When you are about to have a baby, people will tell you the early days are hard, but it goes in one ear and out the other. You are heavily pregnant and ready for the baby to be born.
TIME TO EVACUATE THE PREMISES.
At 39 weeks exactly our beautiful boy entered the world after a relatively easy labour and birth. Well, my husband wouldn’t agree it was ‘easy’ but funny how your mind lets you forget the worst….
The first days were a sweet blur. We were in the hospital for a few days with a sleepy cute newborn. We get home and it’s the same drill. Sleepy cute newborn only awake a few hours a day to eat, only to just doze off again. I thought, gee, we’ve lucked out with a really chilled out baby. Weird, because the husband and I are totally NOT chilled out people.
This went on for a few weeks. Nice chill baby.
Then one night it happened. Absolute apocalyptic meltdown and we didn’t know why and we couldn’t make it stop.
We didn’t know babies can scream because they are over-tired and can’t fall asleep. We didn’t know wind could make babies scream until they felt relief. We didn’t know that a bottle isn’t always the answer. We didn’t know that sometimes babies just find the world a bit frightening and they just need to cry it out.
What followed were a couple of weeks of intense crying and screaming. I felt crazy. I would spend what felt like endless hours walking around the house trying to sooth a fussy baby over my shoulder. My back hurt. I was exhausted. It was hot. I couldn’t put him down because it made him cry harder. I had no time to eat, bathe, or brush my teeth. It was basically a miserable few weeks.
Then, one day, Freddy turned a corner. It seems like it happened overnight, but I suspect it gradual. He discovered smiling, started focusing his eyes on us and things around him, and generally became a lot less startled by the world around him.
During those miserable weeks, here’s what eventually worked for me after lots of consultation with friends, family, and the especially the google machine.
- Hold the baby in the ‘love lock’ position. As if you are breastfeeding, with his head in the crook of your arm and his tummy against your tummy.
- Make a slow, deep ‘shushing’ noise, put on white noise, or some soft lullabies.
- Lots and lots and lots of gentle swaying and bouncing.
- Dummies/Pacifiers. Controversial, but I went too long without them not wanting to be one of ‘those mothers’ (whoever they are?) Some babies won’t take them, but Freddy was very happy once he had one and they were serious life savers.
- A bath. Freddy loved baths from day one, and he was always calmer and happier for one.
Things that didn’t work…
- Walks in the pram. (Cue more screaming).
- Driving in the car. (Cue more screaming).
- That special way of holding a baby that went viral. Nope, didn’t work.