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Saturday
Jul312010

My World Flipped Upside Down

Amazing Baby Girl

My beautiful baby girl "Tazzy" was born on Saturday, July 17. At 7 pounds 15 oz, this little person has stolen my heart. Every time I look at her my heart just melts and I think to myself, "I am so fortunate to have given life to such an amazing and healthy baby." At some point, once things have calmed down for me I will share my birth story.

 

World Flipped Upside Down

At the same time as having feelings of elated joy, I'm also dealing with the feeling that my world has been flipped upside down, like someone has pulled the rug from under me and I haven't quiet landed on my feet. I'm sleep deprived, slowly recovering from an unplanned c-section and dealing with the demands of newborn care. During pregnancy my mantra was, "the first three months will be hell...an adjustment period." I was secretly hoping that if I had this expectation things would be much easier. I romanticized having this perfect baby who didn't cry much (okay, I know that's not realistic), who I could tote around with me and go on adventures starting as soon as we arrived home from the hospital. Well, I was wrong. It's been so much more challenging to say the least.


This photo is of Tazzy smiling in her sleep.

Is it Colic?

My baby girl is not just fussy but inconsolable. It seems like the only time she is content is when she is eating or sleeping. Any other time she is screaming... not crying but screaming. About one-fifth of all babies develop colic, usually between the second and fourth weeks, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Tazzy's pediatrician thinks it's too early to diagnose as colic and thinks that it might be a simple case of her not getting enough food per serving thus making her scream... sucking in air, which causes gas. We've increased her food and are hoping to see results by the end of the weekend. It's only been 24 hours and we're anxious to see if the doc was right. As far as we can tell, Tazzy has really bad gas! Poor baby.

What We've Tried

Rockabye Baby Music - Lullabye renditions of baby's favorite rock band. Imagine Sweet Child O'Mine or Don't Stop Believ'n made into a lullaby! So much easier on the ears than say Mary Had a Little Lamb or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Maclaren Rocker - This chair vibrates and works wonders. Tazzy likes hanging out for 10 to 15 minutes at a time while awake and can sleep in there anywhere from 45 minutes to three hours.

Graco Swing - A friend let us borrow her Graco swing. I've heard kids love it or hate it. So far Tazzy is not a fan but maybe that will change.

Stroller and car rides - Tazzy loves motion and even more enjoys being in her car seat. Even when I feel too tired to move I force myself to take her on a walk as this seems to calm her down. Josh has put her in the car a few times when she went ballistic around 4 a.m.

Sleep Sheep - Sleep Sheep produces four soothing sounds from Mother’s calming heartbeat to the gentle sounds of nature. My favorite is the ocean. Tazzy doesn't seem fond of any of the sounds yet. This is more comforting to me than her right now.
 
Bouncing, walking, cuddling - She likes being held close to Mommy or Daddy's chest where she can snuggle and hear our heart beats. It's rather sweet. The worst part is putting her down for fear of waking her.

SwaddleMe Kiddopotomus - I highly recommend if you're into swaddling. These are much easier than using a receiving blanket. With the velcro, your baby can't break the swaddle! If you choose to use a receiving blanket I recommend the Aden and Anais Muslin Swaddling Wrap or SwaddleDesigns Receiving Blanket.

Mylicon and Gripe Water both help relieve gas. I feel like these are a hit or miss. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't.

I'd love to hear other things that people have tried to calm a fussy/gassy baby.


Reader Comments (5)

Alex,

First of all, congrats on the wonderful baby girl!

As a father who just went through this, hopefully I can lend some help. My daughter Evey was born on the Fifth of November, 2009. Unfortunately after about two weeks of being home, we got to the point where she was not sleeping for more than 2 hours at a time, and spending most of her awake time crying if she was not eating. When we got to the point where we had slept 3 hours in 2 days, we decided it was time to call a doctor.

We are fortunate enough to have Dr. Mark Vonnegut as our pediatrician, and he is an extremely firm believer in only using medicine where absolutely necessary and only for just as long as is necessary. Evey was fine while eating, but within about 15 minutes would start inconsolably crying. This would frequently be right after she burped, which would sometimes get to be as bad as she seemed to spit-up the entire bottle. When we described the full scenario to Dr Vonnegut (I omitted the graphic details) he felt that she might be suffering from Acid Reflux. He prescribed her to take Zantax 2x per day and he had us put her on Similac's Gentlease formula as it is a much gentler and less gas producing formula. Between the two changes it brought her spitting up to be much less frequent, and beyond not enjoying the experience, she was otherwise ok. The first night of treatment she slept a bit better (which may very well have been due to sheer exhaustion), and within 3 nights she was sleeping for 8-10 hours. At six months he felt that her stomach and esophagus should have developed enough where acid reflux was not an issue anymore and took her off medication, and she does great now.

A word of caution however: read up on infant issues with formula/feeding. A friend of mine who's son has been through the wringer provided with me a staggering amount of literature to read to understand the various feeding based diagnoses. I am not a doctor by any stretch so I do not want to get into it, but from the things I read you want to make sure that you completely understand how the doctor is making his/her decisions. Also, do not be afraid of a second opinion.

Some other things to try in the interim:
* The "Itzbeen" baby timer. I am sure that you are very tired recovering from the C section and adjusting to the new baby. My wife and I found that this was a great way of keeping track of "well, it's only been an hour since she ate so she's probably not crying because she is hungry", because we found we were getting so little sleep that when we would be awoken by crying, you doubted that you truly knew how long it had been. (http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3198495 but also sold by ThinkGeek and other fine retailers)
* Playtex Ventaire Bottles - I'm sure most major brands have something like this, but this is what we have used and really love. The nipples come in different sizes, rigidities, and even have a cereal option (but only in the wide size). We had started her off with a "typical" bottle where there was no ventilation in the bottom, and could hear her sucking in air around the nipple. With these bottles we have never hear her sucking air nor seen bubbles flowing up through the formula as she drinks. (http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3247625 Come in different configurations, just grabbed a link for example).
* Vacuum cleaners are wonderful. At first my boss told me to tell my wife to run the vacuum to get Evey to sleep when we first started having issues with her sleeping. I thought he was being an ass, but the white noise really really helps (similar to music or the sound of the car's engine).

I think you should be able to see my email address, so please shoot me an email if you have any question or are looking for more info. I know with us it was great to just have someone to talk to about the problems that had experienced it too.

Good luck Alex, and remember to enjoy every moment no matter how trying they are. You will all get through this, and everything will be great.

Enjoy,
Luke

August 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLuke

Alex,
The situation is similar to one we just went through with our 7 month old baby girl. You could tell right away that she wasn't a fussy baby by nature, but she was consistently noticeably uncomfortable to the point of screaming when the digestive process was in full gear.

As this was our second child, we were quick to notice that this wasn't run of the mill "fussy baby" and within two weeks had her to a Pediatric GI specialist where we found that there was in fact blood in her stool and it was being caused by the inability to break down the complex proteins in soy, dairy, and eggs (some or all of which was being passed on to baby from Mom via the breast milk). While it's called an "allergy" it's not a traditional allergy but more of an intolerance. The GI specialist also said that babies with these allergies are prone to bad acid reflux (similar to Luke's story above).

We quickly adjusted Mom's diet to cut out all dairy, soy and eggs and started on some special formula for this situation to supplement (Neocate) as well as prescriptions for prilosec and pepcid.

I have to say....this nailed it. Ever since we cleared her system of the complex proteins, the screaming and irritability stopped and the baby we thought was inside came out and shined.

At the one year mark, we will begin to reintroduce soy and dairy to Julia's diet to see if she has grown out of the issues -- which many babies do.

Might be something to look into and consider if the symptoms persist -- it's much more common than I realized.

Hope that is helpful feedback and good luck!
Tim

August 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTim Daloisio

Thank you so much Alex for sharing such and honest and personal story. I'm confident that you and Josh will do what ever is possible to sooth your little one and that Tazzy will ultimately get to a peaceful place.

The previous two comments have some terrific feedback for you and I hope it helps. In the mean time, have you tried the Happiest Baby on the Block techniques? It worked great for Nic when he was fussy. I have the DVD and I can lend it to you. Let me know and I'll pop it in the mail.

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNathalee

Luke, Tim, and Nathalee,

Thank you for your feedback, insight and encouragement. It's great to know that I am not alone in this (and that I'm not imagining it). After hearing from you and other friends I had no idea that acid reflux was so common.

I've also eliminated dairy from my diet. I see Tazzy's pediatrician in a couple of days. I'm really hoping to see some improvement by then.

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

When I was pregnant, the first thing I asked myself was
"when does morning sickness begin?" Apparently, almost all mom's asks this question at some point during pregnancy since it's a very common condition. Wonder no more! Let me give you some answer to that question based on my experience and from some of the people I know.

August 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaye

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