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How My Mother's Washer and Dryer Saved the Day
In this ongoing series, Sheri Castello, ChairMom and Co-Founder of Daycare.com, shares her experiences as a mom. This installment describes her son Jonathan's non-stop crying as an infant and what ultimately soothed him.
After I brought Jonathan home from the hospital, I remember thinking that I was so lucky to have such an easy baby. When he was about six weeks old my mom and Michael's parents came to visit. I was so excited about having the baby meet his grandparents. During one of the days of the visit, we all piled into our mini van for a one-hour trip up the coast to Oxnard. We stopped at a nice restaurant on the pier for lunch. Just as we were being seated, Jonathan started to cry. Nothing I did soothed him, and in fact he just cried louder and became more irritated-needless to say I took him out of the restaurant to try to calm him down. He cried non-stop for two hours. Everyone took turns trying to calm him down, but nothing worked. Although both my mother and mother-in-law assured me that crying bouts are normal, I was frantic.
Upon arriving home I immediately made an appointment to see the pediatrician. After the examination, he told me that Jonathan was very healthy and doing fine. The crying was caused by colic, something that many small babies experience and ultimately outgrow. The doctor told me to give him slightly warm chamomile tea in his bottle and to keep his tummy very warm by wrapping him tightly in his blankets.
Jonathan cried almost the entire year--I didn't think that first year would ever end. He would cry for two hours at a time, sleep for one hour, and then cry for another two hours. This was non-stop, 24 hours a day-my first experience with 24/7. Needless to say I tried everything I could think of to soothe him and help him sleep. Besides following the doctor's advice, I tried rocking, bouncing, and holding him in every possible position I could think of--cradling him in my arms, over my shoulder, facing out in a sitting position, on his tummy on a pillow and across my legs. I tried putting him in the stroller for walks or just pushing it back and forth in my apartment. I sang to him and played different types of music. But none of this worked.
Oddly enough, the one thing that did work for short periods was a tape my mother made for me of her washing machine and dryer turning with a full load of laundry. It sounds silly, but it really helped. My mother remembered reading that constant noise or repetitious noise help to soothe babies with colic-so she decided to record her washing machine and dryer. It was a Godsend. Of all the things we tried, the washer/dryer tape was most effective. And the tape worked great six years later for our daughter Jessica (who thankfully never experienced colic).
Looking back now, I wish I had been less uptight about the whole situation. I know my fear and concern definitely affected Jonathan. I also wish I had breastfed him longer. I stopped when he was six weeks old because my milk supply dried up and I didn't know how to remedy the situation. (I made sure I was educated about breast-feeding for Jessica.) I also wish I had tried more natural healing techniques such as massage and herbal remedies. I don't know whether any of this would have helped Jonathan (who is now a healthy nine year old), but I hate to think that I left any stone unturned that could have possibly brought relief to my baby.
If you have had experience with colic, let us know how you coped with it. Your tip could be exactly what another frantic set of parents needs to soothe their crying child. >>>>> More
Tells Her Story - Part One