Baby Top Ten List: What your baby is really trying to tell you

Ah, if only all our mothering moments could look like this. Perhaps it's best if we choose to remember these images of babyhood and not the less happy ones?
Ah, if only all of our parenting moments could look like this. Perhaps it's best if we choose to remember these images of babyhood and not the less happy ones?

Falling in love with your baby is easy, taking care of a fussy baby… not so easy. All that crying really is your baby’s way of communicating. Now, what on earth is he or she trying to say? And why didn’t anyone warn you about this before you had children? Don’t be tempted to call it colic just yet. You can discover what is wrong.

As a first-time mom, I wrote these instructions for my husband so I could take a break. He was always able to figure out our babies’ cries by using this as a checklist. Once your baby is on a consistent routine, you will eliminate a lot of crying and fussiness by meeting needs before they become urgent. In the meantime – if you’re at your wits end – take a deep breath and try each of these until you find the right one.

Ten things your baby is trying to tell you:

  1. Change my position. Or change your position; stand, bounce or sway. (While back sleeping may be considered safest, many babies are uncomfortable sleeping on their backs. Research other safe sleeping positions for fussy babies.)
  2. Burp me. Try different positions, not just on your shoulder.
  3. Feed me. If I’m really hungry, I may resist a bottle at first. And if I’m usually breastfed, I may not take kindly to a bottle. Be gentle but persistent. It also helps to use a wide-mouth bottle with a medium or fast flow. (Fussy babies are often fussy because we are unable to digest cow’s milk in any form; whether in mom’s diet passed through the breast milk or in dairy-based formula… please try eliminating cow’s milk.)
  4. Talk to me and sing to me. Let me know you love me.
  5. Help me sleep. If I won’t look you in the eye, I may be really tired. Take me to a dark, quiet room and rock me to sleep.
  6. Hold me in the “pooping position.” When I’m semi-reclined in your lap, gently push my knees to my chest or rub my belly. Gas drops or Gripe Water may help relieve gas pains.
  7. Check my diaper. Cloth diapers may need to be changed more often than disposables, but disposables are more likely to irritate the skin. If diaper rash is severe and not related to a food allergy; try switching to cloth.
  8. See if I’m too hot or too cold. I probably don’t need a hat, jacket, booties and mittens inside the house.
  9. Swaddle me. I feel more secure when I’m wrapped snug in a blanket.
  10. Hold me. It’s what I love most, and I even produce growth hormones when held. Carry me in a sling or other carrier to make both of us happy.

You will know when you’ve been stricken with baby love. Your heart melts at the sight of one tiny grin and the weight of the world seems to lift at the sound of a contented baby sigh. Caring for a baby is exhausting, sometimes frustrating work, but baby love is fierce … and can inspire you to accomplish anything you can imagine. Keep up the great work, you really can do this, and all these challenging stages will pass long before you are ready to give them up.

Do you have a consistent routine yet? At the very least, get up at the same time every morning and go to bed at the same time every night. You can ease a fussy baby simply by giving them a consistent, loving environment. Crying generally boils down to three basic needs: FOOD, SLEEP and  COMFORT. The top ten list addresses all these needs.

Mom Dare: Your challenge this week is to make sure you are meeting your own three basic needs. Are you eating healthy meals at regular intervals, sleeping whenever possible and depending upon someone close to you for moral, spiritual and physical support? Taking care of yourself is the best defense against the frustrations of parenting. So take three things off of your To-Do List and pencil in a nap, a healthy meal and time with someone you love instead.

Sharron Wright is the work-at-home mother of three girls, ages 2, 5 and 7. Her mission is to help other new parents feel empowered and to instill in them the confidence to care for their babies in a loving, positive way that respects the uniqueness of all children. Visit her at

Trusting Birth

A few days ago I was putting together a letter for the 2010 Trust Birth Conference and it started me on a train of thought that culminated today as I was sitting having the second pedicure of my life at the local beauty school. Let me take you for a little ride.

Most of us know that your bond with your child starts at a very early age, pre-birth actually. They hear you and are able to sense1101712371_b76082939f many of your emotions. They can even detect some of your actions. A baby can sense when they are wanted and loved and when they are not.

From the very first moment I wanted my baby and everything to do with baby making to be healthy and holistic. Several people suggested I drink before my wedding night to make things “easier.” My thought was “Why? I want this to be the night that my husband and I become one, where we attach, where we form our life-long bond, why would I want to be anesthetized for something as amazing as this?”
Continue reading “Trusting Birth”

Following the Principles: Respond With Sensitivity

Part 3  of a series of 8. It seemed as if the universe was not willing to allow me to get this post completed on time. With strong opinions firmly in hand, I have sat down a dozen times to write this post…and nothing. Sure I have some drafts…some ramblings about babies, and how this pregnancy has confirmed and reinforced my feelings. But they all lacked a real story. But now, I see the reason behind these delays. It seems as if the universe wanted to show me a deeper and broader truth about treating the most vulnerable members of our society with dignity, respect and sensitivity.

A memory we hope Grandpa gets to keep...
A memory we hope Grandpa gets to keep...

Very recently, on a beautiful sunny Wednesday afternoon, Sir Hubby receives a call from his brother. Their father has just been diagnosed with brain cancer. After an all night drive across the great state of Pennsylvania– Erie to Pittsburgh to Philadelphia — Sir Hubby and Sir Brother-In-Law arrive just in time to drive their father to his consult with the surgeons. Sir Hubby keeps me updated on his fathers rapidly deteriorating condition via text. “Dad can’t recall how to use his phone,” and, “Dad is calling his dog the wrong name,” and “Dad can’t remember why we are talking to the surgeon.” Continue reading “Following the Principles: Respond With Sensitivity”

Impulse Control; How to Gently Encourage Your Child to Develop It!

Should we go in?
Should we go in?

Everybody has heard the adage “When we know better, we do better,” and everybody also knows it’s not always true. We as parents are not perfect. While we know and understand that corporal punishment is wrong, even parents who subscribe to this belief slip into this behaviour sometimes. In life we all make decisions to do something that we know isn’t the right one. We eat the chocolate cake we know is detrimental to our diet goals, we drink the soda pop with aspartame although we know the chemical content isn’t healthy to our bodies, we know better but we don’t always do better. And we console ourselves that we’re being moderate and that it’s alright to occasionally indulge ourselves in our impulses.

Somehow though, we expect our children to have a higher level of impulse control than we as adults have. Children, like adults, have a full range of impulse control development. Some children are born sensible, with sober second thought a part of their nature. Other children fall on the other end of that spectrum where thought and action are almost simultaneous! Most children fall somewhere along the spectrum and have occasional bounces to the other end. I was shocked when my normally extremely sensible 6 year old cut her three year old sister’s bangs. I was even more surprised when my normally highly impulsive 3 year old stopped suddenly at the edge of the sidewalk before I had the opportunity to stop her and looked three times up and down the road to see if there was traffic and then looked back at me to ask if it was safe!

What is normal behaviour? How do we curb impulsiveness that is destructive, dangerous or out of control? What do we as parents do to protect our property and others from our children’s normal impulses? What do you do if your child does something that is extreme when you know they should know better?
Continue reading “Impulse Control; How to Gently Encourage Your Child to Develop It!”

No “No”

While I was doing my grocery shopping the other day with Sweet Pea snuggled on my chest in the wrap, I passed another momma with a child who was probably about three.  When we first crossed paths, she was telling him, “No, you can’t have cookies.”  When he pushed the issue, she said, “There’s cookies at home!”  Our families ran into each other (once literally, since my cart had a broken wheel) about four times over the next hour as we stocked up on yummy things to eat.  Three out of those four times, she was telling her son “no” about something.

My intention isn’t to criticize her parenting, or the use of the word “no” in general.  She was using it to set boundaries, some of which were specifically to keep her son safe (“No, you can’t ride on the side of the cart.”).  It did reinforce for me, though, how important I think it is to not overuse the word “no.” Continue reading “No “No””

Trial by fire

When my son, my husband and I came home from the hospital, my husband had to make an emergency run to get the foul-tasting supplement Poly Vi Sol, as well as a canister of formula. What business do I have on API Speaks? My son, Peter Gwydion, was born at 28 weeks gestation due to my developing severe preeclampsia. Instead of a third trimester filled with belly casts and pregnancy photos that ended with a beautiful homebirth, we spent two months living in an apartment an hour and a half away from our home while Gwyn worked hard in the NICU.

Continue reading “Trial by fire”

Compassion and Attachment Parenting

After having my own children — now 7 and 2 years old — and watching them interact with other children in different situations, I’m convinced that compassion is learned by modeling the behavior.

Attachment Parenting (AP) is an excellent way to teach your children about compassion and what it means to consider other people around you and how your actions affect others around you.

When a parent is concerned about the child’s feelings and expresses it to the child, the child will learn that is the right way to communicate and consider other people and their feelings. When children learn first hand that their feelings matter because their parents care, they are more likely to model that behavior outside of home such as at school or playgrounds.

The other side of a compassionate, loving home is the authoritarian home, where the parents are in charge and the child’s feelings or opinions are not considered. This is a form of bullying actually when an adult, who is bigger and older, uses his or her power on a child who can’t defend himself and has to obey to avoid serious consequences.

The child who constantly gets bullied by his parents or siblings is more likely to be bullied or become a bully himself outside of home and show little or no compassion for others around him.

I’ve actually seen this type of behavior in action when a child who comes from an authoritarian home hurts another child and has little or no remorse and will only say “sorry” to the hurt child because his parents are demanding him to say it.

Deep inside, the child is just repeating the behavior and words he has learned at home and doesn’t really care if someone gets hurt, because why would he since nobody around him cares about his feelings?

It’s very sad, but this type of behavior is very common in today’s households. Bullying at school is a very common occurrence these days, and I’m certain that most of these situations could be avoided if children were treated with more respect and shown compassion at home by siblings and parents.

Children who learn compassionate behavior by nature at an Attachment Parenting home also have less sibling rivalry, because they care for their brothers and sisters who care for them in the same compassionate and loving matter. My heart goes out to those children who don’t get the model at home and get to experience what is like to live in a family where all members love and respect each other and are compassionate.

I hope that the AP children around the world can be role models at school and teach other children compassion and what it is like to be a caring individual, and hopefully that will have a lasting impact on some children who might have never experienced it.

Reija – Attachment Mothering

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