Yes, babies cry. Deal with it (and love them hard)

I am writing this post having been inspired by a recent trip to the GP for concerns over the health of our baby daughter, Eleanor. A baby who has always been, in my opinion very vocal and dependent. I believe this to stem from her connection with me due to breastfeeding. I could be wrong.

My partner had suggested that we call the GP to make an appointment regarding an issue with our baby who seems to cry constantly and wriggle around in pain. Eleanor has reflux which is currently controlled by medication, however, some days not even medication seems to help.

I called the doctor to make an appointment for as soon as possible. I didn’t want Eleanor to be in pain but nor did I expect much was up. She was after all, just being her usual self.  Euan arrived home to attend the appointment, I discovered that we were taking the car to the GP which is a short distance from home, I became upset and wound up.

You see, this sounds silly but it’s tough for me to get out alone. I spend much of my time alone with her and a lot of this is spent indoors as it’s just too tricky to get out, especially with being in a first floor flat. If I want to go anywhere, there is a whole battle with the Pram getting down stairs and out the door before we even get moving.

Some days it isn’t worth the fight with Eleanor if she is in a particularly sleepy or in a grumpy mood. I find I don’t have the fight in me to battle through the cries very often, blame it on the lack of sleep.

It’s easier for me to simply just return home than to deal with the stares of strangers passing judgment as I still past with my baby screaming out from her Pram. I’m not cut out for public judgement, it brings a great deal of anxiety. So, with that mental image and sound of a babies cry echo through your eardrums, forgive me for getting upset having had my dream of five minutes in the fresh air, shattered.

What might not seem a big deal to some, can be a huge deal for others. Something which I have recently learned. We all handle things differently and lately, I feel like I can barely handle things at all. I spend most days alone and some times I feel as though I am losing my mind. Perhaps I am. Perhaps I lack social interaction.

I understand that my partner has work commitments but a five minute walk is not really going to make such a big difference to the working day when  opposed to three minutes in the car? I feel alone much of the time right now and the inability to get out can lead me to feel like I’m stuck in these four walls, all I wished for was my partner to take a short walk to the GP clinic with me. I was once very active and I crave to lead an active life again.

A life that has more challenging excercise to it than the constant bending to change nappies or emptying the tumble dryer. I need to walk, I need to have fresh air. Without it, I go crazy. I’ve given up on my fitbit for the moment as the step count became so pitiful, I felt ashamed to even track and document it.

Back to the GP, the reasoning of this post, I had a feeling that I knew what the doctor would say, having been in this position before. I’m usually lucky to get an appointment as its normally an automated phone service. Nonetheless, the story never changes and the outcome is always “babies cry, it’s a phase” or something along those lines.

I’m never taken seriously with the GPS and feel as though my worries are over looked and brushed off as though I am a mere hypochondriac. Even if I were, I would expect better care and time in the hands of the professionals than what they tend to give.

There was no answer. Babies cry and that’s just how it is. Some are more vocal than others yes, but it doesn’t mean that anything is wrong. It were suggested that we try control crying.. as if this would help with her round the clock cries. I wasn’t looking for answers of how to get my baby into a night sleep routine, and I didn’t want advice for control crying, I’d get more information from a book to be frank.

I wasn’t looking for anything actually,  I knew all too well how the appointment would go and knew that I would leave feeling stupid. My partner wanted this appointment as he was certain something was up. I merely booked it to prove a point and to show him that what I tell him when I call the GP each time is not a lie. I wanted him to see for himself how it goes. I wanted to prove my point and stamp my feet at the same time. My inner diva was out to play. I fear you not.

Some babies cry more so than others and they want held. This I know to be true with Eleanor. We were told that she was on the top dose for her reflux medication and to keep with this. When solid food becomes more frequent, her reflux should improve. Other than that, deal with the crying and just get on. If I felt it necessary, I could make an appointment to see the Health Visitor for advice on control crying but there was no cause for concern.

This was all said as I sat there choked up and crying spontaneously myself. I was crying because I was mad to have taken the car when I had hopes of fresh air. I was crying because I was drained, physically and emotionally. I was crying because this was the first outing of the week that involved human interaction  and it was now Wednesday afternoon.

I was mad at my partner, Euan for making me book an appointment to which I knew the outcome. I was told that he would get answers and yet here we are, no further than I have ever got before, Eleanor still crying.

I feel an element of guilt. Guilt that I can’t help my crying baby, I can’t take away her reflux and stop the back arching pain soar through her tiny body. I feel guilty that I want so desperately to have a break from her, even just for five minutes of peace. I feel guilty that I feel the need to have a break from her. As her Mother, I shouldn’t want a break from her. Should I?

I often can feel a whole lot of guilt and it seems that my best is never nor ever will be good enough. I ponder over thoughts about my parenting and I wonder if I’m a good Mother. I wonder if my Daughter knows how much I love her and I worry that I am incapable of the around the clock care she requires.

The Gp, I assume was left wondering who the appointment was initially made for. The sobbing mess of a Mother that I presented to her, or the baby sleeping in her car seat as though butter would not melt? Typical.

The thing is, the GP was correct, babies cry and all that we can do is hold them close and love them harder. It’s hard, it’s real tough, especially when you feel so hopeless and can’t help them take the discomfort of reflux away. Or even know the reason behind the cries. Is it reflux, teething, ear ache?

The guilt you feel along with the pain can be overbearing and overwhelming and I forget that as parents, we too are only human and we need to give ourselves a break and cut some slack or we will lose our minds. Its hard to always remain on top on situations and it’s hard to mimic what a baby wants at all times. Some days, there is just no pleasing these tiny humans.

I guess, I should be both grateful and thankful of Eleanor’s super dependent personality. I am lucky that I have my baby to hold and come time, I will look back and miss the cuddles and the closeness of my baby girl.

The days when I’m back at work and wish I could be curled up with her lovingly by my side at home, when she is a stroppy pre teen and I’m no longer cool enough to cuddle. I should take these moments to appreciate my ‘needy and vocal’ baby and love her as hard as I can all while embracing her before it’s too late and she no longer cares for the comfort of my company.

I hope that through weaning, the reflux will ease off. Our journey with food has only just began and we are still on select puree foods. I hope that when we venture into more tastes and textures, introduce baby led weaning her reflux will slowly disappear and we can forget about the difficulties that it has brought. Until then, I will continue to monitor and control it as best as I can with medication and a whole lot of baby cuddles. I hope that as she grows, she will become more independent and less reliant on myself, with this, the tears will stop too.

If you too have the struggle of a very vocal baby, don’t feel so alone. There’s always someone going through the same and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

We as parents are often too hard on ourselves and can be our own worst enemy, let’s be a little more appreciative of our efforts. After all, we are only doing our best and there are days that push the limits but we have to see past this. Take the good with the bad.

So here I am, sat on the sofa, same spot as always with a lukewarm cup of coffee, staring at a blank screen with a numb buttom from lack of movement,  preaching to all you parents out there, to take your baby and love them hard.

Keren x

Reflecting on the past, working for the present. Cheers to 2017.

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As we reach the end of another year, I wave goodbye to what seems an era. I can’t help but to think that 2017 has brought so much good to my family and it has been a year of some very important firsts. First trip to the States, the first time I practiced yoga,  first pregnancy, first baby. The list goes on.

I am not a “new year, new me” kinda gal, rather I am waving goodbye to 2017 with many fond memories and a heart full of love as I look forward to the pending year ahead and all that 2018 has to bring to the table.

I reflect on 2017 as one of the best years of my life and I feel that during the course of the year I really did discover myself more as a person, hold relationships close and love harder. 2017 was the year for me, there’s no hiding that fact.

I discovered I was pregnant on January second and ever since, the news just kept getting better. At first, the news was a little daunting and quite hard to take, especially as I didn’t plan to conceive at this time. It didn’t seem the right time but in hindsight it was the best time to begin a family and I wouldn’t have it any other way. They say what’s meant for you won’t pass you by, I’m beginning to believe that.

I passed my driving test and obtained a license, flew over the Grand Canyon on St. Valentines day, birthed my beautiful girl, Eleanor. I said yes to the one I love. The year 2017 not only brought a host of good memories and achievements but it brought my family and that is something I will be forever grateful of.

I end the year as a Mother and a Wife to be, a Daughter and a friend. As I step out of one year and into the next, I can only hope for a bigger and better year. I have goals I would like to reach and milestones to hit.

I hope to be a great Mother and a partner and I hope to find my feet on the career path. I wish to be happier and healthier than ever and for this to shine on through to my Daughter so that she can be taught good lessons for life and follow on from a good example.

I wish to become more confident both as a Mother and as a person. Since birthing my daughter I have found that I have become more anxious than ever before, this is something that I want to work on and improve. I’ll never be the most confident woman in the room but I want to be able to speak up and step out without fear. Not just for myself, but for my Daughter. I wish for her to grow to be independent and strong with the ability to stand her ground and hold her head with a great confidence.

I wish to become healthier and find happiness in food. I would like to experiment and try out different foods from porridge oats, fruit and chocolate. I want to restore my faith in the kitchen and get back to cooking healthy and nutritional meals to share with my family.

The shopping cart has been filled with goodies of all variety and I hope to continue to keep a healthy balance and a meal plan to regain strength I have lost from years of eating scarcely. I am ready to enjoy food and the benefits of food once again. Enough of skipping proper meals and cutting foods.

I would like to travel some places, first up, Cyprus come April – First family holiday as the three of us. I wish to read more books, a past time that I once loved yet has drifted from me with the recent course of events and a whectic schedule and I wish to plan a special wedding day. I’d love to say that I’d stop biting my nails but that has been a life long habit that I can’t seem to kick, no matter what the year has been!

I sit here and write this with my baby in my arms as we await Euan to arrive home from work. As a family we will be bringing in the New Year with a tin of fizzy juice (full fat, how dare we?!) and a midnight kiss goodnight.

No party animals over here, just two tired parents and a lively baby looking forward to the year ahead and all that it may bring.

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Here is to 2017,the best year of my life to date and to 2018 – let’s try to do one up on this year. Onwards and upwards we go as we carry on our journey into the New Year as a family of three.

Let the wedding planning commence. I wish for you all a very happy New Year, let’s hope it’s good to you all and brings to you the joy that I have experienced from this year.

Happy New Year and all the best, Keren x

The things I wish my midwife had told me.

 

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Hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? During the course of my pregnancy, I was always so blind sighted by the concept of holding my baby that I didn’t really explore or look into what life might be like post baby and what babies actually do.

We all know how it goes; babies, eat, sleep and poop. I was naive to assume as much and to never have questioned what goes on in between or even during these stages in the day. I didn’t bother to think about what babies do when they are awake, how they act and what can trigger them to act in a particular way. Why does a baby cry?

I feel that I was misled and misinformed by the midwives and ante natal classes. I was only ever told of the positive side to motherhood, breastfeeding and babies. Never the negatives. I was silly to have been so naive and not ask more questions or have done more research into life with a newborn. After all, it is a life changing experience and I wish I paid more attention to this and given post birth some thought. I had wanted my baby so bad that I overlooked some of the most important factors surrounding becoming a first time parent. I had unknowingly set myself up for failure.

There is a lot more to babies than eating, sleeping and pooping. It is not as simple as it can be made to seem and a lot more delicate.

 What happens when all your baby wants is to be held and will not allow to be put down? What happens when your baby is awake all night, crying in discomfort with colic? Nothing that you try to do will help and the crying only intensifies. What then?

21911266_175156759703314_3618031242710089728_n What happens when your baby gains the benefits of breastfeeding but you, as the Mother are left feeling drained and lifeless from hours of cluster or comfort feeding? Breastfeeding is said to help a Mother share a strong bond with baby, however I was not aware nor made aware about issues that develop such as cluster feeding. The whole aspect of bonding is overlooked in my experience and I don’t feel nursing my baby builds a bond, nursing simply intensities how tired I am. I feel like I am not yet a Mother, I am a feeding mechanism with a baby attached to me almost 24/7.

 

Nobody warned me of the darker side to parenthood or what happens come dark. There is no routine and there will not be for a long time. Why are parents so misinformed about issues such as colic? Why are the benefits of breastfeeding pushed at new mums yet the reality of this nursing method is missed out?

Perhaps it is down to the parents to do their own research pre baby. Perhaps health care professionals should be more open with the reality of life with a newborn and not lead parents into a false pretense. I hadn’t even heard of colic prior to this. I have discovered just how common it can be among newborns and I feel a little upset that something so common does seem to be overlooked and not spoken of during a woman’s pregnancy.

21819793_351033521976984_1886224562660573184_n We are currently involved in a six week baby massage class where we learn routines and techniques to massage Eleanor. An element of the class covers dealing with colic and wind build up, methods to help subside this are taught and seem to be very beneficial and relaxing. It certainly chills Eleanor out but is in no way the answer to her colic nor a long term solution.

I feel that had I been given information about colic or told the disadvantages of breastfeeding I could have prepared myself for the impact each would have and the extent of the toll that such issues can and do take. No new parent wants to be nursing their baby for hours through the night to help soothe the excessive crying, unable to lay their baby down anywhere but right beside them. It is tough. 

We are told by Health care staff that colic is a phase that will pass. When? When will this phase pass? It is so easy to say yet being on the receiving end and dealing with your baby who is clearly in discomfort and struggling is not so easy. It is hard to see her struggle through. I feel so helpless during her episodes of this. Being told it will pass, is simply no use.

Life with a newborn is hard and there is so much more to it than we are led to believe. I often find myself feeling the strain of handling a baby all day both physically and emotionally, especially when she does not like to be put down. You don’t really get a break being a new parent and certainly factors such as colic and comfort feeding add to this. I only hope that come time, colic and the disadvantages of breastfeeding become more spoken of and awareness surrounding both is brought to the attention of new parents.

21690458_1415176985245146_942516790557147136_n I only wish that during my pregnancy I had done my research and asked more questions. Had I had the information which I do now, could I have prevented the colic? Could I have been in a better routine of the sorts? Would I still have chosen to breastfeed? The fact is, it is now too late to wonder what if, II can now only act on the decisions that I had made and deal with each day at a time. I hope that this is just a phase and that the colic and the crying relentlessly will pass, sooner rather than later and I can gain some Independence back.