Things to remember when surviving colic

My first 2 babies were colicky. It was hell. Pure hell. Here are a few things that may be helpful:

  1. If you are losing your mind, it will come back. Itʼs ok.
  2. The baby may be screaming like crazy but he/she is safe. Do whatever you need to do to keep it that way. The human nervous system can only take so much high frequency and high volume sound. Sometimes the best choice means putting the baby down safely and walking away for a moment. Itʼs ok.
  3. If you and your baby are crying at the same time, itʼs ok.
  4. If you have a partner, they may not be perfect, none of them are. They may not do things exactly the way you would, but they can help. Let them.
  5. Going outside often works better than anything. Put that baby in a carrier and walk. Donʼt worry about waking up the neighbors. 
  6. Change of scenery is good. I became good friends with the grocer, I was the only one in the store wearing a screaming infant while browsing the bulk whole grains section. Itʼs ok.
  7. Try eliminating all dairy for 3 weeks. I know it sounds ridiculous and impossible but I speak both as a nutritionist and as a mother. My irst two babies were colicky. They screamed for up to eight hours straight, daily for months. I tried going off dairy but never absolutely and totally for more than a few days. When I was pregnant with our 3rd, we were dreading it.  I went off all dairy the minute I went into labor. We waited for her to start crying, but she never did. When she was 2 months old, I put a little milk in my tea, like maybe an ounce. She screamed for hours that night. In my experience as a nutritionist, I have found 3 weeks to be the amount of time it takes to get a real assessment but usually by two weeks you can tell its helping. Try going off all dairy for 3 weeks. Trust me I learned this one the hard way. If you are feeding formula, try changing the formula. If none of this works, at least you will know you tried. It still will not last forever. Itʼs ok. 
  8. Look at and talk to your baby. Even when you are feeling overwhelmed and losing your mind, if you can stay calm, you can be supportive and nurturing. Trust me, mothers fake it all the time. Itʼs ok.
  9. Protect your back. Use pillows to support your arm for breastfeeding, even if you think you donʼt need it. Take care of yourself. Itʼs ok.
  10. Drink more water. Drink water every hour. You have time to drink water even while the baby is screaming. Itʼs ok.
  11. Wearing your baby can calm both you and your baby. You can move around and get things done while still being attentive and feeling close. Wearing the baby inward so you are tummy to tummy can be a good way to maintain constant gentle abdominal pressure on the baby, which is also helpful . I prefer a wrap for wearing newborns. It supports my back as well as keeping the baby safe and secure. When positioning the baby in the wrap, pay attention that his/her head isnʼt hyperextended forward, as this can be dangerous. If wearing your baby doesn’t work, itʼs still ok.
  12. We used to rest the baby carrier on top of the yoga ball and bounce, sometimes that worked really well. (Baby fully buckled in and someone still holding the carrier). This way if they fall asleep you can put the baby and carrier down and have a cup of tea. 
  13. Speaking of tea, herbal teas like this postpartum formula can really help keep the stress hormones from taking over. Iʼm a big fan of this one because it worked for me within minutes, and because it is made by beautiful wonderful friends. 

Amazingly enough, mothers, fathers and babies survive colic  all the time. It will not last forever. Your child will not be walking down the wedding aisle screaming bloody murder. 

You are doing great. Itʼs ok.

How to Clean a Big Fat Baby

I don’t mean to brag, but I have fat babies. Rolly-polly nook-and-cranny babies. I’m one of those cooky moms who breastfeed exclusively for a very long time, so I don’t know why my babies are fat. I do know it’s a blessing though because all my friends with skinny babies are always worrying and complaining that their babies are too skinny. For mothers of skinny babies check ups are traumatic, and diapers are always leaking. Grandmothers and poorly misguided pediatritians are pushing formula and early solid introduction even though the kid is just fine and everyone knows that breast is best. It’s a nightmare.

I don’t have that problem. I have the opposite problem. What could be the problem with a fat baby you say? I’ll tell you what the problem is. It’s the shmutz. Keeping a fat baby clean is like trying to keep a kitchen counter made out of macaroni clean. Cooked macaroni. How to do get the shmutz out? If you wash it every day, it’s too much wear and tear and if you don’t it gets deeply disgusting, fast. Same for a baby, if you bathe them every day, their skin gets too dry and irritated. And even if you do that, how do you get that god awful smelling neck dry and staying clean after the bath? I have tried keeping a fat neck extended enough to be aired out. It does not work and you get one pissed off kid! And that behind the ears cheese receptacle, and oh lord, the belly button. Even if you have a skinny baby, you have that to deal with.

And what soap do you use? The one with the sodium laurel sulfate, or the one with the carcinogenic refined petroleum derrivatives that you can’t pronounce? Or the “natural” one, with the “fragrance”?

Well by my fourth baby, I finally came up with a perfect strategy. Don’t wash, wipe. That’s right, just wipe it out. Make or get some salve, made with non synthetic and non irritating ingredients only, put some on your clean hands, and wipe out the shmutz. Wipe out behind the ears, under the arms and all those places. Wipe down that squishy tushy while you are at it. Put some on a q-tip and clean out the belly button. Don’t use any water, because water just feeds the festering bacteria and yeasts that are waiting to grow in that nice cozy environment. Salve is lipid (oil) based and has no water in it so it works as a moisture barrier keeping skin moist but not promoting any nasty microbial growth which can lead to stink, rashes, and infections. Then wash and dry your hands and do it one more time. Wipe down that whole baby with smooth and shmeary salve. Make it like a little baby massage time

Don’t get me wrong, when the frozen blueberries she had for breakfast come back to haunt you, it’s time for a bath. But in between those events, take a little advice. Don’t wash, wipe.