Monday, January 26, 2009

So, it's not me, it's Sam. After several days of an exhilirating diet of plain rice, potatoes, canned peaches, and broiled chicken, Sam's gassiness was, if anything, worse than before. I reread the chapter in Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child about fussiness/colic, and have come to the conclusion that that's our issue here--not diet or allergies, not sickness or anything else, just fussiness.

The good news was that I could go back to eating like a human being. The bad news was that there's really not much you can do for colic. The three things the author of this book says helps are swaddling, sucking, and swinging. Sam doesn't seem to be a huge swinging fan, but swaddling helps a bit, and he's certainly devoted to sucking. So, for now, that's what we're doing. I'm also giving gas drops a try, and have ordered something called Colic Calm Gripe Water (which Jeff said sounds like Brother Tompkins' Patented Snake Oil Cure All or something equally 19th century). We'll see.

We don't know what causes colic. There are some interesting theories, including one about the temporary imbalance of serotonin and melatonin levels in babies, an imbalance that coincidentally resolves itself right around the time (3-4 months) colic usually ends. One in five babies experiences colic or unexplained fussiness. Somehow I don't take comfort in those numbers, other than knowing there's a brigade of parents out there who've lived through this experience as well. I suppose that is, in a sense, comforting.

So for now we're making do. We're taking shifts in the evenings, which are particularly taxing. I seem to be up with Sam every night/morning from 3-6 a.m., so Jeff compensates by taking him after that so I can sleep a bit more. I'm so lucky to have a flexible schedule and a husband who stays home. This would be infinitely harder without those things.

It's not ideal, but it's doable, and it's temporary. Sam's already four weeks old; that means (if the books are correct) that we should have another three or four weeks of intensifying fussiness followed by improvement, possibly as early as ten weeks of age. By April he should be over the worst of it. I just have to make it through spring break, I guess.

More (with pictures) tomorrow!


Tena said...

I'm praying hard it's even shorter lived than the books say. I've heard great things about the Gripe Water! ((hugs)) to you all, I'm sure this is very hard.

Kim D. said...

You have my sympathy for dealing with a fussy baby. Logan was awful as a newborn. He cried all. the. time! Most of my friends seem to have newborns who sleep most of the time; that was never the case for us. Anyway, we started seeing improvement right around 10 weeks. Hang in there.