I Cannot Always Make It Better

Dear Daughter,

You are finally asleep in a wrap against my chest. It is 5:28AM, and for the past two hours something has been bothering you.

Most of your days are spent without much in the way of crying. You communicate clearly and I know when you need a diaper change, to be held, to be nursed, to move, to have your legs bicycled to let go of gas, or to be bounced for a burp.

Sometimes, though, something bothers you and I cannot find the cause. I step through each of the things that could be bothering you. I hold you skin to skin. I rub your body gently to see if there is an itch hidden somewhere. I talk to you and show you things which temporarily distract you. I read from a book, as my voice sometimes soothes you when nothing else does. You did not want to comfort nurse, you did not want to dance, you did not want to watch the ceiling fan, to be naked, to be bathed. You did not want to sit upright, you did not want to lay down, you did not want to be skin to skin, you did not want to be swaddled, you did not want a fuzzy blanket, and you did not want to lay side by side and nurse between cotton sheets skin to skin. You did not want the light off, but were not much happier with it on. You soothed momentarily with each thing that I did before letting me know that it was not the answer.

I cannot always make it better. This does not mean that you need me less. Some say that it makes no difference if you cry in my arms or in your crib once I’ve made sure that everything is “okay” and that you’re fed , dry and warm.

I disagree. I can hold you while you cry. I can whisper. I can keep trying things to find the answer. I can show you now in your infancy what I will show you for the rest of your life: Comfort is always free and there are never any strings attached. I love you when you’re happy, and I love you when you’re screaming in my ear. I am not afraid to hold you when you cry. I cannot always make it better, but I will always try to be there for you.

<3 Mama

7 thoughts on “I Cannot Always Make It Better

  1. I still find it so hard to let it go with my 2nd baby (7 1/2 mths)…
    Your words are so comforting, thank you !

    (I can’t wait for your take on solid food and failed attempt !)

  2. Wonderful post, and I couldn’t agree more. My daughter was crying a lot this past weekend due to extra gas, and I walked her around the back yard singing to her while patting her back. She still kept crying on and off, but she was at least comforted. Though a car ride ended up settling her further.

  3. I have just found this blog tonight. It is truly amazing. I wish that I had found this while I was pregnant and then nursing my now 1 yr old son.

    We have been weaned for about three and a half weeks. I do believe it was the right time for us, but it would have been wonderful to be able to read about your ups and downs with breast feeding in the early days.

    Even though I am not breast feeding right now, this website is truly a work of art and a comfort to read. Thank you so much for sharing this experience so beautifully (sometimes painfully. We’ve all been there I now see) and so eloquently.

  4. This post made me cry. My little one has been fussy and upset lately and I don’t know why. I feel the same as you. When he cries it hurts my heart. At least if I’m holding him I feel like I’m doing everything I can for him. And I know in a little less than two months I’ll be going back to work and I’ll miss this time of cuddling and comfort with every fiber of my being.

  5. I am holding my sleeping 2.5 month old and wondering if I should begin putting her in her bed to let her CIO. I have never done that and have no desire to but she is a sleep fighter and usually ends up crying it out in my arms anyway. I have begun to wonder if it would be easier to simply put her to bed and let her figure it out. Thank you for reminding me that it’s always better to cry in mama’s arms. I enjoy your blog.

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