Coping with a colic-y baby can be challenging, and while reaching out for assistance from family, friends or your pediatrician is always a good idea, there are lots of colic tips and tricks you can try to give yourself some relief during a long day as well.
Looking at your pre-baby routine, what activities or habits did you look forward to most in your day? Are you a journaler, painter or musician? Do you love to cook or take long walks? What about meditating, reading or gardening? You may feel right now that there’s just no time and not enough energy to pursue any of those creative or recreational pursuits, but with just small changes in your approach, you may find that your old favorites are just the ticket to help you reduce your stress levels and feel like a human again. And, you can be sure that your ability to stay calmer and less stressed can have a positive effect on how well your little one manages discomfort too – keeping yourself happy and calm can help keep baby happy and calm, and potentially reduce or alleviate colic symptoms as well.
A Little Creativity Goes a Long Way
As the parent of a newborn, whether this is your first or you’re a seasoned parent of lots of little ones, keeping your stress levels down, your energy up and your mental state as calm and clear as possible are all conditions that respond directly to the amount of joy you are able to insert into your day.
Many of us find joy through creative pursuits, and while you might think that creative pursuits have to be put aside when you have a little one, if you simply adjust your approach to including creativity in your day, you may find that you get the best of both worlds.
How do you manage to squeeze out a bit of time for your own interests while you’re in the midst of newborn parenting, managing your home and possibly a job outside the home at the same time? Here are some tips for enjoying mini-breaks of creativity while still being a present, attentive parent of even a challenging, colic-y newborn:
Pick up a couple of actual paper magazines about your favorite activity and keep them close to where you typically nurse or feed your little one – once baby has settled into that contented mealtime doziness, browse through a magazine for ideas and inspiration around your favorite hobby or passion. Sometimes, just that 5 or 10 minutes of distraction will help you keep the feeling that you DO have a life outside of new parenthood. If you find an idea that you really love, tear it out and toss it into a big envelope or folder – it’ll be there when you can get back to it and you can relax knowing you don’t have to remember it for later.
If gardening is your thing, instead of trying to carve out time to plant a whole vegetable or prune all of your roses, try something simple, like picking up an orchid from the grocery store and taking care of it. Orchids are non-allergenic, take little time to handle and can be incredibly satisfying to watch re-bloom. If you prefer veggies or it’s good weather, try setting aside 10 minutes to take baby outside for some sun, and plant one thing – just one. Limit yourself to little steps, and you’ll have the satisfaction of getting something done to add to the enjoyment of your regular passion.
Don’t have a hobby or other creative pursuit that you can jump into for 10 minutes at a time? Maybe it’s time to find one – there are lots of short tutorials on Youtube in all sorts of areas, and in 10 minutes you can pick up a skill, try out a new possible hobby or learn a new skill – the trick is to NOT overload yourself by trying to learn or do too much at once. Limit yourself to one new tutorial or lesson a day, and you’ll find that you really look forward to the next one.
What happens if you just don’t have the energy or desire to be productive, even for a few minutes? You may be suffering from postpartum depression, general depression or seasonal depression – these are all very real issues and we’ll address them in another post, but if you’re just having a blue day, if you’re tired and want some distraction without effort, another great strategy is to keep a reserve of Youtube videos that make you happy handy to watch. Whether it’s funny cats, silly animals, golden buzzer moments or your favorite singing groups, anything that just makes you smile will help reduce stress, relieve tension and even build up your energy levels.
Finally, keep in mind the health recommendations for office workers – instead of sitting at their desks all day, people in sedentary jobs are urged to get up and walk around every hour or two. Applying that to your own life, try to remember to take just 5 or 10 minutes every couple of hours to walk outside, or read a few pages in a new book, or water a plant and enjoy its beauty….these mini breaks are much easier to fit into your day, and they’ll help keep you focused on the fact that having a well rounded life even with a baby, whether fussy or calm, is possible, and better yet, one you are building!
Do you have any colic tips and tricks to share? Let us know in the comments!