Having your first baby is hard. One of the toughest parts? Not having any experience/anything to compare your child to. I've read the books about how to get your baby to sleep, I've tried all the tips. I thought maybe I was just a failure and my baby screamed all day and night because I was a bad mom :(
Turns out my baby has some serious tummy problems. I didn't know that's not how normal babies acted, because I've never had a baby before! All the advice and info in books and blogs wasn't working for my baby because my baby was in pain. So sad :(
Violet has reflux. For any mom out there who's baby screams while eating, or after eating, arches their back, wheezes/coughs/gags a lot, and spits up like crazy: LOOK INTO REFLUX. One little pill a day helps *TONS*. Even if your baby ISN'T spitting up, but has the other symptoms - look into it! There's a reflux called 'silent reflux' where the baby doesn't spit up tons, but still feels the burn!
Violet also has digestion issues. The pediatricians have told us her little system still needs to mature a bit...
At the beginning of her seventh week, we took her to see a chiropractor who specializes in allergy testing (called NAET). We had her on the reflux meds already, on special pre-digested formula, were taking her every few days to get foot-zoned, etc...That afternoon she went a few hours without screaming! It was a miracle. That Sunday she slept and we made it through all three hours of church - a FIRST for us since she was born.
She started having happy awake time! It wasn't much, but it was a massive improvement over constant fussiness and never ending hysterical fits.
We took her to get her 2 month shots the next week and told the doctor she was still struggling. He said he suspected a condition called 'delayed gastric emptying', which is common when an infant has GERD (reflux). I had read about it before and I had thought that, too. It would explain why she always pushes and grunts and fidgets and can't ever pass gas or poop without straining and crying. He prescribed a medicine called Reglan.
I had read about Reglan before and the side effects terrified me. I understand why people put their infants on it (believe me, there were days that I would've risked ANYTHING to have her stop crying!) but since she had started improving ever so slightly, I just couldn't bring myself to give it to her. As a last ditch effort, we switched her from Nutramigen (her fancy pants formula) to Gerber Good Start Gentle (a formula I had read about in online forums for parents who hadn't experienced much success on Nutramigen). I was afraid it was going to mess her tummy up worse, but it was worth a shot before starting her on a new medication.
That night she woke up every two hours to eat (like usual), but instead of taking thirty minutes to calm back down and spending every minute listening to her whine and fuss and fidget - she was quiet. She was so quiet, in fact, that I spent the entire night getting up to make sure she was still breathing! She woke up, ate, burped, fell back asleep peacefully. It was astonishing. ASTONISHING.
Don't get me wrong - she still gets belly aches and spends a lot of time cranky and not sleeping well BUT she also has days and nights that she behaves like a normal baby. I can take her out in public. I HAVE NOT HAD HER OUT IN PUBLIC LIKE EVER (because she's so miserable all the time and who likes carting around a screaming child?!). Isn't that amazing!?
So, to recap...If you're a new mom and your baby cries all day and all night:
1. Recognize that it ISN'T normal for your baby to cry that much and it ISN'T your fault!!
2. Look into reflux and how to deal with it.
3. Pay attention to your baby's gas! (Violet NEVER passed gas before we put her on this new formula. I'm not kidding you. I NEVER heard her toot except when she'd poop - and that wasn't that often! - no wonder she was so miserable!!) and consider switching formulas (if you're formula feeding. duh.)
4. Consider NAET testing and foot zoning. I never thought I'd be a believer, but after every gripe water/colic remedy/pill/etc I could get my hands on failed?? those things pulled through.
We're not 100% better, but I think we're on the path to happier times! And, oh...this day couldn't have come soon enough!! Wahooooooooo!
(PS - remember when Violet was 3 weeks old and she'd wake up, eat, then scream for two hours before screaming herself to sleep, then wake up screaming fifteen minutes later to eat and start the process all over??? 24 hours a DAY?! and how that lasted for WEEKS?! and I didn't know it wasn't normal, so I thought EVERY mother went through it and I was just a weakling for crying hysterically every day out of exhaustion?! oooh yeah...NEVER EVER again. ever. ever ever. bless america.)