are obsessed with doing things right, but you are already doing the very most number one important thing right. You love that baby. And she feels your love all the time. Colic is awful, and all I can say is you'll both survive it. And every parent screws up, and it's OK to be wrong.

  7. Did I do everything right today?
    If she is fed, warm, loved then yes.

    Did I give her enough tummy time?
    Maybe, maybe not. But I can almost guarantee you it won't matter. My kids never liked it and I never did it as often as it was suggested.

    Did I give her enough stimulation via music and the activity centre?
    Refer to question one. The love, food and comfort is enough at her age. She won't hate you for it, promise!

    Did I cuddle her enough?
    I'm sure you did!

    Why didn't I manage to give her a bath today?
    Doesn't matter. Give her one tomorrow. Or the next day. New babies smell lovely anyway, and too many baths can dry their skin out.

    Is it ok to let her sleep in her daytime clothes or should I be switching her to pyjamas?
    Who cares, so long as she's warm and clean.

    Is it bad that I haven't figured out a bedtime routine yet?
    Hell no. She's tiny. Routines will come in time.

    Should I be reading books to her?
    Yes, no. If you can, great. Don't feel bad if you run out of time. Just focus on the love, food and comfort thing again.

    Am I a good mother?
    Absolutely hell yes!

    Am I doing a good job?
    See above!

    Am I doing everything right? - I seem to be obsessed with doing everything right.
    None of us probably are. And anyway, there isn't really any right or wrong, unless you are deliberately harming her (which you clearly are not). There is just whatever is right for you and your family. Again, love, food comfort. That's all she needs at this age.

    You're doing a great job.


  8. It's called sleep deprivation and it usually stops right on 12 weeks- not long to go!! Keep up the fantastic work!!

  9. Oh dear friend, you are a good mother. Having a newborn is so overwhelming at times, especially when you don't have any family to help you in the area.
    Ian used to have problems with crying and come to find out he had reflux and once he started on medicine for that things got much better. Not to say that's Frostina's problem but that hopefully with time (and hopefully sooner rather than later) things will start to get better. In terms of your concerns about your mood it might not be a bad idea to mention it to your doctor next time you are in as depression can be very common after having a baby especially with a baby following loss. There are SO many conflicted emotions as you attempt to settle into a routine with your new baby.
    In terms of tiring of her crying it's called being human, anyone would feel that way. It's unpleasant to hear your baby cry for that long at a time and the feelings you described regarding the crying spells are completely understandable.
    Thinking of you and sending love and hope that things will soon improve!

  10. So much of this reminds me of my early months with Owen. All the love, all the fears, the colic, the anxiety. The sleepless nights. I ended up on meds for PND and my only regret is that I had started them sooner.

    If its any consolation, Owen outgrew the colic and is such a happy baby that EVERYONE that meets him comments on it. But man, those early days were near impossible.

  11. (my comment got cut short)

    And it WILL get easier and you will get more accustomed to the lack of sleep and your confidence as a mom will build exponentially. It was really tough for me because I struggled with the idea that maybe I wasn't grateful enough because I was so exhausted and having a hard time with the baby - but I felt like I wasn't supposed to have a hard time, bc he was my rainbow....and I do think a lot of that was normal and to be expected, but I also know some of that was the PND taking over. Don't be afraid to ask for help. The difference for me with PND was that it felt SO chemical. It wasn't something that I needed talk therapy for. I just needed something to help regulate my brain chemistry. The relief was pretty immediate when I started meds. Feel free to email if you ever want more info.

  12. I am of the opinion that the first year is about survival. There's no spoiling, there's doing the best you can which I KNOW you are. I hope this tough time quickly leads to smiles instead.

  13. I feel for you so much. Boy Three was much longed-for after a loss and stressful pregnancy, then he got colic.
    I would say that it wouldn't do any harm to ask your doctor for some help. It wouldn't be surprising if you got PND - I did. You're swimming in hormone soup, plus the tension of the past couple of years added to the fact that you feel guilty for not being blissfully happy all the time.
    However, colic passes as mysteriously as it arrived and you'll wonder what all the fuss was about. I found sometimes driving Boy Three around was the only thing that quietened him.
    Good luck and don't be hard on yourself. x

  14. You have got some fantastic comments already. Just wanted to share something for Frostina's colic. You can give her simethicone drops. Another home remedy is that you can give her a tiny lentil sized ground black salt in a spoonful of water. The latter will help the baby with the griping.

    I think it is the gross exhaustion which is getting to you.

  15. Oh gosh, I want to write a whole essay in reply to this.

    Do you have anyone except Husband who is supportive? A health visitor, a friend? It helps.

    On the issue of "am I good enough?", I find it helpful to remember that I am my children's mother. Therefore, by that very fact, I am good enough, because what they need is ME. Not a hypothetical mother, not a mother who's read the books, not a mother who can cook/blog/run a business from home/knit (fill in the blanks), but ME.

    I wish I was your neighbour. I'd make you a cup of tea and give you a hug.

  16. PS You've read the books, so I don't want to be repetitive, but this worked for me... Try lying her face down on your forearm, with her stomach on the fleshy bump at the bottom of your thumb, (her head on your hand, her legs draped over your forearm). It can act as a gentle stomach massage - you can wobble your hand about a bit to add to the massage effect. (My husband seemed good at this position - I guess he has bigger hands than mine and the baby liked that.)

  17. Frostina may be a rainbow baby, but she's still a newborn and it's hard being a new parent and it's hard being a baby. She had months of warm comfort in your womb and this is a huge transition. By all means, if you think your moods are bordering on PPD, get help. There's nothing wrong with that. It's not a failure. I know you've read all the books, but Harvey Karp's 5 S's helped so much with Samuel, and are working with Jonah now.
    1) Swaddle Frostina tightly--even if she seems to be resisting, that's just part of the baby's natural startle reflex
    2) Side position--hold her on your arm on her side, with her head on your arm. Lota has a good description
    3) Shushing sounds--say SHHHH as loud as you can right next to her ear. If it feels like you're being too loud, you're doing it right. You can also get a white noise CD--I feel like an add but the Happiest Baby on the Block CD is working SO WELL with Jonah.
    4) Swinging--swing her using your arms, and then get her in the swing when she's calm. Use the swing on the top speed--if it has an infant insert, it won't shake her too hard
    5) Sucking. Pacifier. Totally worked with Samuel, Jonah's still pretty averse to anything but my breast

    I'm sorry if I'm just repeating things you know, but I'd rather do that than not try to help.

    In any case, I wish I could give you a hug and a bit of a respite. This is hard. But colic happens to the best of parents. You're doing great, the best you can.

  18. My nights been pretty much the same, no sleep and I am going crazy but I remind myself that she is only crying for a reason. I see that many others offer great advise, hopefully things will get better for you.