So, Craig and I hit our first tough decision as parents yesterday. This week has been a hard one for me, with Craig back to work and Jacob showing more signs of being a bit colicky. It was horrible yesterday. I could hardly put him down without him screaming, and that was assuming that he wasn't already screaming when he was in my arms. While I don't mind holding him, it really didn't allow me to do much of anything. He was wanting to feed a lot (like every hour and a half sometimes), and he just seemed miserable in between. He wouldn't sleep for more than 15 min. or so, and even that didn't happen too often. And that was on top of a rough night, as well. He had been getting in good four to five hour sleeps at times overnight, but lately it had trickled down to two or three hours at a time. He'd be wide awake at the end of feedings and it would take forever to get him to go to sleep. On top of that he'd been really gassy, to the point that you could hear it running through his system. He was spitting up quite a bit and just seemed generally miserable. You feel so helpless when your little baby is screaming, red in the face. Quite often yesterday he'd do the thing that pains me the most, where he stops breathing, makes this little clicking sound, then breaks out with the most painful cry. He spent a lot of his time stretching and grunting, and when picking him up didn't seem to pacify him, it was time to call the doctor.
I'd heard about this stuff called gripe water. It's a natural remedy, used for ages around the world. Some early formulations used some stuff that isn't good for babies, but based on what I read on the internet and from what I've heard through the grapevine from people who have used it, most of the stuff that's out there now is safe and works like a charm. I called the pediatrician and talked to the nurse. She said that the doctors there don't recommend it, but she couldn't really give me specifics as to why. A lot of pediatricians DO recommend it, so I don't know if they're just worried about throwing down a blanket approval when some of the stuff out there isn't good. I felt completely dejected after that conversation, because the nurse really couldn't tell me anything I didn't know. She gave me all sorts of obvious suggestions for helping him, like rubbing his belly, burping him more, and bicycling his legs, which was stuff I was already doing, to no avail. She did suggest (like I'd read on the internet) that I could alter my diet, which generally means giving up dairy, since it's what most babies seem most sensitive to (it's the protein in cow's milk that bothers them). The thought of giving up dairy is extra daunting to me. Not to sound selfish, but do you know how many things have cow's milk in them? Milk, cheese, ice cream, chocolate, and numerous other things that I eat a lot of. And the worst part? It takes two weeks for all traces of dairy to leave your system, so we'd have to go through two more weeks of misery before we could even figure out if that's what was causing the problem. Yikes.
So with the few minutes I could steal yesterday in between crying fits, I hopped online and did every possible search to find negatives to gripe water. For example, when I was pregnant I did exhaustive research on the effects of artificial sweeteners on a fetus. I used to drink a lot of diet soda, and although there seemed to be no conclusive evidence that it was bad in moderate amounts, there were enough websites out there that convinced me I should at least cut down my intake. I wanted to search for sites like that for gripe water, ones with horror stories or warnings, and honestly, I couldn't find one. In this alarmist society I couldn't find one website saying bad things about gripe water. So, there was one brand that I found that looked good and was available at Wegmans, so last night I went and picked it up. We just couldn't take the screaming anymore. I decided to hold off on giving it to him until this morning so I could better monitor him for any adverse reactions (I think at this point it would have been some random allergy to one of the ingredients in it), so after one more rough night, I gave him his first dose this morning. So far, so good. He still has his fussy, gassy moments, but it seems to give him enough relief that he can nap for a decent amount of time, which he really hadn't done in a few days...other than when I took him for walks, which really tends to knock him out.
When we have a doctor's appointment in another week, I will definitely talk to her about it, but for now it just seems more important to give him enough relief that he's not constantly miserable. It was a tough call to defy the non-recommendation, but for our sanity and Jacob's, right now we have to give this a shot.
Have a nice weekend :)