17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.
 

Monday, April 02, 2007

From the Tales Inbox: New Baby Help

Dear Tales Girls,

I am a faithful reader (Miggy) and a new mom (4 weeks, 3 days) and I could use some help. I've read most of your posts for new moms and they're great, but I could use a few more specifics. I don't know if this could be a guest post, but if so I would appreciate it, as I know these posts usually generate a lot of great advice. So here it goes. . .

First off, I don't think I have a colicky baby, but she's fussy. However last night was one of those "so this is what a colicky baby would be like" nights. She cried and cried and even though I could tell she was tired, the only thing that stopped her crying was to feed her. She would eat a little, start to doze off then wake again and start crying all over. So I caved in and fed her AGAIN and she finally went to sleep. Does this mean we're on our way to colic? Or do most babies have occasional nights of endless crying? And I know it's not good to nurse her to sleep, but at one month I feel like I'm just doing what I can--please tell me that's "normal" and that at this age you didn't worry about developing bad habits and getting her on a good schedule. (Just for the record, I have read The Baby Whisperer).

Second--I know it's not good to let a newborn "cry it out" because at this age you want them to know you'll be there for them and that you respond to their cries, etc. . . but if you do have a night (or morning) of crying is it OK to set them down for a while? How long? Or at what age is it OK to start letting them cry it out and figure out how to self soothe?

Finally, I know people say it gets better (and it has even over the past month) but I'm still waiting for those "mom" feelings to kick in. Don't get me wrong I love her, but at this point it still just seems really hard and I'm even a bit resentful at times (like after last night). I pray and read my scriptures and do all that stuff, but I don't really feel like a mom yet. When did it get better for you? Did you feel like a mom right away or did it take some time? Like I said, it has gotten better, but sometimes a little set back can make you think it's back to the beginning again.

Thanks and if you have any other constructive advice, please share. :)

--Miggy

44 Comments:

  • Maybe reflux? But I'm not an expert on that by any means. My sister's baby has it and while he sleeps well at night he has been known to go all day without a nap at less than 4 months old. Not good.

    But what I really want to say is it's totally fine and normal and ok to nurse your baby to sleep! (I have not read the Baby Whisperer.)

    As far as letting them cry, I try not to, especially that young. They will eventually learn to self-soothe even if you never let them cry it out.

    Do you have a mommy friend or a visiting teacher or someone you can call to come hold your baby for a bit while you take a break?

    I hope you can get some relief and some sleep :).
    posted by Blogger Vicki at 4/02/2007 09:33:00 PM  



  • This comment has been removed by the author.
    posted by Blogger Natalie at 4/02/2007 09:33:00 PM  



  • My first is only five months old, so I don't have a lot of advice to dole out. But I can tell you it gets WAY better. I thought the first two months were awful -- my little guy struggled with breastfeeding and latching on, he wouldn't sleep for more than a few hours in a row, would cry for no apparent reason, had acid reflux and would throw-up everywhere, etc. Trying a schedule -- a la Baby Whisperer -- was the only thing I felt I had control over, and my early attempts were laughable. Although he had a few issues adjusting to the world, I also struggled adjusting to being at home full-time. At times, I thought I might go stir crazy because it was really hard to leave the house.
    However, it got way better around six to eight weeks. That seemed to be when his body adjusted to life outside the womb and he started sleeping and eating like a champ. In return, I started to feel more confident in my mothering and my stress levels went way down. It's still a struggle to balance all the things I want to do, and my old life vs. life with baby, but I finally feel like a mom and I am loving it. Good luck!
    p.s. I think all newborns are fussy, so you're not alone!
    posted by Blogger Natalie at 4/02/2007 09:35:00 PM  



  • Why so stingy with the nursing? Don't think of feeding as a win-lose contest between your baby and you: nursing your baby is never "caving". Ignore everything you read about scheduled feedings. Ignore everything you read about not nursing the baby to sleep, forming bad habits, etc. It's all rubbish. If your baby will settle down to nurse, consider yourself immensely blessed. Learn how to nurse the baby lying down, and always offer the breast first, even if you recently fed her.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 4/02/2007 09:44:00 PM  



  • My baby (1st child) is five weeks old and I can totally identify with your struggles. I didn't feel nearly as motherly as I thought I would after the birth, and it's only in the past few days that I've begun to feel a little like myself again. Keep in mind that not only have you had to deal with postpartum recovery and hormones, but that you are also trying to navigate through unfamiliar waters. Mothering is scary. They need you and depend on you and life is so different than before. To top it all off, they cry and sometimes you just can't figure out what's wrong. It's helped me not to think of my relationship with my baby as something we both have to work on. That the more we get to know each other, the more we will enjoy each other.

    As far as the nursing, sometimes mine does the same thing. I used to get frustrated (sometimes still do), but don't be afraid to offer the breast again if that's what your daughter wants. Maybe she had a gas bubble that prevented her from really feeding on the first try. Maybe she's in pain, but still hungry. Or maybe she's just so tired and hungry that she can't decide what she wants more. They say the first three months are the hardest, so for now I'm focusing on doing what works.
    posted by Blogger Kendal at 4/02/2007 10:04:00 PM  



  • I think it's hard in the beginning weeks because you've read all these books and gotten all this advice and yes, some of it will apply to a new new newborn, but a lot of it doesn't. I agree with Natalie... something happens at about 6-8 weeks. You're baby becomes more of a little person, not just a cute (and crying) little lump who is trying to find her way in the world. One of the best things a friend of mine told me was that she didn't even start applying the Baby Whisperer "schedule" until about 2 months. Thank you! So I wouldn't overanalyze the nursing to sleep. You can break habits down the line if you want. Sometimes you just have to do whatever works to get thru those first 6 weeks!

    I am kinda like Vicki with not letting my baby cry too much that young. But I had a pretty quiet baby as far as that stuff went. I do vividly remember a time when DS was itty bitty and crying LOTS and I had tried EVERYTHING. I just laid him in his crib for a few minutes (he was not happy about this), and I laid on my bed with my eyes closed saying a quiet prayer and trying to get my wits about me. I even called my mom for some quick words of wisdom & encouragement. Sometimes I think you might just have to lay your baby down for a few, and try not to feel guilty about it, while you gather yourself together to be a better a mommy.

    You are doing great. It is hard in the beginning. It will change. Try not to compare yourself to other moms and most importantly, know that Heavenly Father will bless you with inspiration as the mother to this particular baby. Trust your instincts and try to listen to what your baby is telling you. You're already doing a great thing by talking to other mommies & friends that you trust to give you good advice. Good luck... you will be out of the "zone" soon.
    posted by Anonymous Beth at 4/02/2007 11:17:00 PM  



  • You're doing a great job. It's okay. The first 2 months or so are really tough, for the reasons that kendal and everyone else have said.

    My little guy had a really tough time with sleeping for the first 4-6 weeks. I can remember sitting up all night in a chair, holding him, because that was the only way he would sleep, and then I could doze with him on my chest. The second I tried to lay him down, he'd scream and we'd start the process all over again. It didn't last forever, he was sleeping alone a few weeks later and self-soothing a few months later, but I did what I had to do to get through those first couple of months. Honestly, I found that books are helpful for inspiring ideas I might not have though of, but in the end you have to listen to your gut. Even though you might not feel like a Mother yet, and you don't feel like you know this little person, you spend the most time with her and will know her better than anyone else.

    It's okay to put the baby down and walk away and collect yourself and take a break. I wouldn't leave her crying in her crib for four hours every day, but taking a shower while she cries in her bouncy seat or putting her in her crib and going to the other end of the house to do ANYTHING but holding and soothing her is fine. You need to keep yourself as whole as possible so that you can help her, and it's okay to take a half hour for yourself.

    I remember when DS was about 5 weeks old, Kage came up to me and said, "Has the fog lifted yet?" and I must have given her a blank look because she then said, "You'll know what I mean soon." And about a week later, I suddenly woke up one day and thought "Hey, I'm me again! Where the heck have I been for the last 6 weeks?" I don't know whether the hormone levels shifted, or I adjusted to the new insanity of my life, or what it was, but suddenly I felt human again.

    All this is to say, as I said at the beginning, it's okay. You will get through this, and you will not do lasting damage. You love her, and both of you will grow into this experience soon.
    posted by Blogger marian at 4/03/2007 05:02:00 AM  



  • First of all. . .you are doing just fine.

    You're just figuring her out, and she's figuring you out.

    At 4 weeks old, there's nothing wrong with nursing her to sleep. I remember (I have 3 girls) around that age that they seem to hit a growth spurt and it seemed like some days she was just attached to the breast all day.

    My first and last were colicky. (my last was milk and soy intolerant, and all of my babies were really gassy). Although you shouldn't let them cry it out it's always ok to put them down for a few minutes. Especially if you're about to lose it. I remember several times putting the baby down in a safe place and stepping outside to sit on the front step for a few minutes.

    Another thing that worked for our babies was to go outside (even if it's chilly, wrap them up in a blanket and walk outside for a few mintues). It's also amazing what a change of environment can do for a baby.

    It WILL get better. It's only been 4 weeks, so you're certainly dealing with all of the hormones levels too. Those first 8-10 weeks are SO difficult. The only thing that seemed to help me was having some time to myself. . .your husband needs to be with her when she's fussy too so he can learn how to sooth her (maybe pump a bottle and have him take a night feeding?), and just try to not make too many plans. I found that if I planned on nothing and I got 'something' done, I felt so good! (even if it was just a shower.)

    Hang in there.
    posted by Blogger wendysue at 4/03/2007 06:02:00 AM  



  • The first 2 months are hard for, most, I think. You'll survive. Don't worry too much about that bad night--newborns can have bad nights and if he was feeling under the weather, like getting a cold, he might have been extra clingy.

    As others have said, if you need a break, set him down for a few minutes, but not more than 10, I would say. You need a break, too.

    Soon, it will be fun--I promise!
    posted by Blogger a spectator at 4/03/2007 06:08:00 AM  



  • Such great advice here.

    Nurse that baby to your hearts content. I was afraid to overnurse with my second because I was such a schedule mommy with my first. It ruined everything. That baby needed way more food and way more soothing. Once my friend woke me up to "the other side" I realized how great life was when I fed baby whenever she needed it. It helped immensely to forget everything I'd read in Babywise (and for some Babywhisperer though I haven't read it). Maybe you'll apply it at 2 months, maybe you'll want to throw it out all together. Another perspective is The Baby Book by Sears. It's too one-sided for me, but it helped balance out the other very one sided Babywise.

    Although my new perspective helped SO MUCH, baby didn't magically never fuss. I think she was somewhat colicky, but I can't say for sure. We had to get her to stop crying by holding her facing out (against my chest) pulling her knees in so she was a little ball, and bouncing her like CRAZY. Vigorously. Sometimes running around the room. She would fall asleep like that. It was weird. And tiring. She must have been 2-3 months and older with that method.

    I feel for you! I spent many nights holding my baby, crying. The nights are the hardest. And no sleep makes days hard too. Take care of yourself and do what works for you and your little one. And yes, you will "feel the love" in time! If your attatchment gets less with baby and you think it could be more than sleep deprivation and stress, don't hesitate to ask people about post pardom depression and all that. I think there's a post on that somewhere in the Tales archives. Hugs!!
    posted by Blogger Katie at 4/03/2007 06:28:00 AM  



  • I haven't read through all the comments, so somebody's probably already said what I'm about to say. Nonetheless.

    Regardless of the fact that my baby loved to sleep for the first six months of his life, there were at least three times when he was completely inconsolable for much of the night. Who knows why. He was never colicky; he didn't have reflux; his diaper wasn't even wet. Point: I think sometimes babies just wake up. (Helpful, I know.)

    The other thing I wanted to say is that now that he's approaching 15 months, I'm finally starting to really feel like "a mom." This is not to say that I haven't enjoyed it up until now, but now that he's more responsive (i.e., running up to give me hugs throughout the day, playing games, doing a lof of sign), I feel more like I thought I'd feel.
    posted by Anonymous mhuff at 4/03/2007 07:18:00 AM  



  • First baby! that brings back memories! We knew practically nothing, and had to set her down when we couldn't handle the crying (or our reactions!) anymore. I always planned on 6 weeks of craziness until my hormones settled down, the baby and I developed a routine, and hopefully, I was getting more than 2-3 hour blocks of sleep at a time. Sometimes they cry and want to eat because they have gas. that is a tough one! hang inthere !
    posted by Blogger Muum at 4/03/2007 07:28:00 AM  



  • Miggy, congrats. I kept asking our mutual friend if you had had the baby, and I was so excited to hear that you had, and I love her name.

    I think it is a good goal to be strong spiritually, because this will help in many parenting challenges that will come your way in the years to come, but I honestly don't think reading the scriptures will make you feel more motherly and less resentful.

    First of all, there are so many crazy chemicals STILL running through your blood stream that can cause these feelings, and secondly, reading ANYTHING will not suddenly turn a switch on in you.

    My advice.
    1. Pray...I think that is more effective than reading, b/c you have at least vented your feelings and frustrations.
    2. Friends. You NEED your mom friends right now, come visit us in Queens, we do all sorts of venting.
    3. Hold on to YOU...so that you are more than "just a mom". Take a break, find some alone time, refresh and rejuvenate yourself. 4. Wait. No matter how much you think it is, it is NOT the rest of your life, and it is NOT forever (that you are going to have a crying blob on your hands). It gets better.
    5. Seek Professional Help if in the next few months you STILL don't feel quite right...give yourself time to recover from this trauma, and then reasses....

    And you can always turn to the Tales blog for good advice!
    posted by Blogger Kage at 4/03/2007 07:41:00 AM  



  • Also, Miggy, have you seen the video or read the book "The Happiest Baby on the Block"? In it, Dr. Harvey something-or-other, who is apparently a world-renowned pediatrian, basically says anything you can do to soothe your baby is a good thing. I watched it and it made me feel much better in those crazy first weeks.
    posted by Blogger Natalie at 4/03/2007 08:45:00 AM  



  • This may not be the popular answer: BINKY.

    It literally saved my life with my first one. She behaved EXACTLY like what you have described, and when, at 5 weeks, I finally allowed her to suck on a binky (the lactation specialist told me not to give her one until 8 weeks), she settled into the most amazing schedule. She didn't want to nurse like I thought (ergo my cracked nipples from suckling, not sucking), she wanted to suck. It was literally night and day after she got that binky.

    Of course, you could have tried this. But if not, you may want to...?

    And listen to what everyone is saying: It WILL get better. :) Good luck!

    P.S. If you ever feel like hurting your baby, put him down in the crib and walk away. Crying won't hurt him for a little while. I promise that you will not be the only mom that has had to do this...
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 4/03/2007 08:52:00 AM  



  • It made a big difference for me once I realized that occasionally when Kiddo was crying, there was nothing I could "fix"; rather I was just there to provide comfort until the evident pain passed. Then I didn't get frustrated when he kept crying; instead I felt good about making him as comfortable as I could in the interim.
    posted by Blogger Inexperienced Mom at 4/03/2007 09:36:00 AM  



  • Congrats on having a healthy baby! Now for my advice:
    I remember when I was at a family dinner a few weeks after my son was born and my sister in law told me it gets much better after the first 2-3 months. WHAT? I freaked out. It had only been a few weeks and 2-3 months felt SO far away. But then I was there, and it WAS better. In a few months you will look back at the first few weeks and maybe even forget how hard they were and get pregnant again! Seems to happen to the best of us. So that was a long way of saying - it will get better.
    Second, maybe your daughter is going through a little growth spurt and needs to eat more frequently. My son was on a pretty good schedule and sometimes, for a span of a couple days he would wake up and want to eat a lot more than usual.
    I second the binky too - no matter how unpopular it is. My son took his binky only to help him fall asleep - he wanted to suck. I was nervous to break him of the habit but at 10 months I stopped giving it to him and he was just fine. So maybe give a pacifier a try, she may want to suck and she can do that in the peace and quiet of her crib...alone...while you get some much needed sleep.
    Third - I can't remember when this happened - the first few weeks were such a blur - but one day I layed my son down in his bassinet and took a shower. He was crying when I got in and when I got out he was sleeeping soundly. It was a miracle! When you decide to let your baby cry it out - just use your instincts. Does her cry sound like pain or just a normal newborn cry? WATCH the CLOCK. She may only be crying for 15 minutes and it feels like hours. Try it for a few days and if the problem is worsening figure something else out - but it may just get better! Great idea by Beth - lay down, let the guilt go and regroup.
    Sounds like you are a fabulous mother. Keep it up!
    posted by Blogger Melissa at 4/03/2007 10:27:00 AM  



  • The first six (to eight) weeks, anything you do to survive is fine.

    But the nursing to sleep is going to be a problem if you ever want a babysitter (or daddy) to watch her when it's time to get her to sleep. If you are OK with being a human binky (and some women are) then go to it.

    I kept wondering when this baby's mom was going to come pick her up so I could get back to my life. I don't know when I started to "feel like a mom." Sometimes I still don't, and my oldest is 7!

    3 months is when I would start the Baby Whisperer scheduling thing (I LOVE that book, BTW) it seems to be when their little digestive systems settle down, their memory is slightly longer, and they can go longer between feedings.

    Good Luck! You'll be great!
    posted by Blogger The Wiz at 4/03/2007 10:33:00 AM  



  • My first was an amazing baby. Never cried, put herself to sleep, slept through the night at 3 weeks old . . . we're talking angel child. And I still didn't really feel like her mom until I got pregnant with my second 14 months later. And still, at 2.5 years old I consider her more my friend then my daughter (though there are definitely mom moments). I think it's common with your first. You don't really know what you’re supposed to feel when you’re a mom, just what you've heard from others.

    My second daughter would cry like you describe. For four or five hours at a time, 2-4 times a week. And it didn't matter if I was holding her or rocking her. Binkies didn't help. She would wake up every 45 minutes at night for the first 2 weeks of her life. And from 2-8 weeks it was every hour and a half.

    I started writing everything down. When she ate, when and where she slept, when she started crying, when she stopped (and what I was doing when she stopped), when I changed her diaper (and what was in it). I saw a pattern in her fussiness. It was always an hour after I fed her that she started crying. She would sleep if she was in her swing, bouncer, or on my chest. But once she started crying she didn't stop until she was too exhausted.

    I brought my "schedule" with me to my doctor and he thought it looked like acid reflux. Sure enough after 3 days on the medicine the hours of crying stopped.

    I let her "cry-it-out" a lot. For the first couple of crying spells I would try everything I could to calm her down, but she wouldn't even stop to eat. Holding her the whole time didn't seem to help her and it just left my crying because I felt like a failure of a mother. So I set up guidelines just for myself to keep me sane. I would hold her and try to comfort her for an hour. If she was still crying after that I laid her down in the cradle. I would go back in every 20 minutes and try to calm her down. I gave her ten minutes of mommy time to stop crying and if that didn't work I left again. I repeated the process over and over again until she finally stopped.

    The other thing that helped calm her down some days was a sling. Like this. I think it was partly because I could hold her upright in it and partly because it held her so tight and close to my body. She found the motion of me walking around while she was in the sling very comforting some of the time.

    Sorry for the novel. I know what it's like to have a crying baby. It sucks. But talk to the doctor and see if they can help. As far as anything else goes I say anything that you can do to calm them down is fine. Don't ever feel bad about comforting your baby. With nursing or binkies or whatever else it takes.

    Good Luck!
    posted by Blogger Trivial Mom at 4/03/2007 01:18:00 PM  



  • Oh, I forgot to say . . . she's 7 months old now and almost sleeping through the night (one 6 hour block isn't too bad). It does get better and she is so much fun!
    posted by Blogger Trivial Mom at 4/03/2007 01:41:00 PM  



  • Thanks everyone. After reading some of your experiences I guess I don't have it "that bad." She cries, but again not as bad as some of you have described. It's so helpful just to have this post go up and see SO many comments SO quickly. It just makes me feel good that so many moms would take the time to respond to a fellow mom in need. I also appreciate everyone's assurances that I'm doing a good job. . . I'm starting to believe that myself. I'm glad most of you (all?) feel it's ok, if not good to breastfeed anytime she's fussy and wants to be fed. I can't respond to all the advice individually, but there are definitely some things I will have to try. Thanks again--I knew TFTC would come through!
    posted by Blogger miggy at 4/03/2007 03:35:00 PM  



  • One thing I had to keep reminding myself is that little newborns (two months and younger) can't be manipulative-- they just don't know how. If something makes them stop crying then it normally means that they actually needed it- food, comfort whatever. The baby isn't trying to trick you into feeding it or holding it.

    That said, for a few weeks I hated my baby. He didn't smile at me at all until he was two months old (he's still pretty slow to smile). I felt pretty resentful. Like I had this cold unfeeling lump that was sucking my life out of me and didn't care about me at all. About a week after he started smiling at me everything changed and I was happy to be a mom.
    posted by Blogger Starfoxy at 4/03/2007 04:04:00 PM  



  • Maybe someone already suggested this, but the Mylicon gas drops were a life saver with both of my babies. That exact same situation, and usually at bedtime. Worth a try?? Good luck!! : )
    posted by Anonymous laura at 4/03/2007 08:28:00 PM  



  • I agree with the Binky! Too many moms are scared out of using one, but they are life-savers and not hard at all to get rid of when they get too big... as long as you are the boss.

    Alot of moms also say that their child wouldn't take one. Just keep trying! Try different kinds of binky's but don't give up. The baby will take it eventually.

    Don't feel bad about being resentful and all of that. It is normal to feel frusterated and upset in the beginning. It is a hard job but it does get easier! make your husband hold the baby. Sometimes they are better for a person who is not a food source!
    posted by Blogger Denae at 4/03/2007 08:42:00 PM  



  • This comment has been removed by the author.
    posted by Blogger Beth at 4/03/2007 09:55:00 PM  



  • I swear that this gripe water worked! DS wasn't colicky really, but when his tummy was upset & gassy I would give him a little and he would usually calm down. Maybe it was just the yummy flavor that distracted him? I don't know, but when something works you just go with it.
    posted by Blogger Beth at 4/03/2007 09:57:00 PM  



  • I remember the sheer ecstasy, and pure misery, that came with my newborn. Why are the emotions so intense, and so diametrically opposed?

    At any rate--there were days when my son wanted to nurse ALL THE TIME. I had days when I'd nurse for a half hour, let him sleep for a half hour, lather, rinse, repeat. I almost went crazy! But it turned out he was just trying to get enough to eat.

    And I nurse to sleep. He's only four months, but he knows how to go to sleep in different ways.

    Follow your gut. That's my advice. And don't worry about feeling like a mom--it's like what they say about love. It's a verb, not a state of being. Do mom things, and it will come.
    posted by Blogger Emily C at 4/04/2007 07:29:00 AM  



  • The previous comments are all great, the one thing I would add is watch out for nursing challenges. Your milk supply could be low or not keeping up with her growth and that is why she falls asleep and wants to eat again. In which case you need to keep her on the breast to stimulate milk production or there is a herbal suppliment that increases milk supply. Good Luck!
    posted by Blogger indypokey at 4/04/2007 12:11:00 PM  



  • I'm a new mom too and loved this post. My son is 3 months old and although he's not too fussy--as my husband points out, when he's crying right next to your ear, it feels LOUD and like it goes on forever--even if it's just a few minutes and isn't bothering anyone else. If it's late at night and all you want to do is sleep, it feels like even longer!

    Agree about the smiles--when he smiles at me I forgive him everything!

    And re: nursing to sleep--I agree about getting advice from both sides. I also went through some guilt about nursing to sleep, as well as about binkies. Now I love both. I like Dr. Sears, Babywise, and Tracy Hogg, but only in small doses of each and I try to take what makes sense to me. Dr. Sears says to nurse to sleep, but he also says (in so many words) that sleep props are OK as long as the baby doesn't need the same one every time. Breast, binky (a Dr. Sears no-no but I love em), holding, swing, whatever. She'll learn. If you have a newborn who can self-soothe...well, don't tell me about it!

    I do love E.A.S.Y. though. It took us awhile to get on it, and it's not a "schedule" per se, but I LOVE it. I actually feel like I know what he needs most of the time!

    Also, side note, I often nurse my baby to sleep at night if he wants it (he usually does, but not always--and not usually during the day), but I work 2 nights a week and don't get home until 9:30, and my husband has been able to get him to sleep without me. He probably wouldn't have a month ago, though.

    Do what works for your family and don't apologize! My mom told me when my son was teeny that it's important to be (act) confident when your baby's fussy and you're around someone who might jump on the situation (a mom, MIL, etc.). It's your baby--you know what's best!

    Sorry for the novel!
    posted by Blogger Eliza at 4/04/2007 03:31:00 PM  



  • Also I'm a fan of the "Bedtime Routine." Nurse, bath, dressed, song, nurse to sleep--or whatever. Maybe routines are mostly for parents, but whatever works.

    Also, Mylicon, love it.
    posted by Blogger Eliza at 4/04/2007 03:35:00 PM  



  • I'm glad you're feeling better about things. TFTC came through for me too when I sent in a guest post about my milk supply dropping.

    I tried not to nurse my baby to sleep for the first couple weeks of his life because I was going to do BabyWise. Then I decided I didn't care, and I nursed my baby to sleep whenever he wanted to sleep. I nursed him to sleep because I never knew if he was hungry or not. I figured that once he was on solid food, I'd break that habit. And it worked out fine. We had one day of crying hysterically because I wouldn't nurse him to sleep, and after that he self-soothed and dropped off to sleep without me. I thought it would take a few days at least to break the habit! I nurse him to sleep still about once every two weeks, if he sounds upset or he's just too cute to put down, since I realized it didn't spoil him to do that.

    I also used a binky. He liked it for the first three months, then we up-sized to the bigger baby binky and he played with it but never really sucked on it. I haven't been able to find his binky in months now, so using a binky for the first few months doesn't mean they'll be on it forever.

    Also, one of my baby's issues was hunger. I wasn't making enough milk for him. I started supplementing him with a bottle after a feeding, and it made all the difference. I also started on fenugreek and Mother's Milk herbal tea (as suggested by commenters here, actually) and within a few weeks, I'd noticed an increase in my milk supply. That happened at five months.

    Hang in there! It will get easier. And they're so cute. Once when he was just a couple weeks old, we had visitors and he cried when they held him. They gave him back to me and he calmed right down. I realized he knew who I was even at a few weeks old, and that just melted me. Noisy or not, he needs me. (But do take a break and get a shower or whatever when you need it!)
    posted by Blogger Melinda at 4/04/2007 07:32:00 PM  



  • I also think binkies are fine. My oldest gave his up on his own at 8 months and then I didn't want to use one with #2. But he was in intensive care 12 hours after he was born and they introduced him to it there. I gave him a tiny bit of encouragement to give it up and he was done with it at 9 months. No problem at all. I guess I'm just saying using a binky in the early months doesn't necessarily mean you're going to have a much older toddler still needing it. (Which I also don't necessarily think is wrong, btw.)
    posted by Blogger Vicki at 4/04/2007 07:55:00 PM  



  • Oooh!!! Gripe Water is AWESOME!! Love that stuff....right on, beth...
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 4/04/2007 08:49:00 PM  



  • I read thru the comments & usually my take on the topic is well expressed by everyone but this time only 'mhuff' brought it up. My daughter is 16 months old & I have only recently felt like I am a 'mom, a successful mom. There were times where I enjoyed it gained some confidence in what I was doing but I'm also not a baby person. I didn't know this about myself so I had a lot of guilt about that, it was more a chore & I thought it shouldn't be. I did have a lot of support so I could 'take a break' even if I didn't leave from where she was. As many have said before it does get better & believe it or not after a while it becomes a blur & then you consider the possibility of doing it all over again.

    For right now, Mylicon - then you'll know if it's gas related. My daughter was born with a lot of heart/health issues & one thing that was suggested over & over again was to keep her upright for 20 minutes after eating so her food would settle & she wouldn't have reflux issues. A bi-directional swing (borrow one if you can) we used the side to side motion & I hate to admit how many nights she slept in it. Oh yes & the binky is a must. We have successfully weened it to where she only gets it at church & when she is in her crib. Don't worry about it becoming a habit that cannot be broken or becoming a crutch. We even taped it to a rolled up dish towel & loosely, very loosely tucked to tips under her shoulders to keep it in place. (We got that idea from the hospital staff & it worked great)

    Basically try anything! Ask around, you know we moms can be pretty resourceful & can usually inspire one another. Hopefully you have found some inspiration.
    posted by Blogger Jenn at 4/04/2007 09:26:00 PM  



  • When I was a young mother (many, many years ago)and my baby wouldn't stop crying even when she was fed and clean and no diaper pins were poking her (yes, I actually used diaper pins and cloth diapers), I would lay her down in her crib, close the door, and VACUUM. The sound of the vacuum covered the sound of her crying, so I could calm down. I got something accomplished. And I think the sound soothed her because she usually fell asleep. Just a little tip I like to give to young mothers.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 4/05/2007 01:53:00 AM  



  • I can relate to your struggle; I had a similar problem with my baby (now 8 months and great) who would cry for hours and nothing I did would calm him down. Turns out it was a problem with nursing. He was a lazy eater and wasn't stimulating my milk supply so the little one was hungry. I tried everything to get this child to nurse (lactation consultant, supplemental feeders, pumping... you name it). Unfortunately it just did not work for us. Once I started supplementing with formula he was a totally different child. Beleive me, I am a huge advocate of nursing a baby and was crushed that I couldn't exclusively nurse but it just didn't work for me. My advice: check to make sure your baby is gaining a decent amount of weight... he/she may just be hungry.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 4/05/2007 07:12:00 AM  



  • You will be fine. When my little guy was born 9 months ago - I didn't feel the "instant" mom connection. For the first month or two it felt like I was babysitting someone else's kid. It will get better. As the baby begins to be awake more you will see their personality, and love will follow. Don't worry about that.

    For crying, go with the paci. Really. I also read Baby Whisperer and while I know I didn't let the LO self sooth as much as I should have, it turned out fine. He only uses his paci to fall asleep and when really, really upset. True, sometimes we have to get up at night to give him a paci so he'll go back to sleep, but it's minor. Sometimes we let him fuss for awhile to see if he'll go back to sleep.

    Just remember, there is no right or wrong way to do it. It's your baby. Just do what you feel is right.
    posted by Anonymous Amy at 4/09/2007 07:52:00 AM  



  • OK--I don't know if anyone will check this post, but here I go anyway. . . so I would La-la-love to give rher a pacifier, but she won't take it. Only occasionally, which is weird. I mean only in rare instances has she taken it, but most of the time it's a no-go . . . in fact it usually seems to just make her more upset. Also--we're at 6 weeks (yesterday) and while it's gotten better overall, she's still totally unpredictable and I would say even certain things have been worse lately (like bed time. . . it seems like she ONLY wants to nurse to sleep these days--yikes). Finally, how DO you get a baby on a schedule? I've been recording her sleep schedule for a few weeks and the only pattern I've detected is the lack of a pattern. Sorry I'm writing this at midnight after a long day, so if I seem desperate again . . . well, I am. :)
    posted by Blogger miggy at 4/09/2007 09:11:00 PM  



  • Oh Miggy,

    I feel for you! It was on a desperate night at about midnight that dh and I decided to buy a $300 Amby bed for our 5 week old baby because we didn't know what else to do.

    Have your tried different brands of pacifiers? If you have, she just might not take it. My first wouldn't unless I held it in which obviously didn't last.

    Have you tried wrapping her up tight to go to sleep? Have you tried white noise to help her sleep? You probably have, I am just brainstorming and trying to think about what helped my new babies. Do you think you are producing enough milk? Could she still be hungry? Have you tried a bottle supplement?

    As for the schedule, I'm not sure there is anything you can do to make her get on one. My philosophy was that the baby would start at some point creating her own schedule and I needed to be able to recognize it make it easy for her to keep it. She just might not be ready to be on a schedule yet.

    To keep myself sane for my last daughter (she was a tough one). I would do the EASY method over and over again all day long, even if each cycle was only 3 minutes long. This way, I wasn't making her wait 2 hours to eat (which would have never worked because I wasn't producing enough milk to fill her up), but I was creating a routine where she always was given a chance to fall asleep on her own and I always had at least a few minutes every hour for myself - even if it was only enough time to go to the bathroom because she didn't go to sleep that cycle.

    Anyway, none of that rambling will probably help, but know that i've been there. I've felt the deperation. It feels like it will be neverending. But it does end. You can do it.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 4/09/2007 09:41:00 PM  



  • miggy, I'm so sorry, this is a really tough time that you're in the middle of. I just want to tell you you're not alone, and there's nothing wrong with you or with your baby. My son didn't get on a schedule at 6 weeks, it wasn't until about 10. I wasn't necessarily trying to put him on one, just tracking when he did what and it wasn't until that point that a pattern started to emerge and I went with it. Also, he wouldn't take a pacifier either, no matter how hard Chloe tried! (she watched him for me while I was at work).

    My son used to fall asleep in the strangest way - sitting on my knee, facing outward, slumped over my hand - I should post a picture of it, so wacky. It looked immensely uncomfortable, but it was the only thing that worked! But eventually he became a put-myself-to-sleep-in-a-crib kid, as most of them do. Unfortunately, it just takes time, it takes surviving all the weirdness of the first 3 months, and doing what it takes to get through that. Honestly, if it were me (and it was me, and this is what I did) I wouldn't worry too much about setting a bad habit right now - if you find something that works, and it's okay with you for right now, then do it. Once things calm down in another month or so, you can start working on new techniques.
    posted by Blogger marian at 4/10/2007 06:08:00 AM  



  • Thanks for responding. OK, here's what does work so far. For naps we put her to sleep in her swing with white noise. This usually works well but still you never know if it's going to be 15 minutes or 2 hours you know? We still swaddle her as well since flailing arms seem to keep her up. Also, I WANT to do the EASY stuff, but I feel a little nervous to try and do the activity part after feeding--ESPECIALLY when she falls asleep feeding. I just want to try and get her to sleep as soon as possible after she eats or if she falls asleep feeding than I just want to keep her asleep. So tftcarrie, did you do the EASY thing from the beginning no matter what?

    And we have tried a couple different binkies, so I don't know. Maybe she just won't take it. We'll keep trying though. Also, I'm 95% sure she gets enough to eat. . . her weight gain has been steady and just in general when she eats I can hear her gulping and swallowing just fine--I don't know, I just don't think that's a problem. However, I think she gets fussy when my breasts aren't as full and there isn't a strong let down and she has to suck harder. . .so I notice that if I feed her too often (closer than 2 hours together) I still have milk but she has to work harder for it and that seems to upset her. . . so even though it's the only thing to calm her down sometimes, I try not to give her the breast everytime b/c if I don't have enough milk at that moment, it just seems to perpetuate the problem.

    As far as the schedule and breaking bad habits, Marian that makes sense about the schedule . . . I just hope there does seem to be a natural transition. I guess I'm just worried that I won't have the courage to try to change these things when I know what "works." For example, right now I know if it's 11-12 at night and she won't go down, well I'll just get in bed with her and nurse her to sleep. . . so when I actually want to be able to put her in her crib to sleep on her own, will I actually have the will power to just start doing it when I'm sure it will be the cause of many sleepless nights? Did any of you face that dilemma?

    OH man . . . I could go on and on. My husband says I over analyze and worry too much and that I'm doing a great job. I'm sure that's true (the over analyzing part), but I'm a worrier by nature, so OF COURSE I'm going to stress about all this stuff.
    posted by Blogger miggy at 4/10/2007 07:38:00 AM  



  • I forced the binky on my second child. She did not want to take it. From 3 weeks old (I was tired of being a human binky) I took the pacifier and dipped it in sugar water. Just dissolve a little sugar in the water, don't heat it or make a syrup, just whatever the water will hold at room temperature. Then whenever she cried between feedings I dipped the paci in the sugar water and gave it to her. She'd suck until the sugar was gone and then spit it out. Eventually (2-3 weeks later) she gradually got to the point that she would take the paci without the sugar. Now at 7 months old she still isn't completely attached to her binky, but it helps her go to sleep at night. And because she has the paci to suck on I am more willing to wake her up after she nurses and put her to sleep awake.

    And, not to dicourage you . . . but she still doesn't have a strong schedule. She takes 2-3 naps a day. But I never know how long she is going to sleep for. Bedtimes range from 7:30 to 10:30. It just depends on her day/mood. I've never really had to put a baby on a schedule, my first had one from day one, so maybe there is something I'm not doing right. But I don't worry about it too much. I know her signals now so even if I don't know how long she's going to sleep, or at what "o'clock" she'll be ready for a nap, when the time comes I know. And I try to get her down as soon as possible. The only thing I wish we could get down consistently is the bed times, but I'm hoping that comes with age.

    As far as breaking habits I think you just have to be committed enough. My first who is 2.5 still sucks on her binky, and that's a habit we are going to have to break in the next couple of months. The issue though is not whether she is ready to give it up, but if I'm ready to have (force) her to give it up. In my opinion you can break any habit a child developes, you just have to be the one in charge and stick to it once you start. Personally, I'm not worried enough about my 2.5 year olds binky use yet. It's just not worth the fight right now. Maybe next month :)

    Good luck with your little one. They all outgrow the baby/crying phase eventually.
    posted by Blogger Trivial Mom at 4/10/2007 08:37:00 AM  



  • miggy,

    DId I do the EASY method no matter what?

    Heck no. If the baby hadn't slept and I was about to go mental if I didn't get a break from the crying I would definitley keep her asleep even if she fell asleep nursing. I also nursed her to sleep many night and co-slept with her because it was the only thing that worked. At night, I didn't care about schedules or bad habits, I just cared about survival.

    But, I did try the EASY method most days--especially the Feed as soon as she woke up.

    I agree with what everyone else has said too, don't worry about what you think are bad habits now. Maybe you will want to break them later and maybe you won't. You are still trying to figure out your parenting style and your child.

    I know you have read The Baby Whisperer, have you also read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child? I think I remember the Dr saying that many babies reach a peak fussiness and wakefullness at about 6 weeks (not to frustrate you but to say this is very normal). And I don't want you to think that reading more books is going to make your baby sleep more, but for me, having as much information as I could helped me deal with my own personal struggles, even if all the specific tips didn't help the baby.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 4/10/2007 09:06:00 AM  



  • At six weeks she could be going through a growth spurt if so then all bets are off. No schedule or method can stand the test of a grumpy baby in the midst of a growth spurt.
    posted by Blogger Starfoxy at 4/10/2007 09:43:00 AM  



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