I had been looking forward to Maria turning two months for quite some time. Why? Because first of all, the “experts” say that crying gets less from the third month onwards; secondly, I had also been told that babies who do not settle themselves to sleep will start doing so at around 8 to 9 weeks.
Let’s begin with the crying. Maria is by no means what is usually called a colicky baby, but she does have her bouts of uncontrollable crying. I came across an interesting website that proposes a new term for this type of crying most (if not all, as the website claims) babies go through during their first few months: The Period of PURPLE Crying.
Even though I did not find solutions on the website to make her stop crying other than the things we were already doing, the information really helped me understand what Maria was going through and kinda put me at ease. One of the things I reminded myself of whenever she was crying and I was unable to soothe her was that things are usually worst in the second month and get better from two months onward.
A week or so ago, I realised that Maria hadn’t had any of those uncontrollable crying bouts for a while. Sure enough, she does let me know when she doesn’t like something I’m doing – like changing her clothes, putting her in the bassinet or sling – or when she is hungry, but she hardly ever cries for no apparent reason. Hopefully she passed the peak of PURPLE crying.
Sleeping in her bassinet
A few days before Maria turned eight weeks, she miraculously slept in her bassinet during daytime naps! If you read previous posts you know that this is something we often couldn’t manage her to do. The secret seemed to be laying her down as soon as she showed signs of tiredness and – very important! – before she started crying. The experts were right: From around 8 or 9 weeks babies were able to settle themselves to sleep! Or so I thought.
Simultaneously, Maria started to protest whenever I put her in the sling. Like really protest. The neighbour must have thought I was doing something terrible to her! I figured she now did not enjoy being restricted anymore. The time when womb-like circumstances soothed her had passed. She now wanted to be able to look around and move her limbs. I accepted that my little girl was growing up.
But I should have known that children’s development doesn’t follow a neat linear line: after several days of sleeping in her bassinet, Maria suddenly started to cry again when I put her down. Whatever we tried – singing lullabies, rocking her to sleep, playing white noise, or nursing her to sleep – she wouldn’t fall asleep or she would wake up after 20 to 30 minutes. The sling was not always the solution either, as she would cry even louder when I put her in it. I felt disheartened. Wasn’t she supposed to settle herself from around week 8 or 9? How could we ever establish a routine with her? Ahmed reminded me to take things a bit lighter and not put so much stress on myself and on Maria. Deep inside, I also knew that sooner or later the day would come that she would sleep in her bassinet again.
Yesterday, when we came back from our weekly trip to the farmers’ market, Maria slept for quite some time in the stroller, giving me the confidence again that eventually, she will be able to settle herself.
No matter how hard it can be to have a baby (planning to write a post about that soon), the smiles you receive as a parent make you instantly forget all the struggles. Last week, I attended a coffee morning somewhere, and Maria kept looking around and laughing. The other mothers thought I had an adorable daughter. One of the best moments of my day is when I take Maria out of her bassinet in the morning: She gives me huge smiles when she sees me.
Sometimes when Maria cries, I look at her and laugh. She then seems to realise there is no need to cry and answers me with a broad smile on her face. It’s adorable!
Let’s end this post with a few things Maria loves these days: having her nappy changed, taking a bath (that’s new!), sitting in her chair watching the blue pig dangling above her, and me singing to her (don’t ask me how!).