Help for the “colicky baby”

Help! I have a colic/refluxy baby and I'm going crazy! Products and tips.

Before having a baby- I’d never even heard the term ‘colic,’ it wasn’t talked about in my natural birth class either.

So of course I had my whole natural birth planned out and wasn’t worried about anything. The baby I prayed was perfectly healthy and when I saw her for the first time I felt a sense of relief, joy, love and a pride that this healthy baby was mine! After a few days being home then she started having these fits. Fits of screaming that worried me. We couldn’t soothe her at all, even when we rocked and held her she still screamed. So she would cry until the point of passing out from exhaustion. This is a lot for any mother who is still recovering from the birthing experience.
I took her to the pediatrician after researching a lot. Well my daughter is suspected to have GERD acid reflux. I say suspected because it’s hard to come to terms when your child has something that is challenging, you want to help it get better, not give it validity. ‘Colic’ is challenging, maddening, heartbreaking even. When you see your baby screaming and screaming and they are inconsolable it’s just so sad and sometimes it makes you angry. It has been a long, learning process.

I have consumed raw cow milk for quite a while. I am aware of all the benefits, I believe in it so much so that I had a lot while pregnant. So of course I wasn’t aware that by me drinking dairy while breastfeeding she may be susceptible to an allergy so common in infants but not spoken of! From what I have seen my daughter go through, I have a whole new outlook on dairy. I don’t want to SAY for sure that she is lactose intolerant she may outgrow this, but she does NOT react well to dairy. After unsuspectingly having a low milk supply, I was still supplementing her when she was just so hungry I couldn’t take her crying anymore. She reacted horribly to the organic dairy formula. I switched her to a low lactose sensitivity formula while I figured out 1. How to up my supply (nothing was working, in my stupidity in my youth I had gotten breast implants and I suspected this much) and 2. what else to feed this poor girl! One day I ran out of this sensitivity formula. I tried and tried to breastfeed that day but the same kept happening, crying and crying and crying from hunger! I had searched two different stores that week for the formula but couldn’t find it. So I left her with my poor husband crying for food, and went out to search for the formula in two more stores. It was out of stock everywhere. All I had at home was the organic German dairy formula I had ordered before her birth in case of an emergency. I ordered the sensitivity formula online to overnight it, but in the meantime I had to give her the dairy formula that day. It was like torture. She cried all day only stopping to pass out from exhaustion. As if it wasn’t clear enough before, it was clearly dairy. And I held her and held her, and I wanted to cry too. As much as I thought I was prepared, the birth would go smoothly, no one would prick her with vitamin K, breastfeeding would come natural and go smoothly. None of that happened. Now, even the organic formula was problematic. Soy was out of the question because of what I knew about it being genetically modified and a hormone disruptor. I researched goat milk formula for the next few days, I needed something that was relatively inexpensive, and not that time consuming, packed full of the vitamins she needs and helped her, not hurt her. I was nervous about making formula for her, but I also hated buying it and I knew those nutrition labels were risky. GMOs, sugars, hidden chemicals… even in the organic formulas. But I wanted to allow myself time to absorb all the information I could on goat milk formula. Her pediatrician would have none of my asking about it, and didn’t agree at all. I began feeling more and more comfortable with making it myself, and thanks to my nutrition cert. I felt confident in my studies. Now she drinks goat milk and although I am still really sad that breastfeeding is STILL not going how I want it to, it helps me not feel so helpless.

After a traumatizing birth experience and horrific pain, I wasn’t prepared to cope with a baby screaming for hours on end. I wish someone had told me or written about this before I had her. Nobody told me that just because a baby doesn’t projectile vomit doesn’t mean they aren’t having silent reflux. Nobody told me about what horrendous problems dairy and lactose causes in a lot of infants. Nobody told me that some formulas and even breastmilk can be a problem for colic/reflux and can make it difficult to pinpoint specific foods. Nobody made it seem that low milk supply was a thing, and in fact they even treated it like it was a personal issue that meant you weren’t trying hard enough! After countless research with an already screaming and hurting baby we finally found a rhythm that didn’t make me want to slam my head face first into a wall every day because of the baby’s screaming.

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Read more about How I helped my baby with goat milk formula here.

Here are some products that helped her.

If you notice, we didn’t know her gender until she was born. But some of these things were bought after her birth- I still decided to get every big purchase gender neutral to use it for the rest of the children we may be blessed with- which allowed me justify spending a little more for the big items. Each photo is the exact item we have.

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Baby Bjorn bouncer balance. (In Organic Black/Brown) This is one of the most expensive things I bought for her- the one thing I use the most. This gets used constantly. It allows her to sit up to help with her reflux, and it also calms her when she is bounced moderately hard. We lean it to the lowest position, take off the strap, place the snuzzler inside to cradle her and we are constantly bouncing her. She loves this. I take her in it all around the house with me and bounce her with my foot when I have chores to do. Also it isn’t like a baby store threw up in our house- it looks nice, and is convenient enough to travel with. The plus side is she can use it as she grows, and when she gets bigger can also kick to bounce herself.

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Summer infant snuzzler infant support. We use this all the time with the bouncer. She loves to be bounced pretty aggressively, but we didn’t like her head shaking around when she was so little.

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Marpac DOHM-DS white noise sound machine. When she came home I was using an app on my phone. We were pretty under prepared. But I had to keep turning it to airplane mode because I didn’t want the phone to ring while she slept, and I didn’t want the EMF near her head while she slept. I researched and got this for her. She immediately seemed to sleep deeper once she finally calmed down. This stays in her crib on most of the time.

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4Moms Mamaroo Swing. This was pricy. I don’t think I would of bought it if we weren’t planning on having more than one child. Because I use it maybe only once or twice a week. It is nice because it sometimes works to calm her down and keep her sleeping once she’s asleep, but the position it puts her in she doesn’t like- so we do have to put the snuzzler in it for her to be in it. She likes the swing, but most of the time I almost wish it had a higher/faster setting. Of course- she might just be a baby that likes the harder movements more than other babies.

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Dr. Brown’s Glass bottles with vent system. I had stocked up on Lifefactory glass bottles, which I love. Unfortunately the vents only sort of fit those. So these have been our go-to bottles. It helps her tremendously.

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The Miracle blanket swaddle. This is one of the only swaddles she can’t immediately get out of. It is fantastic once you get the hang of it. She still gets her legs out though- so we do have to put the Aden + Anais snap swaddle on top of this one, but hey, after giving her many opportunities to learn to sleep well, at 7 weeks she was sleeping 8 hours a night and she still is. But only with being double swaddled, otherwise she kicks her feet out.

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Baby Merlin’s Magic sleepsuit. I use this mostly in the day time. She’s not quite ready for a full night with it because it’s a little big on her still, but I use this every day so that she can have her arms moderately free but still won’t scare herself, scratch herself, or punch herself in the face when she gets refluxy. She loves to wear this while being bounced, because it’s a nice cushion. It puts her to sleep after she’s been fighting sleep a while. Not to mention it looks like A Christmas Story and is hysterically adorable.

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Aden + Anais swaddles with snaps. When she was smaller these were our go-to’s. When she got to breaking out of these then we started using them over the Miracle blanket swaddle. We have hundreds of times of use out of these in only two months.

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Colic Calm gripe water. We use this a few times a day. Her pediatrician okayed 10ml three times a day! Although I only give her a small amount at first then little by little more until she has relief, just in case. The pediatrician wanted her on zantac, which I am not okay with, so instead this is what she gets. It immediately stops her hiccups and has worked so fast before that she stops her screaming within minutes and falls asleep from exhaustion. Poor girl. This is a high price of 20$ that they know they can charge because it works. We are in a bad spot if we run out of this.

Some things that didn’t work or were never used:

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Fisher Price rock n’ play. I read so many good reviews in my colic sleep deprived stupor! People even mentioned how great this was FOR reflux babies. She hated it. She never even slept once in it. It didn’t keep her as upright as the bouncer and the rocking wasn’t hard enough for her. When trying to rock it harder it only hits the edge piece which makes a sound and is annoying. Oh and even my husband had a hard time just piecing it together! The plastic parts were very, very frustrating to snap together. It doesn’t look that nice either. I may keep it for the next baby, but if the next baby doesn’t like it either it’s going to a family that can use it.

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Summer Infant swaddleme with velcro. It’s funny these were the swaddles that were given as gifts the most. I never even got one use out of this. We have maybe 5 or 6 of these. Our neighbor even gave us a pair of two that I never opened because they never worked for her. Even when she was a newborn. I found the velcro to not only be annoying but it was easy for her to get out of. However lots and lots of reviews say that people love these. Not sure if my baby is just freakishly strong even a birth or just severely colicky- or maybe a mixture but she gets out of this in .5 seconds.

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Born Free glass bottles. Something else I never used. A health blogger I follow liked these and I bought these along with the Lifefactory ones. These never got used. I found them awkward to use, and also didn’t help with colic.

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Mama’s Bliss gripe water. Something else that had great reviews. I used this quite a few times before realizing it has sodium bicarbonate in it. Which is just like alka seltzer pretty much- a stomach acid reducer. Who’s to say that is that great for infants with a developing stomach? I’m not so sure about that. But I also found that it only worked a little over half the time she got hiccups and was screaming.

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