I want to be that mother who can stand up and say I am a strong confident mother and I know what is best for my children. We breastfeed and co sleep, We listen, We include, We eat chocolate and snot smoothies, we trampoline and grow frogs, we sling, we carry and we try and understand and work with our children without resorting to punishments, threats or coercion.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

To Cry or Not to Cry

Some mornings after Millie has had her milk, done her morning poo and has a clean nappy on she is still fidgety and upset. This morning is one of them. I can't decide whether to check if she needs another poo or just let her cry in my arms and work herself out. 'Crying in arms is better than crying alone' so the saying goes. It is from the Aletha Solter school of thought that says some babies need to cry to release:-

"In our eagerness to persist in soothing and hushing our babies, we may be missing opportunities to help them release stress and heal from trauma. Although it is stressful for babies to cry alone, there is no evidence that crying in a parent's arms is harmful, once all immediate needs are met. On the contrary, crying in arms can be beneficial for babies who have an accumulation of stress."

I find this really really hard to do. I think that if my baby is crying, there is a reason and I should be able to help her feel better by 'doing' something. That was until Miss Milliemo. She cries a way lot more than Ellie or Maia did. At least it feels that way. 

Crying is one way a baby has to communicate. It can mean so many things but Millie is rarely out of arms, she has her elimination needs met regularly and she is fed on demand. Her needs as far as I can tell are responded to and met.   As Jean Leidloff says "The presumptuous intellect has shown itself to be ill-equipped to guess at the authentic requirements of human babies. The question is often: Should I pick up the baby when he or she cries? Or should I first let the baby cry for a while? Or should I let the baby cry so that this child know who is boss and will not become a "tyrant"? The Importance of the In-Arms phase

My baby's crying stresses me out. I feel their anguish and I just want to make them feel better. I start to feel useless and helpless if I cannot help them feel better. My stress reaction probably does not help her relax.   There was no way I was going to do the Cry It Out Method since there is SO much research to suggest this method is harmful and dangerous. (10 reasons why CIO is harmful)

At first, I was convinced she was suffering some kind of birth trauma from a fast labour and meconium in her waters from pulling on her very short cord. She did really freak out with elimination stuff. I thought she perhaps she had a negative association with pooping due to the meconium. I also had a major issue with my labour pooping and kind of freaked out when it happened and I worried I had passed on some of that neurosis to her. (anything is possible). 

She would have constant little squits which really upset her so I started watching how much wheat and dairy I consumed a this can play havoc on a baby's tummy. I also started giving her a probiotic (mainstream newspaper talks probiotics) to help her system. 

I also knew her first two weeks were so incredibly stress filled due to tongue tie. Mainly our stress at not knowing what was wrong and hers at not being able to feed properly.

We tried an osteopathic treatment in which she cried and was restless the whole way through.

Around this time she developed a UTI and I felt antibiotics would really mess with her tiny already over worked system, so I drank a herbal tea specially for UTI's. It worked. She no longer cried when she peed and the funky smell was gone. Probiotics also help with UTI's.

As time went on and it was clear she just would not lie down at all. In our arms or in the sling she was relaxed. I began to wonder if her stomach was bothering her. She had sooo much snot and was constantly blocked from the never ending cold which lasted for ten weeks. That's a lot of phlegm in a wee tummy. She had constant watery fast squinty poops. The doctor recommended infacol. I reluctantly tried the alopathic route feeling weirdly like a failure for needing 'mainstream medicine'. I felt like every time she took the infacol, her tummy was more unsettled and she seemed to cry more so I stopped it and we went for another osteopathy treatment. This time she didn't cry but was still fidgety. We managed to sit her upright more which always helps with the snot runback. I also bought some echinacea root to try and heal her immune system. 

It has been a few weeks since the treatment. Her poops are thickening up occasionally although still more watery fast squitty than I would like. She is sitting for periods of time on the sofa without freaking out. She seems much more settled and content.

I do also wonder how much of Millie's issues are related to age and her maturing gut. Now that she is older, things are changing inside. "From birth until somewhere between four and six months of age, babies possess what is often referred to as an “open gut." Why Delay Solids - Kelly Mom

"The neonatal GI tract undergoes rapid growth and maturational change following birth.

* Infants have a functionally immature and immuno-naive gut at birth.

* Tight junctions of the GI mucosa take many weeks to mature and close the gut to whole proteins and pathogens.

* Open junctions and immaturity play a role in the acquisition of NEC, diarrheal disease, and allergy."

Also "Vaginally born infants are colonized with their mother’s bacteria."

Millie had a really fast birth so perhaps she didn't get enough good bacteria?

Anyway the upshot is, there have been a few occasions where Millie has cried in my arms. I generally look for a way to help her but sometimes nothing works. 

This morning she was back asleep within a minute or two!! I should have done the same!

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