Advice for new parents. Boy – it’s easy to dish out, huh?
From family to friends to total strangers, you’ll get advice thrown at you from all different angles. Some advice for new moms and dads will be helpful. Some tips or comments – no matter how well-meant they may be – will have the opposite effect.
But behind the scenes, being a new parent is so hard. Yes, it's an honor and privilege, but there's so much that people don't talk about. And when you have a baby with colic, the support needed for both mom and baby doubles.
Here is my Advice for New Parents with a Colicky Baby.
My First Few Months as a New Parent Living Through Colic
I honestly had no idea what to expect as a new mom. I thought I did. But it turns out… no clue.
I’d dreamt about being a mom. Forever. I had all these perfect fantasies built up in my mind. And let’s be honest, it’s not totally my fault! We’ve all seen the movies, the Instagram posts, the Pinterest pins – everything is picture-perfect and blissful after becoming a new mom. Everything is hearts and rainbows. If only that were true.
When I was expecting, I’d been open to all the newborn tips for first-time moms:
Enjoy the peace of feeding your baby
Soak up all the newborn baby cuddles
Watch them sleep for hours on end
Catch a dream smile or a cute baby giggle
Take a leisurely stroll while the baby’s cooing
Nap when the baby naps
Looking back, if I hadn’t been so frustrated and angry during colic, these would have made me laugh.
My first few months as a new mom looked more like this:
Being told our newborn baby has colic
Having no idea how to treat colic or what it even meant
Not being able to soothe my baby
Feeling sad, angry, and overwhelmed
Trying every tip and tool I’d been given to try to soothe her… but nothing worked
Experiencing severe sleep deprivation
Lacking a strong bond and connection with my baby
I don’t say this to scare anyone. I want to be honest about my story because I know there are other new parents out there having similar experiences, and I know how lonely it can feel. Especially if you’re comparing yourself to what you “think” motherhood should look like or what you see on social media.
Working Through My Postpartum Feelings and Emotions Before, During, & After Colic
I also struggled with the fact that my little girl didn’t look like me AT ALL. She was bald, had blue eyes, and fair skin. I’ve got dark features and am 100% Italian.
Everyone asked me if I was the nanny or the babysitter and would constantly make comments like, "She must look like daddy." Even when my husband wasn’t with me.
It was hard to identify with her as “my baby” because not only did she not look like me, but she didn’t act like I imagined my baby would act. I’m a very affectionate person, and it seemed like she didn’t want to be comforted by me... She didn’t fall asleep on me and never seemed to be comforted by my love and affection. It felt like constant rejection. I’d walk and sing to her, but it was like she was trying to escape from my arms – flailing and screaming. I used to say I felt like she got switched at birth and I just didn’t feel like she was mine. This was hard, and those judgmental comments from people were a constant reminder.
Honestly, I had a hard time with a connection before colic started, but after colic began, it got way worse. I talked to my therapist, explaining that because of the intense and constant crying, I kept having negative thoughts about my feelings toward my baby, how it didn’t feel like she was mine, and how she presented.
My therapist explained that all of us have this idea of what motherhood is going to look like. A lot of these thoughts stem from our childhood. She asked me what my mom looked like, and I said I look exactly like her. So I just assumed my daughter would at least resemble me a little bit.
A big takeaway I had from talking with my therapist, I could sum up in 2 words: Own it.
This all boils down to “owning” your feelings and sitting with them as you feel them.
Not all moms are gushing over their baby’s cuteness during the postpartum months. If today you think to yourself, “Hm, my baby looks like someone else’s baby. She isn’t cute when she screams for hours,” Own it.
It’s not uncommon for a mother to even have negative thoughts toward a baby. (This can go hand-in-hand with PPD.) Own it.
Some moms have told me they thought their baby was ugly. (Of course, this doesn’t mean she was ugly, but that was their feeling on that day.) If those are your feelings, don’t beat yourself up. Own it.
In other words, what I’m saying is that… TODAY – If you think your baby is a Velociraptor from Jurassic Park, then today your baby is a Velociraptor from Jurassic Park. End of story!
It doesn’t mean you’ll ALWAYS feel that way, but YOU get to decide how YOU FEEL. No one else.
It was such a relief to hear from a professional that I can and should Own My Feelings. She made me feel like I was in control of my emotions. And that made me feel SO GOOD.
And now… I just love looking through my baby’s 1st-year photo album. Because I DO gush over how cute she was. Of course, she was and is adorable! But at the time, that’s how I felt. I look back and I’m like, “WOW, what was I thinking?” But I know that those feelings were undeniably my postpartum feelings.
I honestly didn't share these thoughts with many people, except my mom and my best friend. But, to recap, my therapist said:
Own my feelings
Eliminate any shame or judgment.
Work to accept my thoughts
Stop putting a timeline on when these thoughts “should” go away
I asked if I would feel better after maternity leave. → She said maybe, maybe not.
I then asked, “What about after a year?” → She said maybe, maybe not.
It was important for me to stop setting mile markers for myself.
My therapist promised me the feelings would go away, but she said she just couldn't tell me when... Sometimes it’s days or months. Sometimes it’s months to years.
It took one full year for me to start feeling even a little bit connected. When the crying stopped, I felt like I could connect more with my baby. I felt a sense of “like” that later on grew into what I defined as “love.” But this took a LONG TIME.
I needed to create memories with my child to be able to let go of the trauma. When I look back at her photos now, I see and know how cute and beautiful she was. I just didn’t feel that when I was struggling during colic and postpartum. I don't know how many other women experience this... but it was really hard for me as a new mom.
And I honestly didn’t truly feel better until our little girl was 3. But when I did feel better, my heart literally EXPLODED with LOVE!
We each have our own expectations of motherhood. But when we actually experience it, many of us have to grieve what we were actually expecting, especially when colic is involved.
The Light at the End of the Colicky Tunnel
Our oldest child is now 4 years old. So I can safely say… your tough journey through colic will end. I feel confident talking to new parents with colicky babies because of what we went through. I’m so happy to support new moms and dads because I know it would have helped me.
It’s four years later, and our little bundle of joy has grown into such an affectionate and caring little girl. I went from not feeling connected and not even thinking that she was grown inside of me… to having an unbreakable bond and friendship with her.
When we pick up our daughter from school, she comes sprinting across the room and jumps into our arms. She’ll yell, “Mommy! I missed you today!”
Another mom commented and said, “Wow, I wish my kid greeted me like that...”
She does this to both of us. At home, at school, you name it. It warms our hearts and is the most fulfilling feeling in the whole world. The best part of the day.
But if you’d told me this 4 years ago, I’d have been that other mom. Longing for the affection of my little girl. Aching for the connection. If I could have told her anything, it’d be that it will come.
Parenthood is truly a bunch of chapters. One after the other, you never know what’s coming next. Kids develop at their own rate, on their own time. And when those relationships grow and blossom, it’s the best feeling in the universe.
Things I Wish I'd Known As a First-Time Mom Dealing With Colic
1. It's OK not to feel a connection.
This was probably the hardest pill for me to swallow. I so desperately wanted a strong bond with my newborn baby. But colic made that hard beyond belief.
I was really hard on myself, sleep-deprived, and constantly anxious. I always felt like there was something wrong... Listening to constant crying made me feel like I needed to worry – like there was some kind of emergency situation going on around me. At all times.
If I could give one piece of advice to new parents, it’s that it’s OK to feel this way. The connection will come.
2. ByeByeCry™ sound machine is a lifesaver.
The sounds on ByeByeCry™ are game-changers. I can only imagine how our lives would’ve been different as new parents if we'd known about their power sooner. That's why I created the sound machine. So that new moms and dads could have help with colic from Day 1.
3. Accept all the help you can & ask for more.
If a friend brings you soup, eat it. Find someone you can trust and make time to get out with your spouse every once in a while. It’s okay to need space from your baby. You deserve it! We’ve rounded up specific ways you can gain help from friends in this blog.
4. Talk to a professional sooner rather than later.
Talking with my OBGYN during colic and beyond was so helpful. Talking to your doctor or therapist is another piece of advice for new parents (both moms and dads) that works wonders.
There’s often such a negative stigma around therapy… But when we don't seek help, we bottle everything up inside and beat ourselves up. It’s such a relief when a professional tells you that countless women are experiencing the same thoughts and validates yours as normal.
Talking to a therapist can really eliminate a lot of the unnecessary shame mothers tend to carry around with them.
5. Expect stress and mess.
Erase the vision of rainbows and butterflies – although you’ll of course have those moments, too – and know that there will be stressful times. Especially during the newborn stage. It’s an adjustment for all family members.
Curb your expectations. Expect that the house will be messy. Your hair will be messy. Lack of sleep will contribute to stressful feelings. Once you know this, you can then make plans for how to communicate with your partner and how you can work together to soothe your baby.
6. It's not your fault.
Colic isn’t your fault. The lack of connection isn’t your fault.
This goes for both parents. It’s hard not to blame yourself, especially when you think, “Wow if anyone in the world should be able to comfort them, it should be me…”
But you need to know that the reason your baby has colic isn’t because of anything you did or didn’t do.
And more importantly, feeling a lack of connection with your baby is a common thing during postpartum. (This also happens to women who have babies that rarely cry and sleep well.) It’s normal to feel a lack of connection when you are trying to care for a baby who seems impossible to satisfy.
7. Colic WILL end.
Colic is a period of time. It will end. Even if it feels like it goes on for eternity, know that you will get through it.
You’ll look back at this time when your now-toddler has developed an amazing, unique personality, and you won’t connect colic with who they are or how you feel about them.
Best Funny & Inspirational Quotes For New Parents
I’ll leave ya on a high note and share some funny quotes for new parents that’ll hopefully bring a smile or a laugh when you need it most.
“Show Me a Perfect Parent and I’ll Show You a Leprechaun, Riding a Unicorn, Over a Double Rainbow, With a Fairy Holding a Pot of Gold at the End of It.” — Unknown
“You Can’t Go Back and Change the Beginning, but You Can Start Where You Are and Change the Ending.” — Unknown
“If Parenthood Came With a GPS It Would Mostly Say: RECALCULATING.” — Simon Holland
“Showering as a Parent Is Like an Olympic Sport. Fans Are Calling Your Name and You’re Pressured to Finish in Record Time.” — Unknown
“Mothers Need Just as Much Attention as a Newborn Because They Too Have Just Been Born.” — Simply Mom Bailey
“Nothing Better Than Spending an Entire Morning Staring Into My Baby Daughter’s Eyes, Whispering, ‘I Can’t Do This’” — Ryan Reynolds
“Ah, Babies! They Are More Than Just Adorable Little Creatures on Whom You Can Blame Your Farts.” — Tina Fey
"90% of parenting is just thinking about when you can lie down again." — Anonymous
“If evolution works, how come mothers only have two hands?” — Milton Berle
“I’d love to be a Pinterest mom. But it turns out I’m more of an Amazon Prime mom.” —Unknown
You’ll also be able to access these (& more!) quotes, helpful tips, and tools for colic on the ByeByeCry™ App, starting in Fall 2023. The app has an amazing Colic Click Board that acts as a coach for you.
The Colic Click Board reminds you of tips when you’re too sleep-deprived to remember them for yourself. It provides a continuously scrolling “colic tips & tools” feature to help you conquer colic.
New parents, you’ve got this!
[Advice for new parents with a colicky baby.]