There is rarely an easy fix for a colicky baby. Guest blogger Eddie Trujillo is a father of 2 girls, including a colicky baby. He admits that as a problem solver, the last six months have been very frustrating. He has thought about an exorcist but haven't we all when the baby cries all day long. Eddie shares his thoughts in today's special post: Ay Papa!
Even before my daughter was born, I kept hearing about colic. Products in every baby section. Bottles designed to reduce colic. Formula made for fussiness, gas, and colic. Special angled pillows and mattresses to help colic. What the heck? Spending many months in Colombia as a child, I remember cholera being a big deal, is colic somehow related? They sound similar at least.
When my wife and I attended our first birthing and parenting classes, the instructors brought up the subject. While they did talk about it at length, I never really felt that it was truly explained. The best I could gather was that colic was a kind of stomach problem that really made babies upset. "Fussiness" seemed to be the key term. It didn't sound that horrible, so why was there so much on the market to help avoid it?
I soon found out.
The baby had a rough entry into the world and spent about a week in the NICU at Sherman Hospital. The wonderful nurses there started her on regular Enfamil. Breast milk never was an option, so after we got her home, we continued with the same formula. The "fussiness" appeared soon after, and we quickly realized it was one of the worst euphemisms ever.
Newborns do three things, typically: eat, sleep, and poop. Ours added one more to the mix: crying. Constant crying. It varied in degree from just some slight discomfort and unhappiness to head-spinning ear-piercing foul filthiness.
My wife and I consider ourselves to be intelligent, rational human beings. We've dealt with a lot in our lives together until this point, but somehow this tiny little 8 pound creature was waging unbridled psychological war on us, and winning. We walked laps around our house with her, swaddled her, talked to her, sang to her, played with her, patted her back, you name it. We did our research, talked to our own parents, and consulted our pediatrician. Our doctor recommended changing formula to something soy-based, thinking the baby might be lactose intolerant. (With the vulgarity coming out of our tiny child's mouth, I think the Church would've prescribed two priests, holy water, and a crucifix.)
Every day was an exhausting ordeal; each battle taking its toll on both my wife and I. The little demon was able to bring us both to tears. It was like dealing with Dr. Jekyll and Miss Hyde. The change would happen at any moment where she'd go from happy smiling baby to tiny banshee in an instant.
We eventually ended up switching to Similac Sensitive, and although it didn't solve the problem completely, it did help. Kinda. When she was around 3 months old, we reported our progress to the pediatrician, and wondered if more could be done to help our child feel better. "Babies just do that" and "it might just be her personality" were the responses. Neither answer sat well with me, especially since I'm a guy.
Guys are typically problem solvers. We like to fix things. My poor screaming daughter obviously needed help, and I couldn't solve her problem. Even with the fancy anti-colic bottles, the doctor-recommended formula, and trying everything else that was suggested, nothing was completely solved. No matter what I tried, my little girl was in pain and I couldn't help her. This was absolutely heartbreaking.
She is now nearly six months old, and I'm happy to report that the colic doesn't seem to be as big of an issue as it once was. There are still days where she's inexplicably upset, and others where it's obvious that her tummy isn't feeling well. However, she's beginning to eat some solid foods and things are working themselves out naturally.
Now, when Captain Howdy decides to show up, there is a solution that works the majority of the time: mommy. I admit, it still hurts that I can't help my little girl, but at least there is relief. I try my best to give my wife baby breaks, especially after I've been at work and she's had the baby all day. (Here I go trying to be the fixer again, I know.) Now, instead of colic, separation anxiety comes into play. While my wife goes out to get some air, little Pazuzu comes out from time to time. Papa simply isn't good enough to exorcise the demons, but as soon as mom's home, our beautiful little girl reemerges.
There's no substitute for mama, but that doesn't mean papa won't keep trying to help. Ay Papa!