When Cordy was a newborn, she was a royal pain. She cried all the time from colic and reflux. She slept poorly. She didn’t seem to like being held unless in the sling. She refused to breastfeed, forcing us to give up and go to formula exclusively.
As we got to know her personality, we realized that Cordy was an independent soul. She liked being left alone, and loved her bouncy seat as long as we kept the entertainment going (music, lights, vibration). She hated co-sleeping – in fact, the first night we put her in her crib, she slept most of the night without waking. It was the longest she had ever slept. Apparently we were bothering her sleep by being in bed with her.
I firmly believe she was such an unhappy baby because she was pissed that she couldn’t do what she wanted. As a newborn, she couldn’t control her head or limbs, and that pissed her off. When she learned to hold her head up, she was little happier. Then when she could sit up on her own, she was again a little more pleasant to be around. Once she learned to crawl, her disposition improved greatly, second only to when she learned to walk. As a toddler, a new child emerged, and she went about doing things her own way. It’s like infancy was one big frustration to her: she knew she had to get through it, but she didn’t have to show any appreciation for our efforts.
When I became pregnant with Mira, I remember wishing that I wouldn’t have another child like Cordy. I love Cordy very much, independence and all, but I hoped for a child who would be a little less rushed to get away from us; a little more calm about her current developmental state, and hopefully a little more willing to try breastfeeding.
Clearly you need to be more specific when asking the universe for these things.
Mira is perhaps the neediest baby I’ve ever come across. While she doesn’t have reflux, she does have colic, combined with a frantic desire to be held at any given moment. I don’t think I can fully describe the frustration of rocking, bouncing, dancing and nursing a baby for over an hour to get her to finally drift off into a deep sleep, then slowly, gently, carefully setting her down in her bouncy seat (vibration already on), only to have her eyes pop open and the screaming start as soon as you turn your back.
She’s certainly not independent. We have to trick her into the bouncy seat by putting her there asleep, then dealing with the angry baby when she figures out what we did. The swing is a total no-go. Cordy hated co-sleeping, but Mira will settle for nothing less. If she isn’t spending her nights pressed up against me in bed with a nipple in her mouth, she won’t sleep. Now that I think of it, she isn’t happy while awake unless there is a nipple in her mouth, either.
And forget bottles, pacifiers, or any other substitute for a warm breast. She’s totally a pro-breast girl, and is offended if we offer her anything else. It’s made it impossible for me to pump and store milk because she always wants to be on the boob. I have no idea what we’ll do on the first day I have to be away from her for more than 2 hours. Which is coming up soon – I have a summer class with a four hour lab starting this week.
So I’ve gone from an independent fussy baby to a dependent fussy baby. Woo-hoo. And yet, even though I’m so weary from constantly holding her, sleeping in one position all night for her, and going deaf from her screaming, I can’t fault her for simply wanting to be close to someone. I’m sure it’s hard when you’ve gone from a warm, dark, safe environment, surrounded entirely by mama, to a bright, harsh, unpredictable world where your immature digestive system is constantly producing painful gas as it tries to adjust.
As the weeks go on, I hope Mira will want to explore more of her world, and perhaps enjoy a little time on her own. (Oh please, oh please, oh please…) Until then, I’ll keep doing what I can to keep her happy, while also seeking out ways to find a little down time for myself as well. For example, we learned last night that the sound of running water helps to relax her, often to the point of sleep. It’s because of this new trick that I was able to get the 30 min. needed to blog today: