Thursday, April 19, 2007

Baby Talk

Today I don't know what's wrong with her...she's been very fussy these past few nights and today in particular she doesn't want to be down out of my arms at all. And since she won't take a soother to try and relax and since I still need to try and get a few things done, I brought out the snugli for the first time. This is how I've spent most of my morning. Sarah seems to really love it and it allows me to have full use of both of my hands.

While on the topic of having my baby up in arms...let's talk about crying...

A while ago during my pregnancy I was watching Oprah when she aired THIS EPISODE about the language of babies. A lady named Priscilla Dunstan had noticed with her own child a distinct cry for each thing the baby wanted/needed. She theorized that perhaps all newborns are born with this "language" and set out to experiment. She found that with 1000 newborns tested from all over the world, there were many cries that had a particular sound in common. Here are five she discussed on Oprah:
Neh = hungry
Owh = sleepy
Eh = Upper Gas/Burp
Heh = discomfort
Eair = Lower Gas
I was skeptical but intrigued and decided that I would try her thoery when my own baby arrived. At first when Sarah came I didn't even think about it but one frustrating day of crying and me not quite sure what to do I thought about it and went online to research. Sarah was mostly making the "Neh Neh" sound...hungry? How can that be? I seemed to be feeding her constantly. But hungry she was. I also found the "eh" sound worked for when Sarah needed that extra burp and the strong "eair" sound when she seemed to have gas. The "heh" and "owh" not so much but 3 out of 5...not bad.

Most imporantly what I've discovered is that scary as the crying is when you don't know what's wrong and feel helpless, eventually you begin to recognize your babies cries and what they mean. For example:
Hungry - she's crying AND trying to eat her hands while smacking her lips vigorously
Sleepy - crying interspersed with yawning
Burp - she does this little gaggy thing
Lower Gas - Cries really hard and strong like in pain and keeps pulling her legs up to her belly
Discomfort - she feels too hot or too cold, seems not to like the position she's in OR is a little smelly with needing a diaper change.

And then there are the times when it seems nothing works and all you can do is try and stay calm and do everything possible to soothe. Eventually something stops the madness.

This also brings me to a contraversial topic I feel very passionate about - that is the "just let them cry" theory. Seems some brainiac doctor or scientist wrote a book telling us to ignore our babies and some people actually bought it!

I know there are times when we are tired and frustrated and don't know what else to do. I know there are times when we are mid-supper, mid-laundry, mid-shower when our babies start to cry and we may need a few minutes before we can get to them. I'm not talking about the whimpers and gurgles and sighs our babies make when we put them down or when they first wake up - because I also believe that we need to give them some time to self-soothe instead of picking them up with every sound.

What I'm talking about here is full-fledged crying and the parents who make the conscious decision to just sit and listen to the screaming because some idiot told them that paying attention to their newborns only means of conversing with us would somehow constitute "spoiling". I just don't understand at all - even animals, as we've all seen, are distraught at their babies crying and instinctively comfort their young by feeding them, cleaning them, nudging and cuddling them. But we humans, given the choice, sometimes go against our better judgement and ignore our motherly instincts! Why is that?!

Isn't it partially because we have such a distorted view of what "spoiling" actually is. We have become parents who don't take the time out to communicate with, snuggle with, read to, eat dinner with our families. And then we feel guilty and try and buy affections with material possessions. Isn't all that stuff what spoiling really is?

Overall, I simply believe babies cry for a reason. They can't spell out for us what they want and how else are they to tell us? To ignore them, in my opinion, is teaching them right from the get-go that they can't rely on us, the parents who were blessed with having them in our lives to begin with. What I think about and breaks my heart are the poor little babies who are out there in orphanages with nobody to love them, nobody to meet their basic needs. Doesn't the thought of that just make you want to hold and hug your baby all day long? Or what about if you DID let your baby cry all night long and after she finally went back to sleep she dies of SIDS...we don't know what life might bring and wouldn't you give everything to have the time back to just pick her up and soothe her? So whether it's for feeding, burping, changing, sleeping, or simply to be cuddled (cause don't we all need a little love sometimes?), please pick your baby up, let her know she's loved and okay and that you're doing your best.

And if doing all those things will make my baby spoiled...then very spoiled my baby will be!


Quirky Christa said...

Preach it Sista! :)

Stephanie said...

I saw that show too and thought it was really interesting. I don`t think I could ever let a baby cry it out-it just breaks their spirit.