1. Step away from the baby
Make a list of all those well-meaning friends who say, “Let me know if you need help with anything.” Then call one of them, hand over your screaming child, and leave the house. Even if you are nursing, you’ll have a 90-minute window after a feeding. Go get your hair cut, get your lip waxed, walk up and down the aisles of the grocery store eating a chocolate bar. Let this be the one segment of your day where you are not agonizing over your wailing wee one.
2. Take the baby to the zoo
Even if it’s raining, the indoor sections of the zoo (usually the chimp house and possibly an aquarium) are bound to be filled with crying kids. At the very least, the cries of the animals might distract your little chirping baby bird. This is one place you don’t have to have anxiety about everyone judging you because your baby won’t stop crying. Just strap that kid in the Bjorn, tune out, and enjoy yourself.
3. Sleep in shifts
Even if you have to go to the basement with a sleeping bag and earplugs or a white noise machine to escape the crying, pick a four- to five-hour window each day and use it to sleep. If you are nursing, make pumping a priority so there is one bottle to tide the baby over during this time. Then, let your partner have the next four or five hours. It is absolutely essential that your body experience some delta sleep if you want to make it through your baby’s colic period as a healthy human being.
*this particular tip was suggested by the therapist I started seeing during this time period, who helped me realize that I could take better care of my baby if I took care of my own basic, essential needs first
4. Say yes to everything
People offer new moms all kinds of things, and sometimes the hardest part of parenthood is learning to say yes to this help. When your baby spends hours upon hours screaming in your ear, you are going to need every ounce of goodwill thrown your way. If someone offers to cook you dinner, say yes. If people offer a general “Let me know if you need help,” call and ask them to do a load of laundry or wash your dishes or gather your trash for trash day. That’s five more minutes you get to spend focusing on your high needs baby. This was the hardest thing for me–it felt like asking for charity. But you need to get over it.
5. Make a fantasy jar
When you play white noise around the clock, something as simple as listening to the news seems like a far-off fantasy. Don’t just sit on the floor and mourn the lost days of pooping sans Mei Tai wrap. Write down everything you wish you could do on scraps of paper (eat dinner with two hands, read a magazine, watch Heroes–the small stuff here that makes you feel like you again) and put them in a jar. Then, once a week, make one wish come true (see numbers 1 & 4 for help!). Small reminders of “normal” life can help you keep perspective and remind you that there is an end in sight. Plus, your weekly wish time gives you something to look forward to as you are rocking away at 3:30 in the morning!
This guest post is from rookie mom and freelance writer Katy Rank Lev, who survived colic and lived to tell about it.
Thank you, Katy! Anyone else want to chime in with their colic war stories or strategies?
Related: Pittsburgh moms, Katy has also shared a week’s worth of activities for babies in your city.