How I Survived a Super Cranky Baby
This is how I survived a super cranky baby and so can you.
When my son was born my husband and I were over the moon. We had struggled to get pregnant and had watched everyone else have babies for the last 16 months and it was finally our turn. I had been around babies my entire life so I had some idea of what newborn life looked like…. or so I thought.
My son was born in early May and those first couple of weeks were AMAZING!! My husband got a full 2 weeks off of work and we were running like a well oiled machine. What one of us lacked the other made up for and vice versa. It was magical.
and then my son turned 5 weeks old….
So it began
It started with a few hours a day. My little one would cry for a few hours straight each evening and everyone told me “he’s being a baby, this is what you signed up for.” So, a few more weeks went by and it just got progressively worse. By the time he was about 3 months old and he was screaming the whole day. 8-12 hours out of the days he was crying and/or screaming. I knew something was wrong so I took him to the doctor and after a month of back and forth we ended up at Children’s with a diagnoses of acid reflux AND colic…. He is now a happy (well most of the time) 9 month old but getting through those months were HARD. I thought I would never make it through but there were a few things that helped us cope and also seemed to help him. This is how we survived a super cranky baby and you can too!
Here are some of the things that helped us for a wide scope of reasons and not just for acid reflux.
Asking for help
I know this seems pretty basic but as a new mom a lot of us can feel like we need to do it all. As if asking for help would some how make us less amazing.. but it doesn’t! I promise it DOESN’T! When my husband was at work I was in over my head. It started with my husband telling me to go hang out with my friends in the evenings (he works in the evenings). I never wanted to though because WHO wants to listen to a baby cry all night, I didn’t and so I felt like I was inconveniencing anyone I was around.
First, my in-laws invited me over one evening for dinner and helped me out for a few hours. They would rock him and pace with him until I needed to nurse and even though I was still with him and could hear him crying or screaming being around other people helped me so much. I felt like I could breath knowing that others heard him and I wasn’t going crazy. Not to mention being able to put him down or hand him off gave me just a few moments to sit and relax.
(My son and his Pops on our Mondays out)
It was so helpful that I made this part of my weekly schedule. Mondays were the hardest because Alex was at home to help out all weekend to help out. When Monday rolled around and I was all alone with the baby again it seemed so much more difficult. So every Monday I would go to my in-laws house for dinner and to sit for a few hours. They got to visit with their grand baby, we got out of the house and I got a little time to breath. It was (and still is) a win, win, win. After a few Mondays I started to add more scheduled visits to my week to see other people. Asking for help or even working in a few dinners with friends and family was by far the biggest life saver with a super cranky baby.
As a stay at home mom (and I’m sure for working mamas too!) feeling like the walls are closing in was a feeling I got a lot. By that I mean, you can only be in the same rooms for so many days before you feel like they are getting smaller. As a first time mom who had gone to work Monday through Friday, staying home everyday was a HUGE culture shock to say the least!! My baby was born in May so the weather was normally warm. My husband was home in the mornings so that’s when we would walk. Every morning we would either find a new park or just walk around the block. Babies are so curious and on the days where I got my son out and walked with him he seemed to be a little less cranky.
I would load him up in his baby carrier (I love this carrier for newborns and smaller babies and this one for older babies ) so he was close to me and on nice days we would walk, just for a short time like 30-60 mins. Not only was he getting out of the house and exploring new things to see and hear but I was getting out too! Babies pick up on your emotions so when I felt stressed and over whelmed he picked up on that. So getting out of the house would help my mood and in return help him as well. Again, a win, win. Bonus I was getting a small workout in each day too!
(A few photos from our walks)
Now this tip may seem a little nontraditional to some but I was trying everything at this point.
One evening my son was going on hour 8 or 9 of screaming when my husband got home from work baby and I were both in tears . I was so overwhelmed and I felt helpless. My husband jumped in the shower and we sat in the bathroom so I could talk to him while I cried. The screaming was getting worse and all the sudden my husband said take his clothes off and throw him in here with me…. what!? Babies can’t have showers! Well, mine did! I stripped him down and my husband held him in the shower.
IT WORKED! For the first time in over 8 hours the crying stopped. I felt so relieved. This small miracle lead to other water related things that worked. When he was crying sometimes I would fill up the bathroom sink and let him kick his feet in the water, give him a bath, take bath with him or just wipe him down with a warm rag. All of these things helped… sometimes.
Anything I could do to distract him I would try. One night after he woke up we turned the vacuum on. It was loud and a constant sound. It immediately calm him down. We quickly realized we couldn’t run our vacuum all night so we had to search out other options. The first thing we found was a wonderful YouTube video of a vacuum running for 8 hours!! It was a life saver. We would throw our phone on charge and turn the video on and we all three would fall asleep to it. This worked for a little while but when we went to transition him into his own bed we had to find another source for sound.
We used this awesome little white noise machine.
It’s small but works wonders! Not only does it make multiple sounds it has pictures it projects on the ceiling.
Yeah, Yeah I know it’s corny… But seriously.. mamas, LOVE. Love your little baby and love on them. What I mean is even when the baby is crying and has been for hours try and step back or step away and think about how happy that little baby makes you. Love on your little one. Keep him/her close. In those first couple of months especially all they have ever known is the sound of your heart beat and your scent so hold them close. You’re not going to spoil them they NEED you. Hold them, lay them on your chest, just love on them.
For me I had to walk away or think about it before bed. Just the simple fact that I had spent so many nights praying for that little bugger and now he was here. Whether he screamed all day (and night) was irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. In those silent moments I would think of the good, that one little smile I might have gotten that day or the sleepy snuggles… I would think about how this time will pass. That cranky baby won’t be little forever. So..while they are little take time to love them even when they are at their worst. It’s not easy but nothing about being the parent of a tiny human is.
(bath time one night when he had been screaming for hours)