I had 7 calls last week from parents who were in THOSE weeks. You know, the bad ones. (Those are weeks 3-8 usually.)
Remember those? Like when your baby stopped just going to sleep after feedings and woke up only to fuss much of the time he was awake UNTIL the next feed? And all the while you were trying to figure out how to eat more than a Cliff bar and grab a shower after 3 feeds seemingly back to back? Because your partner went back to work and you were left alone with a baby who seemed way easier when Daddy (or grandma, auntie, etc) was home?
Why did those families call me? Because babies get HARDER before they get easier again. It’s true.
I know they start hard. Because your life is upside down. They sleep all day, are up all night, and they mess with your heart in a way I can’t even describe. And breastfeeding. Man, for so many of us, it is a butt kicker. Just plain HARD.
But then things mellow a little, right? Baby gets a bellyful of milk, and you get a little rhythm with breastfeeding. Baby sleeps some at night too, and you learn to nap during the day.
Until week 3 hits, and all of a sudden, YOUR BABY IS AWAKE MORE THAN THEY ARE ASLEEP and THEY SEEMINGLY FUSS ALL THE TIME.
It’s like the universe conspires to keep you from eating a whole sandwich (and that is only if your husband made you one before he left for work). Or having a shower where you get all the conditioner rinsed out of your hair and at least one armpit shaved. When you baby is starting to get more active and you are starting to feel that maternity leave really should be 12 weeks, everyone leaves you. So you are all alone and your baby just stepped it up a notch in the fussy dept. Ouch.
Do you know this is normal for infants? The Crying Curve is a handy little instructional guide to how babies respond all over the world, regardless of their parenting, regardless of their philosophy, regardless of their birth method. It even affects premature babies, although closer to their actual due dates.
Want to know more? Try this link: http://purplecrying.info/sub-pages/crying/why-does-my-baby-cry-so-much.php
There are a few things I would change about this information, so I don’t agree with everything they describe, however this is the only place I have found that informs parents that this is coming!
(What would I change? I do think there is a reason they cry; we just don’t know what that reason is. I don’t think you should throw your hands up and just ‘bear with it’ because I think it is worth trying things unless you are frustrated. Then I agree that you need to call in a replacement and take a break because--did I mention it was HARD?)
There are many theories as to why babies do this, but the main thing I wanted to share is how common this is and that IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Other than making that baby, really…it isn't you. You aren't somehow failing this baby. It just happens.
The good news is that you can plan for it, and steel yourself for the harder weeks!
Next blog will be “How to Get Through the Hard Weeks”...stay tuned.
And in the meantime, if you are struggling and are ready for some support (physical, emotional, educational or practical) and in the Portland metro area, then call us at ABC Doula Service! We are not far away and we can make a huge difference.