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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Little Man

When Princess was a baby, I thought she was difficult.  Several things contributed to this belief.  One being that it was such a huge "culture shock" if you will, to go from life being all about me and Hubby to being all about this tiny screaming baby.  Another was because Princess had problems breastfeeding.  Another  was the traumatic labor and delivery that took almost two months and a lot of pain pills to fully recover from.  The biggest was the post partum depression that I didn't even recognize as such until someone pointed it out to me later.

I survived and when Princess was two years old, she was blessed with a baby brother.

And he made her look like a perfectly angelic baby.

He was born screaming, which most babies are, but his was a different scream.  It was an angry scream that even took the doctor by surprise.  Especially when he didn't stop.  When I tried breastfeeding him, he almost turned blue from screaming so hard.  The experienced lactation consultant who came to help me figure out how to feed this baby boy was amazed at how violently opposed to nursing he was.  Extremely frustrated, she finally left my hospital room with a parting, "I don't know what to tell you, but good luck."

The first night in the hospital after Little Man was born, Hubby and I sent him to the nursery so we could get some much needed sleep.  The next morning, I awoke to the sound of a baby screaming so hard that I'm surprised the poor thing was still conscious.  As I came out of my groggy state, I recognized the scream (not cry) and nudged Hubby.  "That's our baby.  You better go get him." 
Hubby looked at me in disbelief.  "That has to be another baby in a room close to ours.  We wouldn't be able to hear ours so well since he's in the nursery."
Nonetheless, I sent Hubby down to the nursery to bring back Little Man and sure enough, I was right.

At this point, I thought about asking the hospital what their return policy was for babies.  I refrained.

When we brought Little Man home, things didn't exactly improve.  It took almost a month to figure out that the only way to get him to sleep was to swaddle him so tightly that he couldn't move a muscle, throw a light blanket over his eyes, give him a pacifier, and bounce on an exercise ball until he finally stopped fighting and screaming and fell asleep an hour and a half later.  Due to the amount of sleep new babies need, I spent most of my day bouncing relentlessly.  His only redemption was that starting at 5 weeks old, after I'd gotten him to fall asleep at night, he would then stay asleep in his crib all night.  I really looked forward to bedtime. 

The breastfeeding situation didn't improve either.  Because he refused to nurse (still screaming the whole time) my milk supply decreased.  When he was 3 1/2 months old, a nasty bout of mastitis put an end to breastfeeding and I reluctantly decided to bottlefeed.  I was pretty bummed about it at first, but as you can see by the pictures, it was obvious that Little Man wasn't getting enough to eat from nursing and, once that stressful issue was over, things got a little bit better.

Little Man at 3 months old when he was still breastfeeding.  Scrawny little thing, but he still had those kissable, squishable cheeks!

Little Man at 4 months old a few weeks after we switched to bottles.

Around 4 months old, Little Man finally fell asleep in the infant swing.  I had swaddled him, given him his pacifier, covered his face with a blanket and bounced him for almost three hours and he was still screaming.  Finally, I put him in the swing (still swaddled), turned it on, and went outside to get some air before I lost it.  When I came back inside 10 minutes later, he was sleeping.  I was so happy, I cried and I might have also kissed the swing.  Maybe.  After that, I was able to swaddle Little Man, give him a pacifier, and put him in the swing to fall asleep.  I got several lectures from well-meaning friends about how I was teaching him to be dependent on the swing for sleep.  I didn't care.  If I had to special order a swing that would still fit him in kindergarten, I didn't care.  He was sleeping.

Between 4 and 5 months old, Little Man slowly started to improve.  By 6 months old, he was the easiest baby ever and a joy to have around.  It was like he'd had a complete personality change and I was finally able to enjoy being his mommy.

If you are struggling with a colicky baby, have hope.  It will end eventually.    

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