Tuesday, January 30, 2007

he'll cry if he wants to

WARNING: this post is kind of a venting post.
well, the last few days have been...how shall we say..."hard" just doesn't seem to cut it. tristan has found his vocal chords and is seemingly trying to tell us something that we just aren't understanding. we've looked up colic on the internet & attempted any and every suggestion we've encountered, but to no avail. it seems that the little angel baby we came home with 4 weeks ago has morphed into a screaming, flailing, red faced little creature that we don't know what to do with! thankfully, he is asleep at the moment and looking so peaceful i could eat him up. every moment that he is not asleep, however, it seems that he is crying. not just crying, actually, but screaming. here's what we have tried: swaddling, pacifier, rocking, bouncing, burping, walking, carrying him in his carseat, driving, darkness, white noise, cuddling, music, the list goes on and on. literally the only thing that stops his crying is when he is eating.
-could he be constantly hungry? he literally could eat every hour for 30 minutes at a time and still not be opposed to eating again an hour (or 45 minutes) later.
-could it be i'm not producing enough milk? every time i pump, i get around 3 ounces in 15 minutes from one side, and if it seems he's drained one side and is still hungry, i'll put him on the other side. also, he has around 10 poopy diapers a day, so i know he's getting food. is there such a thing as his metabolism going too fast?
-could it be that he is in pain? we burp him in 3 different positions, just to make sure we're not missing anything. he does pass wind when he cries, but that's probably because he swallows a lot of air while screaming. also, if a baby is truly in pain, would a breast really calm him down as much as it does? (his screaming literally shuts off as soon as it's in the mouth and he becomes so calm that he'll often fall asleep while eating) one thing we haven't tried yet is gripe water. can anyone tell me what is actually in gripe water?
-could it be that he is over-tired? i thought this for awhile, and it still could be true. what confuses me is that he has woken up in this state before, though that was after only a 30 minute nap. the problem is in trying to calm him enough to actually be able to put him down. i know many parents advocate letting your baby "cry it out" but i am trying to avoid that at all costs. i prefer the baby whisperer way of putting them to sleep, which is comforting them when they cry, but as soon as they settle, putting them right back down in their crib. the only problem with this method is the part in getting them to settle. i'm working on recognizing his sleepy cues so that i can put him down BEFORE he gets himself so worked up, but oftentimes he'll yawn away, but still be bright eyed and awake for quite awhile.
-could it be that he is unhappy because he is not on a schedule? okay, so i've read the baby whisperer a few times. i've read babywise as well and at least half a dozen other books that promote demand feeding. out of all of these approaches, i feel most comfortable with the demand feeding approach simply because i'm not sure my baby fits into the mold that a schedule demands of him. for example, the baby whisperer says that the baby should eat approximatly every 3 hours. after eating, he should have awake time, followed by sleep time. once three hours has passed from the beginning of the last feeding, baby should be woken and fed again. so, what if baby falls asleep while eating and refuses to wake up? should i "force" him to have his awake time, even though he is so obviously tired? or what if, after eating, he is so wide awake and having such a great time that he doesn't want to go to sleep, and in fact shows no sign of being sleepy. do i "force" him into his crib just so i'm following the proper order of eat, awake, sleep? or what if, one hour after eating (and eating a full 40 mintues, i might add), he is fussing and rooting and putting his fingers in his mouth (obviously hungry)...do i ignore his hungry signals and force him to wait 2 more hours before feeding him again? i just can't really believe that every single baby needs the same amount of calories, or the same amount of sleep as every other baby. in every other way i adore the baby whisperer and find her advice really helpful, but i just can't see going through the agony of putting tristan on a schedule that tells him when he is supposed to be hungry and supposed to be tired, etc.
now, in all honesty, he doesn't literally cry every waking moment. he sleeps well at night, waking up every 3-5 hours to eat and he does not scream during those times. usually he gets really wound up in the late afternoon/early evening, which is apparently a fussy time for many babies. the only thing is, i wouldn't classify tristan as "fussy" during those times. i'd say rather that he's "inconsolable". last night we had a mini breakthrough after watching a dvd called "the happiest baby on the block" we've already been swaddling him, but realized how important that is. we found the "shushing" suggestion quite helpful with tristan, putting our mouth right up to his ear and loudly saying "shhhhhhh" steadily until he calms down. the idea is to mimic the sounds he was used to hearing in the womb. we found that if we kept doing this, eventually, he'd stop crying. i also discovered when i turned the water on full blast in the sink, he immediately stopped crying. we have yet to experiment with radio static in his bedroom.
really, i guess i'm just venting on this blog and kind of asking for your advice. has anyone out there had a bona fide colicky baby, and, if so, how did you know for certain he was colicky? for those of you who have suggested the baby whisperer method, did you really keep the cycle of eat, awake, sleep at 3 hour intervals all day long? and what is gripe water, anyway?
i'm just so thankful that his one month checkup is tomorrow, and i'm praying that we will get some answers from the doctor because if we have 3 more months of this to look forward to...i may as well check myself into the nuthouse early.


Jeff, Kristy & Hayley said...

Heidi, I feel for you!
Unfortunatly I cannot offer any advice, I was blessed with a good baby. (I'm scared with this next one)
Gripe water usualy has ginger, dill, baking soda and fennel in it. Some brands do add other things, and some do have alcohol in it, so you'll wanna check the ingredients if you are worried.
I'll be praying for you guys!

Meredith said...

Whisperer is a routine, NOT a schedule. If it's 2.5 hrs. then that's ok, if it's 4 then that's ok too. NEVER wake a sleeping baby. If you do it enough he'll get the hang of it. He could be having his 3or 4 week growth spurt where eating constantly is required. Don't FORCE anything (sleep or awake) if it doesn't work for you guys. Relax, find your own rythm in parenting. I know nothing about gripe water except that in the olden days in contained alcohol.
Like I said try to relax, trust yourself, you are the mom and you will know what is right for your baby (and self).
In other news whisperer routine was the charmer for both of my boys except when growth sputs happened.
love Mer

Christina said...

Ur post has made me think thrice about having a wee one. I have no adice 2 offer, just sympathy. I did however find this 4 u:
Hope it helps & best of luck

Danna said...

I feel your frustation on knowing or not knowing what to do. For 4 months, they said Chelsea was colicky but actually it turns out she had an acid reflux problem. (It doesn't sound like he's arching his back in pain or that he's throwing up alot...so I wouldn't think it was that.)

I used gripe water all the time for her gas and it worked like a charm. One of the ingredients that I know of is baking soda which is supposed to be safe and natural thing to give a child. I don't know about any other ingredients but I DO know that it is safe. Infact, I even used some on Chelsea around Christmas time when she over ate and had a stomachache...again it worked!

We did watch that same movie: "Happiest Baby on the Block" and some of the things they were using came in handing too. I don't know much about the baby whisperer though. I agree with you...if they are hungry they will wake themselves up for it...that's just something I wouldn't do because than the baby gets used to it and kind of expects it. I hope you find some peace and I hope that your Dr. can provide you with some helpful things tomorrow. IT WILL GET BETTER!!!!

Alvin & Denise said...

I had really very colicky babies -- all of them. I remember being so worried that this was their personality -- that they were just really "fiery" kids.

I kept them on a schedule, because otherwise I had no idea what they wanted when -- they would just scream all the time, and their cues were confusing -- rooting when they had just eaten. i discovered they would often root when they were struggling with gas pains. this happened usually about an hour after they started eating. they would scream and pull up their legs, and if we massaged and / or held them in positions we discovered worked for them, then they would let that nasty gas out. not without a lot of tears from all though.

if tristan is colicky, i would definitely recommend a schedule. it doesn't have to be rigid -- you don't have to "force" (gosh that sounds violent). but you can find ways to encourage the activity that should be next, to work him into a predictable pattern. i have seen how babies (and toddlers) want and thrive in predictability.

with my colicky ones, i found that if i fed them again when they were crying from gas pains, they would most happily eat, but then i'd be on an hourly cycle that would just go on and on (instead of a 3 hour cycle). when i worked to get them past the gas phase, then they could sleep, and wake up for a full feeding.

glad you discovered "shushing" -- a valuable tool. we used FM static on an old radio (has to get very poor reception) at night so we could be sleeping instead of shushing -- but sounds like you have your nights going smoothly -- that's a blessing.

i heard this so often, but trust me... it's TRUE... this stage will pass. at the time, with a true colicky baby it just seems like it will never end. with nathan, alvin and i joked about "sending him back" and really learned a lesson about earnestness with our words. i don't even hear a hint of that sort of attitude from you -- you sound so patient -- perhaps just confused and frustrated, which is to be expected. in 6 months you'll look back and forget the frustrating parts of this stage though.

good that you're going to see your doctor -- i hope he has good advice for you. even better will be when your mom comes out.

asking for advice is a good way to get a lot of nice lengthy comments, i bet. sorry if this is too long and overwhelming. if it's any consolation, i think the colicky babies turn out smarter for all the extra attention they demand and receive. :)


Chrys said...

Okay, I just had to comment on this one. I have to admit that I'm a blog stalker - I found your blog through someone else's a while ago, and when I found out that Tristan was due 5 weeks after my sister's first baby. Her daugher is 5 weeks old now, and it sounds like she and Tristan are very much alike! The only thing that calms her when she's crying is eating - the soother is starting to work now, but not for long. For a while, she was eating every 1.5 to 2 hours. I think it's getting better, but it's still more than the 3 hours that people seem to think is normal. Unfortunately, I don't have kids so I can't give any personal experience advice, but I will tell you the same thing I told my sister: Nobody knows Tristan and his needs like you do, and you have the right to sort through all the advice you hear and do what you feel is right. Best of luck!

Jennifer said...

ah the early days of sorting it all out. baby whisperer all the way.

Anonymous said...

colic is no fun. Gosh, go read my posts from a year ago!!

No amount of books will fix him so try a little of this an a little of that until you find something that works best for you- don't be discouraged if nothing works, it doesn't mean that you are doing it wrong. The fact that he is sleeping decent at night is awesome or you'd be on the brink of insanity.

Gripe water can be awesome stuff. The healthfood store will have some. Baby Bliss is the most common brand. I had to cut *all* dairy from my diet, but that isn't the case with every baby.

I also wanted to echo Denise in saying that even though they seem happy to eat more, it doesn't mean hunger. (ie you are making enough milk going by what you said) The food/suckling could just pacifying his pain. Or you could have a piglet. I had piglets and pretty much spent my whole day and night nursing.

Wesley & Brianna both refused the pacifier. A clean pinky from mommy seemed to make them happy for a short while.

You're not alone, hugs and prayers as you figure it all out.

Naomi said...

Ok, I know that I don't have a baby, but I hope being a nanny counts a little. I found too with Luke, that the shushing helped a lot. He would cry for 2 to 3 hours a at a time, several times a day. And this was only in a 10 hour work day. Now that he is one he likes to sleep and eat. :)
I have a friend that has had a crying baby for aboutthe first 6 wks (the dr's actually had him on Zantac, because they thought it was his tummy) and the swaddling, shushing , rocking, and then sucking on a pacifier has been the only thing that has helped. He didn't even sleep at night, being up every 45 min or so crying.

Good luck, I'm praying for peace and calm for you and your household.

Anonymous said...

Hello new mommmy! Congrats! I so understand your blog today. It is like a mirror image of what I went through with Caleb. I truely don't have much advice cause everything I did...didn't work. I tried babywise...whisperer...demand feeding...every remedy....but nothing worked...until he was a little older. Right now you need not to worry about that stuff too much. The best thing you can do is make sure that it is not a medical problem (reflux, allergies ect) if not a medical problem then do what feels right in the moment. Trust your own judgement. You will have time in a few weeks to sort out schedules and all that other stuff. The best thing you can do is try to get sleep whenever you can ( I know that can be hard) and know that this time eventhough hard right now will pass very soon. Take care honey.

Rachel Z said...

Tristan sounds just like my first. In the early months, he ate nearly every hour for 30-40 minutes. I just went with it because that was all I knew how to do. If that works for you and him - go for it! You won't ruin his chance of getting into a routine. Some babies, and some mommies, just aren't ready for a routine for a few months. If it helps you to relax by demand feeding - even if it feels like that's all you ever do - do it! He'll grow out of it soon enough.

I used gripe water with Marty yesterday and I'm not really sure if it helped or not. Another thing to try is Ovol. I'm sure you can get it in the US. It's in the baby or pharmacy section at the grocery store in a pink box. I think it worked well for both my babies. There's some discussion about gripe water on my most recent post (in the comments).

Kathy said...

Steve was my fussy one. We found Oval drops helped getting the initial burps up. It's an antifoaming agent - helps break up the bubbles early. We went though six weeks of crying 'til my doctor suggested this. He then burped like a pro and still does :). Also, learned to feed babies at a good angle so the air didn't settle too low, and to burp baby before the feed was over - so like every ten minutes?? Frequency of feedings varied. I like the whisper’s theory of rhythm - but I see it as a flexible thing. Does Tristan like to be worn? You might google for a cd that sounds like the womb that you could play on repeat. I saw such a thing once - sounded neat - lots of low bass notes and general shushing sounds. I'd try to avoid the gripe water with alcohol if you see any. We don't have it in Canada anymore - it's thought that the alcohol possibly could repress breathing - possibly.

Also - foam ear plugs help. I'm serious. My dad sent me a shoebox full of them because I didn't mind comforting Steve but his cry was so loud in my ear. So I would wear them while a cuddled him when the volume got to be too much. I also wore them if I was off duty and having a rest while Lando tended to him. Bliss.

Bless you,

Rachel Z said...

I forgot that I wanted to say that, all the shushing and rocking and walking and bouncing and burping and driving and strolling you tried - try it again.

The Safeway brand of gripe water is alcohol free. It's pretty messy to administer, the Ovol is much thicker and easier to get down the hatch. There was something else I thought of while nursing Marty but I can't remember what it was.

You're doing a fine job! Oh, and don't ever wake him up! :)

Sorlil said...

I know nothing is more upsetting or frustrating than when Sorley is having a bawling match and not knowing how to stop/comfort him. All I can say is that I never stuck to a planned routine but somehow we've just naturally fallen into one - he feeds, has a 5 min nap then has his wide awake time for about 30 mins to an hour then starts to get moany because he is tired. Sounds like you're trying all the right things, swaddling and dummy work for Sorley but only if I do it when he starts to get tired rather than when he is screaming blue murder. As to stopping the crying I've found that 'flying' stops him - holding him carefully while extending my arms and swooping him, this stops the crying enough to get the dummy in. I also feed on demand - but when he roots after a feed he's really just looking for his dummy. I've got a great book by Dr Miriam Stoppard - I've found her to be very well balanced and full of great advice.

Nicci said...

It could truly be that he is not getting enough milk from you . Ashlee went through the same thing and I started putting a little bit of formula or even pablum in her bottle to make up for what I couldn't do. The fingers in the mouth is usually a sign that he is hungry but do not fret just follow your instinct. Unfortunately motherhood doesn't come with a manual.

Kathy said...

Me again. I'm betting you have enough milk - what with being able to pump 3 oz. - If you're in doubt just keep nursing frequently and that little baby will up the production for you. Lots of water mom. I remembered I wanted to say that for Eva and Elijah the whisperer rhythm worked pretty as far as wake, feed, activity time - THEN antoher feed (extra) and sleep. The putting to bed - well that's another story. Bouncy seats by day - rocking, swadling, batroom fan, shushing, wearing by night when they were Tristan's age. Even I wore Eva a LOT and she loved it - instant happiness and it is SO lovely to wear a little one. Baby Bjorn fit very nicely for the tiny stage.

That's all. Bless you more,

Kathy said...

"Bathroom" not batroom. Activity time - so much fun.

Shannon King said...

It sounds to me like your son could be having alot of gas pains. My oldest daughter was really fussy for the first couple of months. I found that about a half hour after she would eat, she would get really upset. The best way I found in helping Julia (my daughter) was laying her on her back (either on the floor or on my lap) and lifting her legs up to her chest and pressing gently. Sometimes I would even do legs streches with her and I would help her release the gas. I only needed to do this with her for a few weeks and then she evenually grew out of the gas pain/fussy stage. Best of Luck!

Lovella said...

I don't really have any decent advice. For our oldest we bought gripe water by the case. i was attending a baby shower for another baby and another mom clucked her tongue at me and proudly proclaimed that she didn't use that on her baby. At the time I was dipping his soother in the gripe water. Ironically her baby was sleeping. Mine was screaming. At the baby shower for Terrence I spent the coffee time trying to settle him in a back bedroom . . such fun. I'll just really pray for you. The best thing we did to keep our sanity was to go hang out at someone elses place if they would have us.

btk said...

My experience with Mercy the first few weeks was similar - a total angel baby, sleeping all the time and then suddenly she discovered her voice. And she didn't stop crying. I almost crawled up the wall. But a good friend pointed out that she was probably experiencing her first growth spurt. I'll give you the same advice she gave me - just feed your baby on demand and get through it. By 6 weeks it's easier to recognize the signs and it'll all start making much more sense. Your first weeks of baby's life can be summed up in one word: survival. I kept telling myself "This is just a phase, in a few weeks things will look VERY different" and I find myself still saying the same thing to get through teething, sickness, lack of sleep, etc...

Z-Mama said...

Hang in there, Heidi! You know I'm a fan of the Baby Whisperer and what Meredith said I'd like to reiterate: it's a routine, NOT a schedule. If he wants to sleep, by all means do NOT wake him. And all babies like to try to fall asleep during feeds because of the hormone that is released into your milk, so it is hard to keep them awake. Also, babies have a natural need to suck 16 hours a day...but of course they don't need to eat that much! Don't give up! You will be so glad in a few weeks if you just stay strong and stick to a cycle. I think Raegann was an extremely hard baby for the first couple months. I would be crying all the time and thought that it would never end. I was firm with her cycle and it eventually worked like a charm. Babies thrive on routine!

Oh, and I've heard this is a great product to try: Colic Calm
It's an all natural gripe water and contains charcoal and was recommended by my midwife.

Love you! (and missed you at coffee!)

lil said...

Lots of comments for you to go through, Heidi, and I will mention gripe water, too!! You add it to water in a small bottle~at least that's what we did about 20 years ago! So you can control the strength of it. I see there are suggestions of what it's called down here, but maybe your mom should bring you some when she comes down.
No one has mentioned your eating habits!! Maybe too much chocolate, or veggies of the cabbage family, or Mexican food is coming thru your milk!! I couldn't eat any of that when I was nursing. So try that~it's easy to experiment with that! God bless, and may your days be better soon!

Jennifer said...

Hi I came back to say what Shannon King said about the method to get gas to realease.
Carmyn says 'put a *souver* in his *mouf*'
I say...get ear plugs...hahaha!

Jennifer said...

Smiles.....not similies...or whatever I wrote.
(course you're not eating garlic onions broccoli or dairy eh)
Did I mention that R was fussy for a few months? It wasn't what one would call colic either. Never found a gripe water that seemed to work.

Jennifer said...

I hope that the dr is not totally unhelpful by saying 'growth spurt'.

GieserGazette said...

I have to agree with the other moms that said growth spurt. Just when you think you know when your baby is going to want to eat they and how much, they change it up on you. If eating is satisfying his crying then that's probably it, if he won't eat and continues to scream then it's something else. Don't let your doctor patronize you b/c you're a new mom. My suggestion if it's a growth spurt-get some seasons of your favorite tv show, put your feet up, ignore the housework, and this too shall pass! I promise!

Anonymous said...

how did the doctor appointment go. Hope you're feeling a little more peace.


Jill's world of research, reaction, and millinery said...

My daughter used to nurse 30 minutes every hour, and scream the rest of the time until she was about 6 months old...and it did get old! She was (and is..) very sensitive to touch, emotions, frankly, the whole world.


It is the ONE book that I wished I had had as I parented her as an infant.

I got it when she was about 8, and it explained everything, even how children specifically like her are wired to be a blessing later, the elements that made her "difficult" pointed to adult strengths, like being a nurse (sensitive to tiny details) on an irregular schedule. Which was exactly what God gifted her to be in the end.

Please, please, please get that book. Turecki is the author. It won't "fix" Tristan, but it will make you feel alot better about what is going on.

PS: Her brother was so easy going I thought he was brain damaged. Slept constantly, self scheduled perfectly, never cried at all...same milk, same parents, different temperement. AND I HAD THOUGHT ALL MY FIRST BORN PROBLEMS WERE ABOUT ME!

Anonymous said...

I don't know you, saw this off another blog. my first was beyond colicky, nothing worked till we took him to the chiropractor (it's not like grown up manipulation, it is so gentle). 3 visits and... it was a miracle, we could sleep again and enjoy parenthood.