Some people wonder why I call John the Grumpinator. Firstly it's because his first name is John Connor (Terminator) but also because up until he was about 5 months old he was really very grumpy.
When we brought him home from the hospital on the second day of his life, he spent the whole night crying. I had decided to breastfeed but my milk wasn't fully through and he was starving! He would get frustrated latching on and then cry constantly. My mum stayed over the first night and the three of us took turns walking the floor with him. I was exhausted. After the first 4 days my milk came through and I was so glad that I had persevered and didn't cave into pressure from well intentioned relatives trying to convince me that he needed to be put on the bottle.
When he was three weeks old he started to sleep about 3 hours at a time then wake for a feed. We were getting into a routine and he was happier through the day. It all changed at the end of a 5 'good' day run when he started crying after feeds. He cried for what seemed like forever. 12 hours of constant crying and I was really losing the will to live. I didn't know what was wrong with him but I couldn't console him. I felt useless. I kept thinking 'what a shit mother I must be that I can't stop my baby crying'. Why don't I know what he needs? Isn't this supposed to come naturally?
I took him to the doctors and I was in floods of tears. He sounded him and checked his throat and ears. He turned to me with a sympathetic smile and said "there's no need to worry, it's just colic and it will pass when he's about 3 months". I wanted to smack him in the face.
Colic is defined as acute abdominal pain and it's basically when babies can't break their wind and it causes them pain in their tummy. It could be a food allergy but really they never investigate it and as it's not a serious illness in the eyes of the medical profession. For a parent though, it can be the most frustrating and tiring time. He also had reflux on and off and would sometimes throw up full milk feeds.Bottle fed babies have more options available to them and it's easier to give them medication associated with colic. You can get special formula and you can put the medicine straight into their bottle. I didn't have those options and I was adamant to continuing breastfeeding.
I tried Infacol, Gripe Water, Massage, Colosynth Granules, Cranial Osteopathy, sleep positioners, Detinox Colic Drops, Colief, dairy free diet and different feeding positions to help the pain. I tried swaddling, rocking, white noise, jiggling, shhhing, swimming, side sleeping and co-sleeping to help relieve the constant crying and grumpiness.
It felt like it lasted forever. I didn't feel like I could go anywhere with him. I was a prisoner in my own house and I can say honestly that I really didn't enjoy being a mum for the first 4 months. I had wanted a baby for so long and I felt so guilty for feeling the way I did which is what I reckon led to me suffering from Post Natal Depression. The best combination of treatment for JC was Colosynth Granules, Osteopathy/massage and sleeping in his own cot, swaddled and white noise of a hoover playing all night!! Sometimes the only place he would sleep was on our chest as he was lying on his tummy and he liked to be swung on his tummy after a feed. It was a really tiring time and I would often have to put him down in his cot for 5 mins and go outside in the garden for some air. I really struggled during this time and I had lots of support. I feel for parents who don't have the support I had available to me.
When he hit 4 months his colic seemed to disappear overnight. He really changed into a different baby. It coincided with the introduction of solids at 4.5 - 5 months. Things really improved at 5 months when I took the decision to combination feed. I started off giving him a bottle of milk (Infacol Comfort) before bed and breastfeeding him at the other feeds. He is now a happy, content and well fed baby. He sleeps 11 hours at night and between 3 -4 hours through the day. With exception of his teething days, he is always smiling and lights up the room with that gorgeous little smirk of his.
So there you have it. This is why I call him The Grumpinator. He doesn't quite live up to the name these days but I will never forget the first five months of his life and although I miss holding my tiny baby in my arms, I am so glad that we are finally past that stage.