Thursday, April 18, 2013

8 Ways to Cope With a Colicky Baby

Does your baby scream every evening from 7:00-10:00 pm?  I know ours does! If you are a member of the colicky baby club, here are some coping strategies you can try!

1. That Thing That Worked Yesterday- The first thing you should try when your colicky baby is screaming is That Thing That Worked Yesterday. You know, that thing you did, which made your baby instantly calm down, and made you think, "Oh, I wish I had done this from the beginning! Next time I'll know exactly what to do! " New parents--this is important--That Thing That Worked Yesterday will never work again, ever. But, you should still try it out, because it's essential that any hope you still have is extinguished as soon as possible.  This is your life now.

2. Pacifiers- Just kidding. The pacifier will only make your baby scream more. The truth is, pacifiers don't even soothe non-colicky babies. They are given out at baby showers as practical jokes to unsuspecting new parents.  If you received more than 5 pacifiers at your baby shower, then your friends are assholes.

3. Xylophone Music-  When you were pregnant, you probably had all sorts of visions about cultivating your young charge's musical tastes by exposing her to your favorite indie bands and shielding her fragile young mind from the corrupting influence of clear-channel radio. It seemed to be working too.  As a newborn she appeared to tolerate the alt-country mix you made for her, and she drooled in an encouraging way when her Daddy busted out "Whiskey 'Fore Breakfast" on his mandolin. But then, one of your evil relatives gave her an album of simple baby songs performed by an all xylophone ensemble, and it could not be plainer that she vastly prefers this to Steve Earle's "Telephone Road." Sure, you try to expose her to the good stuff too, but the instant she starts screaming, you know you'll cave, and listen to all-xylophone "Michael Row Your Boat Ashore" from 7 to 10 pm.

4. Drinking- The sooner you embrace drinking as a tool for coping with your colicky infant, the better. Now some of you mothers out there may say in an aghast tone "But I am breastfeeding! I can't feed that to my baby!!" To you I say, where are your priorities? For me, it's a choice between having a glass of wine in the evening, or listing my baby in the craigslist classifieds, and I for one am committed to shielding my baby from an uncertain future with her new craigslist family, as I can in no way guarantee that they own any CDs of xylophone music.

5. Babysitters- When you have a young infant, people may often say to you "cherish these moments, you'll miss them when they're gone. "  If your young infant has colic, you may want to punch these people in the face.  Instead, smile in an affirming way, and invite them to your house to share in your fleeting golden moments with your infant. Tell them "Anytime between 7 and 10 pm is best for our schedule." Then, when they arrive, ask them to hold the baby while you go to the bathroom, and disappear for the next 2 and 1/2 hours.

6. Giving Up Dairy- Is your colicky baby breastfeeding? If so, she could have a dairy allergy. Many parents swear that eliminating dairy from the Mother's diet helps their baby's digestive system, and therefore reduces crying. There is significant scientific research that shows that these parents hate you and want to take away your happiness.  Isn't your crying baby hard enough?  No.  They want to take away your chocolate ice cream too.

7. Off-roading- Our colicky baby hates her stroller--that is, unless we are driving it on a road so bumpy they could host BMX races on it.  I don't know why, but the bumpier the road, the sleepier the baby. If they made baby attachments for ATV's I would definitely buy one.  I would drive my baby ATV on the shittiest, most washed out gravel road I could find, blaring Xylophone "Hickory Dickory Dock" until 10 o'clock every single night, or at least until I was too drunk to safely operate an ATV.

8. Despairing-  Parents, if you haven't tried despairing yet, you really should give it a shot.  You can still read lots of baby-care books and articles, but this time, do it in a snarky way.  "Oh sure, just set the baby down once she stops screaming" you can read aloud to your partner, (the two of you laugh grimly), "I'd like to see her try that on our baby." Despairing won't make your baby stop crying, but at least you and your partner will share a mutually horrific experience, and this trauma may bring you closer together.  If this doest work, you can also try Turning on Each Other.

I hope these coping strategies work for you and your colicky infant. None of them have worked for us, but, to be fair, we are unusually reckless and irresponsible parents.

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