Why my floors are so clean (Colic ain’t no joke!)

Dear Alex,

I can’t believe you are 2 months old already. Actually as I write this you are a few days away from that milestone, but I’m sure by the time I finish you will be. It is really hard to find a large enough chunk of time these days to write a whole letter all at once, especially since you are what they call a “high needs baby.” Maybe I’ll shoot for more frequent smaller ones instead. Time will tell.

Speaking of “high needs” … if my last letter sounded a little bitter, that’s because it was. LOL. Around the 3 week point you started to develop colic. Wikipedia defines colic as “a condition in which an otherwise healthy baby cries or displays symptoms of distress (cramping, moaning, etc.) frequently and for extended periods, without any discernible reason.” Doesn’t that sound fun? The first week or so we tried to just deal with it and soothe you as best we could. With you it seemed pretty clear that gas pains were a big part of the issue, so we tried switching you to a “gentle” brand of formula and doing massage, etc. to help relieve the gas. It got a little better but you still cried for the majority of the day (amazingly you have always done really well at night for some reason… knock on wood!) and the sanity level in our house started to get pretty low. LOL.

And so after a lot of tears from pretty much everyone here, I finally decided to take you to the pediatrician in the hopes that there might be something they could do to help. I thought it might be possible that you are lactose-intolerant since Dad is and apparently I had to be on soy formula as an infant. With this in mind, the pediatrician suggested switching you to a lactose-free, hypoallergenic formula. She said that beyond this there wasn’t much to be done. She also said “not to scare you, but 90% of colic cases resolve on their own by 6 months.” Months?! Oh. my. goodness. I really started to wonder what the heck we’d gotten ourselves into here. Luckily switching formulas (again) really seemed to help. It got to where your only truly “bad” period was a 4 hour stretch in the evenings, from just before dinner time until we put you down for the night, with a one or two brief fussy periods here & there during the day. Still, more than 3 hours of crying per day is not normal.

At the suggestion of ladies in my birth month group, I tried a couple of other things. The first is taking you to a pediatric chiropractor. Apparently a lot of stress is put on the spine during the birth process (both c-sections and vaginal births), which leads to misalignment and colicky symptoms. Dad was skeptical but honestly I was still pretty desperate to try anything that might help. And things have definitely improved since you started going. It was really interesting to watch that first adjustment… the moment she did it you went from squirmy and uncomfortable to totally limp, in a deep sleep and like putty in my hands for the next several hours. Here you are passed out in my lap after your first chiropractor appointment:

The other thing we did was supplement your diet with probiotics. This made a HUGE difference, and within a week or so of that even your evening fussy times started to get shorter and shorter. Oh, and we also started using “anti-colic” bottles… although at that point we were trying so many things at once that I’m not sure how much they helped. Anyway, the result of all these efforts over the last month or so is that you are generally pleasant during the day, and your evening fussy time lasts about an hour or so (if that). Of course there are still good & bad days, but I think you’re more or less a normal baby now. Even when you are being fussy, we can generally find some way to console you at least. Some of our fool-proof methods we’ve found to work well with you are:

  • Just holding you close to us… especially laying tummy-down on our chest. We’ve taken a lot of naps together this way. You are definitely a baby that loves to be held!
  • Wearing you in the baby carrier. I ended up having to invest in a nicer baby carrier since you like being in it so much and the cheaper “wrap” style of carrier did not support your head well enough.
  • Popping in your pacifier (although you’re still excellent at spitting it out, so this method can be challenging!)
  • Taking you for a ride in the car
  • White noise or music. Specifically…
    • The vacuum running- during your evening fussy time I find it best to wear you in the carrier and vacuum the house (whether the floors need it or not, but with two dogs and dad’s muddy boots it’s usually needed)
    • Ocean sounds- we play this every night when putting you to sleep)
    • Michael Jackson music- I stumbled on this one by accident. When I’m cooking dinner I sometimes sit you in your high chair at the kitchen table. Even before we had kids my evening cooking ritual is to put my mp3 player on “shuffle” and sing/dance along to whatever it plays… now I have a captive audience of one! ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, one night you were sitting in the chair and starting to get fussy when a Michael Jackson song came on. You immediately piped down so I let it play through the rest of my Michael Jackson greatest hits album… and you were cool as a cucumber through all but the slow songs. “Man in the Mirror” is my favorite & after a few tries on other nights, I think it is yours too. ๐Ÿ™‚
    • Songs I make up- when you are being fussy I make up silly songs to cheer us both up. One I sing frequently goes like this:

Boopee doopee doo, I love you
Beepee deepee dee, you love me
Mommy and Alex, best buddies forever
You’re my best buddy for life!
For life!
For life!

So as you can see, sometimes we have to get creative (haha)… but as long as you’re happy so are we. ๐Ÿ™‚ Speaking of happy, you’ve even started to smile at us over the last week or so! You mostly do it when imitating us (you also will stick your tongue out if we stick ours out too), but more and more often you will just randomly smile at me. And I have to say, those smiles have truly made the frustrations this past month or so worth it. Absolutely heart-melting! The smiles are pretty elusive but I managed to (sort of) catch one on camera on this morning:

I might be biased, but you are pretty cute! Here are a few of my favorites from the other photos I’ve taken this month (you can find more atย http://s1169.beta.photobucket.com/user/laurapachec0/library/Alex%20Month%202).

Bath time! As part of your nightly bed time ritual, we give you a quick bath in your special tub. You didn’t like this much at first, but over time you have grown to enjoy it… I’d like to think that being in the warm water is relaxing to you now that the colic isn’t such an issue. You certainly look pretty relaxed in this photo!

One of our evening cooking sessions, hanging out in your high chair

Chilling in your pillow. When we are upstairs in bed we put you in this pillow so that if we fall asleep, we won’t roll over on you. You love how cozy it feels!

Zzzzz…. ๐Ÿ™‚ Dad won’t like that I put this one up here, but I just couldn’t resist. It’s so sweet!

Asleep in your swing (when you nap downstairs it’s usually in the swing), “holding” your teddy bear

Looking pensive in your big boy jeans & sneakers! You’re finally starting to fit into all the cute outfits people gave as shower gifts, which are mostly size 3-6 months. Whenever we go out (which is more and more often now that you’re less colicky, flu season is ending & I’m feeling braver about it) I always dress you up in a handsome outfit. ๐Ÿ˜€ People said to me a lot when I was pregnant “Don’t you wish you had a girl since they are much more fun to shop for?” … but I don’t think that’s true at all. There are a lot of cute/handsome things for boys out there! And between me, your grandparents and other friends/family you are one well dressed baby.

I just love your chipmunk cheeks! They get lots of kisses every day. ๐Ÿ™‚

Snuggled up with me on the couch… waiting for the evening’s “fussy time” to pass. Your eyes are definitely going to be blue!

This Tigger outfit was the very first baby thing Dad & I bought, when I was about 6 weeks along. You finally fit into it! Thinking back from when we bought that outfit to now & how much has happened since then… it almost feels like another lifetime ago.

I snuck in & took this picture while Dad was reading you a bedtime story (“Goodnight Moon”)… since Dad doesn’t get as much time with you as I do between his work & classes, he does all of your bedtime routine (bath, PJ’s, story, bottle, bed) most nights to get in some quality time. ๐Ÿ™‚

The many faces of Alex! I can’t believe how much you have grown this month. You look less like a newborn & more like a “regular” baby now. Even when you are being fussy, I’m trying my best not to worry about other things, and to soak up all the details of this time while you are still so small… I know I’ll miss it someday. A friend sent me this excerpt from a poem awhile back:

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as Iโ€™ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
Iโ€™m rocking my baby and babies donโ€™t keep.

So when things get overwhelming for me around here– the bills, the chores, the cooking, etc etc… and I get frustrated that you are in one of those moods where you want nothing else but to be held, I stop and remind myself that “babies don’t keep.” And when I look into those eyes, nothing else matters anyway.

All my love,

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