By Dian Mills
On May 26 of this year, the most fascinating person I’ve ever met landed on my life with an almighty thud. Nine pounds of howling, flailing baby boy with a white hot laser focus on obtaining food by any means necessary. Lungs McGee had been honing that focus since inception, as evidenced by his nine-week sonogram picture. He was basically a cashew at that point but was seriously staring down the poor little yolk sac in there with him, plotting its demise with an intensity I had no idea a fetus could possess!
The first few weeks of Lungs’ postpartum life were spent trying to refocus that laser on new food sources. While it was serious business to him, it was hilarious to me. He was like a little woodpecker, attacking everything he could get close to (arms, shoulders, cheeks … even his dad wasn’t safe!). Gradually, the pecking subsided as he got wise to the fact that a good blood-curdling scream or two would make a bottleful of food magically appear! Just as Lungs sorted out the laser, though, we began to realize that said food (regular Similac) was causing more screams than it was abating. In fact, it got to the point where if he wasn’t eating or sleeping, he was crying himself into a frenzy.
Lungs had colic. I’d been hearing horror stories about colicky babies for months (it’s amazing how somebody else’s pregnancy makes many women feel compelled to share every awful baby/childbirth tale they’ve ever heard), so the hunt for a cure began. Switching to Similac’s sensitive formula eased things for a few days, but then we were back to square one. Holding him upright for 30 minutes after each feeding slowed the frenzy, but didn’t stop it. Burping after every ounce didn’t hurt, but each break incensed the kid. There’s nothing like 10 pounds of furious baby to wear a parent out and crack them up at the same time! It was insanely frustrating. We had pieces of the puzzle, but needed something more to bring it all together.
So, what was missing? Changing Lungs’ bottles from Avent (a very good brand, but not geared toward sensitive tummies) to Dr. Brown’s (with a venting system that really cuts down the amount of air the baby swallows) was the beginning of the turnaround. His pediatrician also recommended a special Similac formula called Alimentum, so we began a trial run of that. Alimentum is so gentle that it has no soy or dairy and the protein is pre-digested. If this didn’t work, what would?
Within a week, the Dr. Brown/Alimentum/burping/holding combination began to work and our fear of months of colic hell slowly faded. Two weeks after that, we had a different baby. Our little purple screamer was pink and giggly, all smiles and cuddles. Our colic nightmare lasted a grand total of six weeks, which is six weeks more than I’d wish on my worst enemy. Lungs is five months old now and the combo is still working, now with a variety of grains tossed in. Next month: fruit!