When I first became a mom, I was in heaven. I had found my true calling—to love this tiny human being with my entire heart and self. My entire life revolved around her, and I could not have found a more fulfilling job, just being her mom. My oldest, K, was the perfect baby. She rarely cried, except when she absolutely needed something ~ like food, a diaper changing, or if she was sleepy and needed to be rocked. She was very amiable and easy to please.
I had no idea how good I had it.
Other parents would tell me how lucky I was that she was such a good baby, and I’d say, “Oh, thank you.” But I didn’t really understand.
I would read parenting articles that would say “it’s OK if sometimes you regret becoming a parent” or something like “at times you don’t know how you’re going to continue” or “you may feel like giving up and throwing in the towel” and I would think… I have no idea what they were talking about.
K was literally that perfect.
So perfect that I didn’t understand how a parent could be overwhelmed with frustration.
I couldn’t fathom why someone would even think to shake their baby. It baffled me how a parent would have such a rough day that they’d consider throwing in the towel, just because of their baby. How a parent could be so frustrated they couldn’t handle taking care of an infant. That they would have to take a moment, walk away, and cry.
Not so Happy Baby
Fast forward several years to the birth of K2.
K2 is not a bad baby, but she cries—she cries A LOT. I have experienced days when all I wanted to do was shut myself in the closet and cry. Some days when I don’t know how I can keep going.
The fact that I am the one and only person who has been able (so far) to calm her down when she gets going makes me reluctant to ever ask for help, not wanting to inflict such frustration on anyone else.
The Truth About Colic
Having a baby who screams uncontrollably, for no known reason (that I can find), has finally opened my eyes to the reason for all those articles and the need for understanding in these situations. This is the ugly truth that is colic. The truth that sometimes, nothing works.
I now understand why not all moms feel adequate.
Why some parents choose to stop after one kid.
I understand that some days, you have to set baby down, take a minute and walk away—even if it’s just to cry a bit before you start again.
When K2 gets into these crying jags, I try anything and everything I can think of to make her happy.
My fiancé tries his hardest to help, but she screams even harder when he holds her.
We Try Everything
We try the bicycle move—moving her legs around to help with any gas.
We try gripe water in case she has an upset stomach.
I’ve tried infant Tylenol thinking maybe she has a headache I don’t know about.
I try feeding her. And to be honest, some days I am so stressed out that I don’t believe I produce enough milk for her. Which is why we’ve had to start supplementing with formula.
I change her and make sure there are no diaper rashes. If even a hint of pink or redness appears I whip out the Desitin.
I rock her, sing to her, bounce her, change her clothes, swaddle her like a little burrito baby.
Sometimes I go in a dark room and try to nurse her to sleep.
I’ve tried pacifiers,
toys to distract her,
taking her outside…
we’ve even tried the Probiotic with Vitamin D drops our doctor said “calms colic 70% of the time”
Sometimes nothing works.
Sometimes, especially when we’re driving, she’ll scream so long and so hard and there’s nothing I can do.
If she happens to scream herself to sleep, I consider myself lucky. It doesn’t happen often.
The Lucky Ones
You might be one of those parent’s with a wonderful baby who never cries unless they need something. One that loves being held but is perfectly fine sleeping in the bassinet.
You should know how lucky you are. Clearly that’s not always the case.
With K, I used to think it was just me. Maybe I was just “such a good mom” that my baby never needed to cry because I was always on top of her needs.
I was so naïve. Stupidly so!
It’s not because you’re a super mom. (Although we’d all like to think that.)
It’s because you have a super baby.
What Causes Colic
The truth is, Colic is used as a catch-all reason for uncontrollably crying. We don’t really know what the root cause is.
“Colic is one of the great mysteries of baby life. Experts estimate that between 8 and 40 percent of babies become colicky. The condition is equally common among firstborn and later-born babies, among boys and girls, and among breastfed and formula-fed infants.”
Whatever the reason and whatever it is that decides whether a baby is calm and self soothing or loud and needy, it’s probably just a roll of the dice which you’ll get.
But if you do have a colicky baby who is inconsolable at times—know that you aren’t alone.
And you are not a bad mother for hating the situation.
You’re not a bad mother for letting them cry it out sometimes.
Love Them Anyway
I love K2 just as much as her sister, even on the days she cries for hours without stopping. Just like you love your little one even when they make you feel helpless.
And no matter how hard it is some days, I will always consider her to be my beautiful, wonderful, perfect-to-me little girl. Even right now, as I’m writing this blog post with tears in my eyes after a particularly difficult day.
Today all I wanted to do was cry—but I know this won’t last forever.
Eventually the crying calms and smiles resurface. And oh, how we love those smiles!
Then one day when K2 is grown, I’ll miss her as a baby, screams and all.
For now, let’s take a deep breath and remember—this too, shall pass.
Give it time, they’ll grow out of it. One day it’ll get better.
Just like everything else troubling in your life.
One day it’ll all be better.
Until then, best wishes ~
~ and good luck.