As someone who did a sh*t load of research on babies during my pregnancy, I could not have been worse prepared for my baby.
Enter the hardest time of my life (which is saying a lot given my life story).
I started my breastfeeding journey much as other moms do – lots of struggles and milk stains and frustration and lopsidedness and pain and…joy of being able to feed your baby with your body – amazing stuff!
I felt like each day brought a new challenge. First my newborn wouldn’t latch on the left breast which caused serious engorgement and sleeping with lettuce leaves around it and hand expressing it to help it through this. Then I had to deal with the lopsidedness of feeding on the right and pumping the left out. I soon realized that I would have to use the left breast again as my right nipple was in pain from being constantly in use! I started trying harder to get him to latch on the left and after many struggles we succeeded!!!!!!
I then had to get him to feed more on the left breast to get both breast’s to even out more or less and to produce the same amount of milk more or less.
Here’s where I realized that we had a bigger problem. When going to the paediatrician for a check up, he informed me that my baby has reflux. He was screaming all the time and pulling his legs in and had an arched back. Basically my baby was in constant pain and uncomfortable which I thought but didn’t really know. I just thought he was a difficult baby. I cried so hard after this paed visit as I felt like a failure of a mother. I didn’t protect my baby from pain and he was only 3 weeks old. Well done. This is going to go great at this rate….
Anyway, I was a mom and had to continue being there for my baby because he literally relied on me for survival – even though I had established how sh*t I am at it already.
The paediatrician advises to give Nexium twice a day and try that for 3 days. If no improvement or not significant enough, I was to start him on NaN AR formula. I never thought I would hear that my breast feeding was an issue and that I should rather give formula. I thought I had finally succeeded in just the fact that I was still breastfeeding past the usual two weeks???!!!??? Wrong again…
I started giving him Nexium twice a day and after 3 days of hell decided to swallow my pride and start him on the formula. I saw a huge improvement a day later and decided that I had done the best thing for my baby. He was calmer and sleeping better. He still cried a lot but didn’t seem so much in pain. I finally helped him. Shew.
Not the end of that journey I’m afraid. Next was going to the nurse for vaccinations and weigh ins. She was very unhappy to hear that I had started giving formula and after checking the latching and listening to him drink, we found that I actually had a fast let down. She suggested the following:
- feed upright and remain upright for half an hour after feeding
- let baby lay on your tummy while feeding to reverse gravity a bit
- block feed – feed for two or three feeds on one breast before changing to get breasts to produce less milk
- use incline under cot mattress to ensure baby doesn’t sleep flat
- colic calm – I ended up using Himalayan Bonnisan which was a saving grace and later started using Bennett’s Colic Mixture during hectic episodes
After trying majority of these things for a week, I noticed a difference in my baby. I also read on a Facebook mommy group about going to a Chiropractor so I decided to try this. I ended up going three times to the chiropractor and that was by far the best thing I could have done for my baby. The chiropractor burped him and aligned him and most importantly showed me how to burp him properly. I started doing the burping exercises before and after each feed and the winds started coming out. I was so relieved. The reflux was also less as the winds ended up coming out easier and smaller. I also started wearing him all day in a wrap so that he was with me all the time and could feed upright.
Still not at the end of this story…
At his 12 week vaccination, he screamed so much (before the vaccination) that the nurse said she could hear us coming from a mile away and knew it was us. She told me about using the Bennett’s Colic Mixture for when he got really bad.
So at this point I am doing the following to help my baby with colic:
- Nexium twice daily
- Three formula bottles daily
- Burping techniques from Chiropractor
- Carry all day in wrap or carrier and therefore feed upright
- Sleep on mattress at night which has incline placed under mattress
- Himalayan Bonnisan three times daily
- Bennett’s Colic Mixture as needed – usually around 18:30 after bath to calm before sleeping routine
- Massaging tummy after bath
As you can see from the intense list above, it is no easy job dealing with colic and I hate that my baby has had to go through so much pain and suffering. I also hate that I have to give him so much meds etc to help him through this. I wanted to only give him breast milk. I thought I had nailed breastfeeding as I pushed through the tough stage and made it on the other side.
The following helped me keep sane during this trying time:
- Swearing (in my head – no naughty words in front of the baby)
- Walking in a mall with baby in carrier
- This too shall pass
- Chatting with friends (a little about baby and the rest about other things)
- Watching series on Netflix
- Doing research on Facebook mommy groups
It is not easy but you can get through it. Take it one moment at a time and keep trying until you find what works for your baby.