Friday, June 20, 2008


Spirited is so awesome, I can't even handle it. She kicks most of the time she's awake and I love her energy. When I hear the drumbeat of her little heels pounding against her crib mattress, she greets me with a giant smile that just melts my heart. We do yoga and I give her massages, and whenever I put her on the floor she gets all excited because she knows what's coming. The feet start flying and her eyes light up. It's absolutely the best!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Life as usual

According to my pediatrician, there are two time lines for fussiness where babies can become extra gassy and bothered by reflux. Most babies are done with it by 12 weeks, others take until about 16 weeks for things to get better. Spirited is in the latter group. I still have to nurse her sitting up, but that's becoming easier as she has better trunk stability. She also has some food sensitivities I have to be careful with, or the problems start up again. I can have very limited dairy, caffeine and chocolate. I now long for a big ol' piece of chocolate cake with lots of chocolate frosting and a giant glass of whole milk!
Now that she's sort of stabilized in terms of fussiness, it's a lot easier to do things that I need/want to do. I just have to modify it to fit her schedule. I still work on putting her to sleep within 2 hours of being awake, so my trips outside of the house have to be carefully planned. She often rejects the stroller, so I put her in my MobyWrap (can't say enough good things about this wrap!!) and we cruise. I strap her to my body like a little bomb - facing out with her legs dangling. We walk down the street and she looks at everything while she kicks away. She looks hilarious. We are quite the spectacle - especially when I break out the umbrella to avoid the sun. But perhaps the biggest indication that things have gotten smoother is that I've started running again. I'm in week 4 of the Couch to 5-K program. I mostly have to go when she's already asleep, but it works!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Soothing 101

In 12 years - when I have my next kid - I will have forgotten the bizillion soothing techniques I have learned over the past 3 months. To my future self (and anyone else who needs ideas), here are the ones that never fail:
1) the milkshake. Put one hand on baby's butt, between the legs, and the other hand either under her chin or (if she has good head control) holding her by the chest and arms. Then move the kid up and down at an angle like you are doing an old-fashioned milkshake. The arms and legs should swing freely.
2) the shower. The noise and the steam is usually an instant success. If not, add milkshake or gentle bouncing on an exercise ball.
3) bouncing on an exercise ball. You can use this for a modified milkshake if your arms get tired - put the kid in position and bounce to propel her forward. When she is more calm you can bring her down and, keeping your hand under her chin, gently wobble her head using very small movements. When she's bigger, it also works to cradle her in her arms and bounce up and down - letting her head wobble back and forth very slightly.
3) Shhh. The repeated "Shh." seems to work pretty well - another white noise thing. Spirited likes when the Shh is drawn out.

The whole goal is to recreate womb conditions and the white noise and the gentle wobbles seem to do the trick. (People do call the first 3 months the 4th trimester.) Add sucking to the mix and you've got a winning combination.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I'm back, baby!

For several days, Spirited has been fighting sleep. She even fights going into the stroller because she knows it will lull her to sleep. Needless to say, this has made for a very tired mommy. I honestly didn't know what to do. I was watching her for signs that she was tired and would start soothing her and getting her ready to sleep within 2 hours of her last waking. Whenever I'd put her in my soothing position, she'd lock up and throw a fit. I just spent the last 3 months learning various soothing techniques and now none of them were working!
Because she fought through her afternoon nap, we had to put her to bed early. The past couple of nights, she went to bed at 6:30 and 5:30! Last night I took a nap not long after she went down and it made such a difference. Both of us woke up much happier. Today, I decided that I'd start to soothe her and try and get her to sleep much earlier. So far, I've been getting her ready for bed about 1 hour and 15 min after she wakes up. It's so short, but she hasn't been fighting it nearly as much and has gone down 4 times already.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Even though "high needs" is the technical term, I don't really like it and I've been feeling bad about calling my kid that. It sounds negative and resentful. This is so not the case. We'll call her "spirited." This is really more accurate. All babies have the same needs - some just need certain things more and express them louder. That is my kid.
I subscribe to the theory that if you meet these needs now, she will be a more satisfied adult. As a result, we are practicing a form of attached parenting, while trying to wean her on playing independently and going to other people. Every day we are making small steps forward. Today she was able to play on the floor while I washed dishes for 10 min!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

"High Needs" Baby

I would have thought that this was a term used by people who were unrealistic in their expectations of babies....until I had one. Even before my daughter was born I knew we were in for a treat. The kid rarely stopped kicking. Once she was born, there was something different about her - and she was still kicking!
Part of figuring her out involved figuring out that she was really hard to burp. I knew something was wrong because I'd put her down to sleep and she'd wake up a couple hours later, obviously in pain. I couldn't figure it out because I'd feed and burp her beforehand. It didn't occur to me that there might by babies who are so hard to burp. The pediatrician told me she was just fussy. I knew that wasn't the answer. Finally, my mom came out to help, and figured it out. She also noticed that, in addition to having to spend a lot of extra time burping her, I'm too short to use my nursing pillow. Instead, she had to be fed sitting straight up. It's a little tricky to nurse her like that, but it has helped immensely. It also helped to keep her upright for a while after feeding her because she also has reflux. We are currently investigating the possibility of a food sensitivity. I suspect dairy upsets her, but we'll see. All of those things were discovered by painful trial and error - and through my mom's vast experience. The frustrating part was that I am NOT new to kids by any stretch, and even attended all the pre-baby classes. I called on my pediatrician for help, and not once did anyone mention the possibility of a kid being hard to burp or show you how to nurse a kid sitting up (although they have you practice all the other positions and make such a big deal about using your pillow in the "right" positions). Poor pumpkin! I feel bad that it took so long to figure those things out.
But wait! There's more! Figuring those problems out have helped some of her physical discomforts. However, there's also a personality component to her that is a little challenging. It's hard to explain, but she falls into the category of "high needs." She's super intense, is often hard to put down, doesn't enjoy cuddling, is not a great self-soother, is resistent to schedules and going to anyone else but mom, and is hyperactive in the sense that she is always tense and ready to go, and when she wants to kick - the speed and force is amazing. Really, in a nutshell, she's really hypersensitive. She startles easily, her moods change on a dime and if you don't respond to her she ramps up super fast. While I'm not complaining, I do admit to being slightly jealous when I see moms pushing their complacent kiddies in their stroller with such apparent freedom, or seeing young babies entertain themselves. My kid will do that, but only for short periods of time before she needs new stimuli. I would be concerned that somehow my behavior influences hers, but she genuinely gets angry at the little purple bear on her bouncy seat or the pineapple on her playmat. This is when I know it's time to take her out of the situation and soothe her a bit.
To be fair to her, she does try to communicate her needs - and I am getting better at understanding her. It just happens to be all about paying close attention to her and timing things just right so she doesn't have a melt down. She also has her "mellow" moments in which I can actually put her in the stroller and go out. And, she sometimes has good nights in which she sleeps for large chunks of time.
So, basically, I've spent my pregnancy learning about sleep training, the importance of schedules and lots of other goodies about parenting - most of which have gone (almost) out the window as I'm forcefully reminded that all kids are different and require parenting styles suited to their individuality.