Now, granted, this person has never consciously done anything to make me think I am unable to “mother” well, but I also know that her baby is so incredibly different from our Sunshine. Sunshine is what you might call a “high maintenance” baby, just like her mother. (haha).
In the book, “The Happiest Baby on the Block” by Dr. Karp, there are different types of babies and Sunshine is a “high needs” baby. (Also good notes on the 5 “S’s” totally help with soothing a new baby). I always thought that her being high needs was not a good thing, but in retrospect I see that she is incredibly in tune with her body, what feels right and what is wrong and she will let us know very quickly what that is. I think that this is a good thing in the long run, but while she is a baby it is hard to find out exactly what her needs are. In fact, it is odd how her cries have grown and changed. I know when she has a dirty diaper, her complaining cry when she doesn’t want to do tummy time, and she has had a lot of pain from acid reflux and her UTI, so sometimes her cry for hunger has gotten mixed with a pain cry. This just breaks my heart.
I used to be able to pinpoint issues, but not any longer. As she has grown, her cries have changed. Now, she cries when she wants to be held, cries when she isn’t facing the right direction, cries when she can’t see what is going on, cries when her tummy hurts, cries when her diaper is dirty, cries when she doesn’t want to be on her tummy…. I have begun to think she just cries consistently to get what she wants which is exactly what she is supposed to do. (And this is not colic as she cries like this 24/7). I want to hold her all the time, but my back is just not taking this well. Even strapped to me. I think Mike and I are doing fairly well managing together, but when I get around my friends and she is crying, well… they tend to not like it, aren’t used to a baby crying often like this, and they tend to want to step in and try and “fix” her. Thing is, what they may do could work for a moment, but she will get used to whatever method they tried and then start crying again. They get concerned looks on their faces, and I am looking at them thinking, “Wow, am I a bad mom?”
I know I am not a bad mother, being this is my first time and we are learning as we go. However, that glance or worried look I see pass through their eyes makes me worry that others think I am missing something, or just not managing Sunshine well. To be truthful, Sunshine is managing us and tends to do a very good job of it. I hold her as much as I can because I have read that babies that are swaddled and held close to their parents chest tend to cry less. (In this case, not true, but she does this great whimper/cry impression that is just so cute but I at least know that this is her talking to me about what she does or doesn’t like. She is not in a “do or die” situation- Like her cry for FEED ME NOW.) I have also discerned her “ow-I am hurting cry” and this she does a lot right now.
Between her UTI that doesn’t want to clear up, and her acid reflux, she is just not a happy camper. In fact, she has to go in for an ultrasound to watch her “pee dye” out to see if she has reflux down in her urethra which could be causing her UTI’s. Poor dear. The antibiotics they have her on may not be working, as she has had a constant temperature of 99.7 during the day for the past week, and it tends to creep up to 100.5 during the night. We made an agreement that if she is really unhappy and her temperature is 100.5 then we take her back into the ER. So far, she tends to be sleeping and in an okay temperament at night, so we have not needed to do this.
It’s just so hard being a mommy and having no frickin’ clue what I’m doing but knowing that something, is not right with my little one and I want her to be feeling better. On top of that, feeling like a inept mother when around friends doesn’t help my confidence either and my ability to trust myself to meet her needs. We will be camping sometime soon and my friends and family have voiced their concern about the length of time and Sunshine’s tenacity for being upset.
However, I do so much better when it is just Mike and I with her, and don’t have people stepping in, stepping on, our toes to “fix” her. I have a feeling we will do fine when it is just us camping. She is just fine the way she is, whether she is complaining loudly her discontent, or happily giggling her glee. She is perfect just the way she is. Perhaps she can teach me something about being fine just the way I am, too, and I can stop being a cry baby about it all?