- an infant who cries inconsolably for at least three hours straight, for three consecutive days for three weeks in a row.
- a word that sends a shock wave of goose bumps across my skin and a shiver down my spine.
- something many moms now ask me about because somehow I survived.
Approximately eight days after our baby Jack was born, he started fussing and crying for the majority of his waking hours. Our pediatrician ultimately diagnosed him with colic after a few weeks of trial and error (acid reflux, tongue-tie, feeding issues and so on).
Six weeks later, my husband Rick and I decided to take him on his first family vacation. We packed up both sets of grandparents and off we went to Naples, Florida for a little break from the non-stop insanity of life with a colicky baby.
Many sleepless nights preceded that first flight. Not only were we embarking on a trip with an infant, but we were also trying it with a kid who rarely stopped crying. Shockingly and sadly, breastfeeding rarely soothed him. So you can imagine the stress I felt as a mother when I pictured a cramped, air-tight plane amplifying the cries of my babe. The thought of other passenger reactions made me sweat.
When the big day came, our little guy was actually quite the trooper. We managed to get him to sleep (click here for tips to get your baby to sleep on a plane)…
and during his waking moments the new, strange environment in the cabin of the plane fascinated Jack into silence.
This first vacation taught us a lot. We did many things wrong and other things right.
If you’re like us and don’t want to keep cooped up at home with colic, we say, go for it! Especially if you arm yourself using these helpful tips:
- Travel earlier in the day as colicky babies tend to be less fussy after their longest sleep
- Bring soothing mechanisms that work for your baby (we brought my breastfeeding pillow everywhere we went)
- Take deep breaths during your infant’s fussy times as many believe they pick up on your energy
- Try to stick to his/her routine as much as possible (including staying on the schedule of your own time zone if you go to one that changes)
- Keep your baby comfortable (if traveling somewhere hot, take the necessary precautions to ensure they’re cool)
- Always be aware of your baby’s needs despite vacation distractions (while you might be able to wait for lunch on the boardwalk, your little bundle has no clue that they’re on a vacation. Feed, change, nap and bath as usual to avoid outbursts)
- Try to minimize extra stimulation (loud celebrations and high energy environments can set off colicky babies)
- Use your baby carrier to keep your infant upright (and cool in hot climates) as you explore as opposed to the stroller (upright movement is said to help ease upset infants)
- Use your resources (let other family members care for your baby and take a break when needed)
Overall, colic always passes but you can’t get those early weeks and months back. Your baby might not remember those trips but you will. Remember, in the early days trips aren’t so much about going on vacation with your infant but rather are more about building memories as a new family. Take lots of photos and take the time to have some one-on-one quiet experiences with your baby. Colic shouldn’t stop you from building a mental memoire of fun times.
It didn’t stop us…