Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I'm starting to realize that Charlotte really wasn't a bad baby. I've been reading up on baby sleep habits (two books: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and Good Night Sleep Tight) and have come to the conclusion that all of Charlotte's "bad baby" behavior during the first year/18 months comes down to the fact that Jeff and I had no idea how much sleep a baby really needs, and did little to help foster good sleeping habits early on. The Charlotte who cried inconsolably when she was four, five, six months old was an overly tired, sleep-deprived baby, not an intrisically fussy baby.

All this is to say that I'm worried that Sam is, in fact, that fussy baby. This might be premature, and it could be that my restricted diet will clear up any and all fussy behavior in just a few days (please!), but some of his crying just seems to be crying...not crying from pain, or hunger, or poopy pants. It's crying that I can only console by constant nursing (not really nursing, just hangin' out on the boob, since he's not actually hungry) and allowing him to sleep on me. Sometimes Jeff, but usually me. It's exhausting.

I called my friend Carrie, who is a lactation consultant, to ask her advice regarding Sam's other issue, the gassiness. She said I would have seen some improvement this long after eliminating dairy, which indicates dairy is probably not the culprit. "But don't start eating it again quite yet," she cautioned. How did she know I had a forkful of butter halfway to my mouth?

The upshot is that the best way for me determine what (if anything) in my diet is causing Sam gas pain is by taking out all potential allergens. That leaves me with a severely reduced diet. Essentially you make a list of anything you'd like to eat, and then only eat things not on that list. Fun!

The good news is that I should know relatively quickly whether diet is the culprit here--a week or so. Then I can begin adding items back in one by one, week by week.

Until then, I am trying to remember to take this one day at a time, or even one hour at a time. If I don't sleep well one night, I remind myself that Jeff can watch both kids for a few hours in the morning so I can nap. If Sam wants to nurse for four hours straight (I'm not kidding), I just try to think of it as a good opportunity to get some reading done. And I try to appreciate the little successes, like the fact that right now Sam is actually napping semi-quietly in his cradle.

8 comments:

Sarah said...

sorry to read about the rough times Jana. We are 5 months in and I'm still not getting much sleep. Hope you can get everything figured out!

Brouwer Family said...

Jana, I commented on your last post regarding Sam's gas issues and now will again making it seem like I know all the answers and/or think highly of my opinions. Neither are true. I know when we had our fussy baby, I wanted people to make suggestions since my arms were ready to fall off from carrying him all day long. Besides the dairy thing (which seems it would have made a difference by now), I avoided cinnamon, took him to a chiropractor, swaddled, and had him sleep in a car seat which was in his crib. He sure is a sweet little man!

fromsjw said...

Nursing four hours straight. I. Cannot. Imagine.

You da mom. :)

Amy Tracy said...

I remember sending a similar message to you six months ago when I was struggling with a fussy baby and you reminded me that this, too, shall pass. Doesn't make it any easier in the moment. I hope things settle soon and Sam is able to find a little more peace! I'm thinking of you guys!

Erica Groen said...

Have you tried the "Happiest Baby on the Block?" There are five different things you can try to help a fussing baby, including swaddling, SSSSHHHHing, and three others that I can't remember. They worked great for Jaina, but I also know that every child is different, so good luck.

Tena said...

Oh hon, I am thinking of you, I know that helps NADA but I am!!!! Babies do cry...sometimes I think we think they should just eat, sleep and poop but they cry, sometimes a lot. ((hugs))

Lauren said...

If you decide to try the chiropractor thing, Jana, let me know. My parents go to one that works with babies. I think someone was telling me that they had a baby with stomach issues and this chiropractor really helped . . .

Miz Jean said...

Ah yes, Reagan had colic for about 4 months - starting at 3 weeks. She did not so much "cry" as she did all-out-scream for several hours in the evening (5 PM - 11 PM). We swaddled her whenever she was fussy...and it helped. We gave her a pacifier...and it helped. We used the baby swing LIBERALLY...and it helped. But nothing really took it away. We just kept on in faith that someday she would get over it. She did. We danced. Hang in there! Even if nothing seems to work, it WILL be better someday in the relatively near future. And go ahead and try anything that sounds appealing - like chiropractors or special diets or even special formulas. It made me feel better knowing we were at least TRYING stuff.

All this is to say, I'm no help whatsoever...but I do understand and empathize!