We cannot control the weather, for example, but we can control our preparation for rain or snow.
Fussy and high-needs babies are out of our control. There may be some theories as to what can lead to a colicky or a fussy baby but, in all honesty, we do not truly know who will be destined to have the nursing all night, screaming, never-sleeping child.
It is hard coming to terms with the fact that our child’s temperament may be out of our control, that he or she has nothing biologically or physically wrong, that they are just “fussy”.
Sometimes we have to let go of our expectations and predictions and just be glad we survived the day.
We need to be proud of ourselves that we are parenting a fussy baby and that we are doing the best that we can.
There will always be those times when we have absolutely no idea what to do, how to calm a fussy baby, or how to handle a day of temper tantrums from a high-needs toddler. This is the time when it is okay, it is healthy, to admit defeat.
We cannot control every minute of every day.
I had a really hard time accepting that Tyler’s persistent personality was just that: persistent.
He is a beautiful, healthy, thriving boy, and yet I was so convinced something had to be wrong, he had to have some hidden ailment.
I had to have some control, some medication or some solution to this fussiness.
I still have many days when I have no clue what to do, or how to handle the situation, but with each challenge, comes a learning experience.
I had to accept that Tyler wouldn’t just magically stop fussing at the 12 week mark, or the 15 week mark, or the 30 week mark.
I remember having him sleep on me (the only place he would sleep) and have nothing better to do than “Google” EVERYTHING.
So one week I was sure he had “fore milk-hind milk imbalance”, the next week it must be gas, so let’s try gas drops, gas tablets, gripe water, etc.
I thought he had an ear infection at least three different times and we would take him to the doctors, only to be told that he was “just fine”.
After the colic didn’t improve, they diagnosed him with acid reflux, and the Zantac helped.
When he was about 4 months old, he started the Zantac and he was actually able to play on his back on the floor for more than 20 seconds. This was a huge improvement.
My theory is that an already high-needs, sensitive baby is going to be bothered by acid reflux more so than a “normal” baby.
Finally, after one too many trips to the ER, we received a letter from Tyler’s insurance company, reminding us that in fact the ER was for emergencies. That letter went in the baby book.
With each milestone he reaches, I truly do see some improvement.
I think back to the long days and nights of having to hold him nonstop, and then I find myself actually being able to go to the bathroom while he sits playing with his toys. Before I would have had to bring him and his bouncy sit with me.
I see a happier boy that I never thought would emerge.
I find it helps to learn what environments set him off and avoid them if at all possible.
He has a certain look that tells me, “hey mom, I am really not comfortable and you have about one millisecond to help me or I am going to scream”.
I am still learning what sets him off, but preparing for his fussiness helps me feel better. I always bring two pacifiers everywhere we go, sometimes three.
His temperament is out of my control, but whether I react negatively or positively is in my control.
I definitely still have quite a few days a week where I don’t think we will ever get past his neediness, and then he will have a random “good” day and I just cherish every moment.
Having a fussy baby is so hard, I could have never prepared for anything like this. However, I am in the midst of it, and Tyler lets me know what he needs (loudly and clearly).
I have to let go of the control sometimes and just enjoy the ride, as this too shall pass, and we will never get these moments back.
Nichelle is a stay at home mom, finishing her degree online in social science with an emphasis on early childhood education. She enjoy gardening and cooking, and reaching out to offer support and encouragement to families of fussy babies in her community.