Sunday, June 06, 2010

My particular baby...

... does not like to be put down. We have a house full of various baby gadgets - a swing that makes womb noises, plays music, and has a light show, a cradle that rocks, a bouncy seat that vibrates, a pack and play that also vibrates and plays music or nature sounds, the dreaded car seat & stroller - and she doesn't seem to really like any of them. If you put her down in them, she will sit for a few minutes before she starts grunting and getting frustrated like why am I in this thing and not in your arms?! Much of the time, the preferred method of holding also involves walking, bouncing and butt-patting around the house.

I had planned on doing some "babywearing" around the house and when we are out, so I was prepared with a sling and an Ergo baby carrier before she was born. I now have five (5) different baby carriers, and she has to be in the right mood to be happy in any of them.

The sling is great because it's easy and she seems to sleep well in it since she is all cuddled up in a ball, but it's uncomfortable for me to wear for too long since the weight is only over one shoulder and one of my arms is confined. Plus, she seems to get frustrated in it if she's awake and not sleepy. Maybe it's too confining or something, I have no idea.
The Ergo is technically for an older baby unless you buy this ridiculous infant insert that is like a huge quilt - totally impractical for a tropical climate. I have had her in it with a blanket folded up under her bum and that seems to work just fine. It's the most comfortable carrier I have for me to wear because the weight is distributed on my hips instead of shoulders. But it is HOT, even without the infant insert! The material is heavy canvas, and the lumbar support is super-padded, and once you get two warm bodies pressed together with all that canvas wrapped around us, it's just a big sweat-fest. So I don't know... it doesn't seem like it would be all that comfortable on hikes. It's so humid here you end up soaked within an hour of outdoor activity even if you're not hugging a tiny radiator.

I also have a Moby wrap, a Snugli and a Baby Bjorn. The Moby wrap I haven't quite figured out how to use yet. And it is a huge piece of heavy fabric that you wrap around yourself five or six times with the baby snuggled somewhere in the folds: also seems hellishly hot. The Snugli seems nice, but it is also padded and seems like it will be really hot to sit in. The Baby Bjorn I have is made of mesh and is nice and cool, but it doesn't have any lumbar support, only shoulder straps. It's like wearing a backpack backwards. The baby is only about 10 lbs now and even at that weight I feel the stress in my upper back. Plus that thing is $90 (holy cow).

In the Bjorn.

I hope over time she will grow to like being in the sling or one of the carriers pretty well, because my arms feel like they are going to fall off from carrying the baby around all the time! Plus it's hard to get anything done, like getting something to eat, with only one hand.
The large humans have displeased her.

My particular baby also does not like to sleep on her own either. She can be sound asleep in my arms, and the moment I lay her down, her eyes pop open and she starts making her dragon noises. This situation is also not conducive to getting anything done. I have spent entire days holding the sleeping baby! At night when Adam is home, he holds her all night. When he is working, she sleeps with me, which is fine for her, although admittedly I do not sleep very well mainly because she makes quite a lot of noise in her sleep especially if she is on her back. Even when swaddled, she squirms and grunts and hisses most of the night. Obviously life cannot go on like this forever, and though I realize one day she will grow out of it and sleep famously on her own, I would prefer to find a solution sooner rather than waiting indefinitely.
It seems some people on the internet who have this same problem find that when they put their babies on their tummies, they sleep just fine on their own. My own cousin now sleeps her baby on his tummy after three months of no sleeping, and now he sleeps like a champ. I am beginning to suspect there is an underground movement of people who go ahead and sleep their babies on their tummies despite all the expert advice that babies should sleep on their backs. I wonder, do those experts have any practical experience with actual babies? Because my experience is that babies do not like being all exposed on their backs while they sleep very much. I can understand this since I myself do no like to sleep on my back either.

So. Yesterday was Avery's six week birthday and we marked the occasion by putting her down for her naps on her tummy. We put her on the couch and then sat right next to her watching the rise and fall of her breathing through the blanket. She slept great. In fact, she is napping on her tummy on the couch right next to me as I type, quite happily like a little roast turkey, for over an hour now. Does this make me a bad mommy? I sure feel guilty enough about it even though 15 years ago everyone put their babies on their tummies. I am worried about SIDS, obviously, and I don't know if I could put her down like that at night when I'm not checking on her fifty bazillion times. However, I have noticed that though the experts say SIDS rates have declined significantly since they started the "back to sleep" campaign, if you look at the statistics, the rates have been declining since long before that. I don't know, I don't know. Surely I am not the only one who has done this?
You probably noticed that I keep saying "we" are doing this or that. By that I mean my mother and I. Yep, mom is still here! You guys, my mother is a saint. She has been mothering both me AND Avery for the last six weeks. And while I am so grateful for her help for my own selfish reasons, it also makes me so glad to see her and the baby spending so much time together. I know I have told you this already, but did you know that baby girls are born with all the eggs they will have already in their ovaries? That means that the egg that became Avery was made by my mother's body when she was pregnant with me! This blows my mind! And I think is the reason there is a special connection between generations of women. Avery LOVES my mom. She smiles so much when my mom talks to her. Mom has such a sweet, soothing energy, Avery calms right down when she holds her. When I see my mom's gentle hands patting Avery's back, I feel so much love in my heart. I think, those are the hands that patted me when I was this tiny. And it is so hard to believe! I was that tiny! But it's true, and when I watch my mom loving on Avery and taking care of her, I get a glimpse of what my own infancy and childhood were like and I feel so, so lucky that she was my mom. I hope I can be as good to Avery.


Lindsey Broere said...

Girl...Layla was the SAME way! She was not content for long periods of time unless she was right next to me (she is still that way--and now, I LOVE IT)...

She actually slept in her carseat for her first 4 months! I am not kidding. Sometimes, I'd put her in her pack and play in the car seat, just to make myself feel like a better mommy :-)

Babies are so funny. Keep me posted on what works!

Bisous said...

She is a full term breastfed girl - right? Already she is at low risk for SIDS. They sleep better on their tummies. If you are there watching her, she'll be fine. Mine slept on the boppy ALL THE TIME the first month (the first because the only way she would sleep is if I nursed her down, the second because she loved to sleep). But it is funny - Avery sounds just like Lily (Bisousette). That girl had to be nursed and walked to sleep. Mom or Dad would carry her throughout the house all the time. Mr. Bisous would have her sleep on his arm - I would generally sit with her on my lap, sleeping on the boppy. Nor would I dare to move once I got her sleeping! She would also stop crying if we took her out for a baby carrier or sling or stroller walk - I found the sling useful for when they were pre-six weeks, and then when they are toddlers you can sling them to your hip at the grocery store or something. I couldn't get anything accomplished while they were in the sling, though, but I could get some stuff done with them in the bjorn.