Overall, I lucked out with Jack. He really isn't that fussy of a baby. He usually only cries when something is wrong, like he needs to be fed or is tired. But, he has his moments. And let me tell you, this kid has a set of lungs on him. There is nothing more taxing on your soul than hearing your baby scream when you are already exhausted. By 3 weeks old we figured out a few things that will calm Jack quickly and keep him happy pretty. So here is a list of the things saving my sanity:
- Swaddle Sacks: The first night at the hospital Jack was either nursing or screaming because he wanted to nurse. Michael and I were trying everything to get him to sleep more than 10 minutes. Then a nurse came in to take him for his hearing test around midnight. When she brought him back, he was all swaddled and happy. He slept for an hour until he was hungry again. I unswaddled him, feed him, and he got all fussy again. Then the nurse came in to check his vitals and swaddled him. He slept for 2 hours. Then another feeding followed by fussiness. Then another check and nurse reswaddling, followed by 2 more hours of sleep. Thus, we quickly caught on he liked to be swaddled. But as best as we tried, we couldn't get him tight enough and he kept breaking free (which just made him madder). The first night at home, we just couldn't keep him asleep for more than 30 minutes and were exhausted. Then I remembered there was a swaddle sack in the bag of hand-me-downs my friend gave us. I put him in it, rocked him until he fell asleep. And to my delight he slept for 3 hours! The next day we ordered 2 Summer Infant SwaddleMe's from Amazon. We swaddle him every night for bed, most naps, and when he is insanely fussy. He sleeps in 3-5 hours stretches at night and takes 2 or 3 good naps every day. So worth the money.
- Boba Wrap: Several of my friends told me to wear my baby. After Jack's first few days at home and him constantly wanting to be in my arms, I decided it was worth a shot. I decided on the Boba Wrap because of the good reviews and the price. I watched the videos on Youtube on how to put it on and wear your newborn thought it looked easy enough, so I ordered one off of Amazon. When it came, I was kind of overwhelmed by the amount of fabric and by the stretchiness. I am petite and I was worried I would not be able to get it tight enough to support him properly. But I went for it anyways. I spent a good 15 minutes messing with it. Once it felt right, I put him in and he was so happy! We went on a walk and he loved being wrapped. Went right to sleep. Whenever he gets too fussy now, I just put him in it and go for a walk or walk around the house. All hands free! However, there are two issues I had with it. First, it can sag. You need to tie it at your actual waist not, where you wear your pants (or atleast I need to). And you need to pull it pretty tight. But once I got the hang of it there was no more issues. Second, it gets hot. Your baby is wrapped in three layers of pretty thick fabric right up against your body. You two may get a little toasty in the summer. I recommend you wear a light tank top and put the baby in just a diaper when its warm.
- Soothie Pacifier: Jack is a sucker (and a cute one at that!). His favorite place is attached to my boobs. At first I didn't mind because I knew he was cluster feeding and growing. But when he wasn't in a growth spurt, he still loved my boobs and it began to hurt after awhile. I tried every pacifier we had but he would spit it out after a few minutes and cry. Then someone on the April 2014 Birth Club on Babycenter mentioned Soothies. They are the kind used in hospitals. They look and feel more like nipples. I ran out the Target one day when Michael got home from work and bought a two-pack. Jack took it instantly. They work great! He gets to suck and my nipples are spared. However, these only piss him off if he is actually hungry. So I need to make sure he is fully fed before I give him one. Then he will happily suck away---and sometimes even suck himself to sleep.
- Lavender Oil: Lavender is known for it's calming qualities. Jack was not a fan of baths at first so I wanted to do something to make them more enjoyable. I didn't want to use the popular Johnson and Johnson Lavender products. So I got a bottle of organic lavender oil and added a few drops to his bath. The minute we set him in, he calmed down. Now he loves baths (even when he's screaming his head off prior). And during the day if he gets too fussy and won't go down for a nap, I dab a drop on the oil on his chest. He calms down most of the time, it's almost like magic! But I need to stress that lavender oil can be a powerful relaxant and you really only need a few drops. Too much can affect your baby's nervous system (see side effects here). Also, if your baby has sensitive skin, I would suggest not applying it directly to their skin. Instead add a few drops to a carrier oil (like coconut or olive oil) and apply that to their skin.
- Relaxation Melodies App: I've used this to help myself fall asleep for years. There's a wide variety of sounds you can use for white noise. I like the combination of ocean waves and rain. It reminds of my two favorite places, Oregon (the rain) and Hawaii (the ocean). Babies like white noise because they spent 9 months inside you listening to sound of your heartbeat and other bodily noises. I thought of using this app one day when Jack was 2 weeks old and having a hard time falling asleep. So I put the sounds on and he calmed down instantly. I put it on almost every time I put him to sleep now or when he gets too fussy. He screams halfway through our morning walks on occasion. The second I put on "his music" he goes right to sleep. This app is free and totally worth the download.