We hit another new phase at the weekend, the “I know I was fine a minute ago but now I need to scream as if you’re taking my soul” phase.
With the obvious checks of nappy, hunger and comfort ticked off and the usual calming measures of rocking, burping, cuddling, swaddling also deployed we’ve been left with a baby screaming it’s lungs out endlessly. Not a lot of fun.
She screams and screams, with such vigour that her leg muscles tense and she stands upright. The screaming continues and she is filled with such rage her head goes red and she’s hot to touch. But still it continues.
I am fairly sure that she gets to the point where she doesn’t know why she’s screaming any more, and continues to scream just out of built up inertia. Eventually something will distract her enough to give her a moments pause and you can pounce by distracting her further with more calming measures with the hope that you’ve caught her off guard and she forgets that she’s meant to be screaming.
I’m pretty sure this is going to continue, so here’s what I’ve learnt so far:
- Babies can get really loud.
- Their most desperate screams are genetically programmed to erode your soul.
- Sometimes there’s no longer a reason for their screams, they stop as soon as they start, and you haven’t done anything different.
- Sharing the screams when possible, it can be too much for one person
- If you can’t share, give yourself a 5 minute break – put her somewhere safe and comfortable and go to the furthest point away in your home.
- Don’t jump on buying special bottles or miracle cure remedies, most have as many positive reviews as negative, and if you look at the reviews for bottles you’re already using, I bet you’ll find just as many “AMAZING! These helped my babies colic instantly!” comments.
- There is no know cure for colic. Probably because no-one actually knows for sure what it is or what causes it.
If you have any more unusual tips that aren’t in the NHS’s list of colic treatments, add them in the comments please!
I’m three weeks in to parenthood and I’ve got to say, this isn’t what I expected.
I’m not actually a Nickleback fan, but I’ve had a line from “This is how you remind me” above circling in my head for a few days now – “Are we having fun yet?”
I expected the sleep loss, I expected the mood swings, I expected the exhaustion and I expected the relentless care that the baby would need.
I didn’t expect the lack of balance to these feelings though.
Charlie Brooker described his newborn daughter as a “screaming pet rock” and I can heavily relate. Baby does little more than sleep, cry, scream, eat, fill nappies and vomit (ordered by frequency). Every difficulty is the end of their world and is treated as such. Your whole life is now spent caring for them and making their life as comfortable as possible, but the screams and looks of utter despair from them as you prepare a bottle or change their nappy gives me no gratitude.
Even rare moments of activities you used to enjoy don’t give the same pleasure, as you’re so aware that it’s baby’s prerogative to ruin anything at any time with screams of red faced raging hopelessness.
She does occasionally just lay awake, looking at her new world in wonder, and I’ve seen hints of a smile a few times now. But these moments are rare and far between and give little consolation to the sleepless nights and desperate screams which have plagued the last three week.
They say it gets better. I hope so, because I’m not having fun yet.
I hit an all time low today.
The lack of sleep has already made thoughts and memories jumble up into a mush of events, but at about 8am this morning I found myself changing a nappy with tears rolling down my face pleading for our baby to stop crying. The little poppers on baby grows can be infuriating at the best of times but when you’ve only had a few hours sleep all night the little fuckers can break a man.
It had all just got too much. Our baby screams like you’re pulling it’s fingernails off whenever it’s unhappy – hungry, dirty nappy or just a bit lonely, and soon forgets why she’s screaming at all and gives you full rage for the love of rage. She was recently fed, her nappy was clean and we were trying to have a cuddle.
What made it all so much worse was the fact that we haven’t even hit the end of week two yet and we have days and months of this ahead, and the real tests of life when I’m trying to work full time and wifey is on her own most of the day haven’t begun.
But never the less I found myself pounding the floor in frustration and pleading with baby to stop crying.
She eventually did of course, it was as if someone had turned a switch off. Within seconds she was red faced and giving me a lungful of stinking milk breath, and the next she was silent.
When wifey came down we had a bit of a chat about things. Baby had been a terror with her the first half of the night and we both agreed that forgoing sex for the rest of our lives to ensure we didn’t create another one of these was worth the sacrifice. We both wept a little at the frustrations, and how there was still so much more to come.
But we don’t know a way round it. Our baby is still days old and still has so much ahead of her, and somehow we’ve got to grin and bare it. Somehow.
Fuck knows how.