Antenatal Depression

Antenatal Depression – it’s real and it’s scary!

Finding out I was pregnant should have been a wonderful thing. Having a baby is exciting! A new chapter, a new beginning and the start of our family. To be honest, after the initial shock, it was. I was lucky with my first that I didn’t feel too sick. A bit nauseous, but it didn’t interfere with my life. I was just extremely tired. As I got towards six weeks pregnant, something didn’t feel right. I felt really low and I had no enjoyment in anything in my life. Even getting out of bed each morning was a struggle. Gradually, each day it started to feel like a big cloud was descending over me. I put it down to normal pregnancy hormones and carried on.

When I was seven weeks pregnant, my husband and I went away to Portugal where we told his mum we were expecting a baby in December. She was over the moon, but I felt nothing. No joy, no happiness. Just total and utter dread. What would my life be like with a baby? I saw parents with their children playing on the beach and felt sheer terror. I had an overwhelming feeling that I did not want my life to change. I did not want a baby, this baby. My husband, though sympathetic, could not really understand and kept saying I should be happy. It was actually during this holiday that he proposed to me. Of course, I said yes; but I was not happy, I had no rush of joy. I just felt numb.

These feelings continued for weeks but still, I put it down to hormones; to feeling sick, to feeling a bit scared at this new stage in my life. When I was fourteen weeks pregnant, I woke up one morning and remember my head felt clear, like a massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders. It felt absolutely incredible. I felt free. My life was good and my baby was healthy. The rush of joy and exhilaration finally came! It was then I realised that maybe I had been suffering from depression. It was not just the usual pregnancy blues. I found something I had written during the first trimester questioning the point of life. What was the point of doing anything if we just die in the end anyway? No one will remember you and you will not remember your life so what is the point? I don’t remember feeling suicidal and I really do not think I was. These feelings were a manifestation of my depression. It was frightening finding that though.

I found out I was pregnant for a second time, when my son was eighteen months old. A surprise, but a happy one. When I was 6 weeks pregnant, I got the same sinking feeling. I felt the cloud descend over me, taking me back to that dark abyss. I felt panic at how having a baby would affect my son who was still breastfeeding, and that he didn’t deserve to have his little world turned upside down. I felt numb, I felt no joy or happiness at all. I was much sicker this time and even considered terminating the pregnancy; something I would never do in my normal frame of mind. I spent my days lay on the sofa feeling sorry for myself. I was lucky to have a good support network to help look after my son, but I am saddened that I remember very little from that stage in his infanthood. I feel like I was missing for a chunk of his life. When I was sixteen weeks pregnant, I woke up one morning feeling light and free. The weight had gone and my head was clear. This time I told my midwife exactly what it was, although all she did was note that I was more likely to suffer postnatal depression; thankfully I didn’t either time.

The PANDAS foundation suggests that one in ten pregnant women will suffer from depression at some point during pregnancy, and around one in thirty will suffer both antenatal and postnatal depression. The triggers for antenatal depression can be physical, emotional or social. I think mine was caused by the hormonal changes or imbalances of the first trimester as it lifted when I was into the second. Antenatal depression is still not widely recognised, with most people putting it down to hormones, rather than real depression. This is not useful for those suffering from it as it can be completely debilitating. It may also be hard to admit how you feel; you have a new life growing inside you and you should feel ecstatic, right? If you think what you are feeling is more than ‘normal’ pregnancy blues, do seek support. Talk to your midwife, be honest with family and friends. It is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of and does not mean you will not love your baby. Antenatal Depression is most definitely real and it is a very scary place to be in.

Daisy x

(Blog contributed by one of our Daisy Teachers Chloe Sena)

Useful Links

http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk/preantenatal-depression/

https://www.netmums.com/support/antenatal-depression

https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/im-pregnant/mental-wellbeing/specific-mental-health-conditions/depression?gclid=CjwKEAjwqZ7GBRC1srKSv9TV_iwSJADKTjaD1I9-ZSL2II0w2eBz24p7ZO3Ba4qT6kllSxI9cV7lexoC28fw_wcB

 

The beginner’s guide to breastfeeding

The Beginner’s Guide to Breastfeeding…

Your breast milk is tailored to your own baby’s needs and gives them everything they need for the first 6 months of their lives – which is seriously amazing. You, your baby and your boobs are amazing. It also changes throughout the day, containing more sleep-inducing properties at night to help your baby sleep. The suckling of your baby on your breast creates oxytocin which is the love drug that in turn is responsible for the let-down, or release of your milk (among other incredible things!), so it’s a perfect circle whereby the more your baby suckles, the more milk is made: something you may hear referred to as ‘supply and demand’ or ‘on-demand’ feeding. It’s biologically ‘normal’ and as women have been breastfeeding since the dawn of time, it should be second nature right? Well yes, it is and no, it isn’t.

If you are wondering what to expect from breastfeeding, whether you’re a first-timer or need a refresher’s course, here’s a few pointers.

Expect bigger breasts – engorged, massive milky orbs even; leaking milk – usually over your favourite top and usually when you are out and about and have forgotten to wear breast pads.

Expect a lot of advice thrown at you from strangers, and ‘well-meaning’ family members, most of it unprompted, contradictory and confusing – take all of it with a pinch of salt and trust your own instincts (and step away from internet search engines late at night – they don’t know your baby!)

Expect to get your boobs out a LOT, but to stop caring who sees them after a while – the postman, your uncle, the cat, they will all get an eyeful at some point, but it doesn’t matter as they aren’t boobs anymore, they are mighty milk-making machines. Expect to feel a bit like a dairy cow as you sit pinned to the sofa with a hungry babe perma-guzzling from your breast or/and a whirring plastic breast pump attached to the other boob – you will learn how to take multi-tasking to a whole new level, which is something we should be able to add to our CVs really.

Expect to love and loathe the feel of a hot shower hitting your boobs at the same time – great for helping ease those aching bosoms but not so good when the water spray hits a sore, tender nipple (ouch). Expect to only choose items of clothing and bras based on how easy it is to whip your boobs out at the first sign of your baby licking their lips, and how well the milky dribble or spit up will wash off after a feeding session (satin, velvet and silk are big no-no’s for a while).

Expect an emotional roller coaster – you will feel high on oxytocin and more in love with your baby than ever and like the greatest mother in the world when feeding is going well, followed shortly by feeling like a massive mum failure for not being able to read your baby’s hunger cues before they start crying/or for your baby doing a taboo green poo (which at some point early on they will probably do no matter what you do – it can be for many reasons, not just that they aren’t getting enough breastmilk, so always seek advice and don’t blame yourself. Easier said than done we know!)

The truth is, breastfeeding can be really hard and it may hurt both physically and emotionally in the first few weeks, and that is really important to know before you start. If it doesn’t ‘click’ into place at first, that’s normal. It takes several weeks to get into a groove and to establish your supply, which is why feeding on demand when your baby wants it, and not trying to stick to a schedule or set timings between feeds, is so important. If it hurts and you can’t seem to get it right on your own, that’s ok. There are gels {lanolin cream or paraffin gauges will be your ‘breast’ friends}, cold cabbage leaves (just remember to take them out afterwards or they will start to pong!) and other tricks like dabbing a bit of your own breast milk on your sore nipple after a feed, that can help to ease the physical aspects. And if you feel like giving up in those first few days, or even later on, because it’s all too much, reach out for help. If you can make it past the first 6 weeks, you are more likely to continue breastfeeding up to and even beyond 6 months, which is so beneficial for your baby. Ask for all the help and emotional support you can get from midwives, health visitors, local breastfeeding support groups, the National Breastfeeding Helpline, lactation consultants, friends, family, your partner and of course your Daisy mums network, and stick with it if you can.

Comfortable and happy breastfeeding is mainly down to two things: your baby’s latch, and your comfort. Concentrate on getting the latch right and finding a comfortable position for both of you to sustain for long periods of time through the day and night and you will be winning. Cushions are your friends; those half-moon pregnancy sleeping pillows can be re-purposed into a handy nursing pillow and holding your baby in your arms for extended periods of time, when you are probably also sleep-deprived, can be exhausting, so don’t forget pillows to support your arms too. Whatever helps you to be comfortable in turns helps you produce more milk for your baby and it is so important to stay hydrated as dehydration can diminish your milk supply, so always keep water to hand (and using a straw can really help you to still be able to drink when your arms are otherwise engaged holding your baby), and keep your energy up with frequent snacks (and yes, we do mean cake and biscuits, as well as fruit and nuts of course for balance!).

It’s important to remember that you and your baby are learning this together so don’t get too cross or upset if it takes a while to master – its new to you both, so give each other time and reassurance and you’ll get there. Asking your partner, friends and family to give you extra support and encouragement and to bring you drinks and snacks, lend you a box set or 10 etc.. is a hugely important motivator.

There will probably be ups & let-downs, sore nipples, full engorged breasts, leaky boobs, cluster feedings, long nights spent waking and worrying if you have enough milk or if you should wake your sleeping baby for a feed. There will be long feeding sessions where you feel like your baby will never detach from your breast (they will, they are probably just having a long feed to send signals to increase your milk supply because babies and boobs are clever like that), and really short feeds where they may just be thirsty or need the comfort of your nipple in their mouth. Anywhere from 5 mins – 2 hours a boob are all completely ‘normal’ feeding times in the first few weeks as you both establish a routine and build up your milk supply to your baby’s own specific needs.

Getting your baby’s latch right is the first step to breastfeeding well, and this isn’t always as easy as just bringing them to your boob and hoping they will do the rest. You will probably be told about or read up on what to look out for to make sure the latch is right: baby’s nose next to your nipple, wide open mouth, head back and able to move freely, rounded cheeks, swallowing, good sucking rhythm, ‘ka’ sounds meaning that baby is taking in and swallowing milk etc .. but how do you really know if it’s right? Simply speaking, if the latch is right, your baby will be satisfied after a feed, they will have plenty of wet and dirty nappies filled with canary yellow poo (that’s the holy grail, as yellow poo = your baby is getting a good supply of milk), they will be gaining weight well and most importantly be happy and healthy. The best way to check that all of this is happening is to ask an expert. Get your midwife or health visitor to check your latch regularly, as you can start off well and then a baby can just forget how to breast feed, so never feel like you are wasting their time by getting things checked, that’s what they are there for so use them!

It also shouldn’t be too painful if your baby is latching well, of course there can be other factors, such as long feeding sessions that can make your nipples feel rather tender, but if you have consistently sore, cracked or bleeding nipples, or a burning sensation in your breasts, then don’t suffer in silence. All of these are common problems that can often be put right with a simple adjustment to your feeding position, checking that latch, looking after yourself better or ruling out tongue tie which can make it hard for your baby to feed efficiently. There are so many places to turn to for help and advice (other than search engines!) so always ask.

Breastfeeding is different for every mum and baby team and what worked well for one duo, might not for you and yours. Trust in your own rhythm and routine and try not to get hung up on what other mums or baby ‘experts’/books say is the ideal breastfeeding pattern, or try to avoid counting every feed and duration and worrying about the correct intervals between feeds – newsflash: there are no correct intervals, normal amounts of feeding or lengths of feeds! Each baby is different, and so is each feed. Remember that sometimes you only want a gulp of water and a biscuit (well, maybe two), and other times you want the all-you-can-eat buffet, your baby is just the same.

The frequency and amount of time your baby needs to feed are up to your baby, and if you feed on demand and learn to pick up on your baby’s feeding cues (rooting, bringing hands to mouth, lip smacking etc..) and respond to them before they get too hungry and start crying, which can make latching trickier, rather than trying to follow a time pattern, you will be both be better off. Find what works for you and your baby, and remember that breastfeeding is the ultimate in teamwork and an ever-evolving skill. You’ve got this mamas!

Daisy x

(Blog contributed by one of our Daisy Teachers – Ceri Elms)

 

 

 

Kate and Esme – A positive birth story

Our ‘Kate and Esmé – A positive birth story’ is shared as told to Kate’s Daisy teacher Carrie.

“Esmé Elizabeth Rose was born 03.03.17 9:47pm weighing 7lb 9.5oz at Cossham birth centre. So as you know I’d been getting random on off contractions for a number of weeks which was partly due to a uti & I think my body was generally gearing up for the big day…

Last Friday the big day came as we were on our way out of the door for mine & hubby’s birthday meal at 6:20pm when I had 1 random very strong contraction which came from nowhere & lasted around 45 seconds, it was hard to talk through. 3 minutes after that came another then 6 minutes after the first. I said to Sam ”probably another false alarm, they’ll die off I’ll call Cossham to tell them on the way to the restaurant”… I was mistaken.
Cossham advised me to go in immediately as I couldn’t speak at all through them at this point!

When I arrived at Cossham (todler in tow as Mum was on her way to get Ethan) they had the birth pool ready with candles. They quickly assessed me where at this point contractions were 2 in 5 minutes lasting a minute, I was surprisingly only 3cm but continued into the pool for pain relief. I had my Daisy music playing, rotating my hips to dilate in the pool & using my Daisy breaths through each contraction. I used the sides of the pool to lean over through each contraction & at the beginning of the pushing stage I used my favourite breath (the out breath) until i did a last minute turn into a seated position with my feet up on the sides of the pool & breathed Esmé out into the world only 3 hours after arriving at Cossham! I had no pain relief at all! She is perfect & doing very well. Her big brother loves her”.

Thank you to Kate for sharing with us – what a glorious picture!
Daisy x

Feel the fear and ‘up-cycle’ it in to something useful!

Last week I taught a special class that was filmed by national TV to feature in a popular show; it felt daunting, scary even and yet I knew I could conquer that fear. I could kind of relate the way I felt to birth (hey, I’m a pregnant antenatal educator so I can relate lots of things back to birth).

These emotions are a part of us and trying to deny these feelings is to try to stem the flow of something meaningful without really getting to the heart of the matter.

Do you think we’d be better off if we could approach birth realistically by feeling that fear, acknowledging it but yet not allowing it to overwhelm us? Instead we can use it, harness that nervous energy in a way that is productive by focusing on the goal that we so desire that sits on the other side of fear. We can devour information, learning and preparing thoroughly for whatever it is that we are approaching with trepidation, and in doing so are able to convert some of that fear into excitement as the moment nears, and exhilaration as it begins to unfold.

The alternative is a risky one, putting our fears into a metaphorical ‘box’, stuffing it under the bed and hoping that nobody or nothing can open that box. I rather like thinking of it as kind of ‘up-cycling’ our fears and anxieties so that they can evolve from being defunct and of no useful purpose to something that has value in and of itself. The process of crafting and making it happen is cathartic and the sense of accomplishment makes that conversion all the more rewarding.

In childbirth, as in life, there’s no one magic ‘method’ that will work for everyone. Imagine, if you trained everyone for a marathon in exactly the same way, without taking into account their unique strengths and challenges. And then, when you get to the start line, you realise that no two runners are taking the same path anyway. If you don’t know which path you’ll be taking then you’d best prepare for all eventualities, even though you know you’ll probably not need all those different techniques. The same is true of labour.

This is one of the reasons I love teaching Daisy Birthing classes, because we’re not about walking one path to achieving a positive birth. We combine so many different aspects in supporting mums along their birthing journey so that as theirs unfolds, they can call upon whatever feels right for them. We’re about cutting through the static noise that is negativity from others, self doubt and an entrenched attitude sometimes displayed by society that implies women don’t know how to give birth and re-tuning you back into your own way of giving birth, supporting you to make informed choices that are right for you and your baby.

I was still thrown a bit of an unexpected curveball during my filmed session last week, showing that in fact you can’t always be entirely prepared for all eventualities. And yet, all that preparation I had done stood me in good stead to ‘roll with it’ and to deal with it in a way that was consistent and in line with my own values and ethos. Had I started off from a place with that unharnessed fear and nervousness, I’ve no doubt I would have been less rational and logical in handling things on the day. And whilst I won’t reflect back on that session as being ‘text book’ perfect as I may have imagined in my mind’s eye, I do still feel that I was in control of the situation and did the best I could in the circumstances.

If we as women can reflect back on our birthing experiences in a similar way and we are able to feel a sense of pride in how we were able to trust our instincts on our birthing day, asking questions to allow us to make choices if we needed to, then perhaps we would also feel more able to be kind and gentle to ourselves as our journey along parenting unfolds, a common thread that arose during discussions at a Positive Birth Movement meeting I facilitated here in Havering over the weekend.

So let’s not deny it if we feel a little fearful in the lead up to birth, nor feel that we can pack it away where it magically can’t be seen or heard. As Albert Einstein wrote, ‘energy can’t be destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another’. Mamas, let’s use that nervous energy, invest it in our learning and hunger for knowledge, use it in our movements and exertions of giving birth and eventually, see it be re-invented as we cradle the fruits of our labour in our arms. x

Daisy x

(Contributed by our Essex teacher Lynn Zanatta)

Hormones!

The hormonal rollercoaster of pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period.

Finding out you are pregnant can be a wonderful thing. You may have planned it for months, been trying for years, or it could be a complete surprise. In the space of a three minute window and those two lines appearing; your life has changed forever. Understanding a little more about the hormonal changes you will experience during pregnancy, birth and postnatally, can help you understand more about what your body and mind is going through.

The first hormone you may feel the effects of is HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). This is produced by the placenta after implantation and doubles every 72 hours. It reaches its peak around 8-11 weeks and then will start to decline and level off. Unfortunately, HCG can produce some unwanted side effects, like nausea; or sickness. ‘Morning’ sickness is actually a bit of a myth as some women will suffer all day. If you find you are being severely sick and not able to keep anything down, even water; you may be suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum. This can be completely debilitating and often requires hospital treatment.

The levels of oestrogen and progesterone increase during pregnancy. These wonderful hormones are in part responsible for the intensity and wide range of emotions you may feel. Don’t worry if you are laughing your socks off one minute, and crying in to your coffee the next. It is normal, and all part and parcel of being pregnant. These hormones are also responsible for many of the symptoms you will experience during pregnancy. Breast tenderness, increased sensitivity to smells, heart burn, bloating; to name but a few. Its glamourous being pregnant isn’t it? The increase in progesterone can also be why you can feel absolutely exhausted during the first trimester and like you could fall asleep at any moment. This should start to ease off as your body adjusts to the hormone levels towards the second trimester.

You may feel happy, elated, anxious, depressed, worried and many more emotions in between during your pregnancy. Some women are more sensitive to the hormonal changes than others. Antenatal Depression is very real, with Tommy’s charity suggesting it affects around 1 in 10 pregnant women. If at any point your emotions become difficult to deal with; speak to your family, partner, midwife or GP. However, please know that it is normal to experience a wide range of emotions during pregnancy and you should feel free to blame anything and everything on those pesky hormones!

The hormone oxytocin helps prepare the body to give birth. This hormone is affectionately referred to as the love hormone and is responsible for making us feel good when we hug, kiss or make love. It acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain and stimulates the contractions which cause the cervix to dilate. It also helps the baby move down the birth canal, to birth the placenta and also limit bleeding at the site of the placenta. Amazing. It’s not my favourite hormone for nothing! Low levels of oxytocin can mean the contractions may slow, or stop and become less efficient. To keep oxytocin levels high, it is important to remain relaxed and calm, limit disturbances and keep the atmosphere peaceful and serene, in order to keep adrenaline levels low. Finding out more about how your body works during labour can have a powerful effect on the way you feel about your birth experience.

Your baby is here! Congratulations. Although, the rollercoaster doesn’t end yet. The postnatal period can be one of immense joy, but also comes with a realisation at the sudden responsibility for your little one. I am a huge believer in the 4th trimester, and it being a period of adjustment for both you and your baby. Those same hormones are still lingering post birth and are responsible for your mood swings between overwhelming happiness one second, to crying because you can’t find your slippers the next. Or falling apart at the seams because your partner brought you Maltesers instead of Smarties; I mean seriously, how hard is it?! Over the first week, you may experience what is referred to as the ‘baby blues’ where you feel very teary and emotional. This is normal. If however, the feelings last for much longer, do seek support if you need it. The build-up of pregnancy hormones means your hair can become thick, lush and shiny during pregnancy. Around three months post birth, you will regrettably start to lose your gorgeous locks.

The hormonal rollercoaster you embark on when you find out your pregnant can be amazing, exciting, thrilling and downright terrifying at times. Jump on, and enjoy the ride!

Daisy x

(Contributed by our Cheshire teacher Chloe Sena)

The curse of colic

 

Being a new mum bought with it many challenges, some I expected – like sleepless nights, constant nappy changing and baby sick – but I didn’t expect that I would have a crying baby who couldn’t be consoled, no matter what I did.

Starting every day at 5pm, my two week old baby would start screaming. I walked him around, rocked him, fed him, changed his nappy, sang songs, gave him a bath, winded him, walked him around some more, rocked him again and so it went on and on. It was exhausting.

The health visitor said it was colic. She said that I could give him over-the-counter medicine, which might or might not work, but he would get better by 4 months of age. It seemed like a long time away but she was right. By 4 months of age, I had a different baby and evenings were no longer the most exhausting time of the day. (That changed to 3am!)

If you have a colicky baby, you probably know the feelings of desperation and frustration as you try to soothe your baby and nothing seems to help. Like me, you have probably tried rocking, walking, feeding day after day to no avail.

If breastfeeding, you may have found that you offer milk to help calm your screaming baby. As they quieten on the breast, you can breathe again, but when your baby finishes, the crying starts again, so you offer the other breast. Evenings may start to become a cycle of crying, feeding, crying from colic, feeding to soothe, crying from colic, feeding to soothe. This can make nipples sore and crack, making breastfeeding painful and increasing the challenges of coping with a colicky baby.

If you are a mum with a colicky baby, let me tell you one thing – you are not alone (30% of babies are estimated to have colic) and it does get better. In the meantime, this will help you to understand what colic is and give you tips to ease colic.

So what is colic?

There is no medical test for colic so doctors diagnose colic using the definition created by Dr. Morris Wessel, who conducted a study on babies who cried excessively for no obvious reason. His definition of a colicky infant (that doctors still use today) was a child who cried for more than 3 hours a day, for more than 3 days a week, for over 3 weeks.

What causes the constant crying is unclear – sorry that this isn’t what you want to hear when your baby is crying every day – but there are a few theories that may help.

One of these theories is that colic is a pain in the stomach that is caused by an immature digestive system. This suggestion fits with the typical high pitched scream and legs pulled up to the stomach that babies with colic present with.

As colic usually occurs in the evening, some suggest it is a result of a sensory overload throughout the day that accumulates by the evening. The baby can’t switch off and so becomes stressed and shows this through physical actions such as arching the back, screaming, squirming and jerky movements.

There is also the theory that colic is a result of the fourth trimester where it is thought a baby is not ready for life outside the womb and therefore reacts to this by crying. This is supported by the fact that most babies grow out of colic by 3 months.

Other possibilities…

Some babies who cry uncontrollably and who have been diagnosed with colic, may have other underlying conditions which also cause crying.

One of these conditions is acid reflux, a painful condition when the muscular valve allows stomach acid to come up into the oesophagus. This can cause discomfort which can present itself by arching away, refusing to feed and crying. A more severe condition is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which requires medical treatment.

Another one of the more common medical causes of excessive crying is cow’s milk protein intolerance. This condition can affect babies who drink formula that contains cow’s milk. It can also affect breastfed babies whose mothers consume cow’s milk products.

Tongue tie affects 4% – 11% of newborn babies. It is a condition that can prevent a correct latch when breastfeeding, which can then lead to colic.

A less common condition, but one which produces crying in young babies, is infantile migraine. Symptoms include intermittent head-holding, head tilting, ear-pulling, crying, irritability or vomiting.

How To Ease Colic

Just as there is no one cause, there is no one solution, but here are some suggestions that may help your colicky baby.

Medicines for colic, such as infacol, bring together all the small bubbles of gas that can get trapped so a baby can burp it out more easily, which may reduce stomach pains and the consequent crying.

Similarly, if a baby has colic due to digestive issues, a stomach massage may help. Circling the stomach in a clockwise direction can shift the gas downwards and out. Massages given during the day can help to prevent the build-up that may cause the excessive crying in the evening.

Using a baby sling with your baby in an upright position can be beneficial as the warmth and pressure of your body against your baby’s stomach reduces discomfort. Equally, a bath may help.

If bottle feeding, you could try different types of bottles and nipples to reduce the air that your baby is taking in. You may also wish to change formula to see if that improves the colic symptoms.

If breastfeeding, try avoiding foods that may cause gas in your baby. More common intolerances are dairy products, caffeine, spicy food and chocolate. Eliminate one possible cause for a few days and see if it makes a difference.

As some babies have colic due to sensory overload, try to keep the room that your baby is in calm, dim and quiet. Even a mobile phone screen near a newborn may be too much towards the end of the day when they are trying to unwind.

Trying to simulate the womb can help calm your colicky baby if they are less than 3 months. To recreate the womb, try swaddling them (or holding them tightly), swaying them in your arms in a sideways position or on the stomach, patting your baby’s bottom or back, making a sssshhhhh sound, and finally, suckling on a finger, dummy or breast.

As there may be a medical condition that is causing the excessive crying, you should discuss your baby’s symptoms with your doctor.

And Just For You…

If your baby has been diagnosed with colic, it is not unusual to feel alone and struggling to cope. You may be exhausted from trying to calm your baby and frustrated that your baby is still crying.

It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help. If you have a partner, maybe you could ask them to take care of your baby while you have a bath or a shower.

Don’t worry about the housework or any other jobs that you feel need doing. These can wait until you are less tired.

Talk to other mums. Trust me – you are not alone with a colicky baby. If you go to baby groups, mention that your baby has colic and you should receive support and understanding. There are also online forums and groups that will give you advice and kind words.

If the crying is getting to you and making you tense or angry, put your baby in bed, or give him to someone else to hold for a while, so that you can take some time out to feel calm again.

Finally…

This will pass. I know that when you have a baby with colic, it seems to be never-ending, but it does get better. I know because I’ve been there. In the meantime, feel confident that you are doing the best for your baby and look after yourself.

Daisy x

(Contributed by our Telford Teacher Janette Davey)