eight weeks of baby wisdom, part three

baby carriers. we have an ergo & a moby. for some reason, we thought the moby wasn’t recommended for babies under eight pounds, so we used the ergo with the infant insert (for babies five pounds & up) until she was big enough to try in the moby. turns out the moby works for babies over five pounds.

anyway, both are all right. we prefer the moby for now because it has pretty good back support. the ergo has a waist belt & a strap across the upper back, but when you’re hanging eight or nine extra pounds of baby from your torso, those straps don’t do much to help distribute the weight effectively. i suspect i’ll like it better when ramona is old enough to go in without the insert & i can wear her as a backpack.

i don’t know how parents without carriers ever get anything done. sometimes ramona just isn’t happy unless she is snuggling with mom or dad. but mom or dad has lunch to make, dishes to wash, laundry to put away, errands to run. the moby enables snuggling, but i still have both arms free. pretty much the only stuff i can’t do with her in the carrier are drive, swim, shower, & write in my journal (because i have a weird close-to-the-body journal-writing style). someone recently asked me about carriers, saying she wanted to get one for her baby “in a few months”. in a few months? why wait? i’ve also known people who have said, “i could never use a carrier because my baby hated them.” i don’t know if i just lucked out with an easy baby who doesn’t seem to hate anything (she took to the bottles we gave her, she likes her bouncy chair, she’s cool with both carriers, she’s fine in her car seat, she doesn’t appear to have any diaper preferences) or if those people are projecting or being overly anxious about the fussy noises that pretty much any baby will make when it is put into a new position. of course ramona fusses a little when she is first put into the carrier. then she chills out & usually falls asleep. i don’t know.

cries. “it wasn’t her hungry cry, it was her angry cry.” an acquaintance recently said this about her baby. her baby is just about ramona’s age. it made me think…does ramona have a hungry cry? how about an angry cry? not as far as i’ve been able to tell. & i spend nearly 24 hours a day with her. am i just a terrible mother who isn’t paying attention to my daughter’s attempts to communicate with me? i don’t know, i guess it’s possible. i think it’s more likely, maybe, that babies doesn’t necessarily have “cries” that mean different things. that the parents are projecting based on their own feelings or their knowledge of what the baby most likely desires at a given moment. for example, if i know ramona just took a whole bottle twenty minutes ago, but she is crying, i usually think that she’s either gassy or poopy. but that doesn’t mean she’s crying her “gassy cry”. it just means that gas is what’s logical, based on her recent activities. so the first thing i’ll do is try to burp her. or if she is waving her arms around a lot while she cries, i figure she is over-stimulating herself & i’ll try her in a tighter swaddle or a carrier. not because she is crying her “over-stimulated cry”. but because of other context clues she’s providing.

i mean, check back in a few months & maybe i’ll be singing a different tune. maybe she’ll develop different cries or i will figure them out. but i find that it’s a lot easier to guess what she needs based on other info (ie, is she opening & closing her mouth? probably hungry. did she just spend the last twenty minutes grunting & going red in the face before she started wailing? probably poopy) than on the pitch or timbre of a cry.

gas. again, maybe i just lucked out with a baby that doesn’t seem to have more than the average relationship with gas. it’s just so weird to me when people are like, “my poor baby, s/he’s really gassy & nothing works!” of course ramona will cry when she has air in her belly & is struggling to get it out. sometimes she needs to be patted & jostled for like half an hour before she figures out the burp thing. she will also cry when it’s coming from the other end. but, i mean, people burp. & fart. she cries because she doesn’t really know what’s going on & she struggles to make it happen on her own. it doesn’t mean that she’s in agony or anything. i just let her get on with it. possibly i am cursing myself & she’ll end up with some horrible gas-related disorder & i’ll be like, “ohhhh, THIS is what people were talking about.” but i find life with a baby is much easier when i don’t panic about every little grunt or cry. she’s a baby & she has no idea what the fuck is going on, nor does she have enough self-awareness to be discreet about her bodily functions, so there’s going to be a lot of grunting & crying for a while. it’s cool.

changing tables. we don’t have one. truth be told, we use the kitchen table. yes, where we eat. *shrug* we do the changes on a blanket, which we fold & put out of the way while we’re eating (& wash on the regular), & we wipe the table down a few times a day. it’s not really a big deal.

i think changing tables are unnecessary, but they do have one benefit that beds, floors, & kitchen tables do not have: they are properly sized for standing up & changing a baby. so a changing table might be a useful splurge item for an expectant parent with a bad back (who has the space for one, which we don’t, really).

that’s all i’ve got for now. i am, after all, only eight weeks in.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

4 thoughts on “eight weeks of baby wisdom, part three

  1. I couldn’t figure out LJ’s cries, either. :p My husband was the one who clued me in to them. And then I was all “ohhhhh. they *do* sound different!” I think I was just too close to the whole crying situation, so they all sounded the same to me. I’m also way better than he is at going to my happy place when she’s really got herself all worked up. These things are probably related.

    1. there is a noise that ramona makes when she’s pooping (& if she somehow stumbles across this blog in 16 years, i’m sure she’ll be really stoked to read that), but i wouldn’t call it a cry. then again, ramona is still so young. my due date was just a week ago. she’s hitting her developmental milestones for physical stuff (like lifting her head, being able to turn her head, etc), but in terms of temperment, she may still be figuring stuff out. maybe she hasn’t developed different cries yet?

      or maybe it’s just that she doesn’t really cry much. she cries, to be sure, but thus far, it’s been pretty easy to soothe her with the ol’ diaper-bottle-cuddle combo.

  2. Check out Dunstan Baby Language. It’s a system for distinguishing the different sounds babies make when crying, and what each means. My son definitely has a hungry cry and an uncomfortable cry that correlate with this theory. He’s only six weeks old (and came six weeks early), so I haven’t figured out whether he’s got the other ones as well, but it seems like a pretty legit theory. Whether its worth paying $30 for a DVD explaining it is another matter, but you can get the basic idea from the website.

    1. hmmm. thanks for the tip. i haven’t checked this out yet…honestly? i just do the same thing when ramona cries. i pick her up, give her a hug, change her diaper, change her outfit if it seems kind of grungy, & offer her a bottle. when she’s done eating, i either cuddle with her or read her a story. this usually puts her to sleep. on the rare occasion that she is still feeling alert after eating, i give her some time to kick her feet, or we read some more. all of this stops the crying pretty much immediately. i don’t know. works for me, i guess.

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