The first few days with Jack were almost easy. Yeah, I was struggling with breastfeeding but all in all I thought we cracked it. I remember sitting one night while Jack was sound asleep with smug proudness. My baby fed (albeit not easily) and then slept on repeat. Oh, how I was wrong.
It was probably about 5 days in, the day was normal. Jack would feed, maybe have a quick eye open and then usually sleep until he needed fed again. Then 7pm hit, he screamed and didn’t stop. We had no idea why, I tried nursing him, Michael tried rocking him. We tried the car, the pram, nappy change, bath, everything that’s on google and in the books. In the end, we called NHS 24. Some people might question why but he was so inconsolable and being brand new parents, we just panicked. We were given an out of hours appointment at our local hospital. So off we set in the pouring rain at 10.40pm. The first thing the doctor said was Colic. I’d heard the word before but never really read into it. So, we asked how to fix it. ‘You can’t’ she replied. Apparently, it’s just one of those things.
I felt so helpless. My child was screaming in which looked like intense pain and I couldn’t do anything? He would arch his back and bring his knees up to his chest, it was horrible. I refused to believe it, so back at home once Jack finally fell asleep. I got my google on. 3 hours later I was deflated. Turns out there really isn’t that much you can do, there are special holds, baths etc but no miracle cure. I also read it usually happens round about the same time every day or at least 3 days a week. I held out hope tomorrow would be different. It wasn’t. Like an angry little alarm clock, he started screaming at 7pm. This lasted for 4 days and then suddenly stopped. Those 4 days were the hardest, most testing days of Michael and I’s relationship. I guess it’s easy to snap at each other at the best of times, let alone when you have a screaming baby.
‘There must be something I can do’ I begged to my midwife on our last meeting before she signed me over. She told me to try some homeopathic granules. Well they work for 15 minutes but I guess those 15 minutes of silence is especially golden. As the days went on, it was like a lottery. One day he’d be this happy, content baby all the way through, and others not. It’ll only last max 3 months everyone would say. Now I know that’s a small amount of time in the grand scheme of things but it feels like a lifetime when you’re living it. This led to me feeling incredibly low. I felt helpless, like a failure. I couldn’t help him; my main role now is to protect and keep him safe. Looking back now in. Clearer mind I see I couldn’t do anything. You can’t control it, only try calm them down.
Just as I felt we were coming to terms with the fact Colic would randomly appear a few times a week another issue raised its head. Reflux, or should I say silent reflux. If you don’t know already, Reflux is when your baby brings all the milk/acid back up to the point of vomiting. Silent reflux is when they try to bring it back up but it gets stuck in their throat which causes discomfort and irritation.
This all started with jack starting to be really unsettled during the day. He started coughing a lot and crying after feeds. We thought it trapped wind so we were extra careful burping him and started using infacol. This slightly helped but the coughing and spluttering was still happening, I also started to hear him swallowing hardly and the milk hitting his stomach. Google mad again, I concluded he had silent reflux. Smashing, another hard ship for the wee man.
I was still pushing in feeding Jack myself at this point, this is where it all changed. He was SO unsettled on me, pulling away, screaming and refusing my boob, this resulted in an already horrendously poor latch getting worse which meant pain. Big pain. So, after lots of tears and humming and haying we decided to switch to formula. This helped him a lot, but the reflux was still an issue.
After sitting down with my health visitor, we decided to try jack on reflux milk. The problem with silent reflux is he swallows the milk that comes up so this milk is thicker, thus stopping it coming back up. Or that’s the idea. Didn’t work. We went back to normal milk with thickener added. This worked a lot better and he is still on it as I write this. It was still an issue though, I kept pushing at our GP to prescribe ranitidine, something I heard can either be a miracle cure or useless. The first few days were brilliant, it was like he was a different baby, but it slowly came back. His dosage was upped and touch wood it seems to be working well. The ranitidine is to stop the pain when the milk comes back up and its 100% doing that now. We also add colief drops to his milk to reduce the lactose content, I’m not 100% sure if they are doing anything but scared to leave them out in case they are helping. It’s all trial and error I guess.
Whilst all this was going on I felt awful, adding this on top of breastfeeding guilt resulted in big time baby blues. I didn’t feel happy at all, I put on a brave face for everyone and tried my hardest to see the good side of things but I just felt so powerless. I would sit and watch the clock every evening and was either met with relief if he stayed settled or despair if he kicked off. I’m feeling a lot more positive about everything now but it’s something I’m keeping a close eye on.
Some days are better than others. I don’t feel like the Colic is as much of an issue now, the last week or so it’s not made an appearance but if it does come back I know he will grow out of both eventually. I read it gets worse before it gets better, so fingers crossed we are on the right track I think I expect too much from him at times, of course he will have unsettled moments. He’s 7 weeks old. He is still trying to adapt to this big world he’s been introduced to.
On a completely unrelated note of unsettled babies, one thing I 100% recommend trying is swaddling. Its been a GOD SEND for Jack, he would always wake himself up with a startle reflex. I know some babies aren’t keen but it’s worth a try. Plus they look like tiny little baby burritos and who doesn’t love that?
If anyone has any tips or hints please feel free to let me know, likewise if anyone has any questions fire on. I feel like quite an expert now due to the amount of googling I’ve done. Also, how many times can I say reflux in one post?
Lots of love x