Calling all parents..Advice and suggestions

Ok, we had our first real ZOMG what have I gotten myself into? moment last night, so I thought I would post it here and ask you all for your best survival advice being that I know every parent has been through this….

Evangeline had her first real fussy night last night, 6 days old and cried from 12:00-2:30 straight, nothing could calm her, she wouldn’t latch, wouldn’t except pumped milk, her diaper was dry, skin to skin nope, swaddled nope, nothing..Dave got her to sleep twice and she would wake herself up 10 minutes later screaming again…We both thought we might lose our minds after the first hour. In the end she got so tiered that one last attempt at a tight swaddle with rocking, walking and chatting up and down the halls for 20 minutes calmed her into a semi sleep state, then I managed to get her to latch and she fed herself into a milk slumber. She still has not fully woken 8 hours later, I fed her at 7 and 11 in her half asleep state so she is eating, and she did scream bloody murder when I changed her diaper, but she is just wiped out from last nights tantrum, all of us are haha even the dog slept in this morning. I know this will happen again, it’s been her pattern to get fussy after 10pm, but in the first days it was 1 hour tops, last nights 3 hours was enough to nearly drive us insane.

So…how did you survive those moments when baby just could not be calmed and comforted? How did you not get pissy with each other as a couple when your so frustrated?

This is the part of parenting that scares me the most I have to say, not being able to comfort your screaming child. It just feels so terrible it’s hard to not scream yourself.

About mommamaynard

β€œLife is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” β€” Albert Einstein. When it feels like your world has been shattered, and you have reached rock bottom, you must make a choice: Stay where you are and fade away, or keep moving forward. Thankfully I chose to move forward and was blessed with the two most wonderful children after the death of my first in early labor. Things are looking up.

Posted on January 31, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 40 Comments.

  1. Hi there, I hope you sleep during the day when she sleeps, so that during the fussy time you’re rested..
    Oh we definitely had this.. but then it eventually went away. Try to tag team, give each other time off, and be kind to one another.. This is a rite of passage for parents, a test by fire.. but you will do great and will come out the other side better people.

    • I have been getting better at sleeping during the day. It’s unatural for me, I have been a 9-5er for 10 years so sleeping during the day is something I never do..even when pregnant I would fight off naping, but I need sleep, so I have been getting my long stretch from 7-11ish and feeling much better as a result. In total I average 8-9 hours of sleep a day, but it’s like 1-2:30, 3:30-5:00, 6:30-11:00 something like that…so far it feel’s alright.

      • Good to hear! You know right now it’s all about getting past this bump, later on things will normalize, I guarantee!! Until they are teenagers, then they flip again.

  2. Haha, I’m just commenting like crazy, sorry. There are a few tricks that worked serious magic with my babies – tricks for when they are already asleep but starting to stir.
    Gently place your hand, with the muscles relaxed, on her torso. Think calm meditative thoughts to yourself.
    Put your head next to hers, and breathe on the top of her head. Sounds weird, but it’s like magic! You have to time your breath to be calm like you’re resting, sleep type breathing, everything-is-safe breathing. Just let your breath hit her head and watch her pass out contentedly.
    If her eyes open, sedately glance at her and yawn and then close your eyes. That still works to this day!

  3. It’s kind of a bummer she’s a winter baby and it’s so cold where you live; one of the things I tell people to do for that is to step outside, go for a little walk with the baby. The change of scenery and the walking can help calm them down. At least surprise them enough that they quiet down. But when she’s older, in the spring, you can try that. For now, try putting her in a sling, something tight to your body, with her in a newborn position, yet upright. She’ll scream her head off the entire time you maneuver her into the sling, for sure, but as soon as it’s secure, walk like you are trying to catch a bus a block away! Go fast but with your normal body movement, and it’ll feel like the womb again.
    Also try tons of patting alternated with rubbing her back upwards, from her mid-back up. You may think you’ve gotten all the gas out, but there’s always more…
    Try putting her belly down on your forearm, with her head in the crook of your arm and the palm of your hand holding her diaper. That helps with gas and colic-y feelings.
    Try anything. Bring her to a window to look outside at glowing lights in the night or snow. Play some music, try a few genres to see what strikes her fancy. Caspian loved Celtic stuff. Sit on an exercise ball while holding her and bounce… there’s a ton of stuff, and we all end up trying ti all the see what works. And what doesn’t work now might work next month!
    Good luck. *hugs*

  4. i agree with taking shifts. we have so been there. bouncing very gently on the exercise ball and humming the same tune for HOURS was usually what helped. other times walking or rocking, and a couple times my mom insisted on putting a warm water bottle/heating pad wrapped in a towel on her belly. the warmth on her belly did seem to work a lot, but i couldn’t tell if it was just all the fuss that confused her into a state of quiet or if she actually liked it and it helped, because it seemed an awful lot like it just distracted her. but whatever works, right? a couple times i would hold up some of our black and white picture books or take her to the window just for something new to look at.
    just try really hard not to snap at each other and try even harder to notice if you are. and if you notice, it’s easier to be like “okay i’m snapping, this absolutely sucks, i don’t know what to do and neither do you, so let’s take a deep breath.” ya know?
    walking around briskly helps too. also, if nursing calms her down but she won’t latch when she’s cranky, and you know fussy time is approaching at around 10ish, i’d say try to get in a feeding or two between 7 and 9. if her belly’s a bit fuller, even when she’s fussy she may be more likely to take the boob and thus chill out a bit.
    another thought is mylicon, if her belly seems really hard at this time. when she’s screaming, her belly WILL be hard because her body will be tense, but if her belly seems a bit hard when she’s relaxed (the way ours does when we’re gassy too) then the mylicon might help you out.
    also it sounds like she has her days and nights mixed up, which is totally normal for a newborn, and that she’s starting to sort of adjust so that her longer stretches of sleep fall at night. so the transition might be hard, but i’m sure as the next few nights pass it’ll get a lot easier. make sure to all get your rest whenever you can, day or night!
    sending lots of love to you!

    • Thanks hun. one day at a time were getting used to her and she is getting used to us. So many changes so fast, she is developing all the freaking time, it’s cool.

  5. here’s the soundspa thing that I have been finding indispensable. I found it at Bed, Bath and Beyond, but they carry it other places and online. It also has the ocean sounds and womb sounds but our favorite soothing sound right now is the rain

  6. Do it in shifts! G does that too. He usually gets fussy/awake from about 11-1:30 or 2. Since I know this, I leave him with Dh at 9, I take a nap. Then when Dh comes up at 11 or so, I take the fussy shift while he sleeps. Then G eats again, diaper change, goes back to sleep at 2 and I go back to sleep then too. We’re all in the bed until morning. Usually G does a feeding around 6 or so, so I feed him, then wake up Dh to hold him (G usually goes back to sleep anyways) while I get my older son ready for school. Then after Dh takes my older one to school, I lie down with baby for a morning nap. Dh doesn’t nap during the day so I try and take most of the night shift while he takes most of the day when he is home (although he went back to work last wednesday)
    I have been using the Homemedic Soundscape machine on the ‘rain’ with the projector on the ceiling so even though G is awake, I can sit with him in bed and he’s quiet. It’s very soothing. They are getting to the point where they are more awake now and want to be stimulated. We have a baby Gynmini thing we put on the floor and while he’s the in awake stage he looks around at the colors and tries to grab at things.
    I was going to start cloth diapering a few days ago, but it was irritating the belly button. I think I will stick to disposables until we get a good night pattern down and just do cloth during the day for a bit. I hate the disposables because they already have made his bottom red, but I’m not willing to sacrifice my sleep anymore just yet. πŸ™‚

    • That’s a great idea. I am lucky my husband is off work right now so able to help. If I cant change her patterns the I should change mine so I am not sleep deprived and takinga nap from 8-11 would help me get through the night ahead.
      We are also still doing sposies at night. I don’t have enough diapers that fit otherwise. She needs like 16 changes a day after all.
      I will look into that sound/projector, good idea.

      • We got a homemedic white noise machine with about ten different nature sounds and I couldn’t have survived without it. Our house is small so it helped drown out background noise and she slept well with the white noise. We still use it every night for “night night music” and it’s great when you travel – we brought ours to the hotel this weekend!

      • We did the same thing for years! Ocean sounds, every nap and night time, worked wonders. Then one day a few weeks ago we stopped, and not a problem at all with it being gone (we live in a quieter place now). I was afraid they wouldn’t sleep without it, but it was fine! Can’t recommend it enough.

  7. You just have to not take it personally (hard I know), not judge the other person when it is their turn (shut yourself in the bathroom) and if you are really frustrated put the crying baby in the swing and take five minutes to yourself. They feed off your nerves anyway so calming yourself is most important like on airplanes when they tell you to secure your oxygen mask before securing your child’s. And by creative I mean creative. It is like you have to find a new song and dance every time. I took Shira out in the cold. It shocked her enough to calm down (and obviously she was piled in blankets and zipped in her car seat).

    • I tend to feel bad leaving Dave to the wolves, he said to take a break last night and I said, nope were in this together,
      I need a swing, don’t have one.
      It’s hard to calm your nerves with a child screaming bloody murder, it just get’s me too deeply, needing to comfort her so badly.
      Thanks for the ‘creative’ solutions πŸ™‚

      • Do you have a carseat with a handle? You just kind of swing it pendulum style.

      • I would get Dave to do that. Man that would kill my back, those chairs are heavy with no baby in em.
        I do have a fisher price bouncy seat, I put her in it today and she seemed to like it.

      • Being in it together doesn’t mean not taking breaks, or tag teaming! I definitely think it’s important to let him get his sea legs without you (just like you will get yours without him!).
        Being in it together is more of a mindset πŸ˜€

  8. The happiest baby on the block was brilliant – the 5 s’s saved me many times. Babywearing swaddling, shushing loudly, and when it really started to get to me I would listen to my iPod while I shushed and swaddled etc. The music really helped calm me and the ear plugs kept the worst of the crying from reaching my ears. Achange of scenery works too – go for a walk or drive, or get in the tub with her. That always helped Julia to chill out, relax in the water and eventually she would nurse very peacefully.

    • I have that book, gonna re-read it. Generally swaddling makes this child calm right down.
      If it were not February in Canada I would be much more willing to get outside for a walk haha, but -20 is just a touch to cold, however in summer, I am all over that.
      I will try the bath, don’t think she likes it yet. hates being undressed period now unless in a blanket or skin to skin cuddled up under blankies.
      This is it, if I can get her to nurse then all is good cause it chills her out, but she won’t when she is upset.
      Makes me extra extra mad cause this reinforces that she did not need the formula in the hospital, they said she was upset cause she was starving, but she was just starting her pattern of fussy nights..

      • Winter walks are scant here too, but sometimes even a short drive and a walk in the mall can do wonders for both of you. My kids didn’t usually respond well to the shallow baby baths when they were upset, but if I got into adeep tub of warm water with them so they could be completely immersed, warm and “floating” it seemed to calm them.

  9. here is my suggestion, based on nothing except my thoughts, heh (not experience, didn’t read it anywhere, so take it for what it is worth, heh)
    when her fussy time approaches, take it down 5 levels BEFORE fussy time. an hour before, whatever, play around with times, go lay with her in a dark, quiet room (maybe a lil white noise)
    some babies get overstimulated (lights, tv, toys, noise, anything) and that can lead to fussy periods because their little bodies are just too wired.
    so i’d try to preempt it, kwim?

    • Did neither of your kids have fussy times? just cause you say not based on experience.
      I will totally try and pre-emt it and see if it works, cool thanks.

      • mairi had to be swaddled to sleep, until 5 months. eli freaked out if he was swaddled, ha. no, neither were really fussy ever, nothing consistent, kwim?
        baths are a great idea, if eli is upset now at all, a bath makes life better for him.

  10. Two of my babies cried a lot, and one typically had spells of crying, nursing, spitting up for 3 hours every night. Heaven knows I know how hard it is. Don’t take it personally (it’s not anything you’re doing wrong, no deficiency in your parenting, not due to stress prenatally etc). It’s HARD, period. No advice… just keep doing what you’re doing. Trade off and nap while you can, and hold her close. Even if she’s screaming, she’ll still know you’re there for her, and I always figured that no matter what, at least they weren’t alone in their sadness.
    The postpartum is hard on most couples. Keep on talking and writing, and hang in there!

    • So hard, I noticed tonight as it got dark the anxiey stared to creap into my’s to much psychologically to sit there helpless and watch your child scream so hard..
      I do hold her close, always, but if she’s feeding off our nerves it’s soooo hard to not let her screams get you worked up.

  11. That screaming in the middle of the night (Snapping at each other bc of it) is what nearly wrecked my marriage.
    The best piece of advice we got (nearly too late) is this: DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY THAT FIRST SIX MONTHS/ YEAR!!
    What either of you say while sleep deprived or Eva is screaming should just go in one ear and out the other. Don’t hold grudges, don’t let it upset you, do not take it personally!
    Also: you are PARTNERS. Think of yourselves as a team. Neither of you have all the answers. Together you can figure it out!!!
    (And it really really helps to be around parents who will tell you the truth; especially for dads, that seems to be a Big Deal, they have even less awareness of how much shit will hit the fan in the newborn days…)

    • Thanks Lex. It’s so ditressing hearing your little one scream bloody murder, you just want it to stop. You just want them to be happy…oy! I agree you have to not take it personally cause sleep deprieved stressed out parents can say things they don’t really mean.

      • Also, I have a really hard time hearing any baby scream, but I’ve been told “not taking it personally” applies to the baby, too… I haven’t been able to figure that one out yet, tho!

    • Thanks. This is so important, we are together in this not against each other.

      • YES!!!!
        I don’t even know exactly how M and I got so out of synch that first year but it was awful and if there’s anything I can learn from my experience I believe I HAVE to pass it on!

  12. Please forgive me if this is unwanted advice, but I’m only saying it because I care about you guys so much and I know breastfeeding is super important to you, k?
    I know it is absolutely crazy-making when Evangeline is crying for no apparent reason and as a great mama, you want to try everything possible to soothe her. Personally, I’d really try to not give Evangeline any expressed breastmilk for a while since you just got her latching and nursing beautifully, though. It’s typically recommended to wait until at least 6 weeks to avoid nipple confusion/artificial nipple preference. If you have to supplement with EBM, maybe try cup-feeding, and have Dave do it so you can pump at the same time so your breasts don’t miss a feeding, kwim?
    I really hope this comes off as gentle and kind as I intend it to ❀ love you, mama.

    • Oh we know, beleive me…this is what started this mess in the first place, when she is fussy she won’t latch…She does not get a nipple, no worries, we did the syringe thing, but even that was bad as she learned milk can just pour into her mouth.
      We just tried last night out of deperation, but she wouldn’t take it anyways, so we realized there is no point. I have no more EBM anyways haha, I just had an ounce I pumped when I was engorged and my milk has regulated now so I am not pumping anymore, no need, so there will be no more to offer her for now.

      • oh, ok! It’s good you were using a syringe at least πŸ™‚
        I totally get that you were desperate. It’s just good to keep in mind that one step forward means two steps back the next time, kwim? But of course it’s a moot point!
        I certainly pray today is an easier day/night for you guys!!! And I am dying for a pic of you with E!

      • Haha everyone want’s a pic of me and E, I look like sleep deprieved hell so I don’t want my pic taken haha.
        I will see what I can do, I have some from the hospital right after her birth when I first nursed, but they are very personal and kinda nude me covered bloody and sweaty, I will email it to you rather then post it on my blog.
        Day’s are a breeze, she is a day sleeper, I have to wake her to eat most days, she seems to go through a fussy period right around 10-12pm..last nights was just worst then the past.
        Arg it breaks my heart when she is crying so hard, like she just want’s to be soothed and I don’t know how to help her..Dave too, he was just so upset last night.
        I don’t know which is worse,the syringe or the nipple ya least with a nipple they have to use their tongue and suck, we used the syringe in the hospital thinking it would be the lesser of two evils, but then she got lazy and would just keep her mouth open looking for food to pour in..
        She is good when she is not fussy though..

  13. i screamed into a pillow.

  14. My best advice is to just remind yourself, and each other, that this will pass. Some babies cry, sometimes a lot and no matter what you do.
    But, she is healthy, nursing, dry, nursing, etc – those are all good things. Keep reminding yourself. This, too, will pass.
    I would also suggest that maybe you pass her between you and Dave every 20 min or so, so that the other can get a mini-break to get a cup of tea, snack, watch the news – something to reset and recharge for a few minutes, then keep alternating shifts, kwim?
    Singing lullabies with her against either of your chests may help, btw – the muffled sound mimics being in the womb.
    Hang in there. I know it’s tough. You and Dave are wonderful parents and have a great marriage. You will get through this πŸ™‚
    Hugs ❀

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