The Day The Colic Ended Was The Day I Began To Heal

My heart completely sank to the bottom of my stomach as the heaping plate of nachos was placed before me. This was the first time I had been out in the two months since my son was born.

The restaurant was buzzing with a low murmur of conversations from patrons enjoying their meal. Across from me sat my friend whose daughter was now 1 1/2 years old, but she too started out colic.

There’s a special club for parents who have a colic baby. It’s a group no one ever wants to belong to, but those who don’t belong never truly understand.

I had spent the past month cutting dairy completely out of my diet. I didn’t even truly know if Noah was dairy intolerant, but when you have a colicky baby you try EVERYTHING. Trust me. The hugest wave of guilt engulfed me as I stared at those nachos. I just wanted a couple hours away. One brief moment to feel any sort of resemblance to my old self again.

I picked up a single nacho. Then another…and another. With each bite unable to calm my thoughts or anxiety that began to build. “What if he starts screaming again?” “What if I make it worse?” “What if this one meal takes days to clear my system or worse days to clear his?”

At this point our daily routine included zero sleep and anywhere from 7 to 9 hours of straight screaming. No that is not an exaggeration. I wish it were. This child would start screaming and would not stop for hours. Bicycle kicks, probiotics, gas drops, Zantac for his acid reflux, swaddling him, not swaddling him, weighted sleep suits, bouncing, rocking, cutting all possible allergens from my diet…swing after swing after swing. Our front door looked like Christmas with daily Amazon deliveries arriving in a constant desperate attempt to get this child to sleep for longer than 20 minutes.

I think I only devoured about 10 nacho chips before my thoughts won over and the guilt became too much. I couldn’t undo all the hard work of cutting dairy. We had noticed a slight improvement and any fraction of an improvement was the only thing I could hang onto at the time.

We said our goodbyes and I headed home with a to-go container packed with nachos to give to my husband. As I pulled out of the parking spot and headed towards home my eyes welled up with tears that I could not stop. By the time I got home I was sobbing. My husband with a look of pure confusion asked, “What happened? What’s wrong.”

“I didn’t want to come home,” I said.

That moment of reality hit me HARD. Here I was with a head full of ideas and assumptions of how it was supposed to be. This was my son. The child I had waited for and wanted so badly. I was supposed to instantly bond with him. I was supposed to be head over heels about him and enjoying every moment of this newborn phase. I was constantly reminded how fast they grow up, how quickly it goes and how much I was going to miss these moments. All I could think was how much I hated these moments. How much I was struggling. How much I didn’t want to come home.

I don’t think I could ever truly convey the level of stress and anxiety that comes with a colic baby. Constantly living on edge that if I change my clothes, try to pee, or make a sandwich, the few moments of peace would be broken and the screaming would start. This kid challenged me more mentally and physically than I ever thought was possible. The first four months of his life were so unbelievably hard, and it’s taken me these last 5 months to really start to come to terms with it all.

Every difficult or challenging time in your life is intertwined with blessings if you look hard enough. Looking back I realize just how strong our marriage is and how much it was put to the test. Sleep deprivation, delirium, pure exhaustion, a constantly screaming child…all the things you don’t want in life thrown at you.

Keeping our sense of humor about the chaos became our saving grace. Sure, there were moments one of us snapped under all the pressure and said some things we probably shouldn’t have. Who wouldn’t? My husband’s quick-witted sense of humor and amazing one liners kept things in perspective though. Being able to laugh at the absurdity of the situation kept us from spiraling into feelings of complete hopelessness. For that I am immensely grateful.

“It won’t last forever,” is the phrase parents with other colic babies reassure you with. When you’re in the trenches it feels like forever and that’s the last thing you want to hear, but inevitably they are right. It does end. And when it ends it’s amazing.

I remember the day I realized the colic was over. He didn’t scream. He didn’t struggle. He didn’t spend 90 percent of his time grunting. He became a normal baby and it was the day I finally began to heal.

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  1. Oh it does feel like it will last forever doesn’t it? Colic made it so hard to bond with baby for the first year… but when it eneded… whew life came back.

    1. It does!! Yes, bonding was so hard in the beginning which made it all that more emotional. It’s so nice to be done with the colic and truly be able to connect with my son.

  2. Thank you for sharing. I think it’s so important to share the real, raw parts of motherhood.

    1. I agree. We each have our own story and hardships as moms too. I think sharing those experiences can help us to not feel so alone in it all.

  3. Oh I just want to reach through my computer and give you a giant hug. I couldn’t imagine dealing with colic and I admire you so much for all of the sacrifices you made to get through it. You are a great mom.

    1. Awe, thank you! This comment is so sweet and made my day!

  4. I haven’t dealt with a colic baby. It must be so difficult. Thanks for sharing your story and letting all know everything is not always perfect.

    1. Even without colic there are so many imperfect moments. I think it’s great to hear stories and what other moms go through too.

  5. Colic is the worst. Lack of sleep, feeling helpless, and the stress of all the changes in your life with a new baby are enough to send your emotions out the roof. Not everything about motherhood is Instagram-worthy and glamorous. Thanks for sharing truthful insights into what being a new mom can look like.

    1. Far from Instagram-worthy and glamorous. That’s a great way to describe it!

    1. I’m happy it’s over too!

  6. I’m sure it’s so hard to experience when it’s happening. Quite sad for both mom and baby – so much stress!

    1. So much stress! I don’t think I realized just how stressful it was until we had some distance from it once it ended.

  7. My first baby was colicky until about 5 months and it’s so hard! When I had my second, he was so happy and it was just like night and day.

    1. I am so glad your second wasn’t colicky. That must have been such a huge contrast to experience.

  8. As a mama of 6 I can relate! I had a couple with colic, and one that was just a bad sleeper. It is hard to go through, and it’s true, it’s hard to relax until it’s all over with.

    1. I admire you for having more kids! That’s amazing. I’m pretty sure my son has solidified his position as an only child, lol.

  9. I am currently in the trenches of dealing with colic. My baby is 6 weeks old and I am still desperate to find a solution because I am so physically and mentally exhausted and I don’t want to hear that time is the only thing that will help. I found your Instagram which led me to this blog post by literally putting in the hash tag colic because I’m desperate for answers. This blog post resonates with me so well. It is so incredibly hard!! My first daughter also had colic and I was praying throughout my entire pregnancy that I wouldn’t have another colicky baby. Is there anything you found that helped even a bit? I’m looking for any sort of relief!

    1. Oh I am so sorry to hear this. My heart goes out to you. It is soooo hard. I can’t imagine going through two colicky babies. I wish there was a secret answer to this. For us, cutting dairy from my diet helped. I’m not sure if you BF or formula feed, but I know there are some formulas with reduced dairy or ones from Europe with no dairy that you could try. Keep in mind it can take up to 3 weeks for dairy to fully leave your system if you BF so you might not notice results right away. The second thing that helped was our son had acid reflux. The doctor gave us Zantac and we noticed results immediately. His spit up went down by 80% overnight. We also started giving him a probiotic to help with his stomach issues. Finally, at 3 1/2 months I was at my wits end and we contacted a sleep consultant. She suggested we have our son evaluated for a lip/tongue tie. Sure enough he had it. We had that revised at 4 months and that was when we saw the biggest transformation. He was a completely different baby after that (another blog post I plan to write soon). If you haven’t had your baby checked for a lip/tongue tie I definitely think it is worth ruling out if nothing else. The lactation consultant and pediatrician never caught it. We went to a pediatric dentist who was able to diagnose it. An ENT can also diagnose and revise it.

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