This morning I came across an article, http://www.drmomma.org/2010/09/why-african-babies-dont-cry.html, posted by someone on my Baltimore AP group. This article really hit home for me.
Over the first few years of my parenting existence I have really come to the point where, like the article explains, I listen to my baby and not the books. I have found myself to fit the attachment parenting mold, not because I was trying to follow the way others do things, but because I simply listen to my babies and do what works best for us!
Now, I told you this article hit home for me, so you are probably wondering why. Well the article says that African Babies don’t cry and if they do, their mothers know that something is seriously wrong.
With the birth of my second child, we instantly had a bond. He was breastfeeding vigorously, waiting for my milk to come in, and when it did he quickly became a fat and happy baby. He spent nights sleeping in our bed and I would feed him the minute I heard a squeak from him. At three months he had almost doubled his weight and was a healthy 16 pounds!
By now I had to return to work, which is when my happy baby became a fussy baby. He wouldn’t take a bottle while I was away. I was pumping 4 bottles at work and he’d struggle to get just one down. I thought he simply missed nursing and was a picky eater. Over the weeks after I had returned to work he progressively became more fussy, crying at all times he wasn’t being held, bounced or nursed!
I wish I had come across this article sooner! Maybe I would have known sooner that something was seriously wrong. My first baby never cried and everyone has always said to me “how do you do it, what’s your secret?” I didn’t have a secret, I was doing what came naturally to me, which now didn’t seem to be working for our second son.
At his 4 month appointment he weighed in at 14 pounds! He’d lost 2 whole pounds. By this point he was so fussy I could even have a conversation with the doctor over his cries. She wanted me to try to plump him up and suggested I try some solids. This went against all of my instincts, trying to feed a baby that was clearly not ready for solids, but non-the-less I was desperate. I tried, but I only got more cries, like it was painful for him to eat. Soon he began throwing up. I knew something was wrong and stayed home from work to nurse him. I couldn’t leave him with pumped milk all day that he wasn’t going to eat. Nursing was hard though too, he’d scream at the breast while trying to feed.
Finally, I called the doctor again, my baby had still been throwing up and was miserable. I brought him in that afternoon and he’d even lost a few more ounces. The doctor sent us to the ER.
I went home, picked up my husband and our older son, who we brought to my in-laws house, and headed to the hospital. At the ER we were seen right away. The doctors ran some blood tests and, to make a long story short, found his sodium to be dangerously low. The doctor’s didn’t believe the numbers and ran the test 3 times before they decided they must be right.
Now it became urgent to get some fluids in him, he was seriously dehydrated. With his small dehydrated veins it took almost 8 hours to get an IV in our poor baby. All the while I was nursing him in between pricks, helping to soothe him and take away the tears.
When they finally got the IV in him it was 5am and none of us had slept. The following 24 hours he slept non-stop only waking to nurse. I didn’t leave his side. We were there for 4 more days as they slowly raised his sodium levels with an IV of saline solution.
He underwent many more pricks to find out what caused his dehydration. The doctors finally found a urinary tract infection, which had to be cleared up with antibiotics. Since we left the hospital, now at 5 months he’s plumped back up to 17 pounds and he’s the happiest baby in the world! His cries were all because something WAS seriously wrong!
Our poor guy is still somewhat of a medical mystery, we have some more tests to go through, but now at least I know…my babies don’t just cry, they cry because they need help, this is the only way they can communicate pain.