Fussy Babies ROCK!

Ahhh…Gracie Girl.

Gracie Girl, Gracie Girl, Gracie Girl.

What can I say about Gracie Girl?

For the first two months of Gracie’s little life, feeding her was a complete nightmare. Without going into too much detail (because it hasn’t been long enough yet and I might start twitching and/or crying if I think about it…), we knew almost right away that Gracie had reflux. Bean had it and so we recognized the symptoms right away. Pulling away from the bottle while she was eating, screaming through her feedings, screaming for an hour or more after her feedings… She was just miserable. We worked with our pediatrician and tried just about every kind of formula out there. Which, of course, was traumatic to her sensitive little digestive system in itself. After a few weeks, we ended up putting her on a medication for the reflux. It really helped with the spitting up, but Gracie was still pulling away and screaming through just about every bottle.

We tried every kind of bottle. We tried warming the formula. We tried giving it to her at room temperature. We tried giving it to her cold. We tried feeding her at an angle. We tried feeding her sitting up. We tried feeding her while we rocked. We tried feeding her while we stood completely still. We even tried feeding her outside (not sure where we got that idea?). Nothing seemed to help.

Finally, after over a month of trying to get the feeding and screaming situation under control, we went back to the doctor and begged for more help.

“She’s broken. Ours is broken. We broke her,” I studdered.

After going over everything for the one thousandth time with the pediatrician, she said she wondered if maybe Gracie had a milk allergy. So, once again, we switched her formula. Now she’s on a soy formula and things are so much better! After the first few soy bottles, I swear Gracie turned to me and said, “It’s about damn time, woman!”

With her feeding on track again, Chris and I did a happy dance and prepared to have our (somewhat) peaceful house back.

“Oh, you poor, dumb, hopeful people,” Gracie seemed to say.

Even with the eating thing under control, there is still much protesting from Gracie Girl.  And by much, I mean A LOT.  Like, a LOT, a lot.  Only now, there’s not much of a rhyme or reason to it.  Sometimes, she has a complete meltdown because she’s tired.  Sometimes there’s a complete meltdown because we change her diaper.  Sometimes there’s a complete meltdown because something is touching her.  And sometimes there’s a complete meltdown for no detectable reason whatsoever.

Yes, our sweet wittle Gwaciekins is a tiny hot head.

I thought for a while that it might be colic.  But I’m not so sure.  Maybe it is.  But it’s more likely that my Itty Bitty has a hardcore temper.  And, I can’t really blame her.  In the past two weeks, my own temper has managed to cause epic World Wars with my entire family AND my husband, so at least she gets it honest.

Now that we know she’s healthy and nothing is physically wrong with her, Chris and I are trying to get a handle on our pint sized firecracker.  Basically what we’ve learned is that when Gracie gets pissed, everyone should freeze.

Freeze and be vewry, vewry quiet.


Then, once she begins to settle down on her own, you vewry, vewry swowly slip her binky into her mouth, being especially careful not to let your skin touch hers or else she’ll know you are moving. The point is to make her think the binky JUMPED back into her mouth on its own.


If the redheaded dragon takes the binky and becomes quiet, she may begin to open her eyes and look around the room. IT IS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT THAT YOU NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH THE REDHEADED DRAGON DURING THIS PERIOD! Look away! Look away!


After a few minutes of pretending like you didn’t see anything, it is permissible to attempt eye contact. But MOVE SLOWLY and look for signs of rapid breathing from the sweet beast. If you notice any increase in her breathing that might indicate she is becoming angry again, LOOK AWAY AND FREEZE! If, however, you see none of these signs, attempt a small smile. Even if your offering is accepted by the tiny titan, proceed cautiously. Aftershocks are common.

(By the way, I know you think I’m joking with all of this, but these are the ACTUAL steps we have to take with her. Seriously. Feel bad for us, please.)


I think fussy babies have a bad rap. Are they high maintenance? Yes. Do they make you want to pull your hair out and gnash your teeth? Of course. Do you think once or twice in a moment of weakness about sitting them out on the street with a sign around their neck that says, “Free to a good home?” Absolutely. But does that make them any less of a perfect baby than a happier baby? Not in my book. Not for my kids. Gracie is way more temperamental than Bean was as a baby, but I don’t love her any less or think of her as a “bad baby.”

She’s just fussy. And we wub her fwom her head to her wittle toes anyway.

Related posts

36 Thoughts to “Fussy Babies ROCK!”

  1. Awwww I do feel bad 🙁 Fussy babies make me nervous. Like I’m doing something wrong and they’re mad at me for not figuring out how to do things right. I wonder if those babies wonder how I ever got my license for parenthood. I wonder what they would do if they found out I didn’t. Thankfully, Peanut was a relatively easy baby and I pretended like I knew what I was doing (I didn’t and still do not).

  2. I had one of those. I named her Reagan and until age 2 she was a terror. Looking back, I think she was lactose intolerant too and I didn’t know it. From about 3 on she was an angel. Seriously. People thought I was lying when I’d talk about her early days.
    Then she turned 14.
    For a solid year we pretty much did with her what you’re doing with Gracie now (without the binky). She’s better now but I’m not letting my guard down again.
    Stay on your toes Katie!

  3. Oh..man. You definitely have my sympathy. Zoe was a really easy baby, and even in her few bouts of screaming for hours at a time I wanted to pull my hair out. Mostly I just joined her in crying. But, I remember, for MONTHS I wouldn’t let anybody call her anything less than perfect! It drove me NUTS if somebody said that she was fussy. She was perfect, crying episodes and all.

  4. Aw I’m glad she is feeling better with the new formula. The part about the redheaded dragon is so funny. I know what you mean about the eye contact though… my daughter Lyla freaks out if you look her in the eye while she is falling asleep… who knows why they do that.

  5. yo yo yo gracie girl! why you gotta give mommy and daddy such a hard time!!! hopefully the little queen bee will simmer down soon! we have a 9 month old and she is as easy as pie. my husband swears that it wouldnt be right for God to give us two as easy as her and that we will be in for a holy terror with #2!!!!!

  6. This is too funny! It is like you are writing about my baby girl! I feel for you. However, we breastfeed so it is my diet that changed. Now all I eat is chicken, vegan bread, and apples. All day, everyday! Least you can have a beer at the end of the day. Hopefully she gets better soon. Hopefully they both do! Good luck!! I feel your pain! But yes, we love them just the same!

  7. Christy

    All hail princess Gracie. We’re not worthy!

    P.S. Divas aren’t made they’re born.

  8. Oh change Gracie to Sully and that was my life as well (apparently it’s pretty common from reading the rest of the comments). Our dr wouldn’t give us meds for him until he was a month old and we switched to soy formula. These two things plus probiotics finally got his system under control. He’s also a redhead, which definitely doesn’t help the situation. Why must redheads have redheaded kids? Im not sure it’s fair to my husband to deal with two fiery tempers.

  9. Jenna

    Oh my goodness. Our son is a few days younger than your daughter and you just described my life.. it does end and get better.. right?? I feel like I birthed the fussiest baby on the block. We also discovered a milk protein allergy, switched to Nutramigen and finally had a happy baby at a month old. However, the kid has a temper.. holy fits over nothing! I feel you girl… 🙂

  10. jenna

    Saw the post above mine.. Ours is a redhead too! hmmm….. 🙂

  11. Oh man, I didn’t think you were joking, because that was pretty much exactly what we’d have to do with our fiery little redhead. The very first thing we called him apart from ‘Devin’ was ‘Mr. Fussy’. He was (and is) a challenge, and I have cried many frustrated, sleep-deprived tears, but no way have I ever thought that he was bad and that we should or could change him. I hate getting simpering, pitying looks from mother’s with laid-back babies when they learn he’s high-maintenance – like my love for him is proportional to how ‘easy’ or ‘hard’ he is. Maybe I can even appreciate that he really threw me in the deep end of first-time parenting, and I’ll be even more prepared for future children.
    That all said, I really, really hope that my next is just a bit more chilled out. For the sake of the extra baggage under my eyes, if nothing else!

  12. I’m sorry she’s been fussy, that’s really straining!

    On the bright side… Dang girl look at your tan!!!

  13. I’m with Lauren, Levi was so easy, #2 is going to break me. Poor Chris, having two red-headed tempers to deal with 🙂

  14. Katie

    Mine screamed for the first three months. And didn’t sleep. Then she got better but only started napping at 8 months. And only on the floor. Whatever. I count it as a win.

  15. Oh wow…what a process, huh? Gracie is just blessed that she has such understanding and loving parents who are willing to go along with whatever she can dish out! Seriously, though, are you ready for the teenage years with this one? 😉

  16. Oh, Katie. You make me laugh. Listen, I’m not gonna lie. We had a fussy whiny infant and now we have a fussy whiny 1-year-old. His temperament hasn’t changed. He just got bigger 😉

    All of what you said above. YES to all of it with the exception of reflux. Our dear boy’s problem was severe double ear infections from the time he was born. So bad, in fact, that he had to get tubes at 6 months. That’s about the earliest they do the surgery. It was that bad and he was in that much pain. Poor babe. Stupid me thought maybe he wouldn’t be fussy anymore. And it did get somewhat better. But hey, he takes after his mom. I’m a firecracker and the second child got it from me. But you’re right. I don’t love that little fussy wussy baby any less.

  17. When we named our little girl we had no clue how perfect the name would end up being for her. We got some weird looks but there is no name that would fit Ryan better, she is definitely our ‘little ruler’. She was pretty fussy but more then that she was just outspoken. It’s like she knew she was little and had to speak up to be heard. She is now 20 months old, talks constantly (seriously she never shuts her mouth), and has no problem letting everyone know when she is not happy with the way things are being run in our house, or anyones house really. It was a total shock for us, our son was so easy going. I guess it’s just a girl thing. I’m hoping this means they will be easy teenagers! Good luck!

  18. hi katie. I can totally relate…our lil boy, Ransom, who was born just a few days after Grace, is high maintnence too. We took comfort in the realization that Dr. Sears (http://www.askdrsears.com/) recogizes these symptoms and notes that they are perfectly normals…we’ve just been blessed with a high needs child… (who DOES NOT like to be put down. EVER.)

  19. And this is why we are so nervous for a second one. The only issue we have with B is he can not do powdered formula. Thus he gets RTF. He has been such a pleasure and I am so nervous we really have no clue what having an infant is all about. Or that because he was so calm we will have just the opposite next. Like you said they will be loved just the same and I will just shake my head if #2 is rowdy and know that it was just too quiet and things of course had to be shaken up. We shall see one day!

  20. kmle722@gmail.com

    My son also had GERD “and” Colic and is super strong willed. I fully understand just how hard it can get. All of the “supposed to works” just weren’t enough for my little man. Our very wonderful nurse practitioner told us that there’s tons of research that shows that babies with colic tend to have higher I.Q. Who knows if that’s really true or if she was just trying to make me feel better?! However, when the crying got bad, my husband would look at me and say, “Don’t worry Honey; he’s just crying his way to smartness!”

  21. Nova Kristin

    Oh honey, I do feel for you. ((Katie))
    My now 14 year old was a colicky/fussy baby. We nursed until 8 months so it was relatively quiet in the beginning but as soon as we switched to formula the wailing began. It took us four months to figure out she was lactose intolerant and man the screaming. I distinctly remember it to this day. I remember having to put her in her crib just to get away for a few minutes and standing outside her window trying to breathe through the guilt of putting her down. I discovered somewhere in there that she would go to sleep if I put her carseat on the washing machine while it was spinning. I can’t tell you how many cycles that poor machine ran through with nothing in it LOL Take heart though, it does pass quickly in the grand scheme of things but it sure doesn’t seem like it at the time.
    I would like to recommend a book for when she’s a little bit bigger. It’s called “You can’t make me, but I can be persuaded” by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias. She’s a christian write and it saved my daughter’s life (ok I’m exaggerating a bit) To say that she’s strong willed is a gross understatement 😉

  22. bec

    You know what’s fun? When fussy babies get teeth! Yeah, that’s a blast.

  23. September

    Our first baby screamed non-stop…it was a vicious cycle: eat until you throw up, scream until you pass out…wake up and do it all over again. We did the “play around with her food” thing, too, and finally at a month old she was diagnosed with a severe dairy and soy allergy and went on prescription formula. It was essentially like making a payment every month for a really big and expensive luxury car that we didn’t get to drive or have in our driveway, but she was healthy and the screaming stopped, which was all that mattered!

  24. Always a great thing when the fussies are something you can fix!!!! So glad it seems to be that way for you guys!!!

    My daughter was that baby too, although our pediatrician was a moron who tried to tell us she didn’t have a milk allergy when she projectile puked everytime she ate, was extremely gassy/fussy & had crazy bad eczema rashes on her face and body; But she still was packing on the pounds. We switched to soy, which we found out quickly she was allergic to that too. Then we tried lactose free formula, that helped and since the completely hypoallergenic formula cost so much we just kept her on that. Now she is 4 years old and has been on Goat’s Milk for a few years. She still has eczema just no where near as bad as when she was on milk…no thanks to the moron ped. Dr. again.

    The difference between lactose intolerance and a milk allergy is that with lactose intolerance babies do not gain weight like they should, with an allergy they still gain weight, but are gassy and have signs of an allergic reaction. We are currently waiting to see an Allergist to find out what else she is allergic too. Always remember there are so many other mom’s out there who have gone or are going thru the exact same thing!!!!

  25. Ann C

    (Short & sweet): Many others have mentioned more possible allergies/intolerances. Dear friend’s son is allergic to milk, soy and rice (all of the normal subs). He screamed until he was 6mo: after they fixed his food, he’s 100%. She went to 3 or 4 different doctors before they figured it out. I would encourage you (as my favorite imaginary friend) to get a 2nd & 3rd opinion. BEST WISHES! 🙂

  26. Liz

    This is EXACTLY what happened with Jane. I think we had twin fussy babies! Her doc put her on Zantac three weeks ago and it’s been like having an entirely different baby. We refer to her pre-zantac days as the “Jekyl/Hyde” days. But to this day, genial as she is now, if you tick her off… watch out. Janey girl is no wall flower. 🙂 And I agree. There is no such thing as a bad baby. 🙂

  27. Poor Gracie. I completely understand having a hot tempered child. Mine has a horrible temper. But he gets it from me, so I can’t say too much. Sounds like in addition to that temper, poor Gracie had a lot of other things making her uncomfortable. It’s just so hard to figure out what exactly is going on when they’re little. I’m glad you got the feeding part under control. I have no doubt that this post will help some poor mama out there who is wondering if her life will ever be normal again.

  28. Katy

    HILARIOUS!!…I am the mother of three…and the first two are little red girls…they are definitely full of life!!…that is a nice way of putting it!! They are three and five now and definitely know how to keep us on our toes…but I could not love them any more than I do. But I sooo agree with you…there are times I would love to put them out by the curb with a sign around their necks!!

  29. I give you a ton of credit for your positive attitude. My first daughter was similarly fussy. Severe reflux, dairy intolerance… needed to be held at all times (we couldn’t put her down, even to sleep – she would wake up immediately), slept only in short bursts of 20 minutes or so during the day. It was exhausting, and as a first time parent, overwhelming and depressing. Combined with a mild dose of post-partum depression that I never had treated, it made for a MISERABLE first year of her life for me. I constantly felt like I SHOULD be enjoying being a mommy to this little miracle, but just didn’t. It just wasn’t any fun. It was work, hard work, and I felt like I failed every single day. But as time went on, she got off the Prilosec for her reflux, I could eventually eat dairy again (I was breastfeeding, and due to her intolerance, couldn’t eat cheese, yogurt, milk, ice cream or anything with any form of dairy or soy in it for 6 months. ouch.). After a year she started to sleep better. And she turned into the most amazing, most incredibly quick and smart, and sweetest little girl. She’s still, well not fussy but very strong-willed and she challenges us every step of the way. But I’ve come to believe that she’s challenging me to continually learn to be a better parent – the best parent I can be. It’s exactly what I want to be for her, and I love her for it. Yes, easy would be nice (and thank god, my second daughter, who is now 3 weeks old, seems to be just that – easy – KNOCK ON WOOD), but I wouldn’t change my little girl for the world. Not one little bit. I wish you the best of luck, patience, sleep, and the knowledge that — on the really rough days — it WILL get easier. Not easy, necessarily, but easier. Manageable. Rewarding. Wish I had read this post three years ago, because I really needed to know that I wasn’t alone, and I wasn’t a horrible parent. 🙂

  30. Niki

    I am sorry Gracie had to go through that. But, please, do some(additional) research on soy formula before feeding it to your baby. Here’re some articles on the dangers of soymilk to get you started. http://www.westonaprice.org/soy-alert
    You can also make a formula yourself that closely resembles mother’s milk by raw or pasteurized whole organic cow’s or goat’s milk that’s been cultured for 12 hours. I suggest this source http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/319-recipes-for-homemade-baby-formula or you can google it and see what you come up with. (Btw in no way I want to question your choices, I’m just sharing some information I thought you would find interesting)

  31. Love it! My fussy baby turned into what I affectionatly call a “difficult” child. She can be a handful but she is also independent and strong and infinitely interesting. She’s just not compliant and really,in the long run, you want to have independent kiddos! : )

  32. I hear ya! We had a colicky baby for 7 months! Yes, I included that little tidbit so you can be scared. Be very very scared! lol But this kid is now 5.5 and he still has reddish hair and he is still intense. But the sweetest little cuddle bug you’ll ever meet!

  33. I hear ya! We had a colicky baby for 7 months! Yes, I included that little tidbit so you can be scared. Be very very scared! lol But this kid is now 5.5 and he still has reddish hair and he is still intense. But the sweetest little cuddle bug you’ll ever meet!

  34. You poor thing! I do feel for you and your poor husband. I hope things get better for you and you continue to figure out how to love soothe your Gracie. Saying extra prayers for the four of you!

  35. […] Fussy Babies ROCK – Marriage ConfessionsJun 15, 2011 Fussy Babies ROCK .. I wonder if those babies wonder how I ever got my license for parenthood. Related content: 5 Roll Babies Sites […]

  36. Ester

    Thank you for sharing this with all of us mamas online. My son is 13 months now and your story really encouraged me. I am thankful to know there are others out there that have children who are “world changers”. LOL! It is so hard some days, but true that you love them no less because of it. I think we all just want our kids to be happy and to learn some patience for goodness sake! 😉 You made me laugh. Blessings!

Leave a Reply to Liz Cancel reply