Chesed

Fussy Baby Solutions

The title of this post is misleading.

I am still looking for solutions.

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Some days it feels as though I’m shooting at every moving target out there and missing the right ones.

However, things are infinitely better than they were four weeks ago.  Something is helping.  I feel as though I’ve tried almost everything there is to try and it’s hard to tell which thing helped the most or what all was the real cause and what just took the edge off things.

I went dairy free for Bella.  Like really, really dairy free.  Not even a trace of casein or lactose anywhere.  It made a significant difference.  Her snotty / stuffy nose cleared up and she was somewhat less gassy.

Note the somewhat.

She also went from having 15 poopy diapers per day to two or three.  That’s pretty obvious.

I also started eliminating onions, peppers, lettuce, beans, most gluten, nuts, almost any raw vegetables.  She was always fussy, but every time she had a super fussy time I shot at whatever I ate previously and eliminated it.  I was so desperate!  Eventually I realized that wasn’t the real issue and I was starving.  So now we’re back to just no dairy and a few other things in moderation.  I’m hoping that won’t be toooooo much longer.  I’ve never cut anything before except watermelon and cabbage so this is new territory for me.

Someone sent probiotics they liked for their baby, and it seemed to make a HUGE difference.  That also happened to coincide with the day I absolutely, completely crashed.  I’m not even going to say how dark or how bad it was, but I was pretty gut-wrenchingly honest with both our families and they started praying like crazy.  I still cry when I think back to those few days and feel a little embarrassed, but they were a safe place.  I don’t want to think about what would have happened if I hadn’t talked.  Bella was literally an angel those next few days.  She still didn’t settle until midnight, but she almost never cried. I can’t even tell you what kind of a miracle that was.  But the bigger miracle was how I felt inside.  Sometime I should do an entire post on what happens when people pray, because this is getting really de-railed.

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The angel baby part lasted the four most intense days it needed to and then our sweet, but fussy Bella was back. I still reach for the probiotics on her bad days and they do seem to make a difference; but I don’t give her one every day.  She’s getting them indirectly; but maybe I really should keep giving them to her and see what happens.  The easiest way to get them in her is to dissolve one in about 1.25 cc of water and then squirt a tiny bit into the side of her mouth at a time.

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Just over three weeks ago, we took her to see a pediatric dentist and she was diagnosed with a mild tongue tie and class IV lip tie.  (That link includes soooooo much helpful information in this post, the comments on it, and the posts next to it.) We decided to go ahead and do the revision and for the next three days I thought we’d made an awful decision.  Most people on the support group I was part of had babies with serious tongue ties.  Many of them saw huge differences right away because their babies could finally nurse!  Bella’s tongue tie was mild.  I’ve gotten diagnosed with oversupply and overreactive letdown every single baby, so getting milk into her tummy has never been an issue.

However, the lip tie makes it impossible for babies to get a good seal so they suck in a lot of air creating a very gassy tummy.  After three days of super, super, super fussy, Bella started settling out. Day five post revision, which is when most babies are fussiest, we spent the day in Baltimore doing family work with David and Bella almost never cried in her car seat.  Did you catch that?  We were in shock!  Babies with reflux can have a hard time in their car seats, especially when they have lots of air in their tummies.  The pressure is intense causing terrible reflux from the sitting position.  Then they start crying which makes their little bodies tense making more reflux …………… it’s just an awful combination.  I’ve listened to enough screaming in a vehicle to give someone PTSD.  Those moms who put their babies in car seats and go for a ride to stop the crying? I feel as though I’m from a different planet.  I usually dread anything involving the word car seat because my babies cry, and cry, and cry.  Actually they scream.

Unfortunately, she’s reattaching because I didn’t stretch her consistently enough afterward, so she’s back to gagging some when she eats.  But the seal breaking isn’t nearly as bad as it was and her car seat issues are still gone so I’m definitely grateful.  And still upset with myself for not doing the tough love thing and stretching her even though it hurt her.  Stretching is key to not reattaching.

We’re also seeing a cranial sacral therapist since the revision.  Bella slept and slept for the two days after her first treatment and then started gradually getting more fussy.  Now since the second treatment, she seems much better.  I’ve been so incredibly grateful to find such a good provider!  She is so knowledgeable and has a lot of experience with ties.  Breastfeeding has so many benefits already, but did you know that having a good latch isn’t just about you and baby’s comfort?  It also helps to shape a baby’s palette (especially extended breastfeeding) and widens it.  A breastfed baby tends to need less oral work done later; but a baby with ties has the same percentage of oral work as a bottle fed baby because they don’t latch correctly.  I wouldn’t have asked for the experience, but I’ve learned so many fascinating things in the last few weeks.  Every time, I am more and more in awe of how complex and intricately designed our bodies are!

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I ordered an herbal tincture from an herbalist who makes them fresh, and I’m hoping that will take care of the evenings that still involve intermittent walking / bouncing.  Bella’s days are so much better.  Just this week she started fairly consistently napping in her crib once or twice a day.  I say consistently in a whisper, because I think we’ve had three or four days.  But her evenings are still punctuated with sudden back arching and screaming.  Each episode is calmed in a few minutes, but something is still making her uncomfortable.  I’m hoping the tincture will help, because I just don’t know what else to look at.

I also ordered one for me; because the truth is, I’m stressed.  The herbalist was apologizing when she said she thought the passionflower should be for me, not Bella.  I wasn’t offended.  Four children + homeschooling + fussy baby + moving is like being handed a very tough deck of cards.  I’m not going to whine about it, but I’m also not going pretend I’m cruising through smoothly.  I’ve noticed for awhile that there seems to be a pattern with Bella.  She’s less fussy on weekends when David is home or on the rare day I don’t do school.  It feels as though my body lives in fight or flight mode most of the past few weeks just to do normal life.  Plus, I’m exhausted from losing so much sleep. You can’t tell me the cortisol that gets released doesn’t get transferred to her, because it sure seems like everything else does.  I can’t change my life situation, but I can do everything possible to support my body.  That sleep when the baby sleeps thought is a joke when you have more than one child, but I’ve started sleeping when I can which usually translates to Saturday and Sunday morning when David is home to take Bella.  It looks like not pushing so hard and not worrying about whether we will get finished packing.  It looks like using the paper plates my mom brought even though we have a dishwasher.  It looks like doing almost nothing today because David is gone for two days again and those solo times have consistently been her worst.

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Bella rarely settles until midnight.  I’m still blaming the reflux on that.  It takes roughly an hour to an hour and a half after her last feeding for her to be able to lie down horizontally, even with the head of her crib elevated.  So that usually looks like midnight.  Thankfully, she sleeps from then until seven.  I feel so sorry for her with the reflux.  She almost constantly gurgles and / or tries to swallow what is in her throat.  When I lay her down, she looks up at me and smiles.  But about the time she starts to coo, she has to start swallowing and swallowing.  Those sweet little games you play with babies feet? They’re guaranteed to cause a big reflux episode for her.  It’s heartbreaking.  I’d give anything to be able to reach in and help that valve get a little stronger.

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But oh, the sweetness that happens in the minutes we get to see her personality underneath the reflux.  She smiles so easily.  All it takes is someone to come into view and she lights up like you’ve made her entire world spin.  Her cheeks are so chubby they sag.  She gets kissed so often it’s a wonder she doesn’t get tired of it! And the one perk out of all of this? I’ll never look back and regret not holding her more.  Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if she would have been one of those easy babies who sleeps a lot.  With so much going on, it feels as though her newborn days could have blipped by without realization.  And oddly enough, even with holding her so very much, I always feel a twinge of reluctance when she’s sacked out for the night.  Because holding her is like a tiny breath of heaven on earth.

8 thoughts on “Fussy Baby Solutions

  1. Bethany

    You are amazing, mommy.

    I know. When you’re ‘dealt the hand’ you want to shut people up who say that because, duh, I’m not amazing – I just do what I have to do!

    But you’re doing what you have to do and you’re doing it well, you ARE amazing.

    1. Michelle Post author

      Well, it feels anything but amazing (more like hung over). 😉 But I hear you. And honestly, I think what is SOOOOO amazing to me is the way it is enough. My hung over feelings, the chaos, the emptiness, the crying … there is always enough grace for the next five minutes. And even if I don’t get to be the kind of mom I want to be to the other three right now, it is enough because God is covering all the cracks and faults with grace. It blows me away that they don’t act out more than they do. I’ve never heard them say, “make her stop crying” or get frustrated with her. I can only hope that seeing her get cared for (even at their own expense sometimes) tells them this is a safe place and that we care well for each other. I love seeing them love on her and feel bad for her when she is hurting.

    1. Michelle Post author

      Thank you. I’m convinced I’m living on prayers these weeks. It is amazing how God does miracles in our mundane. I never want to lose sight of what is really happening.

  2. Mariann Miller

    I can’t identify with most of her issues. But my baby had enough latch issues in his second week of life that made me feel like a first time mom! Seriously how can I have trouble with my 8th when the others all gained weight at incredible speed. I don’t think it’s a lip/tongue tie issue. He wasn’t fussy or gassy. The car seat crying issues. Oh I totally get that!!! I dread taking him out in public, I am that mom that has baby in one arm while pushing the car full of children with the other hand plus trying to get groceries…
    While I can’t offer solutions, I totally understand!!!

  3. Helen Braun

    I feel that I can identify as a mother and grandmother. I have been listening to a lot of health shows and have learned some things that I wish I had known when my babies were little, even my oldest grand child.
    One of the things suggested was using oral clay. Joyce Riley from the Power Hour radio broadcast has a lady on who speaks about the many uses for clay – internally as well as externally. You would have to find the specific directions but it related to the fact that babies guts are often immature. The testimonials I heard have seemed phenomenal

  4. Sarah

    Reading this is making me cry. It brings back memories of nearly losing my mind with a baby who screamed nonstop the entire time he was in his carseat and pretty much cried all the rest of the time too unless I was holding him. Even though he was a firstborn, there wasn’t any sleeping during the day for me, because he only took ten to fifteen minute naps. I also tried living on oats and water, but it didn’t seem to help.

    I’m glad you’ve got older children, so that you’re not the only person in the house. I think that would help a lot to keep your sanity, even though I know having older children also creates more responsibility for you. Still better then being the only person in the house for 11 hours a day, 5 days a week, in my opinion.

    My advice is for you to think of yourself as being in a temporary emergency situation. Don’t feel guilty about spending money on prepared food, paper plates, disposable diapers, child care, etc., or whatever it takes to get you through this intact. I wish I had thought more that way. I know a year doesn’t seem temporary at the time, but a year does pass eventually, and then you can return to a more normal life instead of being in crisis mode.

    By the way, Benton had a serious tongue tie and lip tie at birth. We got it repaired when he was just a few days old. Maybe it runs in the family.

  5. Beth

    The last picture is gorgeous! And that’s just how I felt with Chloe. She had three things working against her breathing, so I wore her almost all day every day for months. But I was so glad I got to hold her! She was the fifth in five years and has been such a treasure, pleasure child.

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