At times we find ourselves asking a lot of questions regarding our parenting. Am I doing the right thing, why is my baby crying, should I calm her/him or leave her like the experts say. From one mom to another parent / or interested party reading this, at the end of the day the only true decision is the one that you are comfortable with. Evidence in a lot of research studies is conflicting, some state that your kids will become spoilt and some say they will be psychologically damaged. No such thing truly applies unless the real situation is analysed. Young babies up until the age of 6 months don’t have a reason to cry unless there is something bothering them. Every time my son has cried it has been for a reason. Many a time did I think to myself why don’t I just leave him for a bit to cry and then maybe it will stop, believe me when it has been going on for over 2 hours you think to yourself I need to calm down. But if you were crying, would you want someone to come and soothe you?
His cries have not always been the usual suspects, for example hungry, nappy dirty or maybe want some love or attention. They have been related to teething, tummy aches and pains, reflux and illness etc. Sometimes they have been associated with hunger strikes and just generally being really unhappy and unlike himself.
What I truly believe in, is that our children are much smarter than what we give them credit for. When my son detects something he doesn’t like in my milk he will refuse to drink it. He will latch on and drink a little and then reject me and the milk. His allergies will inform his brain that this is going to cause him discomfort and he will not drink. Some people do not believe that this is true, however paediatricians have noticed and reported this behaviour. Other reasons for my son not eating aside from the allergies, have been throat ache, pains in his gums, increasing his feeding hours, mistaking day for night and vice versa and tummy aches.
The important thing is to remain calm. I am a true believer in breastfeeding, however this piece of advise applies to everyone: If you going to feed your child and you know they are particularly fussy or difficult feeder, then do it somewhere quiet and free from distractions, somewhere comfortable and safe for the child. The minute they feel you tense up the more resistant they will become. If you breastfeeding and it has been a while since he / she has fed then you can offer some milk with a spoon so as to avoid nipple confusion. If you wait beyond 6 hours to feed then the baby will become increasingly fussy, tired and will not be able to latch on and suck. They at that point are so wound up that they don’t even know what is causing them the discomfort. Try and feed before your baby cries himself / herself to a stupor. If you know the baby wants to feed by 3 hours then do it, wait for the queues… that crazy sucking on the dummy or the little moans and groans as they trying to wake up. Have you never dreamt of food and tried to wake up to eat, it takes some time cause you dreaming of eat but it isn’t filling you up so then you wake up.
Allow them to eat when they want to, enforcing a schedule only helps you and not them and it slows down their development, does not allow them to control their intake and in the long run they run the risk of being obese. At the end of the day, they are ultimately going to be their own person, regarding physiological needs you should allow them to have this human right and believe me they form a schedule, it isn’t all over the place. If you have a schedule and they break it, you get confused and frustrated and you try so hard to get them “back on track”, pulling your hair and asking questions like why oh why have things changed? what is wrong with my baby? The answer is nothing! Do you want to be told when you can eat and when not. Worse is the situation when you are shouting while feeding baby or forcing them to drink from your breast, thus building negative feelings around feeding and that will surely get them weaned off your breast quickly.
A few more tips: – these are things I do for my baby, but you can create a list of your own.
1. Burp a baby after food for about a minute, put them on your lap sitting. Hold your hand under their chin and make sure their spine is straight. You will notice them burping 98% of the time, if not it means they don’t need it. Don’t distress them or you further, put them back into bed or do whatever you need to next.
2. Change the nappy after a feed, many babies pee or poo during the feed, so do it after so that you don’t waste your nappies. If they are very sleepy do it in the middle of the feed to wake them up. Personally, my baby eats so fast that I doubt I can do anything before the end of the feed.
3. Don’t be afraid to love your baby. Show them affection by playing games appropriate to their age group. I found the following site gave the same advise according to what I was doing: The joy of learning as per your child’s age
4. Sacrifice as much as you can of yourself in terms of time, in the end it will all pay off and you will see your child’s development will excite you and you will want to continue giving everything you have. It isn’t important sitting at a coffee shop and chatting about other people and rumours. What is important is that you build a bond with your baby.
5. Be patient, the more you rush the less haste.
6. Smiles are infectious. Your baby will be a happier person if he sees you smiling and laughing. He / she will learn more and feel more comfortable to express him / herself.
7.Go for walks in the sun, and if there isn’t any due to the winter seasons … well then I recommend a good vitamin D supplement for your baby. Make sure it is not fish based and full of mercury though. The vitamin D helps with the calcium absorption and make stronger bone mass for your baby, which is going to be there for life!! So I recommend you do what it takes for them to get this.
8. Take supplements, if you don’t eat milky products / products with calcium with every meal or you have an allergy like me, you need 1000 mg of calcium and the mixture should have magnesium as they work hand in hand. You need at least 25micrograms of vitamin D yourself and maybe a multivitamin containing some Vitamin B12. I would also recommend omega oils 1000mg, I recommend you take this during your pregnancy also, as it helps baby with the brain development. Remember, what you eat he eats if you are breastfeeding.
9. Don’t drink caffeine or alcohol if you are breastfeeding. Studies suggest that even small doses of alcohol will hinder your child’s IQ. And if you drink caffeine, well then don’t complain that they are miserable and crying, or won’t sleep or hyperactive and restless or have tummy pains etc.
10.If you smoking around your baby, you increasing the child’s risk of being sick and developing auto immune problems. If you want to take care of a sickly child all the time, be my guest. But in the end you are fully responsible for causing this distress and also for potentially causing them cancers and lung problems, allergies, asthma in the future. Never mind what it is causing to your body. Residual smoke on your clothes and hair is just as bad, if you were just thinking, I will just go smoke outside then.
11. you can massage your baby’s tummy like a clock gently to relieve pressure if they have tummy pains and lift their legs to their chest or do bicycle motion exercises.
12. Don’t overdue it with the calpol, you will be worse off in the long run. The paracetamol kills off good bacteria in your baby’s tummy and probably your baby will be in more distress later on.
13. Always monitor your baby’s temperature. if they have a fever then sort it out, you can wrap them in wet cold sheets. Please don’t hesitate to treat this. I stopped in the middle of the road and got in a strangers car to soothe a child while to mommy drove to hospital and I had to calm them both and run into the Emergency rooms with them because the baby was having fever fits.
Having a baby is a massive responsibility, we have the duty to protect and nurture our kids. If they are our future then we need to ensure it is a bright one by bringing them up right, by loving them and by supporting them to become free thinkers. To question things and to find answers to questions we have not even thought of. Spread your child’s wings by encouraging him or her to keep trying. Don’t just do it for them, let them try and explore. That has always been the fun part! When you go on an adventure or on holiday don’t you love it when you go and visit new places. Well the whole world is new to these little, special people.
Have fun being a parent, because time…… well time flies and before you know it they are all grown up having children of their own.
- Breastfeeding can boost child’s brain (trinidadexpress.com)
- Cold Medicine and Breastfeeding: Is it Safe? (everydayhealth.com)