Saturday, May 7, 2011

Embracing Teresa and All Her Demands

Teresa is proving to be an interesting 4th baby. In many ways she reminds me of Cecilia when Cecilia was a newborn.

Basically, she is very demanding.

I know what you're thinking. Isn't every baby?

Of course, but not all to the same degree. Like Cecilia, Teresa doesn't like to just be held in a cradle position. Unless she is nursing, she will get upset. She only likes to be held vertically. This has made wearing her very helpful, but her unusual demands don't end there. She doesn't like to be set down for more than a few minutes. If I set her down, laying down or in a more vertical bouncy seat, the clock starts ticking and I know I only have a few minutes before she gets upset. This dislike of being laid down makes it harder to get her lengthy naps.

From what I understand, she is not colicky. Her crying is never tied to any particular time of day and she can always be calmed down and consoled but only by being held and/or nursing. She also seems to have no problem sleeping in her swing or in her car seat and her nights are generally quite good.

She also has an intensity level I've never seen before. She does not fuss for very long. She goes from 0-100 in a matter of a couple of minutes. If I set her down, she will usually lay there for 2, maybe 3 minutes, then fuss for 1 minute and by minute 5 she is wailing at the top of her lungs to the point of almost sounding hoarse. Of course I try to never let her scream like that. She is a newborn and should not be left to scream like that (and the girls begin to complain Teresa is giving them a headache!lol) but you may imagine I can't hold her from sun up to sun down, especially with three other little ones to take care of.

So, as a general rule, I give her her early afternoon nap in her swing. It pretty much guarantees her a good, solid 2-3 hour nap and me a good, solid 2-3 hour break. Carrying her in the Baby Bjorn also helps get her some decent nap time while letting me make the girls' lunch or whatever. She is vertical and seems to be particularly fond of resting her head above my neckline - skin on skin definitely seems to help calm her.

It has made me think a lot about Dr. Kevin Nugent's Your Baby is Speaking to You. He says all parents have these images of how wonderful things will be when their baby is born and, of course, they are, but not always in the way we imagine. Any parent knows that life with a baby is not always a Gerber commercial. Each baby is a unique person.

Teresa is a unique little girl with her own demands. I've been a little surprised at just how high her standards seem to be but I can't complain. She eats well and is growing like a weed and, who could blame her for wanting to be held? I do hope she calms down a bit just so that she doesn't excite/upset herself so quickly so easily but she is still only 5 weeks old. How much can you ask of a 5 week old? :)

It does make me curious about the little personality hiding behind those intensely focused eyes though. Is she a perfectionist? Is she nervous? Is she insecure? Is she so affectionate she wants it returned as often as possible?

Have you ever had a baby with similar demands? What do you think it was saying about who your baby would grow up to be?


  1. My third son was very demanding. He wanted to be held and even in the car seat would scream and scream. Sometimes I would pull the van over to check him, thinking surely something was poking him or hurting him. Nope. Just mad. He loved being upright like Teresa, to the point that by the time he was a few months old he would feel himself slide into the carrier and almost instantly fall asleep. He's a redhead and has a very intense personality to this day.

    My daughter, however, was also demanding (fourth child) wanted to be held all the time, but she eventually calmed down. She's still very, very active, but her personality is much more laid back.

    It's funny to see their personalities develop!

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  3. My one and only daughter, my Shelby, was my most demanding baby. She wanted to nurse, first and foremost as much as possible. Constantly. She was a large baby and HATED slings, carriers etc. She rarely would tolerate the swing. Both of my boys enjoyed nursing surely, but they loved being held by anyone (only Jeff or I could comfort her, and mostly me because of the nursing thing) and I could put them in the pack and play or swing or anywhere for a couple of hours. In retrospect, I'm glad Shelby was my first!