Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Our Favorite Household Question...

Our favorite household question these days is... Is this Normal?!?!?!

Our little one is changing so quickly. He is no longer a little baby - he is one very big baby. Oh, but is he still an angry baby? Oh my. Yes!

Actually, hubby and I both agree that if we could just see some basic happiness from him, just a little more often, we would certainly find this all very much more "worth it".

You see, we love our son, but he doesn't seem to love us so much yet. So, he is cranky, angry, grumpy, or screaming most of the day (when he is not asleep). I don't mean to be harsh - he is just cranky a lot. We keep asking ourselves and each other if all this crankiness is normal. Oh, and all the EATING! Damn, this boy LOVES to eat.

Essentially, our routine is this:
He wakes up from sleeping/napping and cries to be fed - NOW! DAMN YOU! NOW!!!! He cries like he is dying - sometimes he turns purple from crying so hard. You cannot make a bottle fast enough to avoid these cries - I've tried.

He is up to 4 oz every bottle - every 3 hrs or so. We checked with the Dr. WonderfulPed and she is OK with this level of feeding. Seems like a lot though.

About every 3rd bottle he decides he didn't get enough food, so he goes "snork, snork, snork", flails his arms and head, then tries to eat his hands, shirt, bib, my shirt, arm, or hand.

If I feel he really has had the limit already I will try to placate him a bit. Sometimes I can fool him out of it, but he is getting smarter about the pacifier and diversion tactics... Whaaaaaaaaaa! Feed me more NOW DAMN YOU! WHHHHHHAAAAAA! With arched back and everything...

He finishes eating and cries because he is wet, or has poo'd - Whaaaaa, change me! This cry isn't horrible, just whiny.

THEN - we might have 30 mins to 2 hrs of bouncy chair time where he is moderately calm - or asleep. 2 hrs is about his happy-time limit for the day.

Once he wakes up or gets bored we start the whole process over again.

Folks, I am seriously starting to dislike hearing my child cry. I love him, and I want to make him happy, but DAMN IT I NEED some happy time from him in return.

OK - so some moves I'm making to change things...

1. I'm getting out the more advanced toys and playmats, etc. I'm thinking he may be just a bit bored.

2. I'm trying to stay positive and upbeat in my tone of voice and body language - I want to show him what happy looks like, and reinforce that happy is good. He has started smiling and cooing this week, so this may be working somewhat.

3. I've setup our baby sling/carrier so I can take him with me during more of my household work. If he enjoys this it will be a win/win. I want to try to keep from him being a "hold me" baby, but right now I'd settle for a happy baby.

4. Working with hubby to have him mimmick these same behaviors and actions. He is WONDERFUL with Jim, and sings/plays with him lots. So this isn't really an issue - just needing a few tweaks so we are more consistent.

Anyone have any other ideas? We're trying to make this work, we really are. We need more happy.


Thalia's Child said...

Sounds exactly like the first few weeks with Punkin - she was on the boob every three hours, for 45 minutes to an hour each time (we had HUGE latch issues). She was either sleeping or crying or eating.

Could he be gassy? That's what the issue with Punkin was. I found that laying down on the couch with her on my chest would soothe the gas pains, and gripe water worked wonders for us. Gripe water now is a lot different than what we had as kids (no alcohol, mostly fennel and dill). So the pickle burps are a little amusing, but if it gets you some rest...

And if he's starting to enjoy the snuggles, all the better. Punkin HATED tummy time, so the tummy toys and playmats were a complete wash this early on. But TRY! Every baby is different and what works for him might be totally different than what worked for Punkin

Shelby said...

Sounds exactly like how things were with my daughter. In fact, with my son now, I'm a bit shocked at how mellow he is much of the time.
I'd think he may be gassy. You can always talk to your Ped about it, but Mylecon drops helped my daughter a lot. Or, possibly try a different formula (or look at your diet if you're nursing). Or I'd lay her face up on my lap (with her head at my knees and feet at my belly) and move her legs in like squats- it helped get some of the gas out. The other thing that distracted her a bit was her bouncer and swing. It kept her happy for 20 minutes at a time, which was enough for me to start dinner, eat lunch or shower without having her scream in the background. She was so colic-y that I really wondered why I wanted to be a mom to begin with. It was awful.

Another suggestion would be to get a break once in a while. On the weekend, have your husband stay home with him and do the grocery shopping yourself. Or go get a coffee or something. Or take up a hobby that you enjoy doing but haven't had time for, or find a new one. Do something for yourself. I felt like my whole world had to revolve around my daughter, and felt guilty needing a break once in a while. But I found that I was a much happier mom if I did take a break, and I had more patience to get through the rough patches (which seemed to go on forever).

Good luck!!

orodemniades said...

Hie thee to a bookstore and get The Happiest Baby On The Block by Harvey Karp. Can't promise it'll help Jim, but it might help you figure out what's going on in his head. I wonder if swaddling him (if you aren't already doing so) might help (plenty of vids on youtube, btw), along with Karp's other suggestions. Maybe your LC or hospital has the dvd you can borrow?

The Chieftain's had a couple of meltdowns out of the blue, and it's so frustrating not to know what he wants. Especially when he makes the frowny face.

Have you tried switching brands of formula? Could he be sensitive to something in it? Next time I'm downstairs I'll grab my fave cookbook, Nourishing Traditions, and check out their home made formula recipe - mabe that would do the trick!

PS: you getting any sleep at all?

orodemniades said...

Forgot to add that we don't swaddle the Chieftain's hands, and we just use a receiving blankie.

Kate said...

I am so sorry! I agree with Shelby - maybe his little tummy hurts.

Furrow said...

Everyone here has given you great advice, so I just want to express sympathy. My daughter seemed miserable the first 6 weeks, no matter how hard we tried to comfort her. Yikes! I didn't enjoy those first weeks at all. She did have a lot of gas issues that only time seemed to lessen, although switching to soy formula did seem to help a bit. I HATED it when people told me to just ride it out, that it would get better, but in the end, it was true. Little Jim will be smiling and cooing in a few weeks, and you'll finally feel like it was all worth it. In the meantime, the 5 S's did sometimes work: swaddling, swinging, shushing, sucking and ... what's the fifth? Oh well, four is close enough.

Michelle said...

5th S: side/stomach - hold the baby on his side or stomach while swaddling, swinging, shushing, and sucking. Definitely check out the Happiest Baby DVD - we got a copy from our library.

I think that you've gotten some great suggestions to help minimize the crying. It will get better -- hang in there. For most babies, crying peaks at 6-8 weeks and then rapidly drops off. We were one of the lucky ones who got an extremely fussy baby who cried until 4 months! I thought I was going to lose my mind. I went on antidepressants. A friend told me, you just have to do what you need to do to survive those first 4 months, and it was true. Best advice I received. Don't worry about habits - good or bad - at this point. Just do what you need to do to preserve your sanity. Taking care of a baby is the hardest thing I've ever done, and those first 4 months were brutal. It gets better and easier, I promise! And you should start seeing some smiles soon - your efforts will be rewarded!

Oh, and I also learned that [almost] everything is normal.

Sticky Bun said...

I'm so sorry--the crying is so hard. I hope you get more and more happy time to get you through.

Gemini Girl said...

To tell you the truth, 5 months later- Soleil is still a grumpy baby. She doesnt smile as pften as her sister, and she cries most of the time. It just may be his personality. I promise= he will start smiling soon , so you will get your feedback by the 3 month point.

MrsSpock said...

I have no good assvice- Peanut is still on the inside- but as I come closer to D-Day I read this and think- holy crap, will I make it?

orodemniades said...

Ah, relief has arrived! I'd have emailed you but I can't find an addy.

Anyway, definitely go for Harvey Karp's book, it's been even more of a lifesaver than it was before. The key is definitely to swaddle very tightly. Jim might be screamy at the start, but he'll be much happier in the end. I find this plus jiggling (fast and tiny, like you were on a washing machine) and fast, side-to-side swaying, works a treat. The Chieftain doesn't necessarily fall asleep immediately, but he does calm in less than a minute.

My sanity? Saved.

Stacie said...

Oh, Dawn. I feel your pain. Here is hoping the happy time has started already!