I remember those days and nights well because it was one of the most stressful times of my life. I felt helpless. I was a first-time mom who had babysat for decades and who’d read so many books on how to have a child I thought I knew it all. But what I didn’t plan on was a baby who cried for hours on end from the moment we left the hospital.
Our Family Journal
He was born during a snowstorm, the likes of which we haven’t experienced again since. That November it left the streets empty because it wasn’t safe to drive. As we slide past a stop sign and into a 4-lane road, ice wasn’t our biggest concern. What was, was being trapped inside a car with a 3-day old infant crying at a level I thought only possible by a siren.
His crying was unbearable so although the roads were dangerous, we threw out our naive, pre-baby theory of having a pacifier-free child right out the window and stopped at a grocery store to pick up the first of probably hundreds of “Binkies.” But while the pacifier muffled his crying somewhat in decibel level, intensity, and length, it didn’t solve the problem. At every checkup with the pediatrician, he was declared healthy and growing – by pounds – in no time at all. But as my 6-week maternity leave loomed, I started to panic. How was I going to be able to work full time when I was getting between 2-6 hours of sleep a night and not consecutively? Didn’t he know that now that he was six weeks old he’d be in daycare several days a week, and they weren’t going to put up with his crying? Evidently not. It continued and when I picked him up from his caregiver, she looked a lot like I did when I turned him over to his father when he came home from the fire station – the look of relief mixed with exhaustion.
I continued to breastfeed morning and night, and he consumed commercial formula during the day. It didn’t affect the crying. At four months old, the concerned chorus of family, friends, and complete strangers said he’s still not getting enough to eat, so they urged us to put rice cereal into his bottle. Willing to try anything to stop the crying, we did. Did it help? No.
My sweet boy was well over a year old before he slept through the night for the first time. Until then I slogged through my day secretly glad that for nine hours every day at when I got to leave him with the sitter because it meant a reprieve from the crying. The ear-splitting, nerve-wracking, incessant crying that made me want to walk out the door and never look back. I had incredible support from my husband, but he was a firefighter on a 24-hour shift, so every other night, I was the only caregiver and there were many times that I had to put my son in his crib where he was safe and walk away for his sake and mine.
There Is Help for Incessant Crying
What’s sad is it didn’t have to be that way. I wish I knew that what I know now about food and our bellies. What he likely suffered from was colic which our doctor (as did most) considered normal for infants, so we were left to their own devices to comfort and soothe our distraught baby. But colic is something that can be treated, and I love that new parents have better options than we did.
A Little About Colic
Colic generally passes by the age of 4 months, though all babies are different, and some may experience colic symptoms for a shorter or longer period. What may be the colic causing culprit is a temporary digestive upset caused by the inability to digest the lactose that’s present in both breast milk and commercial infant formula. Colief Infant Digestive Aid is a dietary supplement that contains lactase enzymes that can help in easing an infant’s digestion discomfort and, therefore, reduce the crying associated with colic. Adding Colief Infant Digestive Aid to your child’s formula or mixed with breast milk can help in compensating for the possible lactose intolerance your baby is suffering from. Try it before you give in to the suggestions of other including restricting your diet if you’re breastfeeding or changing formulas.
Think you’re alone when it comes to being frustrated by a baby who can’t be soothed? Check out this Colief Mom Testimonial video, you may see yourself in her struggle, I know I did.
Colief Mom Testimonial– Amy Deel
Dealing with a Crying Baby? Seven Sanity Saving Tips
While that first year was intense, I’d do it all over again because my son is one of the kindest human beings I know. He’s all bravado on the outside, but underneath he’s a soft and sweet man who would give you his last dollar before he used it for himself. I only wish that someone had given me a few simple tips on how to not just survive that first year, but to thrive with an infant who ‘s hard to comfort.
Tips for Thriving and Not Just Surviving With Your Crying Infant
- Don’t take it personally. His crying doesn’t mean you’re not able to make him happy, figure out his needs, or that he doesn’t like you. He’s got no way to let you know he’s hot, cold, hungry, poopy, irritated, or his stomach is upset except by crying so accept that it’s going to be a part of your life for a while.
- Take the edge off his crying by using earplugs or noise canceling earbuds or a headset. Make sure you can still hear him in case of an emergency, but use it to dampen the sound.
- Let others help. Your friends and family WANT to spend time with him. Let them. It gives you both a break from each other and allows you to start relax, so you’re ready to tackle parenting again.
- About to lose it? Put him somewhere safe where you can see and/or hear him and calm yourself down. Count to 100, stand with your back against the wall and slide down into a sitting position (it takes a lot of concentration to stay there), wear a rubber band on your wrist and snap it while saying “relax” or another mantra, or tap the middle of your forehead with your index finger concentrating on the feeling of the tip of your finger touching your forehead. Any repetitive and physical motion that makes you stop and focus on what you’re doing is an amazing way to diffuse the stress.
- Choose gratitude. Sure, he’s crying and has been for several hours, but it means he’s healthy, and he will outgrow it. Beyond this will be years of amazing adventures…and then the teen years hit and you’ll remember these days much more fondly.
- Write a journal. Need to share your feelings, write a journal. An old-fashioned pen and paper journal just for yourself. I promise when you re-read it later, you’ll find yourself seeing the whole experience differently.
- And perhaps the most important tip, try a digestive aid like Colief. It won’t harm him if that’s not his issue, and you may just find the relief you both need. It’s available at Walgreens or online at Colief.com.
Looking back now nearly 30 years later, that year was such a tiny part of our life, and if I had to do it over again, I would. It was worth every minute of doubt, frustration, and even anger. Every one of my tips above are ones that have become a part of the way I live my life – with gratitude and acceptance. “This too shall pass,” gets me through the tough times, and “What’s in it for me?” helps me determine how I handle problems. They’ve both served me well.
What about you. Was your first experience as a mom similar to mine? What do you tell yourself during the trying times to get you through?
Check out the #ColiefMOMents Giveaway on Facebook and enter to win one of several great prizes including a Petunia Pickle Bottom Diaper Bag and a $500 Walgreens gift card!
Colief® Infant Digestive Aid is a gluten-free dietary supplement for the reduction of colic-associated crying resulting from temporary lactose intolerance (TLI) in infants. Colief Infant Digestive Aid may help reduce the crying time associated with colic by breaking down the lactose in breast milk or infant formula, making it easier for infants to digest. To learn more, visit http://us.colief.com or LIKE the brand on Facebook.
This is a product-provided, sponsored conversation that contains affiliate links. All opinions, text and experiences are my own. Colief Infant Digestive Aid is a dietary supplement to provide relief due to colic-associated crying from temporary lactose intolerance (TLI). These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.