Tag Archives: colic

Yes, babies cry. Deal with it (and love them hard)

I am writing this post having been inspired by a recent trip to the GP for concerns over the health of our baby daughter, Eleanor. A baby who has always been, in my opinion very vocal and dependent. I believe this to stem from her connection with me due to breastfeeding. I could be wrong.

My partner had suggested that we call the GP to make an appointment regarding an issue with our baby who seems to cry constantly and wriggle around in pain. Eleanor has reflux which is currently controlled by medication, however, some days not even medication seems to help.

I called the doctor to make an appointment for as soon as possible. I didn’t want Eleanor to be in pain but nor did I expect much was up. She was after all, just being her usual self.  Euan arrived home to attend the appointment, I discovered that we were taking the car to the GP which is a short distance from home, I became upset and wound up.

You see, this sounds silly but it’s tough for me to get out alone. I spend much of my time alone with her and a lot of this is spent indoors as it’s just too tricky to get out, especially with being in a first floor flat. If I want to go anywhere, there is a whole battle with the Pram getting down stairs and out the door before we even get moving.

Some days it isn’t worth the fight with Eleanor if she is in a particularly sleepy or in a grumpy mood. I find I don’t have the fight in me to battle through the cries very often, blame it on the lack of sleep.

It’s easier for me to simply just return home than to deal with the stares of strangers passing judgment as I still past with my baby screaming out from her Pram. I’m not cut out for public judgement, it brings a great deal of anxiety. So, with that mental image and sound of a babies cry echo through your eardrums, forgive me for getting upset having had my dream of five minutes in the fresh air, shattered.

What might not seem a big deal to some, can be a huge deal for others. Something which I have recently learned. We all handle things differently and lately, I feel like I can barely handle things at all. I spend most days alone and some times I feel as though I am losing my mind. Perhaps I am. Perhaps I lack social interaction.

I understand that my partner has work commitments but a five minute walk is not really going to make such a big difference to the working day when  opposed to three minutes in the car? I feel alone much of the time right now and the inability to get out can lead me to feel like I’m stuck in these four walls, all I wished for was my partner to take a short walk to the GP clinic with me. I was once very active and I crave to lead an active life again.

A life that has more challenging excercise to it than the constant bending to change nappies or emptying the tumble dryer. I need to walk, I need to have fresh air. Without it, I go crazy. I’ve given up on my fitbit for the moment as the step count became so pitiful, I felt ashamed to even track and document it.

Back to the GP, the reasoning of this post, I had a feeling that I knew what the doctor would say, having been in this position before. I’m usually lucky to get an appointment as its normally an automated phone service. Nonetheless, the story never changes and the outcome is always “babies cry, it’s a phase” or something along those lines.

I’m never taken seriously with the GPS and feel as though my worries are over looked and brushed off as though I am a mere hypochondriac. Even if I were, I would expect better care and time in the hands of the professionals than what they tend to give.

There was no answer. Babies cry and that’s just how it is. Some are more vocal than others yes, but it doesn’t mean that anything is wrong. It were suggested that we try control crying.. as if this would help with her round the clock cries. I wasn’t looking for answers of how to get my baby into a night sleep routine, and I didn’t want advice for control crying, I’d get more information from a book to be frank.

I wasn’t looking for anything actually,  I knew all too well how the appointment would go and knew that I would leave feeling stupid. My partner wanted this appointment as he was certain something was up. I merely booked it to prove a point and to show him that what I tell him when I call the GP each time is not a lie. I wanted him to see for himself how it goes. I wanted to prove my point and stamp my feet at the same time. My inner diva was out to play. I fear you not.

Some babies cry more so than others and they want held. This I know to be true with Eleanor. We were told that she was on the top dose for her reflux medication and to keep with this. When solid food becomes more frequent, her reflux should improve. Other than that, deal with the crying and just get on. If I felt it necessary, I could make an appointment to see the Health Visitor for advice on control crying but there was no cause for concern.

This was all said as I sat there choked up and crying spontaneously myself. I was crying because I was mad to have taken the car when I had hopes of fresh air. I was crying because I was drained, physically and emotionally. I was crying because this was the first outing of the week that involved human interaction  and it was now Wednesday afternoon.

I was mad at my partner, Euan for making me book an appointment to which I knew the outcome. I was told that he would get answers and yet here we are, no further than I have ever got before, Eleanor still crying.

I feel an element of guilt. Guilt that I can’t help my crying baby, I can’t take away her reflux and stop the back arching pain soar through her tiny body. I feel guilty that I want so desperately to have a break from her, even just for five minutes of peace. I feel guilty that I feel the need to have a break from her. As her Mother, I shouldn’t want a break from her. Should I?

I often can feel a whole lot of guilt and it seems that my best is never nor ever will be good enough. I ponder over thoughts about my parenting and I wonder if I’m a good Mother. I wonder if my Daughter knows how much I love her and I worry that I am incapable of the around the clock care she requires.

The Gp, I assume was left wondering who the appointment was initially made for. The sobbing mess of a Mother that I presented to her, or the baby sleeping in her car seat as though butter would not melt? Typical.

The thing is, the GP was correct, babies cry and all that we can do is hold them close and love them harder. It’s hard, it’s real tough, especially when you feel so hopeless and can’t help them take the discomfort of reflux away. Or even know the reason behind the cries. Is it reflux, teething, ear ache?

The guilt you feel along with the pain can be overbearing and overwhelming and I forget that as parents, we too are only human and we need to give ourselves a break and cut some slack or we will lose our minds. Its hard to always remain on top on situations and it’s hard to mimic what a baby wants at all times. Some days, there is just no pleasing these tiny humans.

I guess, I should be both grateful and thankful of Eleanor’s super dependent personality. I am lucky that I have my baby to hold and come time, I will look back and miss the cuddles and the closeness of my baby girl.

The days when I’m back at work and wish I could be curled up with her lovingly by my side at home, when she is a stroppy pre teen and I’m no longer cool enough to cuddle. I should take these moments to appreciate my ‘needy and vocal’ baby and love her as hard as I can all while embracing her before it’s too late and she no longer cares for the comfort of my company.

I hope that through weaning, the reflux will ease off. Our journey with food has only just began and we are still on select puree foods. I hope that when we venture into more tastes and textures, introduce baby led weaning her reflux will slowly disappear and we can forget about the difficulties that it has brought. Until then, I will continue to monitor and control it as best as I can with medication and a whole lot of baby cuddles. I hope that as she grows, she will become more independent and less reliant on myself, with this, the tears will stop too.

If you too have the struggle of a very vocal baby, don’t feel so alone. There’s always someone going through the same and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

We as parents are often too hard on ourselves and can be our own worst enemy, let’s be a little more appreciative of our efforts. After all, we are only doing our best and there are days that push the limits but we have to see past this. Take the good with the bad.

So here I am, sat on the sofa, same spot as always with a lukewarm cup of coffee, staring at a blank screen with a numb buttom from lack of movement,  preaching to all you parents out there, to take your baby and love them hard.

Keren x

Coping with acid reflux and colic. How do I help my baby through this helpless phase?

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For some time now, I have discovered that Eleanor had developed reflux. This began as silent probably at three weeks old and was quite difficult to diagnose. However by eight weeks old this soon developed into a more serious form of acid reflux where during and after feeds she would swallow relentlessly and become rather sick and thrash herself around in pain. This would be followed by comfort feeding which only added to the sickness and the pain.

A lose, lose situation you could say. One that there is very little coping mechanisms to help get you through.

Reflux is something which I’m sure no parent wants to see their baby experience and something that no parent actively wants to go through. The long days, the sleepless nights, the worry and the stress. Reflux is horrible yet it is simply passed off by health care professionals and as a parent you are told that it is a phase and that it will pass.

I was informed that with breastfeeding and burping often during feeds this can eliminate the issue, to feed little and often and to keep baby upright. Some ideas that would perhaps help to eliminate the issue and clear the reflux.

I have worked a lot on focusing with each of these methods. My baby is breastfed and has been from the get go. I keep her upright as often as I can and keep her upright as she feeds most of the time, I burp her religiously and most of all, I try to prevent her from over feeding. Not always an easy task to take baby away from the breast when she uses it as a source of comfort. Breast or no breast, be certain that she will cry. and cry. and cry.

Sigh.

Reflux and colic may just be a phase but when your baby is experiencing that phase and the troubles that go alongside it’s more than just a phase. It becomes so much more. No matter how common this may be, it’s horrible to watch your otherwise happy baby girl succumb to the discomfort and cry on repeat as she thrashes around and throws her arms all over. Grabbing and scratching.

The pain, the sickness, being unsettled and unable to rest easy, it’s not just a phase, it is everyday life and the pain it brings with it is real. It can be a struggle to cope with, especially on an extremely bad day. Reflux can affect everyone in the household. A few hours of a crying spell and baby wriggling around in discomfort, I tell you, It feels more like a lifetime and that it will never pass.

At first when the reflux was not so bad, we began to try infacol to help settle Eleanor, this alongside a good tummy massage would seem to aid her digestion and chill her out.

We began massage classes from ten days old and worked with techniques that help with colic and reflux in babies which has been helpful and beneficial for our family and my baby girl but there is only so much massaging that you can do and this doesn’t escape the underlying problems. She would settle to begin with but it would never last and after a few weeks of the infacol and massages, we decided to move on to something which I had heard worked miracles for other parents. Gripe water.

Gripe water is a herbal supplement which contains dill seed oil and can be taken from the age of four weeks old in babies, administered up to six times in a twenty four hour period to help relieve wind, colic and teething pains.

I believe that the water did help and it certainly allowed Eleanor to pass wind and burp well which did allow her to settle and get periods of a good sleep without much disturbance. However, once again, with a few weeks of trying this, of using gripe water the issue became noticeably worse and sickness was becoming more and more recurrent. We asked a local pharmacy if there was anything that we could use to give her but they did not provide much information and we were told that we could not give Gaviscon until Eleanor was one year of age. We simply had to go to the GP, who had already written reflux off as just a phase.

Eleanor was in even more distress and wouldn’t even lay down for a nap, if she napped she was interrupted by the discomfort of the reflux and would let out continuous small cries and whines as she slept. Arms would still be getting thrown about and she would try to wriggle her way to a better position that would provide more comfort. Eleanor cannot be laid flat or she will cry until picked up. I’ve found that she has to be kept upright and even having her flat in her Pram is a no go.

I’ve switched from using the Pram to get around with to a three way baby carrier that I slot her into and carry her on my chest as I explore the outside world. She seems to get relief from being kept upright and will eventually settle in this way, it must be soothing for her. If I don’t have the carrier strapped up, I tend to walk around the home with her in my arms and talking any sort of rubbish until she falls asleep and I can put her down.

This does mean that between breastfeeding and the unsettling, I have Eleanor attached to me almost 24/7. This can become extremely exhaustive and does take its toll. I do miss having some free time and having a little freedom but have come to terms with the fact that for now, this is how things are and that free time, me time is not to be taken for granted. Even catching a cup of coffee for five minutes before she begins to fuss is precious.

The past two weeks, reflux has become a very big problem and the sickness comes during and after feeds alongside the thrashing around and the crying. Or screaming rather. This has been horrible to witness and being so helpless there is little that I’ve found myself and Euan could do as parents. Sure, we walk around and talk with her to try to bring a sense of calmness. We massage her tummy until our hands are about numb and I allow her to comfort feed providing it helps to soothe her but really, there is no quick fix and nothing takes away the discomfort that she is victim to. I feel that reflux has robbed us of a happy little baby girl, she cannot be happy or even settle for any period of time as reflux causes too much distress. To watch her hurting can be overwhelming and induce my own tears.

Of course come years, she will not remember this time and how she felt or suffered but I certainly won’t forget and just because she will have no memory of this, does not make it acceptable to leave untreated and wait for the phase to pass.

With this notion and the sickness in full swing, I got onto the GP again and have been prescribed Ranitidine to administer to Eleanor. A medication that is used for intestional issues and stomach ulcers. This is also used to help adults as well as babies and infants. Ranitidine is delivered three times per day and will hopefully offer relief and long lasting results. I believe that once given the time to get into her system and kick start it’s work this should provide relief within an hour of each administration. I’m going to remain hopeful that this will help.

I’d do anything to have her out of this discomfort and allow my baby to settle. To be able to enjoy this time as a new family of three without the stress and the pain of reflux. To be able to get to know my baby girl properly, and to see her smile more often would mean so much for us as a family.

Right now, when I catch a spell of smiles it could bring me to tears, all too often I am used to seeing my baby grimace from pain and scowl. I want more baby smiles from my sweet girl and less tears. I don’t want her to have the discomfort of reflux and I want to be able to begin to form some routine and build on good habits to develop over time.

With colic and reflux, there is no routine. You simply have to go with what works in the moment and what gives relief of crying fast. I’m looking forward to winning back a little free time, some time where I don’t have Eleanor attached to me constantly, at least not while she cries helplessly. I’m hoping for us all to try and catch good sleep for the first time in a long time and I’m looking forward to moving on from this spell of colic and making happy memories as a family that we can look back on and enjoy. I want my baby and my family to be done with this horrible “phase” and to move on with nothing but joy.

If you have had a similar experience or are experiencing the same with your baby, please, share your thoughts. Share with me your tips and tricks. Is there anything that worked for you specifically and your baby? Do you have any suggestions that I can try with Eleanor? I’d love to hear your feedback and I’ll look to take on board any help that I can get for my baby.

Lots of love x

The things I wish my midwife had told me.

 

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Hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? During the course of my pregnancy, I was always so blind sighted by the concept of holding my baby that I didn’t really explore or look into what life might be like post baby and what babies actually do.

We all know how it goes; babies, eat, sleep and poop. I was naive to assume as much and to never have questioned what goes on in between or even during these stages in the day. I didn’t bother to think about what babies do when they are awake, how they act and what can trigger them to act in a particular way. Why does a baby cry?

I feel that I was misled and misinformed by the midwives and ante natal classes. I was only ever told of the positive side to motherhood, breastfeeding and babies. Never the negatives. I was silly to have been so naive and not ask more questions or have done more research into life with a newborn. After all, it is a life changing experience and I wish I paid more attention to this and given post birth some thought. I had wanted my baby so bad that I overlooked some of the most important factors surrounding becoming a first time parent. I had unknowingly set myself up for failure.

There is a lot more to babies than eating, sleeping and pooping. It is not as simple as it can be made to seem and a lot more delicate.

 What happens when all your baby wants is to be held and will not allow to be put down? What happens when your baby is awake all night, crying in discomfort with colic? Nothing that you try to do will help and the crying only intensifies. What then?

21911266_175156759703314_3618031242710089728_n What happens when your baby gains the benefits of breastfeeding but you, as the Mother are left feeling drained and lifeless from hours of cluster or comfort feeding? Breastfeeding is said to help a Mother share a strong bond with baby, however I was not aware nor made aware about issues that develop such as cluster feeding. The whole aspect of bonding is overlooked in my experience and I don’t feel nursing my baby builds a bond, nursing simply intensities how tired I am. I feel like I am not yet a Mother, I am a feeding mechanism with a baby attached to me almost 24/7.

 

Nobody warned me of the darker side to parenthood or what happens come dark. There is no routine and there will not be for a long time. Why are parents so misinformed about issues such as colic? Why are the benefits of breastfeeding pushed at new mums yet the reality of this nursing method is missed out?

Perhaps it is down to the parents to do their own research pre baby. Perhaps health care professionals should be more open with the reality of life with a newborn and not lead parents into a false pretense. I hadn’t even heard of colic prior to this. I have discovered just how common it can be among newborns and I feel a little upset that something so common does seem to be overlooked and not spoken of during a woman’s pregnancy.

21819793_351033521976984_1886224562660573184_n We are currently involved in a six week baby massage class where we learn routines and techniques to massage Eleanor. An element of the class covers dealing with colic and wind build up, methods to help subside this are taught and seem to be very beneficial and relaxing. It certainly chills Eleanor out but is in no way the answer to her colic nor a long term solution.

I feel that had I been given information about colic or told the disadvantages of breastfeeding I could have prepared myself for the impact each would have and the extent of the toll that such issues can and do take. No new parent wants to be nursing their baby for hours through the night to help soothe the excessive crying, unable to lay their baby down anywhere but right beside them. It is tough. 

We are told by Health care staff that colic is a phase that will pass. When? When will this phase pass? It is so easy to say yet being on the receiving end and dealing with your baby who is clearly in discomfort and struggling is not so easy. It is hard to see her struggle through. I feel so helpless during her episodes of this. Being told it will pass, is simply no use.

Life with a newborn is hard and there is so much more to it than we are led to believe. I often find myself feeling the strain of handling a baby all day both physically and emotionally, especially when she does not like to be put down. You don’t really get a break being a new parent and certainly factors such as colic and comfort feeding add to this. I only hope that come time, colic and the disadvantages of breastfeeding become more spoken of and awareness surrounding both is brought to the attention of new parents.

21690458_1415176985245146_942516790557147136_n I only wish that during my pregnancy I had done my research and asked more questions. Had I had the information which I do now, could I have prevented the colic? Could I have been in a better routine of the sorts? Would I still have chosen to breastfeed? The fact is, it is now too late to wonder what if, II can now only act on the decisions that I had made and deal with each day at a time. I hope that this is just a phase and that the colic and the crying relentlessly will pass, sooner rather than later and I can gain some Independence back.