I want to quickly share a story with you…
My eldest daughter suffered from severe colic. My husband worked in the evenings at a local bar and I really struggled to cope with her screaming for hours on end at home.
I felt like the walls were caving in on me.
I felt like the worst Mumma in the world. I had no idea how to ease my babe’s pain.
The only way that I could get her to stop crying was to pop her in the car and drive.
So every night, that’s exactly what I would do. I would drive… sometimes for 3 – 4 hours, sometimes more.
I was wasting so much money on petrol and putting so many km’s on the car.
But I didn’t know what else to do.
I was exhausted. Driving around listening to music or podcast episode was far more doable than staying at home.
This continued for over 6 months. Every night for over 6 months we would drive.
Things really hit rock bottom 13th May (I will never forget that date!) it was a Tuesday night… I had got back from driving around 10 pm, perfectly timed with hubs walking in the door from work.
We successfully transferred her to her bassinet.
I jumped in and had a nice long shower to wash the day off.
Made myself a cup of tea and sat down on the bed and that’s when I heard her begin to scream.
Billie didn’t ever just stir … if we left her to try and self settle even just for a couple of minutes she would be so hysterical that she would vomit everywhere.
I tried for another 2.5 hours at home to settle her, trying ‘all the things’ before caving and put her back in the car.
By this time it was after 2 am. I made my husband come with me because I could hardly keep my eyes open and I was terrified that I was going to fall asleep at the wheel.
We headed to Maccas … we needed some caffeine and sugar hit to get us through.
I pulled up at the drive-through and nearly had a heart attack when his voice came booming out of the box.
I replied…. [in a whisper] “my baby is asleep and she’s all yours if you wake her ….. and please can I have an two Oreo McFlurry’s and two large flat whites”
We progressed through to the next window and realised neither of us had our wallets.
I completely lost it. You know the shoulder-shrugging- hyperventilating -ugly – trying to be quiet cry! Yep!
“I don’t even like McFlurrys,” I said, tears streaming down my face to lady when I told her we had forgotten our wallets.
Luckily for us, the lady was so lovely, gave us our McFlurrys, flat whites a sympathetic smile, and sent us on our way!
This was not what I pictured motherhood to be … I could never have imagined spending our nights driving and ordering Maccas drive-through at 3am!
Something had to change. I had to find another way to get through the evenings. This was the last night we drove
I was certainly not loving it and felt so sad scrolling through social media jealous of all these super-natural-Mummas seamlessly juggling motherhood.
What was I doing so wrong?
I was in complete survival mode, fueled only by adrenaline and caffeine!
On top of this… I was self-employed and trying to run and manage a business (what maternity leave?!)
I felt like I was failing at life; I was failing her, failing at parenting, things were falling through the cracks in the business.
I was trying so hard to do everything and be everything for everyone.
All I really wanted was to just have more than 2 hours of sleep at a time.
I couldn’t go on like this. I was determined to find another way to settle her, to help ease her pain.
I found some research on baby massage and how it could help with wind, colic + constipation, sleep and so much more!
There were no local baby massage instructors in the local area.
And because I don’t tend to do things by halves I enrolled to become a baby massage instructor.
I could never have imagined that this decision, made on a whim out of complete desperation would take me to where I am today.
Becoming a baby massage instructor quite literally changed my life, in so many different ways.
For the next couple of weeks I regularly started massaging Billie, and every nappy change we quickly did the “colic sequence”.
This did a couple of things:
It empowered me and gave me more confidence as a Mumma because I finally felt like I was actually doing something that was helping her. I had felt so helpless that I didn’t know how to ease her pain and now I had several techniques and strategies that helped to soothe + settle her.
Strengthened our bond baby massage gave me the opportunity to really connect in and get to know her. After learning more and more about baby cues and spending special time with her during ‘massage time’ I was able to read her and get to know her signs earlier. This ultimately meant I was able to attend to her needs earlier making for a much happier baby and Mumma!
One of the biggest differences I noticed in Billie immediately as she went from being a catnapper (20 minutes max) on my chest to sleeping in her bassinet for 2 hours during the day.
Setting out a bedtime routine that included a lovely warm bath and short bedtime massage routine every night really helped.
One of the most common misconceptions around colic is that there is nothing you can do to manga colic but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Here are a few of the top things that helped Billie:
- Regularly practicing the colic sequence (at every nappy change) which helped to prevent the wind from building up throughout the day
- Warm baths
- Babywearing – lots of walks in the fresh air and sunshine + lots of dancing and singing around the house! 🙂
- Skin to skin in a warm shower
- Movement – many of the baby yoga movements really helped to ease her pain
I did a lot of research into colic and I want to share with you a few of my key findings because there is a lot of confusion around what colic actually is, what causes it, what are the symptoms, and what you can do. You can also download my COLIC SOS GUIDE HERE.
For many years colic has been blamed on anxious, inexperienced parenting – making parents of colicky babies feel even more guilt and shame and that it is all their fault.
There is absolutely no evidence to support this.
Colic is a condition that affects your baby and is not a reflection on you as a parent.
Babies who suffer from colic are much more difficult to soothe and settle.
There is no known cause of colic, but many colicky babies suffer from the pain of trapped wind caused by having an immature digestive system.
Colic often occurs in the early afternoon/evening (which is when most parents are feeling at their most tired!) so the continuous crying can make it even more difficult to cope with.
There are so many different theories around causes of colic including overstimulation, lactose intolerance, activity during pregnancy – such as smoking, and even birth trauma but it is not clear cut which only adds to the confusion on different remedies.
What works for one baby might not work on another. You have to just find what works for you and your baby. Similarly what works one day, just might not work the next so it is super helpful to have loads of strategies to try.
You might find that your baby loves to be in the ‘tiger in the tree’ position and that the slight pressure and warmth of your palm on their belly, as well as gentle movement, can be really soothing for your baby but for others, you may find that it is calming touch and containment they are craving such as skin to skin or being popped in a sling or wrap on your chest.
I truly believe that one of the worst feelings about having a baby with colic is the feeling of helplessness, not knowing what to do, how to help them, and watching them in pain.
We, as parents, are hard-wired to protect and soothe your baby – when we’re not able to do this it activates our stress response making us feel anxious and tense. There is no training or trial period in parenthood. You are thrown in the deep end and are learning on the job (with very little sleep).
Just remember that you are the best parent for your baby.
Accept that you are learning every day and make sure you are looking after yourself too because you absolutely can not pour from an empty cup.
Looking after yourself is looking after your baby.
You can download my COLIC SOS guide which includes my top ways to cope with a colicky baby!
Over the last 6 years, I have supported hundreds of new parents through the first few months of parenthood with my baby massage and yoga classes and now I am so super excited to be offering my brand new online baby massage course.
If you would like to learn how to massage your baby and relieve their pain from wind, colic, and constipation CLICK HERE.
Goodbye for now beautiful Mumma,