Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The 5 S's

Back in February I wrote a post about colic. As I now read that post I am shocked by the mental image that comes to me.

A wild eyed mother with hair sticking in all directions, banging her blog posts out on the keyboard so hard her fingers are blistered, a little baby screaming in the background, a poor toddler stuck in front of the TV. A huge pile of unwashed clothes, take out containers strewn about the house, a sinkful of dishes starting to smell. Windows and blinds shut tightly so the neighbors don't think she is torturing a small herd of goats.

It's no wonder we were all so miserable. Poor diet, lack of sunshine, messy house, and nonstop screaming. But I strongly believe that when you have a child with colic you HAVE to do what you can to survive. If it means not cooking dinner so that you can rest while the baby sleeps, then by all means do it! And don't be afraid to ask your sister or even your mother in law (*gasp*) to help out.

Alivia's colic went away around 4 months. We still have not figured out the cause of her colic but it may be related to the fact that she hated my guts and loved to make me miserable.

For those 119 days, 23 hours, and 48 minutes of colic I found only one thing (well, five actually) that prevented me from wrapping Ali in a soft blanket and placing her on my neighbor's doorstep with a "Please take her!" note and a jar of strawberry preserves.

It's called The Five S's. You can find more info on the Five S's in Dr. Karp's Happiest Baby on the Block.

Swaddling - Swaddling is not that hard once you get the concept. You basically wrap the baby tightly in a blanket which provides comfort to the child. Unless you have a McGyver baby who used a Q tip and a toothbrush to undo her swaddle and then flail her arms and legs about whilst shreiking as loudly as possible. So out of the Five S's, this one was the least effective for us, but still works wonders for loads of exhausted parents!

Side/stomach position - This helps babies who have gas or reflux issues. I spent many many hours laying next to her patting her bum and rubbing her back. I'm not going to go into the Back To Sleep campaign, but be aware that Dr. Karp recommends using the side/stomach position to get your baby to fall asleep, then rolling them to their back.

Shushing Sounds - I actually owe what is left of my sanity to the shush sound. This can be created with any kind of appliance or object that makes steady white noise (dryer, vacuum, fan, etc). You can also try a white noise CD which helps create the rhythmic sounds of the womb. I can't tell you how many nights were spent in the bathroom, the fan going, me swinging the baby (see below) while trying to ignore the filthy ring in the bathtub and dried toothpaste on the counter.

Swinging - This was big for us. I even had to resort to putting her in the bucket car seat and gently swinging her back and forth (buckled in of course). She also enjoyed her baby swing, and being strapped into a sling or carrier while I walked to hell and back.

Sucking - A nipple (real ones or fake ones) pacifier, thumb, etc. Ali was nursing still, but we had a rough time, I think she got sick of my BO. The pacifier helped us immensely though.

Now that I have had a year to reflect on our colicky existence, I have a new list.

Shots....if all else fails, a few healthy swigs of tequila will do wonders for your nerves. Probably not recommended for nursing moms.

Shower...we spent so much time inside during the cold winter months, so a shower wasn't exactly necessary every day (although it was needed). But with a two year old and a screaming newborn, it was incredibly hard to find time to jump in the shower. Lay your baby down in a safe place and take a quick hot shower (not a long leisurely bubble bath while you drink tequila and read a mag). When you get out the baby may still be screaming, but you will feel at least a tiny bit refreshed.

Stereo...This is for two reasons. 1. You can hold your baby and dance around the house which will give you exercise and distract him briefly. 2. Nothing drowns out a crying baby like Madonna's "Like a Virgin" (Don't you wish you still were? Sigh.)

Sunshine...I know, the last thing you want to do is get outdoors, but it really, really will help. It will force you to brush your hair and change out of those dirty sweatpants, and your baby will enjoy the change of scenery (usually.)

Scream...I know, there is already a lot of that going on in your household. But in this case, again lay your baby in a safe place, retreat to the bedroom, turn off the light and shut the door. Then put a pillow over your face and scream as loudly as you can. Scream until your throat is raw if you'd like. There, better? Now your frustration is gone and you won't need to do the pillow scream for several more hours minutes.

It gets better though! I am happy to say that Alivia is now a perfectly happy well rounded snuggle-pie who does no wrong (HA!).


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Jen said...

Nothing drowns out a crying baby like Madonna's "Like a Virgin" (Don't you wish you still were? Sigh.)
LMAO...Jules you're killing me! I love when you me a laugh every time! :)

Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

I love it when you blog, too, Jules! I wish you wrote more. You have such great humor and insight.

Niki said...


Gosh whenever I think back to when my son was a colicky newborn I just cringe.

Congrats for making it through alive! My son is almost 3 now and he is an awesome kid. I think it is my reward for putting up with so much agony those first couple of months!


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