Mommyhood Hacks

7 Things I Learned Caring for a Fussy Baby

I used to envy those moms who had plenty of rest when their babies were still newborns. While they sleep tightly at night, ako naman hindi magkandaugaga kung paano ko papatahanin si Zephy sa pag-iyak. I guess I can consider myself lucky because I knew then one of the reasons why Zephy was constantly crying and this is due to her inability to feed directly. Still, it was super difficult for me because we were not able to solve the problem quickly.

Because of this, she would often cry inconsolably because she wanted her milk badly but either she had to wait for it or the milk that was given to her wasn’t enough. Her crying was really bad that everytime she cried, I didn’t know what to do. I have always thought Zephy being fussy was an isolated case and that all newborns sleep peacefully until recently when I discovered that a lot of babies actually cry. And they cry a lot.

In my experience with a fussy baby, I have learned a few things.

1. Your baby, your expertise

Whenever I’d share how “iyakin” my baby is to others, I don’t usually expect to hear anything other than reassurance that this is just a phase babies go through. No, I don’t want to hear about how pacifiers could soothe my baby if she’s been given one when she’s still younger or how I have to let my baby cry it out and refuse cradling her para hindi siya masanay sa karga.

Firstly, I avoided the paci like the plague because it left me traumatised after just one instance of using pacifiers confused Zephy causing her not to latch for 1 day (Nope, I am not overreacting. 1 day is a longggg day for someone whose baby wouldn’t latch for 3 weeks!). Secondly, I don’t think matitiis kong hindi kargahin ang baby ko if umiiyak siya. No way. Put your place in your baby’s shoes kaya, pag umiyak ka tapos hindi mo alam ang nangyayari, tapos walang mag-ko-comfort sayo, how would you feel? Even more frustrated, right?

Bottomline is, whatever you’re doing now that works is just fine. You don’t have to be persuaded by other people to do things that are against your parenting style. On the other hand, you don’t have to be rude to them because most people who would tell you about ‘this and that’ are your family anyways. You wouldn’t want to engage in a word war with your MIL, would you? Maybe what you can do is gently refuse but you have to be firm about your decision. Remember, your baby, your expertise! Nobody else knows what your baby needs but you (and occasionally other caregivers and pedia of course).

2. Comparing your baby to others will only leave you stressed out.

Babies have different personalities. They are not a clean slate when they are born. They are literally just tiny humans waiting to explore the world. Just like tiny people, babies have attributes and characteristics unique to them. Comparing your babies to others will not work because they are just not the same. It’s like comparing apples to bananas. It’s emotionally draining and it’s unfair for yourself and your baby. So STOP.COMPARING. It is a bad habit that shouldn’t be practiced at all, especially kapag lumaki na ang mga chikitings.

3. It’s not your baby’s fault

It’s definitely not your baby’s fault if they are easily annoyed by even the slightest triggers (i.e light, sound, your husband. Lol). It’s not their fault if they are born with sensitive tummies that make them feel queasy or uncomfortable after feeding or just before they sleep, or a lip or a tongue tie that prevents them from latching on correctly. It’s surely not their fault for wanting your touch and warmth and for being clingy because they are babies and babies do exactly just that.

4. It isn’t your fault either.

Don’t blame yourself for having a fussy baby. It isn’t your fault either if your baby is born that way. It’s difficult especially when post-partum blues kick in and you feel like carrying all of the world’s burden. I remember when I used to cry all the time whenever Zephy cried and I didn’t know what she was crying about. I blamed myself for not being able to provide her with the nourishment she needed when she couldn’t latch on directly to feed. I used to pity myself whenever she cried and I had to give her away because I was too tired to take care of her. I used to blame myself for not being with her all the time because I was trying to recover from labor.

The thing is, you have just given birth and it’s not only physically exhausting but it is literally life-changing. You and your baby both need time to adjust and this doesn’t happen overnight. You need to clear your mind and stop putting the blame on yourself because your hands are clean. Blame nature.

5. Don’t panic.

Babies are super smart. Living in your womb for nine months has made them aware when their mommy is sad, happy, bored, or nervous. So when they’re out, they can sense when you feel anxious and when you are, they will be, too. They’d be like, “Kinakabahan si mommy, I feel worried, too! Makaiyak nga!”.

I remember back in the day when Zephy couldn’t latch, of course she’d be fussy. And everytime I’d attempt to feed her, I’d have this thought na, “Hala! Ayan na naman! Kakain na naman siya! AayAwan na naman niya ako! Hindi na niya ako love!”, and then I would cry, and then she’d cry, too (The kind that’s inconsolable and rinig sa kapotbahay). And so the vicious cycle continued until my breastfeeding counselor, Riah Talle, told me that babies can sense their carer’s anxiety. And so I relaxed. I changed my mindset about feeding time and I loosened up. Each time I would offer my boobies and if she’d refuse, I’d let it go. Until it became a habit and tension was no longer there. Then a miracle happened, Zephy successfully latched on! I was so happy because that’s one ticked off of the many, often confusing, reasons why she’d cry.

So again, bottomline is, take it a step at a time. Don’t overthink and just relax.

6. Limit google time

Googling things is like rubbing salt on fresh wound. If you don’t want to lose sleep because you thought your baby apparently has this fussiness-inducing, incurable rare genetic disease according to google, then stop searching things online. If you are truly concerned that your baby doesn’t seem too well, the best thing you can do is take her to the doctor. Almost everything can be answered by the Internet nowadays but I wouldn’t trust it when my baby is on the line.

7. Always trust your instinct

You may not know it but we have motherly powers that make us capable of knowing when our babies are in danger, are sick, or are unwell. Always trust your instinct when caring for a fussy baby. If you think she has kabag or she is hungry, then she probably is. Don’t let other people tell you off for acting on your instincts. You are doing what’s best for your baby, so just do it.❤️

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