My sweet girl came into the world on Father’s Day. Her birth was what I would consider a breeze in comparison to my first. I was feeling super confident in my abilities as a mom to a newborn at that point. That was foolish on my part, wasn’t it? What did I know about having a newborn? Well, Harper taught me on her very first night outside of my belly, that I knew NOTHING about having a newborn. My first newborn slept. My first newborn never cried. My first newborn laid awake and content for stretches of time and then drifted back to sleep all on his own. Harper did none of those things. Harper cried. Harper screamed. Harper rarely slept, and when she did it was never for more than 30 minutes and it was always after upwards of an hour of actively trying to get her to fall asleep. Truthfully, I had never really “bought into” the idea of colic. I always felt that there had to be some reason for babies to cry and it was just that the parents were failing to meet whatever the need was. Not that they weren’t trying to meet their baby’s needs, just that they were missing the mark somewhere. After about 2 weeks with Harper, I began to rethink my theory on colic. I swear we tried it ALL! The poor thing just.wouldn’t.stop.crying. It was torture for all of us. I remember driving in the car, the four of us and Harper was screeeeeeeeeching. I looked back at my son, who was just shy of his 2nd birthday and he was covering his ears and staring at me with eyes that said “make it stop!”. I felt the same. I wanted to cover my ears and I wanted nothing more than to make it stop. But, I couldn’t. I began to feel like a complete failure as a mother. Was it me? Was there something wrong with my breast milk? Was I not taking good enough care of her? WHY WAS SHE ALWAYS CRYING?!
It should be no surprise to you that I took to Google for answers. Search: Why is my baby crying? Search: How to stop a crying baby. Search: Is colic real? Search: How to cure colic. I can’t remember what search led me to my answer, but one of them did. I began reading about a man name Dr. Harvey Karp. This man had began to really look into the theory of colic and was on a mission to help parents cope with their unhappy newborns. His motivation came from the alarming rates of infants he was seeing in the US who were either seriously injured or killed by their parents or caregivers due to Shaken Baby Syndrome. Now, I understand how monsterous this may sound, but in the darkest of moments, late at night, all by myself with a screaming child- I got it. I totally got how someone to get to the point of absolute insanity. The kind of insanity that could lead a person to shake their screaming baby, begging for them to stop, begging them to tell them what was wrong, begging for answers. Luckily for me, I was able to recognize that and I knew when it was time to set my screaming baby down and just walk away. To wake my husband and say “it’s your turn”. But, I feel that it’s important for me to acknowledge that I get how those kinds of thoughts could creep into ones head when dealing with their inconsolable baby. After all, there could be a new mommy reading this post going through the same thing, or one of you who is going to have a baby soon and may find themselves in that dark place in the wee hours of the night. I am telling you, unless you have dealt with a “colicky” child, you cannot understand that kind of desperation for it to STOP.
Dr. Harvey Karp wrote a book. The book is called “The Happiest Baby on the Block”. I’ll outline the basic concept he came up with in the book, but I highly encourage new parents and parents to be to get their hands on this book and read it for themselves. Even if your baby is totally perfect and never cries, you may be able to reach out to someone who is struggling and help them in a way that they are so desperate for. Dr. Karp began looking into what calmed babies around the world. We’ve all heard that there are places in the world where the babies simply do not cry. His discovery from his travels led him to “The 5 S’s”:
2.Side (or stomach)
You can watch videos of parents on YouTube implementing the 5 S’s and instantly calming their crying baby. I watched about 3 videos and instantly tried it on Harper (who was crying at the time, of course). I wish I had the video to show you what happened, but you’ll have to take me at my word, she stopped. She almost instantly stopped crying. She became quiet, and still and went into a bit of a trance, and then…she closed her eyes and fell asleep. It took me all of probably 2 minutes to accomplish! You cannot imagine the relief I felt. I felt like I finally could breath. It wasn’t a fluke either, folks. For months, we used the 5 S’s to sooth our girl. She was a high needs baby (and is now a high needs toddler), and she still cried often. But we had the resource that could calm her tears and help her to drift to sleep when things got tough for her. We were able to regain sanity in our home, and we were able to begin enjoying our baby. I am sad that it took me as long as it did to discover the 5 S’s because those first weeks were some of the hardest I can remember. But, I am so glad that I have the knowledge now to implement with our next baby if the need should be there and to help others who I hear say their baby has colic. I still don’t believe in colic, even though I believe I experienced what others consider to be colic in their babies. I believe that when those 5 needs listed above are executed properly and together, any baby can be calmed and comforted.