Henry went through a crying spell this evening that lasted about three hours. Nothing we tried consoled him. Or, more accurately, something would seem to do the trick but then a few minutes later he would start crying again. We changed him, we fed him, we burped him. We tried walking around with him. We took off our shirts and his outfit to maximize the skin-on-skin contact. We gave him a bath. We tried it all. Then... in desperation... we read the directions. This is what you do when all else fails--you consult the manual.
Specifically, we pulled out our copy of The Baby Book by Dr. William Sears and his wife, Nurse Martha Sears. They raised eight kids and practiced pediatric medicine for thirty years. Their book is a classic of the baby-manual genre. Detailed yet not overwhelming, they advocate Attachment Parenting (the term itself was devised by Dr. Sears) and approach parents with a very soothing tone throughout the book. Footnote: Dr. Sears served as associate ward chief of the newborn nursery at Sick Kids Hospital here in Toronto for some years. Two of William and Martha's kids followed them into the practice, and one of them, Bob, is currently taking patients. He charges $165 for a 20-minute well baby visit and expects to be paid in full by his patients. Meaning, that if your insurance will cover the visit then you are going to have to seek reimbursement from them.
Anyway... Henry was upset and so Betsy and I took turns doing our best while the parent without the Mossling read through The Sears and Sears chapter on comforting a fussy baby. The possible causes for fussiness are legion. Could be something Betsy ate. Or he could have gas. Or perhaps his biorhythms have gotten out of whack. The list goes on, and so do the recommended ways to pacify the critter. Movement, touch, southing sounds, and sights are all suggested in detail. They talk about the "Colic Dance" which requires moving in four planes of motion at a rate of 60 beats per minute (roughly the same as a human heart rate). They suggest various ways to hold a fussy baby that may be helpful. They even recommend abdominal massage technique designed to relieve gas. But, at the end of the day, the concede that sometimes babies are just going to cry whatever you do, and so all you can do is let them know that you are there with them in the hurt.
Eventually Henry did calm down. Then he had a relaxed feed and I rocked him to sleep in the nursery before composing this note. Sigh. It's all part of the new way.