Monday, February 21, 2011

Tears and sanity

Today's Mommy Monday topic is crying.  It's something all babies do, some more than others.  My first two babies were "colicky", which means they had periods of time during the day when they just screamed and it was hard to find a way to calm them down. 
Through my experiences, I have learned that sometimes there are "tricks" that work but most of the time it is just a matter of learning how to cope with the crying when all your efforts have failed. 

Here are some ideas for calming the colicky baby:
(These all depend on the personality and temperament of the baby)
1. Swaddle- It is soothing for some babies to be swaddled and bundled up tight.  Other babies hate it.
2. Shushing- One thing we did with every one of our babies when they were having a hard time settling down was to cradle them in our arms and then hold them up so their ear was right at our mouth.  Then we would make a shushing noise in their ear.  It sounds harsh but it really isn't and it really works!  Some say the sound mimics the sound they hear in the womb.  A little bouncing and rocking while shushing add a finishing touch!
3. Wearing- Some babies just like to be close to you.  That's where a baby carrier comes in handy, especially when there are things that need to be done around the house.
4. Pacifier- We love our NUKs (as we call them around here).  Some people don't like using a crutch for their baby but we found them very helpful for all sorts of situations: car fussiness, self-soothing while falling asleep, boo-boo fixer, and just all kinds of fussiness.  It may seem like your newborn doesn't like it and will keep spitting it out.  Ignore that.  Hold it in there until they realize that they do indeed like it.
5.  Go outdoors (weather permitting!)- Jesse was our most colicky baby and most of the time the best way to soothe him was to take him outside.  He would stop crying immediately and as soon as we went back inside, he started crying.  Knowing his personality now, it is not surprising, he is a kid that thrives on stimulus and being social.

What if none of these things work?  What if the baby just won't stop and you feel very close to throwing him or her across the room (yes, you may get to that point)?
Here are some suggestions for taking care of yourself:
1.  If available, have someone else take over the soothing duties.  Call a friend, a family member or if he is home, have you husband have a go at it.  While they are taking over, go lay down or walk around the grocery store.  It's ok to take a break from your baby.
2.  If there is no one available to come give you a break, put the screaming baby in the crib for a few minutes while you go in another room and take a few (or more!) deep breaths.  Pray.  Relax.  Then go back in and try again.  A few minutes of a baby screaming in the crib is better than a mom pushed to the brink.
3.  Have your husband take over duties when he comes home.  I can't count the number of times Matt walked in the door and I literally handed the baby to him and went to my room.  It is a season.  It is ok.  There will be plenty of years when he will be able to come home and relax before sharing in parenting duties.  I even had Matt take over the 10:00pm feeding for a while so I could go to bed an hour earlier and have a bit of a break at the end of the day.

What about you, what are some tips you can share for soothing a crying baby and taking care of mama? 


Magpie Designz said...

VERY helpful!! Good tips :)

DinaAnn said...

For some reason, I can only remember two happy baby boys! Funny, how quickly we forget!! :) I seem to be in the age 2 meltdown stage at the moment BUT I do remember lot's of late afternoon/evening walks when we had cryers on our hands. Getting out of the house and a little fresh air really does wonders at the end of a long day.
One tip that seems to work for us...Even to this day, our boys respond well to music. It is calming for them and a nice little distraction.

sanityseeker said...

Having just come out of the colic phase with my third baby I can relate. Now at 4 months old, it is already hard to remember how horrible it was. Now he is so pleasant and predictable!! I had a pile of go-tos: homeopathic chamomile, Bach rescue remedy (for both of us, only safe to put on baby's feet and temples), white noise and metronome bookmarked websites, lots of different slings and carriers, and a bottle of wine or some beer for the 5 o'clock hour!! We did tummy massage at every diaper change and I swaddled him. Sometimes it worked, sometimes nothing worked. I couldn't put him down for 3 months. IT WILL PASS. I had a print of that quote framed and on my living room wall. Sometimes that helped me, sometimes I wanted to break it. If any readers are in the thick of colic, don't hesitate to contact me. Open ears are always welcome when your baby is crazy and it feels like everyone else is enjoying their babies and having an easy time.

thegypsymama said...

These are great. And we have used the Nuks for both our kids as well. hard to believe we're headed into a third round!!


Lisa said...

I've been thinking of colicky babies lately because I've been having my own fussy-time from about 6-8 every evening. Swaddling myself would be a funny sight, perhaps I'll give it a try! But the very thought does remind me that as moms we need to do what we need to do to stay calm. Think of something funny. Play music that soothes YOU (that could mean dancing with baby to something funky). Take the baby out for a walk. And of course, as Jane said, the crib is always an option. After stalwart attempts at trying to soothe baby, my husband would say, "he's either going to cry here or in there." For sanity's sake, it's okay to let him cry "in there."

Jane said...

Dina- When we had babies crying in the car we would BLAST Beethoven (louder than their crying) and they would stop right away. Maybe they were scared out of their wits but they were quiet for awhile!

Sanityseeker- IT WILL PASS. Amen.

Lisa-Jo- Our third was our best baby experience. Blessings to you, enjoy that little girl!

Lisa- HA! You crack me up...I will now go to bed with visions of you swaddled! But oh the thought, I could use that from 6-8 myself...