Colic Anyone?

by Janice

Colic. Mention the word to my mom and she still shivers.

My mom’s second child, my older brother, had a terrible case of colic that started when he was about three weeks old and lasted until he was three months old. At 6:30 every evening he would start screaming and the agony would last until about midnight. My mom tried every trick in the book, but not too much helped – except time. Eventually, he grew out of it and both he and my mother finally got some relief.

Four years later, when my mom found out she was having twins, all she could think about was, “What if they both get colic?!?” The fear haunted her throughout her pregnancy and our first few weeks of life. But, thankfully, she got lucky and Susan and I never endured the tummy torment.

With our first children, both Susan and I were also lucky and did not have to deal with colic. But this time – I am not so sure. Just after Olivia hit three weeks old, she started having terrible tummy aches in the evenings and nights that have had my husband and I walking the floor with a fussy, extremely uncomfortable baby.

Monday I went to the doctor to get her opinion on what I should do and what changes I should make to my diet. I was wondering if I should remove dairy from my diet, etc. She said if I stick to non-fat dairy, such as non-fat milk and yogurt, then that should be okay. She also told me to stay away from apples, tomatoes, and other acidic foods and, of course, make sure I don’t eat broccoli, cabbage, etc.

I had been eating a lot of apples, raw veggies, cheese and high fiber food, such as beans and bran, so I am trying to be more careful now. (I will still be eating some bran, but I will skip the beans and concentrate on flax for my fiber needs.) I am not sure if the changes are making too much of a difference – but so far tonight has been better than the past few nights. I am hoping that this is just a little stage and Olivia doesn’t get a full blown case of “colic.” I think she is gassy and has pain in her bowels and hopefully if I make some changes to my diet it will relieve her pain.

But I was wondering what tips and words of wisdom you all have for gassy, tummy-aching babies. Have your babies had tummy troubles or colic?

I would love to hear about your experiences…



Email Author    |    Website About Janice

Janice is co-founder of 5 Minutes For Mom. She's been working online since 2003 and is thankful her days are full of social media, writing and photography. You can see more of her photos at janicecrozephotography.com.

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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kimbrah October 26, 2007 at 2:57 am

Our oldest and youngest were both colicky. The best thing that I found for our youngest is the homeopathic remedy, Chamomila. Hyland’s makes a brand that dissolves right under their tongue in seconds. I did not find their Colic Tablets helpful at all. Go straight for the single Chamomila remedy. We had to repeat one dose about every 2-3 weeks, but let me tell you, he was a completely different baby after the remedy. I have found that this remedy is helpful for his teething as well.

I hope that helps. I’m praying for you!

Kimbrah

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2 Laura October 26, 2007 at 3:10 am

When my oldest was colicky, we used Catnip tea… just slightly sweetened with sugar. It cured her and I was able to get some sleep.

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3 tanyetta October 26, 2007 at 3:59 am

I’ve never experienced this with either of my kids. I have no advice to offer but, I wanted to send some positive thoughts your way and hopefully this will be over soon ;)

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4 Lizelle October 26, 2007 at 6:07 am

For what it’s worth get the dr to check that it is in fact colic and not reflux – a friends daughter was diagnosed with colic and only after 3 months did they find out that the poor child actually has heartburn from milk pushing up into her oesophagus! Good luck!

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5 Jackie October 26, 2007 at 6:39 am

My oldest had colic and it was a nightmare. Every night from 6pm to 9pm for his first two months of life, I felt like I wanted to jump off a roof. I tried everything, from changing my diet and when that didn’t work, I finally had to sit down and ask myself some tough questions. Was me never getting enough sleep and being stressed over this affecting my relationship with my baby? It was. So, I went to the doctor and put him on Nutramigen. Less than a week later, the colic was gone and I finally had that happy baby I had been waiting for.

But, with my youngest, they said colic and it turned out to be a combination of a milk protein allergy and acid reflux. Once I cut dairy out of my diet, the nightly crying stopped!

Good luck Mommy!

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6 Frog Princess October 26, 2007 at 8:19 am

I highly recommended the book Baby Wise. It was excellent. A friend recommended it for me when I had our first child….She has 8 (no I am not Joking) and none of her kids have ever had colic. they explain that putting new milk in on top of half digested milk is what causes the problem. A lot of women are staunchly against scheduling of any kind. I am not saying to be strict but it has been proven that women who don’t schedule a bit sometimes have more trouble with colic.

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7 Debbie October 26, 2007 at 8:25 am

heck, back when I had my kids,many years ago, they didn’t have anything to give for colic so what I had to do was put my baby belly side against my lap and rock him moving my legs back and forth til he felt better, and believe it or not, it worked.

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8 Elizabeth October 26, 2007 at 8:58 am

So far my three haven’t had this problem. I’m hoping number 4 on the way doesn’t either…But I have a very good friend whose son had it quite bad. She found that letting him have a dropperful of Chamomile Tea helped to settle his tummy down. I see someone else found Chamomile to be helpful. I hope you are able to help ease it!

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9 Katie October 26, 2007 at 9:30 am

Dear Janice,

I’ve heard that “colic” is a 5-letter word for the doctor telling you “I don’t know what is wrong with your child”. I believe one of the Dr. Sears stated that from – http://www.askdrsears.com – check out their site – it’s great!!

Anyway, I have to share my experience with my daughter. At 2 months old, she began having a regular “fussy” time in the evenings – around 7 pm on and off until she fell asleep. I asked the doctor but was told she would grow out of it in a couple of months. Each night I would try something different – extra nursing, rocking, singing, bathing, you name it – but I couldn’t seem to put my finger on what was wrong.

Her fussiness only increased and she began arching her back during nursing, refusing nursing several times, spitting up quite frequently, getting lots of hiccups, and crying for no apparent reason out of the blue at times.

Well, several months later, as she’s older than one now – I know the whole time she was in pain!! and she was trying to tell me!! I believe the entire time she had acid reflux!! In fact, I am so positive because now I can tell the signs and she has a specific cry for pain and every time I hear that cry she’ll arch her back in pain until she can “wiggle” the pain out of her chest. But let me tell you, I didn’t figure it out until before she turned 9 months old, and her “association with pain” attached to food caused her to turn food away, lose weight, and drop percentages on the weight charts.

The doctor tried to put my child on prescription medications for acid reflux when I told them what I thought was wrong after much research, but my child *loathed* the taste of them. Plus I really didn’t want her on something that hasn’t been studied in children for very long. So what is a mother to do???

I consulted a wonderful nutritionist (an answer to prayer!!!) named Karen Hurd – check her out at: http://www.karenhurd.com. She does phone consultations if you are not located near her office. I began incorporating fiber into my child’s diet (in the form of psyillium husk seeds/powder – very small amounts at feeding time). I wouldn’t try this without consulting her or your doctor, but I can’t keep this to myself as my daughter responded so well, after only a week and then really began to heal and quit all of the symptoms above after continual use and began gaining weight, stopping refusal of food, less spitting up/vomiting, etc.

I give her just a couple feedings of it a day (for her size – a 1/3 teaspoon mixed in small bowl of water a couple times a day) and she is a happy growing child.

You can email or call that nutritionist. She also helped my sister-in-law with her kids food allergies (wheat, soy, dairy, etc.) in much the same way – by incorporating the fiber and some other key dietary changes. She is well researched and has a truly amazing story to share of how she saved her daughter’s young life – which is what caused her to research this stuff.

Sorry so long, but if it can help any babies out there suffering with acid reflux or food allergies/reactions (which I read are the most common reasons for “colic”) – it is well worth looking into!!

God Bless you and your little ones…
Katie

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10 Cara October 26, 2007 at 9:35 am

Gripe Water always helped my son. When I knew the time was coming, I gave hime a dose after his feeding and it helped tremendously. Also not letting him lie down after a feeding – I would hold him in a sitting position for a while. We still had some days where nothing helped, but they were fewer and farther between once we started the Gripe Water.

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11 pam October 26, 2007 at 9:35 am

My second daughter, Sophie, had colic. I tried all kinds of things to help her and ease her pain. Only a couple actually helped. I went to a homeopathic doctor at the time and she suggested using lavender oil on a cloth in the crib . . . or in our case the bouncy seat or swing. I would put a couple drops on a cloth diaper and lay it next to Sophie during naps and bed time.

The other thing is to give lots of baths, using the lavender oil to massage that tight, uncomfortable tummy and ease the digestion. Sophie would always calm down during bath time and I could also use the lavender oil at other times on her tummy with great results.

Praying for your sweet Olivia and for you as you try to comfort her.

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12 Michelle B October 26, 2007 at 9:46 am

I have 7 children the youngest being just 3 months old. None of my children have ever had colic although the occassional grouchy fussy day or even a day with gas that is hard to pass. I have always nursed on demand. Now my husbands aunt’s first baby (that is the same age as my oldest) had severe colic. I don’t think the parents slept much at all. Well they had tried everything to no avail. Well the other aunt suggested the take the baby to the chiropractor. They did and the baby’s colic went away. I don’t know how quickly but it was a remarkable difference. Just make sure to take them to a chiropractor who is familiar with children.

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13 Sarah Kimmel October 26, 2007 at 9:51 am

The book THE HAPPIEST BABY ON THE BLOCK. It has 5 ways to sooth a crying baby that totally WORK!

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14 mama k October 26, 2007 at 9:57 am

I have always heard that dairy is a big culpret. You have to cut out all dairy for at least 2 weeks to get it out of your system. Check the ingredients in packaged foods to make sure you aren’t getting any casin or whey or other dairy byproducts.
If baby improves you can slowly start adding new foods back into your diet.
Of course I read all this after I had 4+ months of heck with my baby. Next time I am going to just stop eating dairy as soon as baby is born and then start adding it back after he/she is a couple months old.

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15 Amy D October 26, 2007 at 10:02 am

my daughter had colic, and i tried getting rid of dairy and it helped big time! it took a week or two to notice the difference, because she had to get it out of her system. soy also seemed to cause a problem. she also preferred us bouncing her instead of swaying back and forth. i’m just now trying dairy back in my diet (7 months later) and she is doing much better with it!

also, make sure to give each other (you and your hubby) breaks from the crying– get out of the house for just a quick errand or some coffee. it’s amazing how much my shoulders relaxed when i got out of the house for a bit.

just be careful what you give your daughter when it comes to herbs etc. because some can be harmful to babies!

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16 Shauna October 26, 2007 at 10:09 am

So sorry Olivia isn’t feeling well! A friend’s colic-y infant was diagnosed with reflux, and she started feeling much better after the Mom cut out dairy for a while. I think they also put her on meds.

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17 Amanda October 26, 2007 at 10:21 am

When my 3 year-old was an infant, he would be up all night screaming… EVERY night. At first we thought it was colic, but after a while, we realized he was fine when he was being held upright or sitting upright. We eventually found out he had acid reflux. He was given a prescription for Prevacid, and the sleepless nights came to a stop, and our very fussy, screaming baby became a very happy baby.

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18 Kandy Smith October 26, 2007 at 10:31 am

I was going to say what Debbie did…putting my son across my lap on his belly and rubbing his back while rocking gently was the ONLY thing that worked for him. I was terrified I was going to fall asleep and drop him, but it was the only way I could get him to sleep for months.

Good luck, I hope the dietary changes help!

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19 Kristina October 26, 2007 at 10:37 am

I’m the oldest of four girls and I was the only one with colic according to my mom. She said it was every night from about midnight until 3am or until I cried myself to sleep. She said she found out later that the formula she was giving me had too much iron in it. After switching that, I was fine. Now that I have a baby boy on the way in January, I am worried sick about colic. I’m going to come back here in a few days and print out everyone’s suggestions for future reference just in case! I hope Olivia feels better :)

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20 Lindsie October 26, 2007 at 11:03 am

My now 2 year old was a super fussy infant. Knowing that I sensitive to dairy when I was a baby, giving my parents the same grief he was giving me. I immediately suspected dairy. To even more confirm my suspicion when I was reading The Baby Book by Dr. William and Martha Sears, I read about dairy sensitivity in infants and that excessive baby acne could be a sign as well. My little guy did have a lot of baby acne that lasted longer than normal, so I gave the dairy thing a go and cut out dairy from my diet. It worked, he stopped fussing so much and his skin even cleared up.

We have a 9 day old, to prepare for this I have been off of dairy for awhile to make sure it was out of my system before she was born. She may or may not be sensitive to it but we’ll wait for another month or so to give it a try and see how she reacts.

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21 SarahHub October 26, 2007 at 11:28 am

My baby is nine months old, and things are great. But — between four weeks and eight weeks of age, things were really difficult! Evie cried all the time… not just at night, but ALL the time. She was eventually diagnosed with reflux and milk & soy protein intolerance. She takes Previdic, and I cut milk and soy from my diet. (I’m still breastfeeding.) Some of the non-medicine things that worked for her were infant massage, baths, and co-sleeping. I remember a nurse told me that things would be better when Evie turned three or four months old. At the time, it felt like that was a million years away. Of course, it flew by… She’s now a very happy baby! Hang in there!

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22 Twisted Cinderella October 26, 2007 at 11:57 am

I have no experience with Colic but I just wanted to say I am sorry Olivia has been having belly troubles. I hope it is all sorted out soon.

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23 Tina October 26, 2007 at 12:28 pm

I remember those days. I enlisted the help of my best friend. Her job was to come over and hold poor little baby while I took a one hour shower. Then I was refreshed and ready for more crying baby!

Your idea of eating blander food might help.

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24 Sharon October 26, 2007 at 12:48 pm

Oh, my sympathies! Our oldest was colic. It was horrible.

Many people suggested Gripe Water. We tried it, but take caution. Some brands were just recalled.

Wearing the baby helped a ton, as well as keeping him upright as much as possible. He actually slept in his carseat next to our bed for about 2.5 months! But he slept better, and I always kept close eye on him. OUr dr knew about this, too.

I’ve actually heard more bad than good about Babywise. :( Just another note of caution.

We also got a white noise CD. It did soothe him somewhat. His dr also put him on Zantac and Reglan, which helped. (it took about a week or so, though).

Hang in there! I highly recommend a sling or wrap. Those were lifesavers for us!

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25 Faerylandmom October 26, 2007 at 12:50 pm

I’ve never experienced full-blown colic, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about “Colic Tablets.” They’re a homeopathic remedy for tummyaches & gas. You can dissolve them in water, then give them to your baby, or let them dissolve in baby’s mouth.

For me, taking a few chewable Papaya Enzyme tablets (by GNC) before each meal (mine & baby’s) seems to help a LOT.

But these are just two more things in a long list of things you can try. :-) I hope your Olivia doesn’t go colic on you, but if she does, remember that God has a purpose even in that. :-) Plans to prosper, not to harm you…

God bless!

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26 Karla ~ Looking Towards Heaven October 26, 2007 at 1:34 pm

I don’t have any advice… just wanted to say hi and that I hope her tummy gets back on track soon!

Blessings,
Karla

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27 michelle October 26, 2007 at 2:10 pm

I agree with the advice about catnip tea and gripe water. I strongly oppose any advice from Babywise. Probiotics are also helpful.

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28 Adventures In Babywearing October 26, 2007 at 2:14 pm

I definitely think eliminating certain things from diet helps- just don’t do it all at once so you know what works and doesn’t. Milk is usually the first thing I suggest cutting out! It’s not easy, but worth it! (I have been dairy free over a year & a half now due to nursing!)

Also- wear baby in a sling! Usually will do the trick! Such a calming effect and good for Mom & Baby physically and emotionally.

Steph

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29 Christy October 26, 2007 at 2:33 pm

Lactation consultants will tell you to cut out ALL dairy, not just go fat free. If it is dairy that’s a problem, then it is not the fat buprobably the protein or the sugar in it that is causing the problem.

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30 Donna October 26, 2007 at 3:37 pm

I agree it is probably acid reflux or dairy allergy…if it is a dairy protein allergy then you need to cut out everything with whey and that is hard.
My son was horrible for months while I kept trying to cut stuff out so I could nurse, after 3 months I switched to soy formula and he was sooo much better. I feel bad it took 3 months of torture on us and him.

Get a second opinion. Reflux seem to be very common now a days too.

Good Luck. You will need it.

Poor sweet baby, and parents too.

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31 Heidi October 26, 2007 at 4:07 pm

my girl had colic. It started from when she was 2 weeks old until she was about 4 months! It was an absolute nightmare. She basically cried 20 hours a day, I sometimes cried with her because i didn’t know what to do and was sooo tired! I had a little depression because of that. We didn’t have a second child after my daughter (she is our only child), the main reason is I don’t think I can handle another colicky baby, only the thought is frightening enough for me and my husband!

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32 Heidi October 26, 2007 at 4:10 pm

oh, i forget to mention, myliocon drop was my life-saver!

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33 Krista October 26, 2007 at 4:32 pm

Wow, I’d watch out for the bran as well… that as my WORST nightmare with my baby. He’s now 6 months old and I still haven’t tried it although I’ve slowly added back in beans and broccoli to my diet.
See, my mother in law makes these heavenly bran muffins and she brought me a whole pan of them when Cory was 10 days old. I started eating them as a midnight snack after nursing… and Cory started having the worst screaming fits and gas. I ate them for an entire week before we read the list of things that give babies gas. Unfortunately I had just eaten 4 of the muffins for breakfast. So we had one more day of torture and then things we significantly better. However I think he also learned how to scream from that week and he was a much noisier baby in general from that point on than the first 10 days.
Just my 2 cents…

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34 Shannon October 26, 2007 at 4:50 pm

There is a study (see the abstract here: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/77/5/641) that found infants who were carried more cried less. 3 extra hours of carrying a day reduced the amount of crying in a four week old baby by 45 percent. Slings are wonderful for extra carrying!

I have to say, the advice your doctor gave you about non-fat dairy sounds bizarre. Food proteins, not fats, cause reactions. Dairy is the most common culprit, but it can take 2-6 weeks after eliminating all traces of dairy from your diet before you’ll see an improvement.

Here is a link about fussy babies that you may find helpful: http://www.llli.org/NB/NBfussy.html

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35 Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) October 26, 2007 at 4:53 pm

Ladies – thank you all soooo much for your input! Wow – it is so helpful to read all your experiences. I will definitely be trying some of these ideas. THANK YOU! :)

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36 Brandie October 26, 2007 at 5:24 pm

Gripe Water worked well for my youngest child. Really really well! WE bought it at Whole Foods =)
Hope this doesn’t stick around for you though!

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37 Christine October 26, 2007 at 5:25 pm

Fortunately, Noah is only the third of our six who has had bouts of colic and gas… Gripe water, holding baby in the football hold, and lots and lots of bouncing, has all worked for colic in our house.

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38 Tamara Cosby October 26, 2007 at 9:44 pm

Gripe water, I second that motion!!!!

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39 heather h October 26, 2007 at 11:05 pm

My daughter had colic and reflux. We reached for gripe water all the time. It worked pretty well. Hyland’s also makes colic tablets that we used when all else failed and it was 4:30 am. They worked really well, but we hated giving her stuff like that at such a young age but needed to for my sanity. Mylicon drops did not help at all. We put her in a sling and held her upright as much as possible. Luckily this worked well.

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40 Doll Clothes Girl October 27, 2007 at 9:53 am

Emily had terrible colic and it was very, very hard so first of all my thoughts go out to you. I can suggest holding upright as well – she liked it when her tummy was resting on my shoulder. The sling was a permanent attachment to my body during the day. James Taylor’s, “You’ve Got a Friend” worked sometimes as well :-) I found out that year that I have celiac disease and I always wonder if the wheat in my diet was causing problems as well. Since you are trying dietary changes maybe trying to cut out gluten would help?

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41 Bess October 27, 2007 at 10:05 am

Janice,
I nursed my daughter until she was a year old, and the first month or two was horrible with evening screaming. I didn’t want to switch her to formula, so I decided to drink soy milk instead of regular, and cut out cheese and other dairy. After I eliminated milk and all dairy from my diet, it was soooo much better! After a few months, I slowly re-introduced dairy into my diet. Hope that helps!

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42 blondeblogger October 27, 2007 at 11:57 am

I went through this with my last two children. My middle child cried any time he was awake. I thought I would die and it was one of the hardest times of my life.

At ten days old, he was turning blue in his bassinette next to my bed. It was 3 am and my husband called 911. It turned out he had refluxed and had choked on his own vomit. He was okay (breathing wise) after that, but it confirmed our pediatrician’s suspsicions that he had reflux.

He told us that in the “old days” what was termed colic was actually reflux and babies needlessly suffered and went untreated. He promised us he would not stop until Matthew was not in pain.

He had to go through lots of awful tests that eventually confirmed reflux (it doesn’t always show up on tests, though) and he was put on medication. We had to go to bottle feeding (soy) and put cereal in his formula (at 2 weeks old!) to make it thick so it would stay down. He also slept in his car seat for much of his infancy.

All of this made a huge difference. One thing to keep in mind is that reflux doesn’t necessarily mean they’re spitting up. Most of the time, the reflux is only going up to their esophagus, causing them pain, but it is invisible to you.

That can lead to cancerous changes in the esophagus so you don’t want to let it go untreated.

Matthew didn’t outgrow his reflux until around 5, but Natalie, our youngest, is going in for an upper endoscopy soon because hers has continued.

Hang in there. It is SOO hard and unless someone’s been there it’s impossible to comprehend how difficult and trying it is.

My husband would come home at 6 and I would go to bed while he took over and cooked dinner. He’d wake me up at midnight and I’d take over. I’d wake him up at 6 am and get two hours of sleep in until he left for work at 8 am and that’s how every day went for a long time. It was just awful.

I remember walking around in circles for hours at a time, just holding and rocking a screaming baby. I was like a zombie.

I pray that Olivia feels better soon.

Oh, a couple of other tricks…..those vibrating bouncy seats work wonders, and so does a vaccuum. I didn’t believe that last one until I tried it but it put Matthew right to sleep every time and stopped the crying.

He was screaming at my mom’s one time and I couldn’t get him to stop no matter what I did. I finally asked her to bring me a vaccum. She brought me her DustBuster and I turned it on near Matthew and he went right to sleep. It totally freaked my mom out, lol.

Whatever works, though, right!

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43 Barb October 28, 2007 at 11:42 am

I’m no help at all Janice because I’m thankful to say neither of my babies ever experienced this. I hope you and Olivia both get some relief (and some sleep) soon.

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44 Holly October 30, 2007 at 5:21 pm

Hi Janice,

I’ve been there!! ((HUGS)) My little guy, now 11 months, really gave us a run for our money at the beginning. You can read my story on the Fussy Baby site if you’re interested.

I just wanted to comment on one thing your dr. said – I’m not a dr., but mine told me that actually high fat dairy products are better, as they have a lower concentration of milk protein (which is what young infants react so badly to). He said that often women who have been on a non-dairy diet for their nursing baby start back in by adding butter to their diet, since it’s pure fact. Again, I’m not a dr., but it might be worth checking out.

Also check out http://www.fussybaby.ca/breastfeeding dairy.html for an overview of what you can and can’t eat when you’re breastfeeding a dairy-sensitive baby.

Good luck, and let me know if you have any question!

Holly

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45 GG November 7, 2007 at 2:47 am

Hello everybody, I’m a mother of three and about 4 months ago started using a sleeping solution for babies with colic problems, I was very hesitant at first but it was recommended by a very good friend of mine that just like me has 3 children. This product really is easy to use and will help your baby sleep through the night as well as yourself. The product is called 3 day sleep solution and you can find it at http://www.3daysleep.com the process is fairly easy to follow so go ahead and give it a look you have my on it. Feel free to ask me any questions. Thank You.

Good Luck,
GG
http://www.tuniandg.com

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46 Dianne November 8, 2007 at 12:22 am

I am sorry you are going through this! My first child was fine, but my second child was termed “colicky” although now we know he has reflux and MSPI (milk soy protein intolerance). You can find information about reflux at http://www.infantreflux.org and information about protein intolerance at http://www.thepicfoundation.org. In fact, our whole experience is listed there as this month’s first-hand account (http://www.thepicfoundation.org/newsletter.htm).

Another excellent book is “Colic Solved” by Dr. Bryan Vartabedian (www.colicsolved.com). He is a ped GI who advocates that while some babies need the shushing and swaying, most “colicky” babies have pain that can be treated – usually reflux or milk protein intolerance.

If you are eliminating dairy from your diet, make sure to read the labels and avoid casein, whey, and other “hidden” dairy. Also, many milk sensitive children are also intolerant of soy, so you might want to eliminate that from your diet as well.

I hope things get better for you!

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