Friday, January 21, 2011

Fabulous Fridays: The Choices I've Made Part 2

So, this week I've been writing about some choices I've made with my son up & coming soon.  And boy, I think its going to be soon ladies! 

I'm sure some women have read & wonder why I'm making these kinds of decisions, but I feel that you need to have a game plan before baby comes so everything isn't up in the air once you have a bundle of joy in your arms & you are exhausted.  If you have a game plan, though it may alter or change, will keep you from feeling utterly overwhelmed (at least that is what I am told).  Tonight I am going to discuss a book I've read called "Happiest Baby on the Block" by Harvey Karp, MD.  Now, I decided this book was better than his "toddler" book & I will explain that one later on another blog.

This book was an insight to me because I grew up in a house where you let babies "cry it out" from the start & that colic was simply "tummy troubles."  While colic symptoms can point to stomach issues, its a small part to what the problem is.  From reading this book, I found out that baby's temperament is obvious from birth.  Many babies adjust well from womb to being born into this world.  Those babies sleep well, fuss only if not fed when they are hungry & are basically good babies.  Colicky babies have trouble adjusting to all the changes (and they are huge if you think about it):  They are used to being all bunched up, warm , dark & tight in mommy's noisy uterus; constantly fed & given what he/she needs.  Then they come to this world, which--if you think about it--is silent, cold, bright  & unreliable from the start.  They have to not only adjust to these major changes but also breathe immediately & start eating/digesting food for the first time.  This could be alot for anyone to take in (think "matrix" folks).  Some babies adjust well to huge changes & other babies are seemingly "frustrated" with the transition that must be made. 

This book helps you learn how to help the "colicky" baby calm himself/herself because they haven't learned to do it yet naturally.  All babies should be cuddled & loved but there are five steps you can take to calm any upset baby (colic or not) that do not amount to spoiling.  Even if you do the things in the book, its still a massive reduction to what he/she is used to from the past 9 months.  He calls them the 5 S's:

1) Swaddling:  make it comfy & tight.  Yes, the baby may flail & be upset at this point but  its not because they don't want it...its because they don't know how to calm down & they don't like their arms all over the place (they tend to smack themselves with their poor motor skills).

2) Side/Stomach hold.  Hold your baby on his/her side or stomach in your arms (Don't put them in a bed this way because of SIDS!!)  There are three ways of holding: side cradle (facing out for not breastfeeding), the football hold (again, put baby's face out) & against the leg (arm underneath baby with head on your hand & hand near the knee).

3) "Shhhhh"  We aren't talking a quiet noise here...make some loud SHHHHHHing.  The baby is used to a noise similar to a vacuum cleaner with your heartbeat thrown in.  If you can't make the noise loud enough, have your spouse run the vacuum outside the door or a fan.  This will help baby feel comforted by recognizable sounds

4) Swinging.  This is not a big swinging back & forth but a giggle or bouncing/vibrating feeling the baby was used to from your movements & walking around. Mimick a movement similar to shivering or those people you know who nervously bounce their leg up & down while in a chair.

5) Sucking.  Give the baby something to suck on.  You could feed at this point if its time to do so or use a pacifier or if you are against that your finger.  I am opting for either the "time to feed' or pacifier (a Nuk orthodontic one).  Also, he mentioned you can put baby in a swing or a vibrating infant seat while you do this to continue the fourth step.

The important part of these steps are doing them right.  You do step 1 first by itself because if you forget it & do the others, the baby could smack himself/herself & then you are back to square one.  Steps 2-4 should be done simultaneously & step 5 should only be done after the baby has stopped crying & you have calmed him/her.  The last step is meant to continue the calmness.  If the baby falls asleep there, so be can move him when he/she wakes again. 

This book comes with details about how to effectively manage these steps, more info on the authors take on colic & also warning signs that baby's crying isn't just an upset baby, you need to call the doctor or find out what's really wrong. 

Overall, this book was a lifesaver for me.  I was concerned with my hubby & I both being "colicky" babies that we were going to end up with our son being like this.  Granted, my son hasn't been born yet, but its nice to know that if he get's really fussy, that we have a way to combat it.

I suggest all new mom's & dad's or anyone dealing with a fussy baby read this book & keep it on hand.  I've heard way too many good things about using this book when you are exhausted & need to calm to sleep baby so you can get some rest too!

I will update my reactions to this book after baby is born & I find myself using these steps.  Until then, I hope this is a help to some of my ladies! 

Have a great night & enjoy your weekend!