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Amy’s Story: “Doing it all Wrong”

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Conceived during Hurricane Irene and born during a major thunderstorm, my little Zoe seemed destined to have a tumultuous babyhood.

The pain she gave me in the womb from her seemingly super-strength kickboxing in utero, translated directly into her being fussy and clenching at the breast.

I only lasted 3 weeks with breastfeeding after it got to the point where I would cry out when she latched on (correctly might I add) and sobbing through the entire hour and a half feedings.

She would latch on, clamp on should I say, and flail her head back and side to side all the while clamped on my poor nipple.

It seemed she hated everything we had to do to her. She hated diaper changes, she hated baths, she hated her swing, she hated being swaddled, she hated being held, she hated being left along in her bassinet.

Between the pain of breast feeding and feeling completely inadequate as a mother, I was bottoming out.

She would sleep for only 90 minutes at a time, an hour of which was taken up by my pumping. So by the time I got settled in to take a much needed nap, my head hitting the pillow seemed to be a psychic siren in her head going off to cue the screaming.

Thankfully we were saved by her pediatrician recommending we look up the “Happiest Baby on the Block” and the 5 S’s.

It seemed we WERE doing everything wrong (I say this with a smile).

We were swaddling all wrong, we were holding her all wrong when she was fussy, we weren’t shushing loud enough or close enough to her ear, we weren’t setting the fan on a high enough setting to make the white noise of it soothing to her, and I had resisted buying a pacifier.

We saw immediate improvement in the amount of time it took to calm her.

Over the past 3 weeks she has slowly but steadily started getting used to diaper changes, we have several a day without any crying.

She’s had 2 baths now without crying, but usually by the end of it she is tired of being handled and lets us know. Occasionally I can change her clothes without her crying, but she still hates the swing!

Her sleeping is erratic still but sometimes we can get up to a 4 hour nap, but then she’ll have days where its back to 90 minute ones.

I broke down an bought some pacifiers and sometimes they help, but often she is disinterested.

She still reacts to feeling her digestive system begin to work during a feeding and is too distracted by it to get a full meal, so the mealtimes are short but constant, and this effects her getting regular naps. She is super sensitive.

I can say things are getting better, but they are not easy by any means.

I still often 30 hours without more than a couple hour’s sleep and it really breaks me down.

I get so anxious when my partner leaves for work and I know it’s all on me.

But then we have a good day and she hangs out with me and is all smiles, and the troubles melt away for a while.

She is the absolute love of my life and I still can’t believe I made her!

I know I have to stay positive and be patient for the day when she matures out of her super-sensitivities.

I can’t wait to get some sleep too!

Amy is a 29 year old first-time, stay-at-home, mom currently seeking a degree from UMASS Amherst’s online program in Sustainable Food and Farming. She and her boyfriend live in the charming small town of Turners Falls, Massachusetts. They have learned what true love is with the arrival of their beautiful (yet fussy!) daughter and can’t wait to watch her grow.

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