Dad Hack Two – Try Not To Lose Your Mind With a Colicky Baby
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One of the hardest things I ever had to deal with is my oldest daughter being colicky. That was 23 years ago, and I still have nightmares.
I worked primarily second shift at the time and would usually get home around 2-3 am. Arielle’s mom worked first shift.
That meant Arielle was under my care and supervision from 6 am until her mother got home.
Like clockwork every morning at around 6 am Arielle would wake up and begin crying and screaming in obvious pain.
This would go on for hours every day. She was colicky. It took the doctors almost 6 months to come up with something that helped.
This is not an easy scenario for anyone to handle let alone on 3 or 4 hours of sleep, daily.
I still tell this story all the time.
Fast Forward 15 Years and Now I have a Son.
Here we go again. The only difference was the timing and the resolution.
Isaiah’s colic was usually a nighttime event. I was now on first shift.
I don’t think he was as bad because I don’t remember too many long days of screaming and crying.
Four Years Later and Let’s Do It One More Time.
Izzy was like clockwork as well. 8 pm every night. I was still on first shift. It was still difficult.
Izzy is a little different in that whatever she does she feels the need to one-up everyone else. Even if she doesn’t know that’s what she’s doing.
It all started at birth. She made her entrance into the world 10 weeks early and left the hospital 4 weeks before she was due.
My wife and I really try to share some of the child raising burdens like having a colicky baby. It’s not always that simple though.
One parent is off from work the next day or one parent had an extremely tough day. Life has a way of getting in the way.
I still recall vividly one Saturday night when Izzy started screaming at 8 pm (as usual) and carried on until 4 or 5 am on Sunday morning. The only thing that soothed her was walking around with her.
I spent the entire night and the next morning walking around the house with her so that she could sleep.
How Do You Deal with a Colicky Baby?
Patience is definitely tested when you have a colicky baby. As you can see from the very few details I have provided it can be very challenging.
I have created some dad hacks for dealing with a colicky baby. These tips can be applied to anyone caring for a baby with colic. They can also be applied to almost any scenario where an infant is extremely fussy or cranky.
Dad Hack Number Two [Try Not to Lose Your Mind] 8 Tips to Help You Deal With a Colicky Baby.
I know this can be challenging. A colicky baby can break even the strongest of men.
I also know that telling someone to be patient is silly. It’s one of those things you know you need to do but it’s not easy to do under duress.
Has anyone ever considered using a colicky baby to get someone to reveal information?
Listen to Music, With Headphones
I know what you’re thinking. Shouldn’t I be listening to the baby?
Trust me when I tell you that you will still hear your baby. The shrieking can penetrate even the best noise canceling headphones.
Plus, chances are you’re holding your baby as they’re going through being colicky.
Having another source of sound helps to draw the attention away from an otherwise relentless trail of crying and screaming. The steady pattern of a musical beat also helps you keep your cool.
Now you’re probably thinking how can you watch TV with a screaming infant. The short answer is you can’t.
But, having the TV on with reruns of something you are quite familiar with really does help.
You’d be surprised how many channels have Law and Order SVU on in the middle of the night.
Of course, I cut the cord a while ago so using Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video or Plex is what I would do today. Even easier to watch reruns or a favorite movie this way. 23 years ago I did not have this luxury.
Having the TV on helps distract you ever so slightly from your screaming child. The familiarity of a show you already know also helps keep you calm.
Put Them on Their Stomach.
OK, OK. I know. Don’t beat me up for this one.
I am by no means a doctor and I would never tell you to do this while everyone is sleeping. I know the risks and have heard it from doctors all too many times.
Putting an infant on their stomach seems to help relieve the pressure causing the colic. There are rules to this though.
You will have to stay awake and watch them. You should ensure they are lying down somewhere that is safe. Putting them down on their stomachs in a crib is never a good idea.
We used to put them down in the middle of our bed or on a blanket in the middle of the floor. We have a large king size bed, so this made it easier.
With Izzy and Isaiah at some point, we did start letting them sleep on their stomachs. Again, we knew the risks and one of us stayed awake when we first started allowing them to sleep on their stomachs.
This did work. We were still not sleeping but they were.
I cannot stress enough the dangers of placing an infant on their stomach. I was hesitant to add this to the dad hack because of that.
You should not allow an infant to sleep on their stomach without constant supervision.
This one is a pill a little easier to swallow.
Take turns. Get as many people involved as possible. Older siblings, your family, your spouse. Take turns.
Chopping up the amount of time spent with a colicky baby makes it a little more tolerable.
It is OK to ask for help. You’re dealing with a tough situation that will raise your stress levels to new heights.
In fact, ASK FOR HELP. Don’t wait until you feel that you’re losing your cool. You’re taking care of a fragile little human being. One wrong move can have very tragic results. ASK FOR HELP.
Take turns. Did I say that already?
This might sound mean but it’s not. They’re going to cry anyway. Let them cry.
There really isn’t anything more you can do other than try to position them in a way that it does not hurt them as much.
If you are already stressed and need a break from walking around or doing whatever it is you are doing to help them alleviate the pain then just put them down and let them cry for a little while.
We did do this a few times and they would eventually fall asleep from exhaustion. That will be the best sleep you or they will get for a while. Take the opportunity.
Sleep When You Can
So many new parents make the mistake of using the baby’s sleep time as productivity time. WRONG!
My wife made this mistake and my daughter is making it now. SLEEP WHEN THEY SLEEP.
Get some sleep. Sleep is rare as a new parent. You will be exhausted for many months, maybe years. Get sleep where you can.
Once they have stopped crying and are finally sleeping you too should sleep.
The dishes can wait. The floor will still be there tomorrow to clean. No one expects your house to be perfect.
Sleep when they sleep, and you will feel better when the next round of colicky baby comes up.
Keep the End in Mind
It will eventually stop. Today’s episode will stop. Being colicky will eventually stop.
One day you will have a story to tell your grown children who just became a parent.
It will seem like a distant, horrific and memorable time. One that still sends chills down your spine years later.
You will get through it and become even more patient as a result. There is an end to a baby being colicky. A daily end and a permanent end to colic.
Then you deal with the next issue.
One Final Help for Colicky Babies and Dads (Parents)
I wish we had discovered this sooner. We didn’t learn about Colic Calm until we were going through this with Izzy for a couple of weeks. Colic Calm works great for temporary relief of Gas and Colic. We purchased it locally but it is on Amazon as well.
As I said having a colicky baby was one of the most stressful things I have ever had to endure. My patience was tested daily for months on end. I got through it. Each one of my children got through it.
I would not wish it on anyone. And I did it 3 times.
Those that know me know that before my children I had almost no patience. Children have a way of changing you. Today I know I have a lot more patience for things, mostly because of my children.
I think the most important thing in dealing with a challenging baby whether it’s colic or something else is getting help.
Now let me close with this. As the parent of a newborn, you will be exhausted. A few days after my son Isaiah was born I had to go out to get something. He was still in the hospital.
I remember driving home to get whatever it was that we needed and driving back to the hospital. I think I was only a few blocks from the hospital when I had to stop at a red light.
No more than 1 or 2 minutes later I was awakened by the sound of blaring car horns. I fell asleep waiting for a traffic light to change.
Welcome to the club new dads!