If you’ve ever wondered what is happening in the deepest crevices of your partner’s brain, I recommend putting on your “reporter hat” and interviewing them as if they have just won the Super Bowl... Q & A style.
That is exactly what I did with my husband for this blog: A Dad's Colic Diaries- where my husband answers a series of questions to share his perspective on raising two babies with colic.
While we use a lot of narrative and perspective from Mom’s point-of-view in our ByeByeCry blogs, we feel it’s important to highlight the other person who is neck-deep in the trenches of colic WITH Mom. Not only because they deserve the recognition, but because they can provide valuable, unique insight for dads and partners currently suffering through colic.
In this blog, I’ll be using “S” for me, Samantha, and “E” for my husband (and partner-in-crime), Eddie! I’ll also be adding a little commentary after each Q & A. Let’s dive right in!
A Dad's Colic Diaries
S: Did you know what colic was before having a colicky baby? Did you have any idea what "colic" meant before your first daughter was born?
E: No, I did not know what it really was. I heard about it before but never really understood it because I didn’t have anyone around me who had a baby that had colic.
[This is true! Eddie and my vision of what having babies would be like consisted of butterfly fields and rainbows. Imagine our SHOCK when our first baby (and second baby) did nothing but scream. I often look back at our experience and feel robbed of the sweet and cuddly newborn and infant stage that I see my friends and family enjoying, but I know Eddie and I went through it for a reason. I wouldn’t be on the ByeByeCry journey if we hadn’t! You can learn more about our journey with colic, here!]
S: From your perspective, how would you describe colic to someone who has never experienced it?
E: Torture!! Not only for you the parent but for your child as well. Your child is pretty much inconsolable for long periods throughout the day and night. You feel helpless, frustrated, extremely tired and many other emotions you do not normally experience.
[“Torture” is the most accurate word I can think of. Colic turns you into someone you don’t recognize, which is why we work so hard to build an understanding and resourceful colic community online… so parents don’t feel the shame and guilt that we did.]
S: Be honest... how did you feel when your first daughter was diagnosed with colic? Relieved? Frustrated? Confused?
E: Relieved when we found out nothing was physically wrong with her. Frustrated because of the lack of sleep you get when your child has colic. You typically will not sleep for more than an hour at a time and never more than 4-5 hours in a 24 hour period. You feel like a walking zombie. Also extremely frustrated because your newborn is screaming and crying all the time and there isn’t much you can do.
[I truly don’t know how we operated the first 12 months of my daughter’s life, but I remember once she grew out of colic and we started sleeping again it was like we had to reintroduce ourselves to her (and vice versa). “Hi, we’re Mom and Dad and this is how we usually are! We were just tired.”]
S: How did you feel when your second daughter was diagnosed with colic?
E: Relieved once we found out it was colic and nothing more serious. Annoyed knowing what we were about to go through again as a family.
[It was almost more heartbreaking the second time around because our older daughter had to go through it with us. We learned how to navigate life with a toddler AND a colicky baby VERY quickly.]
S: What was your bond like with your baby(ies) while she (they) had colic?
E: I would say we had a LOVE/Dislike relationship. I was frustrated when she was screaming and crying but I always loved her no matter what.
[FAIR! There is no way to not feel shame for disliking your baby, but I tell current colic parents that it is totally ok to not enjoy your baby and the stage that they’re in right now. Yes, you love your baby with your entire being and would do anything for them, but you can also resent your experience with them at the same time.]
Our first daughter was the LEAST affectionate baby on the planet. She hated being cuddled and kissed… so rare photos like this are my favorite memories to look back on.
S: If you could pick one emotion to associate with your entire colic journey- what would it be and why?
E: Relieved -- Now that it is over I am relieved we all made it through the struggle. It is a real test on your life, your marriage and even your career.
[One of the most difficult tests we’ve ever been through and will (hopefully) ever have to go through.]
S: What were the most helpful ways that your partner supported you through colic?
E: Relief – We would take turns throughout the days/nights on who had to take care of the baby. Everyone needs to rest in order to function throughout the day. We worked out a good system that worked for each other.
[The key here was understanding that our “system” was going to change on a weekly basis based on our baby’s needs, our individual needs, our career needs, etc. So being adaptable and embracing change was crucial in order to support each other physically.]
S: What were things you did to support your partner through colic?
E: I would check in on her in the middle of the night to make sure she was ok. Even if she said she was ok but I felt she was at her breaking point I would try to take over. It was important to hold her hands, look her in the eyes and tell her everything is ok and we were going to all get through it together. Over and Over and Over again.
[The level of communication that Eddie gave me during our colic experience was invaluable. Like he said… even if I said I didn’t need help, the fact that he was checking on me, recognizing what I was going through and validating what I was feeling… helped me SO MUCH emotionally. I never felt alone even when I was alone because he always made me feel seen.]
S: How do you keep the romance alive while raising a colicky baby?
E: It is definitely hard, but you have to keep reminding each other how much you love and appreciate each other. Make time for each other and try to find a babysitter once in a while so you can enjoy some alone time.
[Boyyyy, does the romance department change when you have a baby with colic! We made an active effort to create small, special moments for our relationship. Here are 18 of my favorite at-home date night ideas for parents with a colicky baby (no babysitter… or showering… required!).
S: If you could design the ultimate Colic Survival Bag for Dads, what would be in it?
E: The ByeByeCry Sound Machine, Coffee/5 Hour Energy and a lot of patience.
[And ear plugs.]
S: What is your biggest piece of advice for a new dad who is faced with a colicky baby?
E: 1. Buy the ByeByeCry Sound Machine- it’s the only thing that worked to stop the constant screaming/crying.
2. Lower your expectations with everything. There will be no sense of normalcy until colic subsides.
3. Take on as much of the responsibility as you can in the beginning because your wife just went through pregnancy for 10 months.
4. Be patient and say to yourself this will be over before you know it and the joys of fatherhood will begin.
And now you know why I adore my husband so much. He wasn’t just a great dad during our colic experience… he was a great partner.
Dads- Eddie said it best. Be patient. Take the day hour by hour. Communicate with your partner- not just for her sake, but for yours too.
You WILL get through this and you WILL enjoy fatherhood.