Monday, July 23, 2012

What is normal?

As time passes we are learning more about our little guy, what he needs, and how to soothe him. We jokingly refer to him as "zero to hero" because he transitions from happy to screaming with no warning. White noise really helps him go to sleep, and a good swaddle helps him stay asleep - really, he needs all the 5 "S's" at once. But we've always thought of him as relatively easy because he's always crying because he's hungry or tired , and I don't think there was ever a time he wasn't calmed by one of those two things. In my mind it would be a lot harder if he were crying and I couldn't figure out why or how to console.

But then the evil of comparisons crept in (and I am guessing will be a temptation for the next 18+ years). I went to a local mom's group and saw a lot of other babies around J's age. I couldn't help but notice how loud his cries are compared to others. And that I was the only one standing outside with a screaming (tired) baby bouncing him to sleep in my baby k'tan carrier. And that when other babies were tired they fussed a little but fell asleep with a little jostling in their mothers arms.

So is crying and fighting sleep NOT normal? I think it's funny that if I never went to a mom's group I would have just assumed it's normal. I know it doesn't even matter, and as I told my husband about it we both agreed we love J's personality, even if we have to work hard to get him to go to sleep. :)

But some days, when I'm tired or it's particularly hard, I worry about it a little. Today is one of those days. And to add insult to injury, my mom told me my grandma is very concerned that J has colic - keeps asking about it - and is going to call me tonight to tell me to take him to the pediatrician ASAP because they "have medicine for that". And "babies don't cry like that unless they are in pain." Oh, and this is based on her seeing him ONCE on the 4th of July. *sigh* Pray for patience for me when she calls!

Obviously if he has colic he has colic - it's not like it means something negative about him. But I keep reading definitions and articles about it and I just don't see it. I see a boy with a loud, passionate cry who needs help getting to sleep for his naps between feedings.

25 comments:

Missy said...

How is his eating? Some babies have reflux, or even silent reflux, which causes them pain and crying. Does he cry a lot while or right after eating? Does he spit up?

RMCarter said...

I think if he had colic, you would know. It's pretty unmistakable. ;)

K fights sleep like crazy many times too, mostly when there is stuff going on. She just doesn't want to miss anything. Every Sunday at church for us sounds like what you're describing! (Church is right during her naptime.) If we were at the moms group, and she was overtired and cranky) we would have been the ones outside. I wouldn't worry too much about it. You just have a social baby who doesn't want to miss out on the fun! Naps are boring! I have a baby who feels the same way. ;)

KC said...

One of my son screams like we are burning him alive. He hates going to sleep and fights it every time. He doesn't have colic either he is just strong willed. It takes an army to get this kid to sleep. We do the same things for his twin brother and he falls asleep in mere minutes.

Hillary said...

Its so normal to wonder if you little one is "normal" or not :). I have a 10 year old, a 4 year old, and a 9 month old. The 10 year old I worry about his height/weight compare to other boys his age, the 4 year old I worry about his speech and aptitude for learning the alphabet and my 9 month old I worry because he's not pulling up yet. It's soo common to worry about almost all aspects of your child at ANY and EVERY stage of the game. It just means that you are a GREAT mom that loves are cares about your child. I would guess that 99.99% of what you (as well as the rest of us) worry about is absolutely nothing. It's just the variances from child to child. As far as colic goes I would think that your little one would be crying MANY more hours a day if that's what it was. It just sounds like your little man is a tad bit more vocal that some. Just think of this as a good trait to have when he gets to be older!

xoxox

Amanda said...

If he had colic you would be posting about him crying all night and you crying because it was so impossible to console him. Some babies get fussy, but real colic is awful.

Worrying and comparing are normal. Could something be up? Maybe. Who knows... but it sounds like he is a pretty good baby and I wouldn't be too frightened about fighting sleep or loud cries. Probably some of those women wish they knew how to calm their babies as well as you do. If you really feel something is wrong, press the pediatrician, but again, it doesn't sound too concerning. You have to trust your gut. You're doing a great job and you have a lucky little boy.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little late on commenting on your last entry about pumping. I had to pump milk exclusively for my daughters first six months bc of an early hospitalization.

I learned pretty much everything I know about pumping from a board on babycenter about pumping. It's for people who can't breast feed but the pumping tips are good for anyone. By 6 months I was pumping enough for 2 kids so I could freeze it! With good pumping practices your body will usually make as much as you want.

http://community.babycenter.com/groups/a4592405/the_exclusive_pumpers

As for the crying...anyone who tells you something is wrong should be ignored. People forget what having a newborn is like. And you have the mom instinct...you'll know if something is truly wrong..

Anonymous said...

Some babies sleep (jealous) and some don't (mine). My first daughter NEVER took naps - even at 6 weeks old she would fight, and fight, and fight sleep. It was exhausting, and worrying, but just a part of who she is. My youngest needs a daily nap, but then fights, and fights, and fights bedtime (long after the older one is asleep). He is who he is, and you can help him become a good sleeper through the tricks of a bedtime routine, consistency, etc. but don't worry that you're little man was alert enough to know that you were in a new environment and sleep wasn't top priority. LOL

Melis.sa said...

Maybe he has reflux? C had that and I didn't know until she was 4 months old. She would wake up screaming like there's no tomorrow. E didn't have it so I had no idea that there was anything wrong. It had been so long since I had a newborn.

Traci said...

My son fights sleep too, but he's getting better and I'm getting better at recognizing when he needs go down for a nap. After about an hour and a half he needs to be swaddled and rocked for a bit and then he sleeps but if I miss that time he will fight and fight, it's very frustrating. He is 10 weeks old now. Some babies can only be awake for an hour before they need to sleep.

Jennifer said...

Hmm, isn't going through a colicky phase normal? My baby didn't meet the definition of colic in that she didn't cry inconsolably for 3 hours or more, but for about six weeks she cried every night and was tough to console. I know some moms just have happy babies, but I never worried too much because I knew so many other moms going through the same or worse.

As long as she's not crying all day, driving you to ppd, or jeopardizing your marriage, it's probably nothing to worry about.

I'm sure you've checked out the Baby's Got Colic MP3 - but if not, do.

keepingmyeyesonjesus said...

Hillary, it sounds like you guys are doing a great job! All babies are different and its very easy to get intimidated by other moms. I only came into contact with 1 new mom, but all the older moms in our family and friends circle made me feel that I was doing things wrong many times.

I don't think your baby has colic - but I realised that many people like to say babies have colic, when it might just be cramps. I snapped at my MIL once when she said that Baby G had colic, when it was just a little bit of cramps. Then I told her exactly what the definition of colic is and she never mentioned it again.

By all means see if there might be something bothering James, and treat it accordingly, but don't stress about other people talking about colic.

Baby G also fights sleep and he did that since just after birth. Some babies just don't sleep as much as others, and I must say that is the only hard part for us.

Meg said...

I gave the twins the over the counter gas drops (Mylicon) after every feeding. It wouldn't hurt to try that. I couldn't bear to think of them hurting and not be able to tell me.

Our grandmothers' generation . . . every single one of them will swear that every baby has colic. I got so tired of hearing this un-asked-for advice that I finally began asking them what they suggested I do about it. Nobody had an answer then.

Praying for some sleep for you. I wish I could come rock him for you while you get a good nap.

Vicki said...

A lot of babies fight sleep and it could be as simple as that but remember your at that 6 week mark and it might be the height of his fussiness. I remember when our baby was there, even though she was a good sleeper, there were times she just cried and it drove me nuts not knowing what was wrong. It usually was in the evening around dinner time and she would just fuss despite being fed, dry, held, etc. Don't stress out. You'll find what works for you guys. And be ready for the comparisons and "what is normal" to continue through their life...it's a never ending question. :)

Mellow said...

While Grandmothers are well meaning, sometimes what they think they see is not reality. My husbands Grandmother sent me a very well meaning, but insulting email about how if I didn't get control of my needy, screaming, non-sleeping, premature baby, that she would never get married, and no one would ever want to be around her for the rest of her life, leaving her lonely and friendless... I gave her the what for. :)

Sometimes babies are cranky, and sometimes the reasons are hard to find. It won't last forever, thankfully. Hang in there. We found that the problem we had was a baby with reflux that gave her a very hard time.

Hang in there! I pray for strength if Grandma calls...

Anna & Kirby said...

I'm completely in the same boat as you!! I read through the comments looking for an answer... but there isn't one. Our babies are normal... "normal" in that they fight sleep. I think I'm hearing it more and more from others. I'm learning (even though I'm not good at it) that I can't compare.

Amber said...

My little guy never fell asleep when we were out either. He fought it but fell asleep eventually. I'm learning every baby is different. I wouldn't worry at all about it. If you seem to notice crying right after feeding that could indicate colic, but I think that term is way overused! Sounds like you are doing great mom! Enjoy that little miracle!

Melissa G said...

I know I'm kind of late on this. Unfortunately, I don't have time to read the other comments, tho I'm sure they are brilliant.

Fighting sleep is SUPER normal. Leah used to do it, and it made me crazy. He will grow out of it. It seems as though the three month mark is when they grow out of the crankiness. It's almost like it just takes them that long to get used to being in the outside world, ya know?

OMG, every woman I met over 50 threw the Colic diagnosis at me... SO infuriating. It's like they used it back in the day as the catch-all diagnosis for fussiness. But really I think babies that little are just fussy. In my case it also happened to be that Leah had an issue with diary so you could try cutting that out of your diet for two weeks to see if it makes a difference. But my understanding is the diary issue is not all that common... So who knows.

Oh and Leah is CRAZY loud. Like SO, SO loud it's almost embarrassing at times. If you remember I have two girlfriends who had their babies within a few weeks of me, and both of their girls sound like little baby dolls when they cry, like "wha,wha", and Leah is more like "MMMMMWWWWWWWWWWHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA".

Good luck, and keep up the great work, mama!

Christina said...

I agree that you would KNOW if your son had colic. My daughter had it from 2 weeks old until 4.5 months and she SCREAMED between eight and ten hours a day. And unfortunately, there is nothing that they can do for colic, although there are some things you can try (none worked for us).

Reflux can cause pain and fussiness, and so can gas and a million other things that you'll never be able to distinguish between so it may be hard to narrow things down.

The one thing that helped at all was to eliminate dairy from my diet because it does transfer through breastmilk, and this is a pretty common step to take for a fussy baby. If you do give this a try make sure to eliminate it completely, and give it at least two weeks to see a difference.

Otherwise, rest assured that babies do cry and you'll all make it through. It sounds like you're doing an amazing job!

Carrie said...

James is normal and perfect in every way and you are doing an amazing job! Grandparents and great-grandparents can only remember so much of raising their children. It's like childbirth...they forget the really hard parts! No one but you is with James 24/7, so no one REALLY knows his personality like you do. It sounds like for the MOST part he is easy to soothe. The key is that he CAN be soothed...it just may take longer SOMETIMES. All babies are different and all mommies are different. And so what if he has a loud cry? At my mom's group there is such a mix of babies with different temperaments and personalities. It's just important for you to remember to take people's "advice" with a grain of salt. You know what's best for James.

The Wife said...

GV was very fussy in the evenings and over night at first. During the day he slept like an angel and right around 6pm he seemed to have a "witching hours". It was the worst around 6wks or so. I moved him to a eat-wake-sleep schedule and by 10w it was sooooo much better. In the beginning he would only be awake for about an hour including feeding time. Any longer and he was impossible to put to sleep. He never had bad gas but I've heard the drops can be a lot of help (even as a precaution). It does get better though!

Jessica R said...

So, so normal, and mine screamed - screamed - for the first few months instead of crying. She also didn't nap more than 10-15 minutes a day until she was six months old.

I struggle with comparison too, and something I am learning just as her first birthday approaches: reading message boards and talking to other mommies can help but it also creates mental space for comparison. And we love the baby and want to be the best possible mommy. I need to stop comparing! You're doing an amazing job!

And, I agree with commenters who said that if he had colic, you'd know!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the others; worrying snd comparing seem never to cease. Both my mom and mother in law have these insane theories on everything...its reflux, its just about anything they heard. When daughter talks, walks, eats...I pretty much worry. Babies are just getting used to life and you will find your way.

Anonymous said...

I don't think your guy has colic. I have 4 kids and one who fought sleep just like you are describing! We rocked and consoled and bounced and you know to this day he doesn't like to sleep (and he is 7). He is a very strong willed first born son and his personality still reflects that iron will. Your little guy probably just has a strong personality. Hard to parent these strong ones but they are usually the kids who are very successful adults. We read Dr. Dobson's book The Strong Willed Child. Your doing great, keep it up it goes fast.

Tami said...

Still totally normal here at almost 6 months. No colic, reflux is really a non issue. He just wants to see and hear everything this world has to offer. In fact yesterday at church we had wrestling 101 going on. I think its pretty normal. Just his personality! He will probably be a busy body like my little guy! :)

andreajennine said...

I'm late to comment, but it bears repeating: if he had colic, YOU WOULD KNOW. He'd be inconsolable, and you would be, too. And there isn't actually anything that can be given for colic (though reflux used to be misdiagnosed as colic, so maybe Grandma is thinking of that?). His fussiness sounds normal to me. Every baby is different. Our first was colicky, and even after that passed, he still needed to be soothed to sleep every time. Then, at a year, he suddenly figured out how to sleep on his own. Our second will fall asleep on her own for most naps, but she needs extra help at bedtime. You're doing a great job figuring out what your little guy needs; no need to compare to others!