Five years ago I left the hospital with my first son and was given a list of instructions including “breastfeed every 2-3 hours, 15 minutes each side.” (<— terrible advice). After a long induction (which I regret agreeing to), pushing for 5 hours way before I should have even been pushing and a c-section, I was looking forward to leaving the hospital and resting at home. I spent 5 uncomfortable days on a terrible mattress separated from my baby, with an abdominal incision, in a dirty room and couldn’t wait to get into my own bed. I stood in the shower and bawled. It was horrible, but baby and I were safe and I could not wait to go home!
My son’s crying started as soon as we got home. I fed him, I burped him and I put him into his bassinet. The crying started again. I picked him back up and immediately it stopped! “Wow, he’s spoiled” relatives would say. I wondered if I was “spoiling” my baby. Was this a bad thing? I certainly didn’t want him to cry and my Mommy instincts told me that holding him was what he needed.
He nursed constantly and I thought that I didn’t have enough milk for him. I searched the internet for breastfeeding help. I called the lactation consultant at the hospital. Nurse him”every 2-3 hours” I was told. There was no way he would make it that long. Sometimes he would nurse for an hour, fall asleep and unlatch, then want to nurse again 5 minutes later. I cried. I thought I had failed. I was very lucky to stumble across the La Leche League website and found a local chapter.
I called the phone numbers on the LLL page and left messages. I was relieved to get a return phone call reassuring me that frequent meals were very common and normal! Whew. I felt so much better and cried when the LLL leader said “thank you for breastfeeding your baby.” I thought wow, if my baby could thank me I know he would! I needed to take a deep breath, and get used to sitting/laying and nursing. As a busy body this was hard for me at first.
I knew I had to figure something out. I wanted to have free use of my arms to do some basic things (like eating), but didn’t want my baby to cry. I knew listening to my instincts, and not to others who offered unwanted advice to let my baby ‘cry it out,’ was the right thing to do. How was I going to keep my son happy, and get off of the couch?
It took me time to learn the answers, but fortunately these lessons have been passed onto my other two sons. I hope to pass them onto you! How do you calm a crying newborn? A baby who wants to be held and nursed all day and night? The answer is simple; Hold and Nurse them!!
It’s normal and healthy for a baby to nurse frequently and want to be held (excluding any medical conditions) (3). Remember, a short while ago they were floating around in amniotic fluid; Warm and in constant earshot of your heartbeat. He/She was fed 24 hours a day by the umbilical cord and never felt hunger or cold.
So how do you accomplish this?
4. Bouncy Seat
I have ‘the bounce’…and if you’re a Mom you probably have ‘the bounce’ too! Some Dads have it as well. It’s the bouncing-walking motion I have to assume every night around ‘fussy time’ and sometimes even Dad is good at it! I don’t know if it brings baby back to a comforting time in the womb, or is simply a soothing motion, but if you don’t have the bounce you’ll find it!
If you ever ever feel yourself getting frustrated with baby it is important to put him down gently, somewhere safe and take a step back, count to 10 ( or 1,000) and get help if you need it. Remember…with babies EVERYTHING is a phase. They grow fast and will be running around before you know it!
This is an article constructed from my experience with my children. If you are wondering if your baby is okay, call the doctor. The internet is no place to diagnose or treat a baby. I have not been provided products or compensated for this article.