Archie has been quite a fussy, needy baby since he was born as I mentioned in my ‘Cling Yet Cute’ post. Together, Chris and I have found some ways in which to settle him down during his fussy periods as well as ways to keep ourselves sane!
When babies go through developmental milestones (leaps) they tend to become fussier and more hard work. This is totally reasonable – wee ones experience and learn so many new things in such a short space of time so it’s not a surprise that they can feel a bit confused or stressed out.
The first leap is called ‘Changing Sensations’ and occurred for Archie at around 5 weeks old. It only lasted a week or so, and when he came out of it we noticed that he was much more alert when he was awake, gave his first few smiles and could focus on our faces a lot more – rather that just sort of looking ‘through’ us.
Archie is currently coming to the end of his second leap and it’s been a pretty tough one for us all. This leap is called ‘Patterns’ and is meant to last around 2 weeks. It started when Archie was around 8 weeks old, and we have noticed a lot more changes in him this time around. He has become yet again more alert, smiles more and more every day, can hold his head up for much longer (when he’s lying on us, that is – he hates tummy time SO much!), is trying to grab at things a little more and is fascinated by lights and shadows. During the leap, however, Archie has been restless, sometimes inconsolable and just a lot tougher to settle in general.
You can research more and keep track of your little ones leaps by using the ‘Wonder Weeks’ app – I love it because it helps you know what to expect and how to deal with all of them. I feel like we’ve found enough ways to help us get through these fussy periods that I can make this post and give some of you a few ideas too.
One thing that always settles Archie down is his bath and bedtime routine. I’ve already done a post on this so I won’t go into too much detail, but the Johnson’s bedtime baby bath and Ewan the dream sheep are a total must for us. When he is crying and unconsolable it is usually because he’s overtired and fighting his sleep, so starting the routine really calms him down and makes him realise it’s time for him – and us – to get some well needed rest.
I also love to play white noise to help settle Archie during the day. Most things work, but the app I have plays ‘ultrasound’ noises – the rhythmic sounds of the placenta/womb that we hear at scans and check ups. It makes sense that this comforts little ones – they spent 9 months hearing these sounds after all! I pop my phone playing on the app beside Archie’s head and it’ll 99% of the time stop him crying in just a minute or so.
Rocking/moving around in general works absolute miracles for us. We usually either pop Archie on his back onto our knees and sway side to side or hold him on our shoulder or front whilst we stand and sway. This will almost always not only settle him, but actually send him to sleep as he loves being close and cuddled up to us. Worst comes to worst, we bundle the little man up, pop him in the car and go for a little drive. It’s a well known fact that babies love cars – and it’s true for us! Archie will be asleep after a maximum 5 minutes of being driven around, which is a dream for us when it’s been a tough day and we need some peace.
As for Chris and I, we try our best to keep each other and ourselves sane when it feels like nothing we try will settle Archie and we think we’re the worlds worst parents! It can be hard work and exhausting at times, but we always know we’re doing our best and it’s totally worth it for our little boy. Chris is brilliant at settling Archie – he stays a lot calmer than me and doesn’t tend to get upset when nothing seems to be working! If I’ve had a bad day he’ll come home and take the little one, give him lots of cuddles and settle him down which gives me a chance to wind down and just have a break. On Chris’s days off, we take it in turns and allow each other some down time – me to drink my tea and put some makeup on, and Chris to take a well deserved long shower and play the Xbox!
When he isn’t here and I need a break, I just pop Archie in his bouncer or on his playmat and make myself a cuppa or just sit down and rest. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with sorting myself out and de-stressing for a minute – it makes so much more sense than getting myself worked up as Archie will sense this and then be even more difficult to calm down. These fussy periods won’t last forever so we always find a way of making it as easy and smooth as possible and just enjoy every smile and cuddle with Archie when we can!
When he isn’t going through a leap, Archie will of course still cry now and again but is noticeably calmer and easier to settle – that’s because it’s usually one of three things that is the problem:
‘Mum, i’m bored!’
‘Mum, i’m hungry!’
or ‘Mum i need a nappy change!’
Most of the time however, Archie is amazing. We’re getting to interact with him a lot more recently – it’s so much fun to pull funny faces and play with his rattles and to see him smile and coo back at us. It’s amazing how quickly they change and grow!
I hope this helped some of you know that you’re not alone when your little ones seem like hard work and it feels like nothing you do is working, and also gave you some ideas of things that will help to settle them down so you can all get some rest, peace and quiet!