Ryder was NOT an easy baby. He cried. And he cried. And he cried. Lou and I both lacked experience with babies and everyone says the first three months are rough so we figured they were referring to the endless crying.
When Ryder was three weeks old, we went to our first session at OC Mommy and Me. I was hesitant to take him out of the house, but I thought being around other moms would be helpful since we were all going through it together. Ryder was the only baby who cried the entire class. I looked around the room in panic wondering what I may have been doing wrong. What were all these other moms doing to console their babies that I didn’t know to do? I left hoping next week would be better. Not a chance. Week two was pretty much a repeat of day one.
By the third week of class, it was becoming a pattern and the instructor Alex, (an incredibly knowledgeable parent educator and founder of OCMM) asked us to stay after class. Crap! Baby detention. I was certain she was going to ask us not to return.
Just the opposite happened. Alex asked if she could try something. I handed over Ryder – too willingly – I’d try anything to help my baby feel better. She swaddled him up, held him in a reflux hold, patted his lower back and played a loud hair dryer noise from her phone. He stopped crying. I was so relieved to hear Ryder’s cries stop, I asked her to move in with me. She politely declined and instead gave me a list of solutions for what she had suspected was acid reflux – a diagnosis confirmed by his Pediatrician the next day.
In addition to reflux, the doctor also diagnosed him with colic. (Payback for having an easy pregnancy and delivery) He was prescribed Zantac for the reflux, but the colic would have to run it’s course and typically, peaks at three months. Three months? We were only half way there! Having a baby with colic was rough. It made me feel like a big time failure at being a parent. All I wanted to do was comfort him and I couldn’t tell what was wrong. I didn’t know if he was in pain, scared, or just didn’t like us.
The Zantac worked like a charm. He finally started to have hour long stretches where he wouldn’t cry. And just like the doctor said, at three months the colic peaked and by the fourth month, it was completely gone. Now, at almost six months, Ryder is such a happy and healthy baby! It was a rough start, but we made it!!
I’ve listed a few of my favorite things which helped us to get through the rough patches and have continued to give us some comfort. If your baby is colicky or has acid reflux, hang in there! It get’s easier and you’re doing a great job. If you suspect reflux, schedule a visit to your pediatrician ASAP.
Hopefully one or a few of the items below work as well for you as they did for us.
If you haven’t heard of Dr. Harvy Karp, Pediatrician and Author of the Happiest Baby on the Block, also known as the baby whisperer, oder his book ASAP! He’s a genius and truly is a baby whisperer. He came up with the 5 S’s (shush, swaddle, side, suck and swing) which work wonders on comforting a fussy baby.
The Shush technique worked amazing on Ryder, so long as we continued to make the noise. If we stopped shushing before he fell completely asleep, he would start back at square one.
Some genius went into a recording studio, made the shh noise, played it on a loop and packaged it up into a portable, baby safe device – which you can turn on for 15 or 30 minutes at a time. You can find it here. The shusher is also a great addition to your diaper bag and has helped Ryder to fall asleep while we’re out at a noisy restaurant or just out and about.
Lou and I took a swaddle class while I was pregnant to help us prepare for Ryder. They gave us a doll to practice on and showed us a few different ways to wrap our baby up like a little burrito. We left feeling confident and continued to practice on stuffed animals until Ryder arrived.
You know what? Those little dolls we practiced on are nothing like babies because they don’t move! Ryder was a little Houdini and got out of every single swaddle we tried. Try watching youtube tutorials at 3am with a crying baby in your arms and see how successful you can be. We were desperate. I literally bought 6 different kinds of swaddles and none of them worked – until we tried this Miracle swaddle. It wraps around each arm individually before wrapping him whole, making it near impossible to escape. Mission accomplished.
Between a low supply, and Ryder throwing up from his reflux, I had to supplement with formula. We tried a few formulas, while I switched my diet to dairy free, in case it was a dairy allergy. Ryder seemed to do better once we started Alimentum (a suggestion from Alex). After a few weeks on Alimentum and Zantac, the doctor said I could reintroduce dairy into my diet and I’ve been back on it ever since. We still supplement 50/50 Alimentum and breastmilk and it has been a huge relief on me and my itty bitty supply.
We give Ryder Udo’s Choice Infant Probiotic every night, along with his medicine. The probiotics purpose is to help food digest faster and therefore cause less spit up. Since most of his throw ups occur during the daytime, I feel like the probiotic works great.
This Rock n’ Play is one of my favorite baby products. It has so many uses and has continued to grow with Ryder’s needs. The first two months, we wanted Ryder in our bedroom, but were too scared to put him in the bed with us. The Rock n’ Play fit perfectly next to the bed and was easy to put him in once he had fallen asleep in our arms.
It’s super lightweight and easy to fold up and carry around, so I could tote it back and forth from living room, to nursery, to our bedroom at night. After the first month, we discovered the fancier upgraded version, which has a foot that rocks it all night long. (This one must be plugged in).
Even though Ryder has outgrown sleeping in the Rock n’ Play, I use it in our bathroom and put him in it when I need to quickly hop int he shower.
Baby Connect App
Baby Connect is my favorite app on my phone. Ok, it’s tied with Pinterest. Baby Connect is a baby tracker and lets you log everything baby goes through in a day – feedings, sleep, diapers, health and so much more. The neat thing about Baby Connect is that it allows multiple users to input information, which synchronizes across devices so everyone is on the same page. It’s made tracking how many ounces Ryder consumes in a day (and then throws up) and what times his medicine was given super easy to follow. In addition to a detailed log, you can view data on a chart and help recognize patterns. For example, I learned the sweet spot window for when Ryder should go to sleep to sleep the longest. And anything that helps get the most out of his sleep schedule is a very good thing.
I’m not sure how I would have handled it without my amazing husband. He has been so hands on right from the start. He was my rock when I had my own crying fits and I truly feel like we got through it together. It’s cheesy and cliche, but I really feel like our relationship is stronger because of it.
My parents were also so incredibly helpful and supportive. They brought us meals and groceries and checked in daily to see if we needed anything. My mom would text me around 6am every morning and see how the night went. Since we were usually up most the night, she would come over early morning and snuggle baby between feedings, cries and all, while we got a couple hours of sleep.
One of my favorite memories to date, was an afternoon when my parents came over and gave us a short break. Instead of taking a nap, we both hopped into the bathtub, which we filled with a massive amount of bubbles. Looking back on it, it was the silliest thing, but we laughed so hard, it completely changed our mindset and helped us get through the next few hours in a good mood.
Hopefully, you have a great support system too. If not, try joining some online mommy groups. It’s a great place to vent and hear other moms are going through the same thing. Schedule playdates, even if it’s a cry date. I’ve found some of my closest mommy friends in a support network and never thought I’d lean on a stranger so much, but I doand I check in with them every single day.