How do you calm your baby?

I'm not sure if there's something wrong with Maia, or if this is just a phase, but lately we've been having a bit of a rough time in this household with her. She's still boycotting naps that last longer than 15 minutes, and at night she sleeps a maximum of three and a half hours before waking up for a feeding. The nighttime thing doesn't bug me too much, because she's miraculously staying asleep when I move her from my arms into the bassinet instead of being super-touchy about it all. And the lack of naps, you know, I could deal with it -- if she didn't need to take them. But she does, a fact which she demonstrates with red-rimmed eyes and falling asleep against my shoulder as soon as I pick her up to comfort her.

None of that's actually the problem, though. The problem is that she has had an upset stomach off and on for about a week. She'll be fine, happy and playing with us, and then just scrunch up her entire body and start screaming. It seems a lot like gas, only gas medicine doesn't make it go away. I'll feel her belly rumbling under my hand if I lay it against her stomach. Her face goes all red and she seems like she's sobbing (when she's not screaming). I can tell she's hungry because she starts sucking at my shoulder or my hand, and when it's my hand I can feel her tongue working -- then she gets pissed off because that's not what she wants. So I try to feed her, and as I tilt her body down and towards me, her face starts to get all screwy; by the time I put her to my breast, she lets out a wail, scrunches up her body once more, and starts crying. It's heart-breaking. And, it means we start the entire process of calming her down all over again.

Generally, calming her consists of one or the other of us carrying her around the house, bouncing and "shhhh"ing her. Sometimes she won't relax with me, so Chris will take her and she will. If carrying her around isn't working, I'll lie her down on the couch and try to play with her there. We also try distraction techniques: my mom bought a toy called Freddy the Firefly, and shaking him around will distract her for a few minutes so she relaxes. If that doesn't work, making lots of noise with the rattle comes next. I'll get out the playsilk, I'll call the dogs over, anything at all to calm her down.

Since it's been nicer outside, I've been taking her onto the balcony (and staying well away from the railing!), which seems to relax her a bit. It's still a liiiiiittle chilly to keep her out there for long though, so back in the house we go.

But of everything we try, there is one thing that is guaranteed to calm her down (and if it doesn't, well, we know we're screwed until she just gets over whatever the hell is bothering her): we bring her into the washroom, turn on the sink for some white noise -- and the shower if she's especially fussy -- and show her the shower curtain.

Mama & Maia

I posted this on my Facebook account as the "quintessential mommy pic" -- no makeup, hair a mess, spit-up on my shirt, doing something absolutely mind-numbing to keep my baby happy. Then again, as her Babcia (my mother) said, that's a pretty rockin' shower curtain when you're 10 weeks old.

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