How to Calm a Baby 0-3 months: The 5 S's
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
Step 1: Swaddle
Wrap your baby in a swaddle. It is best to practice wrapping baby in a swaddle when she is calm to get her used to the swaddle. But if she is fussy continue wrapping in the swaddle even if she appears to not like it. Make sure arms and legs are wrapped snug in the swaddle.
Step 1a: Wrap or sling
During the day, wear your baby around in a wrap or sling. The snug, tight, close, swaying motion of a wrap reminds your little one of the uterus and makes him feel right at home and calm. A sling also teaches your baby the difference between night and day.
Step 1b: Sleep Sack
During the night, we would put our son in a sleep sack when he was ready for bed. He was the most secure in the sleep sack and had a harder time wriggling out of them.
Step 2: Side/Stomach Position
Once your baby is nicely swaddled, roll him onto his stomach or side in your lap. This position will relieve any pressure or gas that he may be feeling in his stomach. Never put a baby to sleep in this position.
Step 3: Shush
Next, add a loud shushing sound. Moms tend to do a quiet shushing sound but the louder the better. It was noisy in the uterus. Download some white noise, a high pitched hair dryer sound, or white noise and turn it up. Turn on a sound machine for the evening.
Step 4: Swing
Then add in swinging or gently rocking to replicate the movements of the womb. Whether you use your arms to jiggle your baby, a wrap, an exercise ball to bounce, or a swing/bouncer, the gentle motions will calm your child down in no time.
Step 5: Suck
Finally, plop a pacifier or teether into your baby's mouth to add the cherry on top!
What every happened to predictability? The Tanners and Fullers might still be wondering in 2020, but they must not have looked too hard to find it because it is sure living in my household. I love routines just as much as I love finding change on the ground, watching airplanes take off and land, and doing crosswords in the morning. They're a pretty big deal to me. I love reading other people's routines. I love watching stories on people's routines. There is something about that tantalizing taste of predictability that really gets me pumped. The satisfying smell of familiarity that tickles my fancy. And the pleasant performance of doing the same thing day in and day out.
With that said, it's important to keep in mind that routines are not rigid. They are flexible to deal with changes, to spice things up every now and then, and to keep you safe. Here are my routines for the weekdays and weekends.
My Weekday Routine
And that is our routine! It is isn't set in stone and varies from weekend to weekend. Remember routines are flexible. Sometimes do we have to postpone a nap or skip it entirely? Yes, that's life. Occasionally, do I have to "ignore" Henry, so I get get necessary work and household projects done? Yes, it happens. From time to time, do we stay inside all day because well we don't feel like leaving or changing from our pajamas. Yes, of course. A routine is what works best for you and is subject to change. Let me know your routines!
I’ll be honest. I thoroughly enjoyed breastfeeding, but I never expected to one day be sitting on the grimy floor of a supermarket bathroom squirting milk out of my overly full breasts. That would have been a hard pass for me in the Places To Pump Department, and I had already found myself pumping on the sweaty seats of a high school bus at a cross country meet as the bus driver blocked teenagers from climbing aboard a few weeks earlier. Nevertheless, that September day there I was crouched on the ground desperately squeezing the milk out.
I need to back up a bit before arriving to how I got in that situation on that particular day. By the time September rolled around I was in my 8th month of breastfeeding and pumping. It had been going well. Breastfeeding had been delightfully easy from the start (Cue eye roll and the chorus of, “Must be nice,” from all the cracked nipples and engorged women out there).
That said, I wasn’t ready to relinquish the power my boobs had quite yet, but I wouldn’t have argued if given a break from the constant need to have someone suckling on me for nourishment, even for only a few days.
The opportunity presented itself when a friend of mine announced he was getting married near San Francisco in September. My husband and I didn’t debate long.
We booked our flight. We were excited, but as the trip quickly approached, I began to get anxious about being away from my son and breastfeeding.
With more and more research I gathered from the internet, I soon came to find out that pumping on a vacation was more like a full time job. You had to make sure you had all the right supplies: coolers, ice packs, cleaning brushes, breastmilk bags, portable battery pack, multiple flanges, bottles, and a side of determination and perseverance. Not to mention, you had to ensure that there was enough milk left at home to last your son the whole time you were away. It was a lot for only a few days.
Not too long later, there I was trekking through TSA with my Medela in hand and a forced smile plastered on my face, ready to force myself to have some fun. After getting through the plane ride and having to pump on the plane, I was starting to feel more relaxed and that this was a good idea.
Later, we met up with our other friends at the hotel. The weather was beautiful. The backdrop gorgeous. The food delicious. We danced, ate, and drank our way through the wedding, having a ton of fun. The next day, we made our way to San Francisco and then spent the day walking throughout the city, taking in all the sights and tourist attractions. So far the day was going great!
Which leads me to why I was sitting on the floor of a grocery store bathroom. What I didn’t fully realize was that without my son sucking out every last drop of milk, my breasts filled up fuller and faster, which meant I had to pump more, which meant the more I pumped, the more my boobs thought I needed more milk. Supply and demand. Simple economics. Hence, a problem arose.
On our walk through the city, I had only brought along my handheld pump because I didn’t want to lug around all the supplies for the motor pump. As hour 4 quickly came and past, I knew I had to desperately get to a bathroom to relieve myself. I scrambled to a Starbucks bathroom, locked myself in a stall, and tried letting the milk flow naturally. Nothing happened. I was hyper aware that there was a line to use the bathroom, my friends and husband were patiently waiting, and I was super uncomfortable squished in this box. It was taking forever, and I began to panic.
Soon, I abandoned my post and went to find my group. I would suck it up. I didn’t want them to spend their vacation confined to my boobs’ time and agenda. As we walked some more, my boobs started hurting a lot. I was getting engorged, and any woman who has breastfed before knows that this isn’t a pleasant experience. I dreaded mastitis. I needed to do something. And fast.
Then, there in the horizon I spotted an oasis in a desert, a Safeway. It was all in the name. My way to safety. Safeway = grocery store = private bathrooms = pump in peace. I darted to my refuge, throwing back a, “You guys don’t wait for me. We’ll meet up later.” I scoured the store for the bathrooms and found them tucked away in a hidden corner. Perfect. I nearly sprinted to the room. Finally, with the door locked behind me, I sighed a deep breath of relief. Then, I surveyed my surroundings.
It was the kind of bathroom that reeked of urine, had toilet paper scattered throughout the floor, and had a toilet that was filled to the brim with piles of toilet paper. Not the most ideal or sanitary place to squeeze milk out of your boobs, but it would have to do. At least, I was in peace and quiet. I settled on the floor on a toilet seat cover, relaxed, and let the handheld pump do its job.
What felt like only a minute later, I heard noises outside of the two bathrooms. Then, there was a knock. Was a line seriously forming for people to use the restroom? How many people had to suddenly pee in a grocery store, so much so that they would abandon their carts? I, for one, rarely used the facilities in a shopping market. What the H-----??? Well, this was San Francisco where everyone was probably perfectly hydrated. Curse you, West Coasters, and your need to be healthy. My “just a minute” wasn’t going to cut it anymore after the 4th minute. I texted my husband. He would save me.
And he did. He stood outside the bathrooms directing people to another stall, telling these poor people with weak bladders that his wife was pumping inside. I did the deed and felt my boobs sag with relief. Then, I had to pour that precious liquid down the drain since I didn’t have the means to safely store my milk. Oh, what we do for our children. I opened the door, walked out, and turned one last time to look at my safe haven that wrenched me from my struggles. A dingy bathroom floor where I had pumped.
Originally posted on Scary Mommy.
Simply put. I don't make dinner. But let me preface: I can make dinner. I have made dinner. I just don't.
Let me back up. I grew up with my mom making homemade meals, and, despite her protests, she is a good cook. We sat around the dinner table practically every night and had meals. My grandma was the same way. She was really good. For years the whole family would gather EVERY Sunday at her house to have a home cooked meal. I wanted that for my future family. I envisioned coming home from work and prepping a gourmet dinner filled with all the food groups. We would sit around the table, talk about the day, and throw our heads back in laughter. I pictured making my husband's favorite meals. Meals he could brag about to his friends. You know, the quintessential things white people dream about.
Then, I met my husband. His mom is a good cook. His dad is a good cook. Naturally, he became a good cook as well. In the beginning of our marriage, I tried fixing meals, but my husband was just better. And I had an epiphany - I DON'T LIKE COOKING. I don't. I dread thinking of meals to have for the week. I despise chopping, dicing, or slicing anything. I dislike frying, sautéing, whisking, or mixing. So my husband took over. In fact, he was glad to. He enjoys cooking and thinking of meals. I threw in a feeble attempt every now and then, but in all I don't do it. And for a while I felt bad about it. I felt like I should be doing it more. I felt like it should be my role. Not the husband's. Those feelings lingered on, so once in a while I would half-heartedly suggest I take over the cooking for the week. I even made a New Year's Resolution to cook a meal once a week. That didn't last long. Then, this year I finally learned to let go after a year of having to let go.
My first encounter this year of letting go came two days after the New Year, and it hit me like a slap on the face. I was about 36 weeks pregnant when I learned that I had to have a c-section because of a brain aneurysm. The whole pregnancy my neurologist had said I would have a normal birth until on second thought she decided it would be safer if I did not. I pleaded. I didn't want a c-section. I wanted a birth the natural way. Like somehow having a c-section made me less of a woman or a mother. So not true. Finally, I let go. It felt better that way, succumbing to what is. And guess what? The c-section was fine. Actually, it was more than fine. It was my son's birth story. It was his perfect way into this world, and it was because I let go.
The letting go continued on that year when after spending nearly 6 1/2 months at home with my son, I had to let go of the routine and schedule I had carefully crafted for him and hand it over to my in-laws and mom. I had to let go that they wouldn't do everything the way I did it, and it would be ok. I had to let go of that guilty feeling that having a career made me less of a mom. I could balance both and be good at both.
When Henry spat up all over my outfit the moment we were about to leave, I let go.
When the mother-son photo shoot I had planned turned into Henry crying and then falling asleep, I told myself to grin and bear it and then let go.
When Henry woke up at the crack of dawn, and I had to drag myself out of bed, I let go. Sometimes.
When Henry had explosive diarrhea on his Breakfast with Santa outfit, so he had to wear his Christmas Morning outfit instead, I reluctantly let go.
When Henry would fling his food all around while I watched helplessly, I didn't want to, but through gritted teeth and clenched fists, I took a deep sigh and then let go.
And finally, later on in the year, I had to let go that my breastfeeding journey would have to end sooner than I had in mind. I found out that I had to have surgery on my brain aneurysm, and the medicine I would have to be on required me to stop breastfeeding. I cried. I didn't want it to have to end, but when I let go and let God, it became ok. I had no control over the matter, and finally letting go was like freedom from the bondages of worrying. The world didn't end when I stopped breastfeeding. We had some setbacks, but my son is still happy and healthy. Again, it's our story.
After a year of letting go, I can say that I don't make dinner. And I, Lauren, am now okay with that.
This once a week blogging is definitely going out the window. With teaching and coaching officially underway, I collapse on my bed around 9:30 PM every night in a comatose state. I have little energy to wash my body and brush my teeth. Do you think I have time to blog? No! And don't make me. Thank you.
Anyway, Baby B is starting to develop a somewhat sense of hearing, and I am about to commence an all out North Korea effort on brainwashing my baby into learning about sleeping. We're going to talk about sweet, savory slumbering all day until I wear my baby out at nighttime, and then we are going to actually sleep after playing the propaganda Sleep Song: Sleep You Little Bastard. (*Disclaimer-I do not call my baby bastard. I actually play my tummy lullabies and classical music). So that's pretty much what is going on in the pregnancy now.
I hate this phrase. I always have. Some women are skinny by genetics. Some are skinny because they work out really hard and eat healthy. That doesn't make them bitches, Meghan Trainor!
However, that kind of changed when I got pregnant. So James and I are at the new Raleigh food hall, which is AMAZING! So much food everywhere and with my appetite back I was in heaven. After devouring empanadas and beans, I was feeling HUGE. My jean shorts immediately became unbuttoned, farts were escaping my butt, and I was spread out like I was Jabba the Hutt. While I was transforming from woman to creature, a Skinny Bitch came sidling up next to us with her boy toy. She had on high heels, skinny jeans, and a low cut top with no bra. She was drinking a Mai Tai and get this....eating nothing! In a place called a Food Hall, she was eating no food! Instead she was snapping selfie after selfie. As the umpteenth fart fought its way out, that was the moment when I first used the term Skinny Bitch. And I left feeling more satisfied than ever.
Week 17 Baby was the size of a Tangy Tangerine and Week 18 baby was a sweet potato. Yum Yum.
Hush Little Baby. Don't say a word. Or Mommy's going to call you a little Turd. And if that turd does stink, you better close your eyes and don't blink, you little Bastard
-The propoganda Sleep Song
North Korean Mommy
As you can see, I got a little behind in my blogging, so I will combine two weeks together. Here are the major points that happened.
Week 15 baby was the size of a Hass Avocado which I love! And Week 16 baby was the size of a Dill Pickle which I also now love!
A prayer copied from my weekly prayers from Polimino.
I pray for my baby's hair and skin. Thank You for the wonderful way You make us, with hair to beautify our appearance. I pray that as my child grows, she/he will be pleased with the type of hair You've given him/her. Help me instill a healthy self-esteem in my child, so she/he grows to be a happy person, content with the way he/she looks but not vain or narcissistic.
I pray for my baby's skin, that it will be healthy and perform the function You've created it to do. Thank You for giving us beauty combined with protection in the organ that is our skin.
You are a wonderful, loving God. Your Word says that You even know the number of hairs on our head, and I know that means You are concerned with every detail of us. Thank You for caring and loving us so much. I praise You for my baby, growing inside me. I know that You love my baby and see him/her even as she/he is yet unborn.
In Jesus' name. Amen.
Dear Son or Daughter,
I am looking forward to seeing your beautiful skin and hair both of which are combined from a black man and a white woman. Know that we see you as a child of God and perfect in all ways. However, as you grow older the world maybe won't see you as such. They might judge you by the color of your skin and the texture of your hair. I pray that we can pass on a sense of pride and contentment in you for the way you look. I pray that your skin and your hair are never a reason to hang your head or think less of yourself. I pray that you see yourself as beautiful. The world may not always be just and equal, but I pray that you will rise above that and fulfill all your dreams.
Still sick. So tired. Just.want.to.sleep. On a prescription medicine called Diclegis. Helps with nausea but makes me more tired. Little motivation to continue this blog. The weeks are blurring together. What am I even talking about? I have no idea anymore.
THe Evolution of the gag
I have discovered four types of gag reflexes during my pregnancy. Let me introduce you to each one of them.
1.) The Silent Gag-This is a harmless gag brought on by unpleasant odors and sights. Usually I can do this gag discreetly, but if someone does catch me in the middle of performing this routine, it just looks as if I am making a rather strange face. This is a one and done gag.
2.) The Vocal Gag- This is a little less conspicuous than its partner gag, Silent. However, I can still usually pass off this gag unnoticed by feigning a cough or as if I am mimicking some dying animal. The Vocal Gag is brought on by aromas and foods that are slightly more distasteful.
3.) The Continued Gag- This gag, as the name suggests, is a repetition of gags followed in rapid succession of one another. Commonly caused by the inability to get said smell, thought, or vision out of my head in time, The Continued Gag could lead to vomiting if action isn't taken immediately. In order for the Continued Gag to be tamed, the smell must be removed from my nasal cavities immediately or I must remove myself from the Line of Fire. I must sit down, take deep breaths, and remain immobile until the gagging stops and the feeling of sudden heat passes. Anyone who is around me must seek to my needs instantly or otherwise he/she will be succumbed to puke on or near him/her.
4.) The Throw Up Gag - Sometimes this gag proceeds without warning or can stem from the Continued Gag. As you can likely guess, this gag ends in throw up exiting my body onto whatever location is nearby. This is the deadliest of gags and precaution must be taken to avoid this gag at all costs.
The baby is the size of a brilliant beet. I got the beet. I got the beet. I got the beet. Yeah, I got the beet!
Dear Beet Baby,
Mommy just wants you to know that she loves you, and thinks you are the most precious human. She will do al.......zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. And justice for all. Amen.
This would have been another week of the usge, nausea, heartburn, upset stomach, diarrhea (well most of that), if not for a trip to the doctor's office. James went with me this time and together we got to see our baby on the screen. I was amazed! So much clearer this time. Like there is obviously something in my uterus that looks like a tiny human being with a heartbeat!! We could see him/her squirming around and kicking those legs a lot. The doctor said, "Looks like we have a runner." Score for me. Seeing our baby so alive and real made me realize what I am actually working for, and I temporarily forgot how poorly I was feeling lately (Don't worry the self-pity comes back). The heartbeat had climbed a bit to 165 bpm, another indicator that we are having a girl, and everything appeared to be healthy and running smoothly.
Usually at this point in the pregnancy is the time to start thinking about whether you want to do any genetic testing to find out if the baby has Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida, or other chromosomal defects. Some of the tests are as simple as blood work and some are a bit more invasive. Talk to your partner and your doctor about what tests are right for you.
The baby is the size of a jalapeno, and I'm feeling hot, hot, hot. More like something hot is brewing in my stomach and lower chest, and I have little energy or desire to fix my hair and put on makeup although a lot of husbands have a newfound attraction to their wives during pregnancy. I see James checking me out as I am puking on the toilet. I know he likes that.
Dear Hot Stuff,
So you think you are a hot shot, showing off in the womb, kicking and turning about, doing 180s and flips. We shall see about that. If you get Mommy's genes and abilities, there is no way you will be a dancer, gymnast, or cheerleader. I have some videos to show you. However, Daddy is like a ninja and loves jumping off stuff and leaping up rocks. Whatever talents and abilities you have, we will love you no matter what and will help you foster and grow those talents. Keep moving around and never stop exploring, Little One.
Not much to update you on with this week. I'm still sick and still throw up occasionally. I think about the baby a lot. Is the baby ok? Is the baby healthy? Is the baby getting enough attention? Is the baby dying? Why is no one holding and massaging the baby? I also spend a good bit of time thinking about the actual baby too. Ba-dum-ch.
During this week, additionally, I spent an unhealthy amount of time binge-watching and analyzing true crime documentaries about husbands who allegedly killed their wives (#wherestheevidence #theowltheory #thestaircase) and mothers who allegedly (Please, she waited 30 days to report her daughter missing #guilty #justiceforCaylee) killed their daughters. This is a wonderful way to prepare for the birth of your child! I don't understand why it isn't in all the books.
Just when this week couldn't get anymore humdrum and repetitive, we had a nice little treat which really uplifted us. More on that next time.
Acronyms and Abbreviations
After being on a lot of forums and baby websites, I learned that new time moms have a lot of lingo that I need to gdw (get down with). Here is a short list of some of the most commons.
BF = breastfeeding
CC = controlled crying
CIO = cry it out
DH = dear husband (usually expressed when talking negatively about one's partner)
DPO=days past ovulation
EBF = exclusively breastfeeding
EDD = estimated date of delivery
FTM = first time mom
LO = little one
MS = morning sickness
NAK = nursing at keyboard
NIP = nursing in public
NTNP = not trying/not preventing
POAS = pee on a stick
SAHM = stay at home mom
WAHM = work at home mom
WOHM = work out of home mom
The baby is the size of a ripe apricot. Looking a little round, ammirite?
Just because Mommy likes to watch shows about (alleged) murderers doesn't mean that she is plotting to kill you or daddy. You can sleep well at night.
YCM (your crazy mom)
I am about to get vulnerable and slightly deep. I was at an all time low in the pregnancy. The morning sickness had reached it's peak. My stomach hurt. My head ached. I was beyond tired. I had thrown up multiple times. I was feeling what I imagine to be heartburn or something brewing in my lower chest. My appetite was pretty nonexistent. Week 10 was definitely the worst. I was feeling sorry for myself and having thoughts like If I can't even deal with being sick, how am I going to be a mom? There is so much worse happening in the world, and I am complaining about this. I feel so weak. How do other women do this? I can barely cope, and I don't even have to work. What's wrong with me? While those thoughts were milling around in the back of my head, something happened that began to change my perspective.
I have always been a big believer in the positive power of prayer. No, I do not think praying will stop bad things from happening. Bad things will still always happen. I do, though, believe prayer will change the way we view, perceive, and look at bad things. The more we pray, the more we can gain positive control of a situation rather than slipping into despair.
So there I was at the airport throwing the ultimate pity party for myself and silently weeping over how I could possibly endure any more weeks of feeling this way. The negative thinking was spinning out of control. That was until I sat down on a random seat in the airport and felt something underneath me. I pulled the object out from under me, and it was a rosary. I teared up, stuck the rosary in my purse, and began to pray and pray and pray until slowly my mind starting shifting. I would love to say that the sickness miraculous disappeared, but it didn't. In fact, it got slightly worse, for when I arrived home after the flight, I puked violently three times. But instead I received something better - the clarity that suffering is a part of life, and there is something meaningful at the end of it.
"What we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later." Romans 8:18
A brief review of products
Here are some of the things I tried to relieve the nausea.
The baby is the size of a Brussels sprout, which have grown on me more since I have moved down South. Just like a Brussels sprout, this baby has grown on me.
Dear Sprout and all children who are suffering,
God, our Father, we pray that you
will protect our children.
Keep them safe from harm and help
them to grow healthy in mind and body.
Give them enough strength to keep their faith in
You, and keep alive their joy in the
Birth of Jesus at Christmas time.
(St. Nicholas Patron of Children)