Friday, September 18, 2009

This Post Is A Little Schizophrenic, So I'm Adding Lots Of Pictures!

This turned into a meandering entry, sort of tying together my post about breastfeeding with general new-mom malaise. I feel happier than this post might suggest, but man -- I suck at being able to blog with a newborn.



I've heard some women say that they gave up breastfeeding because they wanted their bodies back.

Being pregnant means, among many other things, giving up control of your body. Your body just starts doing all kinds of crazy-ass things, and even if you're really good and eat perfectly and exercise, your hormones are still going to go all psycho on you. You just have to waddle along for the ride.

So sure. After nine months of out-of-controlness, I get why women want to reclaim themselves. Breastfeeding is taxing on your body, your psyche, your schedule.



I, on the other hand, haven't managed to have control over my body (weight-wise) in so long, I didn't think being pregnant would bother me much. And it didn't. And now that I'm breastfeeding (i.e., still lending my body to nurture my baby's), I'm still not bothered.

Not by breastfeeding, anyway.

Something happened a few weeks ago that made my digestive system go haywire. I mean, I had problems -- indigestion, acid reflux, cramping, bloating, irritability -- throughout pregnancy, but that's pretty normal. When some of these issues cropped up again a few weeks after giving birth, I figured that, too, was par for the course. But now my problems have gotten far worse, and I'm starting to worry. I haven't (yet) seen a specialist, but my OB examined me, and thought it could very well be pregnancy/post-partum-related. He reminded me that my body's undergone huge hormonal shifts, and is still undergoing them.

Meanwhile...have you heard about how breastfeeding is awesome because it burns so many calories? Have you heard that breastfeeding is a great way to help you shed your pregnancy weight and get your uterus back to the size it was before it enlarged itself x400? Yeah? Because I sure did. I read that over and over again. And then I gave birth and changed my diet slightly (for the better) and started breastfeeding and guess what!

I have gained weight.

OH YES I HAVE. I didn't know this until I asked specifically, but for SOME women, SOME women LIKE ME, breastfeeding can totally fuck with your metabolism for the worse. It can slow it down to a crawl. NOW I hear,"Oh, I didn't lose any of my pregnancy weight until I stopped breastfeeding!" from everyone. BAH! BAH I SAY!

I am not bf'ing for any reasons having to do with weight loss or gain, but come on. I didn't expect this. I look like I'm five months pregnant. My uterus has not, to the best of my ability to tell, re-shrunk. My upper abdomen is taut and my lower "pouch" has grown. AS IF I needed a reason to feel worse about my twice-weekly-showered, boob-leaking, spit-up-stained-top-with-eleventeenth-day-in-a-row-yoga-pants-wearing self.

Ugh.

Eve herself has been a dream baby, don't get me wrong. She is very alert and interested in the world around her, but also totally good natured and chill. She smiles a lot and her fussiness is still fairly easy to address. She still sleeps great at night. She was and is a great traveler.


But that doesn't mean it's easy. Even if she's not screaming all day or all night, she still requires constant attention and tending to. She barely sleeps at all during the day, except in random 10-20 minute bursts.

Meaning I can't just sit down and write a blog post, for example. In fact, the only time I have enough time to put two thoughts together in one post is in the morning before Eve wakes up or at night after she's gone to sleep, but that's only if I'm not also passed out with her. I usually am. (She's been asleep all morning which is very unusual but also why I'm getting to write this now.)

I knew it would be hard. I don't exactly mind the hard. It's just...

Okay. Here.

About a week ago, I put aside a couple cute catalogs I wanted to take a look at. I finally remembered to take them up to bed with me three nights ago. And in three nights and three days, I still haven't been able to look through them. That's what having a new baby is like. I don't need to look at the catalogs, who cares about some stupid catalogs?, but there they sit on my bedside table. Reminders of how I can't manage to do even the easiest, most mundane day-to-day tasks.

But here I am, here we are, closing in on the three-month milestone, and I don't know how to jump "back" into life with a baby.


Personally, I thought I did a helluva good job, gallivanting across the country with a newborn, lah dee dah, no big deal. Except apparently I thought we'd return from the trip and get back to life and I would somehow know what to do next.

But for all its ease, the trip back East was hard, too, and it took more out of me than I expected, and I haven't been feeling well since we returned, and now I'm just here. Home. With a baby.

Again, I understand why women stop breastfeeding, if only to reclaim part of their body. I want to reclaim some semblance of organization, order, control, too. I have no intention of quitting nursing -- it's the only thing I feel like I accomplish all day -- but I wouldn't mind more control over everything else my body does. And hey, while we're at it, more control over my whole day.

39 comments:

  1. your baby is so cute, she could be in commercials. the hair! the expressions! you must be exhausted. I'm sure you'll get into a routine sooner or later and I can't wait for you to blog more

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  2. I don't really have anything to say, as I've not experienced having a baby, etc, but I do want you to know that there are people out here thinking about you, stalking, I mean "following" you and we care. I miss "reading" you, but totally understand that little Eve has changed your life in ways you (and we) never imagined. And oh, is she the cutest thing ever - I ADORE her hair! Her hair is the most awesome hair ever LOL You and Ish have added some adorable to this world. :)

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  3. What Crystal said :o) I've never had a child either, but watching my sister with my nephew, all I can say is the cliche mantra..."it will get better". Because it will! Newborns are hard. They are totally cute and sweet and adorable. And hard. But they will get cuter, sweeter and more adorable as a little more time passes and also get less hard! And then you have a 15 month old kid walking around pretending he is blind, with arms outstretched and eyes closed. Until he smacks into the dining room table. :o)

    - Mon

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  4. Great pictures!

    A friend of mine recently said "Women who breastfeed have six-packs."

    My response: "I don't know anyone with a six-pack. I'm not going to count on it..."

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  5. I totally know how you feel, cause I felt that way too. Can I tell you that it gets better? Cause it totally does. I absolutely love my son, but for a while it was like -- I'd like to get my nails done -- oh wait -- I can't. And I felt like my life revolved around my son's erratic eating schedule and I didn't feel like a person. But eventually, things sort of settled down, and now I'm totally having the time of my life with him (not that I didn't have fun before, it was just different).

    Anyway, people seem to have different experiences at different times, but, now that my son is 16 months old, I feel more like a person with a child and less like a person totally defined by her relationship with her child. Does that make sense?

    I know you're having fun, but I also know it can be hard. Thanks for writing about this stuff cause no one usually does.

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  6. First of all, Eve is beautiful! That hair!

    As for your state of mind...oh, I remember that place. All I can tell you is that it DOES get better. Before I had a baby, I never understood those moms who couldn't find the time to take a shower. Then I had a baby and I totally got it. My son didn't sleep much during the day for his first 3-4 months, and wanted to be held all.the.time. Eventually he started taking more regular naps, and I had some more me time.

    Probably not what you want to hear, but I think things have also gotten better now that I'm back at work. I don't think I'm cut out to be a SAHM. I like being in the adult world, doing things that I have control over, and then going home to my beautiful boy and enjoying every minute I have with him. I admire women who can do the 24/7 mom thing and not go crazy. It is tough. When I was home, I did find I had better days when I made a plan to do something--a walk with my moms group, or a postnatal yoga class. Just having to be somewhere at a specific time helped me feel like my day had more structure to it and was a huge psychological boost to me.

    Would it be possible for you to get a sitter a few hours a week to have some time for yourself? Some of my SAHM friends do that, and I know I would need something like that if I was in their shoes.

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  7. I think you're doing GREAT. And Eve is the cutest baby, maybe ever. Hang in there, and as they say, Be True. It will get better.

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  8. Wow, Christy, I had a great, pithy thought to share with you, but in reading the comments on the way down to the LeaveYourComment place, I find myself in awe of the down-to-earth wisdom and advice. ElizabethMT actually put it into a reality-perspective that reminds us all of how perfect and natural it is to feel as you do - and Elizabeth(not MT) had GREAT advice, which, curiously, isn't just for newmoms, really. Once we learn (and we aren't taught this in school) that we are allowed to embrace all of our thoughts and feelings as valid and not blame-worthy, but genuine and human - ahhh... you are SO there...

    Oh, and.... (I have completely forgotten the Pithy Comment, so...) I just want to say I am SO impressed with your honesty in sharing your process. It bites that there aren't any Great Manuals for the adventure you are on, so hopefully this blog will be encouragement and emotionalsupport enough to give you a GREAT "How-To" manual to write to fill that void?

    Blessings, hugs, and Wows to you.

    Just Wow.

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  9. lol, and Wow again, lest you doubt the earlier ones.... - I just had to add that charlieandeve.jpg is an AWEsome photo... just awesome

    alfalfacats (not alfalfa, lol)

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  10. Oh man she is beautiful.

    You will figure the rest out. Or it figures itself out. It is a big change, this baby-having. Be gentle on yourself.

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  11. All I have to say to you wonderful woman who is obviously enjoying every minute of her newborn - is that your body holds onto an extra 10 lbs. while nursing just incase you know, you may get stranded in a dessert and not have any food around for 2 months, - at least you can still breastfeed. WELL THANK GOD, huh? Funny how our bodies work but I never lost weight breastfeeding any of my three children but I always at least liked to think that this was valid...I may still have those extra 10 lbs - but it sounds good doesn't it?
    Alise

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  12. I remember having to cancel so many morning appointments that I had made because for the first few months of my daughter's life, I couldn't get us both ready to leave the house until about 2 in the afternoon. I felt like a royal failure. Just as soon as I would get myself dressed and then her dressed, she would need to be fed, then she'd proceed to projectile vomit over me, the couch, herself...whatever. I thought it would never end. However......there is hope. At about 2-3 months, we hit a groove. I finally felt "normal". Not old normal, NEW normal. And it was good. When I had my second child, it was the same time frame. You will hit your groove. Life will become more managable and you will accomplish more than feeding, bathing, diapering, sleeping. Hang in there and know that it isn't like those first few months forever.

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  13. I'm not sure I have anything helpful to say--but I hope you feel better soon. I hope this isn't unhelpful but I have trouble establishing and sticking to a routine and I *don't* have another human being to care for!
    Anyway, I really wanted to comment to tell you that I LOVE the pictures of Eve and I LOVE her hair so much. She is soooooo cute!

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  14. Hi, I just found your blog through ontoplist.com and I'd like to say that I can totally understand what you're going through!
    I'm a young mom and I totally "lost control of my body" when I was preggers and breastfeeding. First, I want to say it's awesome that you're nursing your baby because that is the best thing you can do for her! And secondly, I want to say that yes, its such a lie that you loose weight when you nurse. I nursed my daughter for 6 1/2 months (had to stop b/c I got my wisdom teeth pulled and the meds for the surgery weren't ok for breastfeeding) and until I was forced to quit, I had only lost about 30lbs of the 75lbs that I had gained when I was preg. I had to bust ass in the gym 5 days a week before I even went to work, to try to loose the weight and let me tell you, it was really hard!!!

    Anyway, I admire you and your baby is adorable (as you already know!)

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  15. Okay, first of all, she is just so adorable. Seriously!

    Second, I have to chime in on the whole weight loss & bfing... cause it's seriously a bunch of crap. I'm hungry all the time & I just can't get myself to eat healthy foods. I want brownies and panda express. My husband told me yesterday to park in the stork parking at babies r us because "nobody would know I wasn't pregnant." He was joking, but Alexa is 7 months old & I still look about 5 months pregnant. So sad!

    I actually only have 10 pounds to lose. Anyhow, my point was going to be that while the weight isn't going to just go away on it's own, at some point you will be able to lose it. I finally lost the last 10 pounds with Ava when she was 8 months old, then I got pregnant again within a couple of months. I know I'll eventually lose it this time as well.

    Also, once they start on solid foods, the nursing sessions get shorter & less often, so just hang in there. Alexa wouldn't take solids until 6 months, but now we've been going for a month & I actually nursed her 3 times today.

    I just wrote a book here, but all I really wanted to tell you was to just enjoy your baby, enjoy bfing, and worry about the weight loss sometime later.

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  16. Kristy, I am at the 4 month mark in my pregnancy, I read everything you say like the word of God. lol. But seriously I feel like your sharing will mean so much to me when I go through it too, so thank you for finding the time to get this down.

    And you are ding a great job!

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  17. Hi Kristy,

    I applaud you for being open and honest about things that a lot more women feel than say. (I applaud Elizabeth for the same reason.)

    One of the things you don't hear a lot, or maybe don't entirely grok pre-children, is that your life will never be the same. That's not a bad thing, but it is a very, very BIG thing -- especially when you're a bit older, and have had a lot of personal/professional autonomy.

    Having struggled with this at 3 separate junctures: 1 - when Noah was born , 2 - when Leah was born, and 3 - when Noah, at 11, became too smart for our au pairs, I empathize completely.

    My best advice is to keep being honest with yourself and to do what you need to do to feel physically sound and socially and intellectually engaged (sounds like you've got emotional engagement well within your grasp :) You'll be happier and Eve & Ish will be happier.

    Easier said than done, I know, but as Elizabeth suggested, take some time for yourself and really think about what will make this whole new world work best for you. The payoffs will be huge!

    with love,
    B

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  18. First thing, first: Eve is just gorgeous.

    That out of the way, I hope you figure out whatever your digestive issues are and are able to see a specialist soon. That can't help things feel any easier. And it might also be contributing to weight gain, or stomach swelling, etc. (Not that you've really said what's happening, but yeah, I am an unhappy camper when my stomach is giving me issues, so I can only imagine, that that, plus baby (no matter how great) is putting a toll on you. Now add to the mix some hormones? and yeah.)

    Take care of you too. Good luck!

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  19. Horriblemones!!! Your are doing a great job, just look at her. I smell x-mas photo. Take a walk, not to get into shape but to clear your mind. I don't know how my parents made it, what with hanging out the diapers. ughhhh

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  20. That baby is beautiful!!

    I know I hate people giving me unsolicited advice about parenting. But since I've had to grin and bear it so many times, I feel it's my duty to pass along some unsolicited advice of my own...

    I had a hell of a time with my 5-month-old and naps. I mean, I wouldn't care if the kid never took a nap if she wasn't misery's angry cousin when she gets too tired. She's still not the best napper, but it's much, much better because one day I had a !EUREKA! moment as I looked at my empty Starbucks cup on the table...

    Most babies are OK with some caffeine in mom's milk. My kid is not most babies. After I started seriously restricting caffeine and making sure I had NONE at least two hours before a feeding (beer and coffee take the same time to clear the bloodstream - who knew?), it's been way better. I can SHOWER during a nap. Never in my life have I been so happy about a goddamn shower! Might be worth a shot.

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  21. My baby is a catnapper, too. Fortunately, for my husband especially since he is a SAHD, she tends to sleep quite late in the morning so he can get things done before she wakes up. I've also taken to getting up by 7 a.m. on the weekends and doing things like washing dishes. Basically, I've become my mother.

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  22. My kids are teenagers but I remember the exact same feelings with my first. The thought that changed my outlook was that things were not going to get back to normal. There is a new normal and that's what I had to find. It was way messier then the old way but I wouldn't have changed (well maybe I would have at times but you know what I mean).

    Eve is gorgeous - very nice photos. Did you take them?

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  23. I am a first time commenter. I suffered through some of the same feelings that you are having now with my first child. You may want to talk to your doctor about P.P.D. Some of the feelings you talk about sound like classic depression symptoms. Keep up the great work, and all things work themselves out in the end.

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  24. Thanks for this post - I'm totally going to share it with a friend of mine who is finding herself in a similar situation.

    You rock!

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  25. This may or may not be a consolation, but Eve is totally precious. I can't fathom how hard having a new baby is but I can imagine that those big blue eyes would keep me sane in your position. You seem to be doing great - keep up the good work!

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  26. I was a young, single mom (age 20). It was HARD to find a normal for us-- my daughter and me. There are a few memories that stand out in my mind, 10 years later:

    1) She loved her swing. One day, while she was swinging away, I realized I had a chance to do something. This small mind-shift was monumental because, up until that point, I didn't know what to do with myself. I made thank you cards for the baby shower gifts. The cards were 4 months late, but so what? VICTORY!

    2) I showered with the door open. Since there wasn't anyone to watch her, I brought her into the bathroom with me-- in her car seat. She was fine. I set her car seat on the floor and sang to her. If she cried, that was okay too. It was only for a few minutes and I felt worlds better. VICTORY!

    3) I washed my car. I set her swing up in the front yard under a big tree by the driveway and washed my car in the sunshine. It felt so good to be outside my house, breathing non-refrigerated air, doing something normal. VICTORY!


    Keep it up, Kristy. One day, you'll find ideas popping into your mind again. Don't get stuck in the "I can't" mindset. Accomplish 1 thing a day and take your victories where you can-- recognize them and revel in them!

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  27. i'm just jealous you are showering twice a week. (i'm lucky to get one.) she's a cutester, that's for dang sure.

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  28. Eve is one of the cutest babies ever on this earth...well, mine come first you know. It does get better...I promise and you will have time for yourself. The baby seat in the bathroom sounds like a fine idea. What you said did cause me to recall the one time in my life I got angry with my grandmother. I was just exhausted and it was raining and everyone, me and my daughter were sleepy. I took one day for myself after I got my daughter clean and fed and slept and read for the rest of the day. My grandmother came in and was horrorfied at my sloth. I wasn't and I truly needed it.

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  29. It is her hair and her eyes that make her so cute. My kids didn't have much hair for the longest time! When they got it they had tons of it, except for my youngest. She has beautiful hair, just not as thick as her auburn haired brother and sister.

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  30. Give it another 3 months, and you'll probably feel like you have it nailed. It took me that long after my first one to realize 'this IS the new normal, that old life and control is gone.' And it was OK. Plus which, by the then little munchkin had a more regular schedule, so I could (gasp) PLAN stuff.

    That was almost 14 years ago, yet I still remember the frustration of not even being able to close the stupid drapes for three days running because....BABY! Amazing just home MUCH time they take to maintain. :)

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  31. Hey Kristy -- I just wanted to let you know that I had major weird digestive issues for several months after I delivered, and it turned out to be post-partum thyroiditis, in which one's thyroid slows down for a while, then speeds up to hyperactive, then theoretically goes back to normal... I say theoretically because mine has never stayed in a normal range since, and that was 8 years ago. So, I guess what I'm saying is... make sure you get your thyroid checked.

    Eve is adorable and obviously brilliant.

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  32. I assume you've thought of this already, but have you checked your thyroid? Might be out of whack/need to adjust meds.

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  33. I gained weight as well. So unfair. Actually so much you write about in this post hits a chord with me. My girls are now 10 and 12, and a complete joy. I remember referring to them as slugs and parasites at 3 months. In the nicest way possible of course.

    Hang in there. And she is wonderful.

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  34. Congratulations on your cute little girl. Oh my god, look at her. She looks just like your picture. Yes, I agree with all, it just gets better and easier with time. They do take over your life and that is ok, because it goes by so fast. Take your time with the little one and enjoy the moments. See it in a positive way, if she wants to be carried, carry her, if she wants to hold your pinky until she falls asleep, so be it. I am saying this looking back 22 years and regretting the time that I missed with my baby girl because I was always in a rush and stressed out. I should have taken it at a slower pace.
    Oh, and here comes what most moms do not want to hear. I decided not to breastfeed as I had a weird relationship with my breasts, yes, and the nurse agreed, it was strange but I would just gag at the sight of my nipples. (sorry to say that). We bottle fed, more work, but the kids grew up fine and healthy. Strangely my mom had the same issue and I was bottlefed too. Just saying, that you can breastfeed as long as you feel ok with it.

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  35. Dude, it gets easier. I REMEMBER this. REMEMBER. Everyone said at three months, it would be easier. It wasn't for me.

    Honestly? Six months. Six months was when I woke up in the morning and said, huh. This is easier. A lot easier. Fairly quickly, and before the six month mark -- the six month mark is just when you'll NOTICE.

    It will get easier and easier. Do not stress about it and give yourself a heeeyoooge pass. Don't think about WHEN or HOW or IF, just know that it will, almost without you doing anything.

    Also, I've been exclusively nursing for almost seven months, and yep. I gained weight. Sweet, right?

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  36. I'm glad you aren't giving up breastfeeding. Not that I'm a bf commando, but because it is actually much easier than doing the bottle thing. yes, you have to do it. yes, it is your body. But you don't have to wash the bottles and heat the water and buy all that super expensive formula, and in the middle of the night, you can find the milk with your eyes closed.
    She is a beautiful child. Congratulations.
    (hope a swing or something works. Baby Einstein videos and one of those baby jump things let me get into the shower.

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  37. You are doing a wonderful job. Eve is absolutely beautiful and clearly very happy. And I am also a big girl and I too have gained weight since having Matilda in April. It's a battle.

    Being a fulltime at-home-with-baby mom is extremely tough. You're isolated in some ways and uninspired and all that. Don't be so hard on yourself. There is no such thing as jumping back into life. Your life will never be the same, mostly for the better. I'll be thinking of you. Remember you're doing great! Never doubt yourself on that!

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  38. Oh my god i KNOW with the day to day tasks. I spent 4 hours trying to get ONE photo into a photo album and I was SO MAD at my son for being so needy...but the pictures were of HIM!

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  39. Reflux may trigger the baby to cry but in order to prevent it, there are ways to follow such as keeping the baby upright after feeding, using wedge pillows and trying not to lie the baby after feeding. In a way this can help to stop the baby crying.

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