Feb 14, 2005

roy orbison would be proud

How funny. I was all set to write about my daughter's crying when my entire evening was taken up with trying to stop her... crying. From other anecdotal stories, babies move out of their passive phase a few weeks into existence. For most of the first 2-4 weeks she was quite easy to deal with. Feeding, changing diapers, and burping were the extent of our duties and if done on a decent schedule you had a carefree baby who slept a lot. That changes. Some babies get 'colicky'. In other words they cry constantly and are impossible to console. We don't have it so bad. Our baby is fine most of the time and has a few outbursts that can last a while. But it's still draining.

A baby's cry induces the most heartfelt pain. You cannot ignore it and you are willing to trying anything to stop it. Rationally you know the baby is not in pain. Because if you do find something that stops them from crying they stop immediately. It's as if nothing was wrong in the first place they so drastically transform.

While our baby was crying last night I had the good luck to skim through a book that was recommended to us. It has an interesting theory about colicky babies or crying babies in general. As I said before human babies are discharged from the womb prematurely to counteract the effects of our upright walking. This author's theory plays into that. That is, that babies in the first 3 months cry because they still expect to be in the womb. So his counteractive measures all relate to trying to recreate the feeling of the womb.

The main points being to swaddle (bundling them up tightly in a blanket to simulate the confines of the womb), 'shush'-ing (to simulate the sound), and rocking (to simulate the motion). There are some more detailed things but that is the gist of it. We were doing all those things to no avail except for one simple difference. When we swaddled, we left her arms out. She constantly would thrash around trying to get her arms out. Seemed to make sense to leave it out. Turns out this is wrong. And it's wrong for another simple reason. The baby cannot really control their muscles at this point so how do you know they are thrashing their arms to get them out of the swaddle. So against my better judgment I pinned her arms into the swaddle and sure enough she thrashed. In fact it was the worst thrashing I've seen. But after 3 minutes she became another baby. Completely calm and subdued. Injecting morphine wouldn't have had as quick of an effect. And for the rest of the night we had a completely relaxed happy baby. I definitely need to read the rest of that book tonight.

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