This Wasn’t Exactly What I Was Asking For

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:

Someone’s in the kitchen with mommy…
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  1. Oh, that’s tough. Hope you get a little more freedom soon.

  2. Ugh. Mommy needs a break!
    I have been thinking about you lots and lots.
    I will e-mail you soon about visit stuff.

  3. That is hard. One thing that helped me was to do most of the soothing AFTER I laid the baby down (neither of my babies wanted anything to do with this idea of putting them down once they were already asleep). My technique was to put the baby down, then add the soother and the jiggle – put my hand under the baby’s bum and jiggle violently.

    I get the sense that maybe Mira will see through that ploy in an instant, but it’s worth a try…

  4. I am sorry! That is ROUGH. FWIW, my son did not take a pacifier for the first several weeks, then suddenly decided it would do.

    Good luck. I hope you find some more magic tricks soon.

  5. We used to put Squeaks in the bouncy seat next to the dishwasher so that she would sleep. I had the cleanest dishes in the world! In fact, there were days that I licked silverware, just for an excuse to wash them. It was that bad.

    I can relate to how Mira is acting, however. Squeaks was the same way. Good luck to you guys as you figure out ways to keep her happy (and to keep your sanity)!

  6. Ahhhh. White noise baby. Keep on trying all the sounds she likes. And RECORD them. And Play them loudly around sleeping time.

    Just think, if Cordy grew from her difficult infant self into the cool kid she is now, Mira will surely become an awesome toddler as well.

    And I think most moms can relate to the newborn frustration stage. And then, one day? You realize it’s half as difficult. She’s sleeping a bit, relaxing a bit, and not quite as needy. You’ll get there. Hang in there.

  7. Mrs. Chicky says:

    Chicky was exactly like Mira and I can tell you with certainty that it will get better. I remember pumping and being so horribly frustrated because I had finally stolen away some time away from my newborn and I got, maybe, an ounce. It’s hard to pump anything when you’re nursing a baby every hour!

    Hang in there, Christina. Soon that baby won’t need you so much and you can look back on this and laugh.

  8. I hope that she soon grows out of this, and that you get several hours of sleep in a row. On a side note…how are you feeling now? Any better yet?

  9. I love your “photographic evidence”…*LOL*
    Oh, dear, I do feel your pain. My middle child was also a colicky, needy infant, reflux and all. The only thing that worked:
    A soft wedge for the crib with one of those womb sounds in it. I guess it reminded her of the quiet, internal life. I bought it at Babies R Us. I can’t remember the name of it, but it worked like a charm. Try it….it just might help you save on your water bills :)

  10. I hear you. My son was finally convinced ( we were very persistent) to take a soother at 2.5 months, and a bottle at 3 months (but only if it had the same kind of nuk nipple as his soother). And he only liked the swing going front to back, not side to side, and only on the top speed. We used the hairdryer a lot as white noise. But even though he wanted constant attention, just like Cordy, he got happier and happier the more he could do things on his own.

  11. T with Honey says:

    At least your finding some tricks to getting needed time away.

    And, yes, you are sooooo right about needing to be specific when asking the universe for something. When I wanted a break from work a few years ago I didn’t mean I wanted to be laid off.

  12. Oh, I’m so sorry for laughing – fate will get me for that.

    I had a very needy baby – needed the boob, needed to sleep right next to me, needed to be held, but thankfully, no colic. As exhausting as it was, she turned out so amazingly that I kind of hope I have to deal with all over again.

    Any possibility you can take Mira to class with you?

  13. Ugh! I, too, can relate to the baby who wants to be held ALL the time! My son was an all day, all night nurser, too. We used the hairdryer, as well as a white noise machine and bathroom fan. TV and raido on static helped in a pinch, too.

    It has to go better sooner or later…. Hopefully sooner!

  14. Jennifer Playgroupie says:

    Shel loves running water also!

    Colic sucks. This brilliant statement brought to you by a weary-from-all-the-crying me.

  15. Anonymous says:

    If you want to save your water bill, make an audio tape of water running. Couldn’t hurt.

  16. As you may know, my daughter was colicky and reflux-y and always wanted to nurse and my son, while not colicky and reflux-y was very sleep-resistant and wanted to be on the boob ALL the time. Have you ever read the book “The Happiest Baby on the Block”? A friend passed it on to me and all I can say is I wish I’d had it with my first baby. It helped with P sooo much. it has a lot of practical, useful information (no Ferberizing or anything like that) and awesome explanations for why so many babies have such a hard time the first three to six months and literally saved my sanity. I highly, HIGHLY recommend it.

  17. Major Bedhead says:

    There are CDs of water sounds at Target, usually in weird places, like by the jewelry counter. You could try one of those.

    Boo was a very needy, clingy baby, too. I’m sorry you’re going thru all this. It’s so not fun.

  18. WOW! What we will do for some peace and quiet huh?? Too funny!

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