We’re back with more tales from the parenting front line. We’re looking again at how to cope with a baby that won’t stop crying. It’s not an easy time for any parent; sometimes the solution is simple, but often it’s not. We’ve talked to several parents that have been through it and come out the other side in one piece.
If you’re going through a similar situation don’t despair as there is always hope.
“Some babies cry for absolutely no reason!”
Everyone warned me parenting was hard, but I couldn’t see what could be so difficult. Change their nappies, feed them, wind them, put them to sleep—I’ve got a pretty stressful job in advertising, so that would be a breeze. I didn’t know that sometimes babies cry for absolutely no reason.
In the case of our baby, Olivia, she just screamed for hours and hours every night. It would start about 5pm. By the time I got home from work, my wife Sarah had been dealing with it for almost three hours straight. I’d take over when I got in for the bath time/bed time routine, but the second we laid her down in the cot she would just scream her heart out. Evenings were spent taking it in turns to calm her. We’d rock her, sit in the dark listening to white noise, bounce up and down on a fitness ball, wander the streets with a pram—you name it. We didn’t eat together or watch a single TV programme for five months.
The worst part was late at night. Exhausted, we’d bicker about who should see to her. I had stressful work meetings to deal with but then I wasn’t the one breastfeeding every couple of hours. There were times I thought it would break us. But once it’s over, you do forget—until you do an interview for Kin! Olivia is a beautiful, happy three-year-old now and although her colic drove us to the edge, we’d both do it all over again for her.
Words of wisdom: “Don’t forget to be kind to each other.”
“Looking back I think he was just hungry!”
Alex started screaming on day three, and continued for the next four months. The midwife assured me this was normal and suggested he was hungry because my milk hadn’t come in. But when it did, the crying continued. I had friends on maternity leave who were a lifeline. But I don’t think they fully understood, because when they saw him he was always sleeping peacefully in the pram.
Breastfeeding was extremely painful, as I have flat nipples. Just after my milk came in I contracted mastitis which made it almost unbearable. The GP told me to breastfeed through it, while the midwives, who were keen to get him back up to birth weight, suggested introducing formula top-ups. He gained weight immediately, but as soon as I cut down on the formula again he started dropping down the weight chart. By this point I was a wreck. I would pace up and down, holding my screaming baby, waiting for my husband to get home. He was stressed, too, as he was getting no sleep and struggling to cope with work.
I spoke to GPs, midwives, health visitors and everyone insisted it was colic and “nothing to do with the breastfeeding!” Eventually, a new health visitor suggested that the formula I took early on had stunted my milk supply so I wasn’t producing enough. She said I should switch to formula, and not to feel guilty. As soon as I did, Alex stopped crying. He’s a happy, loving toddler now, but it still haunts me that I let him go hungry for all those months.
Words of wisdom: “Don’t feel guilty for the choices you make.”
We hope these stories help, as we know how tough it can be. Don’t be scared to seek advice and talk to friends and family that have been through it, because you’re not alone.