Saturday, September 7, 2013

Colic; different baby, same screams

My sweet Solomon is 3 1/2 weeks old now. He's over 11 1/2lbs and a great eater. Seriously, the easiest time I've had nursing out of all three babies. However, the screams....oh the screams! The first few days of life my little man was so chill and peaceful. He slept, ate, pooped, and went back to sleep. I thought I had a 'normal' baby, woohoo!!!! Then something happened a couple days later. He became miserable. He would eat, scream, poop, scream, sleep, wake up screaming, and on and on and on that went day and night. No one else could hold him or he'd just scream worse. At night he'd be up to nursing every 1 1/2-2 hours and then stay up another 1-3 hours afterwards, screaming again. That was our all night routine. And yes, the girls still get up around 6 something every day. I mean, really, this was not a sustainable pattern for me. Never sleeping and always screaming with 2 other children to raise? Lord, help me!!!! So we started trying some things.

Gripe Water: Basically just ginger and fennel.
Works sometimes to calm him, other times it's like I didn't even give it. Not a cure by any means. Mostly just helps when he gets hiccups.

Gas Drops: Simethicone.
Seemed to help the first day, but then after that seemed to actually make it worse. There are some studies* out there saying Simethicone only has a placebo effect and sometimes actually truly does make gas worse in babies :( So yeah, we pretty much don't use these anymore.

Gerber Soothe Colic Drops: Probiotic Supplement with L. reuteri.
These are supposed to help normalize the gut flora and help baby be able to digest and handle things better in the gut. There is newish research* showing probiotics to be helpful for colicky babies. I noticed he was gassier but more chill within a day. We've been on them a week now and overall the screaming is less and he seems more peaceful, although this has not by any means been a cure either.

Levsin Drops: Hyosine Drops (rX)
These are a 40 year old rX for colicky babies that work to slow down the gut just a bit so baby is having less painful belly flare ups. The rX is for 4 drops 4 times a day, literally just 'drops', it's a super tiny dose. It does to seem to help some as well, but we still have some unpredictable screaming sessions.

Also tried/trying: Sound machine, swaddling, not swaddling, car seat, bouncer, swing, baby wearing.......and on and on it goes.

It's been a journey trying to figure out how to help him. He doesn't really spit up at all, although does seem to have stuff come up in his mouth that he has to re-swallow and makes a face that says, "that tasted nasty". He may have silent reflux and we have an rX for Zantac but are waiting to see if the Levsin Drops will be helpful enough. Zantac reduces the stomach acid which is needed for fighting bacteria.

At times I feel rather resentful of my lot; the fact that I've gotten two babies with colic when others can have 7 children and never have 1 like this. I've blogged about this before, but I'll say it again; I think as mothers we have to fight internally between our expectations and what is our reality. My expectation was that life would not give me two colicky babies. Well? Life is pooping all over my expectations. When the baby is screaming his head off and I've had a cumulative 2 hours of sleep the night before and nothing will calm him, it's hard just to put on clothes, let alone play with my other children, make sure they are eating nutritious foods, laundry is caught up, the house is livable, and there is food to eat for dinner. My focus and attention, 100% of it, goes to the screaming newborn in my arms. It's rough. It's hard seeing your baby so miserable, knowing he's not comfortable or happy, and nothing you are trying is working. I cried in Costco a few days ago. Like actual tears and my face turning red. It was awful and embarrassing. I was so exhausted and frustrated and I cried. In public. Ugh.

Solomon's colic also looks differently than Eliana's did. She screamed every single day at 5pm and didn't stop til 2am at the soonest, often much longer. It was a hellish nightmare. Solomon will have a semi good day and then a horrible day and it's just really unpredictable. Eliana was predictable down to the minute. Luckily Solomon does love the Ergo so when we go to the store, birthday parties, etc I just wear him and then we're mostly ok. I wear him a lot at home, too, but it's not practical for every second of the day or for my back. With Eliana I only had a Bjorn....I think if I'd known more about baby wearing and had some other carriers that could've helped us a bit.

With Elly's colic I cut out all dairy for a couple months and didn't drink milk or eat ice cream for a year I was so paranoid, but it seriously made ZERO difference. I just kept hoping it would. So after all of that hassle I really didn't want to have to cut it out yet again for no reason, especially because we have no history of any dairy allergies. and the ped both assured me that with colic, cutting out dairy won't be a magic cure. I knew that (as evidenced with Eliana), but it was good to hear it again. I had been avoiding milk, ice cream, and yogurt out of fear. The ped did say that colicky babies tend to be sensitive to caffeine and tomatoes/tomato sauces. Oy. I've only had caffeine maybe 2 times in 3 weeks but I've had a crapload of tomato stuff! Then I started to think back to the worst days and nights and yup, sure seems like those were the days I had pizza, manicotti, more pizza, sloppy joes.....Oops! So, for now I'm avoiding caffeine and tomato-y stuff. Usually babies outgrow those sensitivities around 3 months when their gut can handle it better, so I'm not writing off pizza forever, but will be going light on the red stuff for a little while. I might test it out in a couple weeks and see what happens. It's also strange that my girls HATE tomatoes. They eat almost anything, but both of them can't stand tomatoes. Even the tiny sweet ones fresh off grandma's tomato plant. Craig and I also hate tomatoes. Weird, right?

*I'm not a fan of people not citing sources. For reals. But here I am really sleep deprived and barely finding time to blog, let alone dig up the sources I found at 3am last week. So, no sources today :(


  1. my first two were girls.No colic.Scott, the 3rd, was fine at first also then the COLIC hit and it was bad! I thought I'd go crazy. We tried gripe water and everything else. One time I was so house bound I took the 2 little girls and baby Scott to DQ just to get out and he screamed the whole time we ate our ice-cream. People were just staring at us but I told the girls just to smile. Later someone told me about the Q-tip trick to relieve gas...kinda like letting pressure out of a pressure cooker. So one takes a greased Q-tip or a thermometer and inserts it barely into the rectum and it relieves the gas. It was an old, old wives trick for helping a colicky baby. I also massaged his rectum...yes, it sounds gross but it would relieves gas and soon he'd have a movement on the folded diaper and feel better. One Sunday evening I had all I could take. The church folks prayed for him at the evening service even though I was home with him. I actually sat on the living-room floor saying, "Lord, I cannot take another day." After the intense prayer of the church he woke up the next morning a new baby! It is a real tiring and tough time with a colicky baby.

  2. every baby is so different. With Jill I could not even take one bite of ANYTHING chocolate or she'd be so colicky. With all the kids onions made 'em colicky. Some gals said, "It's just old wives tales..avoiding foods does not make a difference." But I knew that even a teaspoon of chocolate cake made baby Jill feel SO badly within an hour after nursing.

  3. Besides the foods that you eat causing the baby gas have you ever thought to see if he is allergic to your milk. I have had 3 or 4 friends that had colicky babies turns out they were allergic to moms milk. went off moms milk used formula or Goats milk depending on the mom and no more colic. It is rare so but when desperate you try EVERYTHING.

  4. That would be so rare, I think I would be more nervous about introducing formula or other animal's milk to the gut flora at this point. Colic goes away around 3 or 4 months....if he's still having issues at that point we'll have to do more digging. I imagine he'll be like a different baby by then, like my first daughter :) He has been much more normal the last day or so, hoping what we're doing is maybe working. Thank you for your thoughts, appreciate it!

  5. Loving the information on this website , you have done great job on the posts. Thanks for providing such a great information with us.
    Gripe water