The trouble with babies…Posted: 16/11/2014
There’s a great scene in Peppa Pig(!) when her uncle, aunt and cousin visit with their baby. As they explain that babies cry to communicate, Peppa asks how they know what the cries mean.
“We guess!” says her uncle. “Right now, we guess that he’s hungry!”
Aside from the fact that I’m quoting from Peppa Pig (talk about giving currency to the stay at home mum stereotype!), it makes me laugh because it’s so true.
BabyGirl is going through an incredibly fussy phase this last week. After much thought, I’ve narrowed down the problem to one of the following:
1. We’re going through a Wonder Week.
At just under 15 weeks, she’s apparently at the end of one Wonder Week and also possibly at the beginning of another one. Blimey, no wonder we’re struggling.
2. She’s teething.
As she’s dribbling like some sort of baby Niagra Falls at the moment, this seems a likely culprit. Plus teething is always a useful one to blame for a whole host of problems.
3. She’s going through a growth spurt.
Feeding a lot – check. Waking more often – check. It’s pretty obvious really.
4. She’s suffering with reflux.
I’ve been convinced she experiences silent reflux since she was about four weeks old. Could this be the root of all her unsettled feeding and seeming inability to sleep on her back for more than ten minutes? And how can we fix it??
5. She’s completely overtired.
I’d say this is highly likely given that naps longer than half an hour have gone out the window. I know I am.
I’m fairly sure it’s one of the above. Or possibly a combination of them all. The words ‘clutching’ and ‘straws’ don’t even come into it.
Oh, alright. I quite clearly don’t have a clue what’s up and, like Peppa’s uncle, have resorted to guessing about what on earth is going on.
Having a toddler spoils you a bit. Yes, there are tantrums. Yes, it can take so long to leave the house that you wonder why you bothered. Yes, there are a whole host of other behaviours to get to grips with. But they can talk. There is at least some hope of fathoming what is going on with them, even if it takes a while to realise that your little one’s heartrending sobbing is down to the fact you told them there is no such thing as ‘ham juice’ and therefore no they cannot have any for lunch. (True tantrum story!)
The trouble with babies is that they can’t tell us what the matter is. You are left to randomly Google phrases such as: “Fussy 15 week old baby won’t sleep longer than half an hour, won’t let me put her down, is on and off the boob, I can’t get anything done, am neglecting my three year old and beginning to go insane.” Or something like that.
Unfortunately, Google isn’t a magic baby guru and the best you get is a list of possible reasons why your teeny tot is leaving you hanging by a thread.
Instead, I have developed a survival toolkit to make it through times like this, which I’m more than happy to share:
- Repeat the mantras “It’s all a phase” and “This too shall pass” throughout the day (and night). This works better second time round when you know that they are true.
- Eat lots and lots of chocolate.
- Retain a sense of humour.
If you were expecting something more profound, I will refer back to the Peppa Pig episode, where they end up playing a trumpet and walking round the house 50 times to get the baby to sleep. The message is clear: Do Whatever It Takes To Cope.
For me, this means forgetting the housework (ha! I’ve been on essential chores only since BabyGirl was born), sleeping half sat up with a baby in my arms at night and wearing her in a sling during the day. But anything that works for you personally to make it through is a valid survival technique when the going gets tough.
Finding useful baby advice in an episode of Peppa Pig? I must be more sleep deprived than I thought…