Posted in Parenting

WTF Charles?

Last night was horrible.

Seriously.  Ho.  Rri.  Ble.  Argh!

Yesterday was a normal day.  My son had two good naps, he ate well at all three meals, had his fill of mommy milk and was out for the night with barely a whimper by 7.

But then, out of the blue, he decides to wake up three hours later.

This is unusual for him.  Granted, he still has 1 (sometimes 2) night wakings these days, but never that early.  When we first heard him, his father and myself did what we usually do, we gave him some time to see if he could sort himself out.  As the minutes passed though, instead of calming down, my son’s cries became more and more intense.

We’re not just talking loud here.  We’re talking a Banshee-like-scream-that-would-make-any-neighbour-wonder-if-we-were-torturing-our-son loud.

Knowing that he couldn’t possibly be hungry, my partner went up to his room to work his magic and calm him down.  As soon as he was out of the crib and in his daddy’s arms, he calmed down…and then proceeded to start squirming wildly around like mad.  So, back down to his crib he went.  Enter Banshee.

Now, I’m all for letting our little ones learn to self-soothe (we put our son through sleep training at 5 months to regain some sanity, after all), but last night seemed off.  After another quarter hour of screaming-his-head-off-for-no-apparent-reason, I caved and decided that I’d nurse him back to sleep.

But here’s the kicker: It Did Not Work!

Damn

Not only did he not fall asleep nursing, he was pinching and prodding and kicking and slapping me and squirming while attached to my breast.

And so, I tried to rock him.  I sang him his lullaby and put him up over my shoulder like I usually do when I want to help myself him fall asleep more quickly.

Guess what?  It Still Did Not Work!

He was still squirming like mad.  Seriously, he could have given a worm a run for his money.

Since he clearly wasn’t hungry, the room temperature was fine, he didn’t feel hot, his diaper passed the sniff test and he wasn’t falling asleep in my arms, I put him back down in his crib.

And then…

The banshee came back…and I left his room, closed the door, settled in my own bed and tried to fall asleep…except I couldn’t because Mr. Banshee just kept screaming and screaming and screaming.

After another 15 minutes or so, I had an epiphany.

TEETHING!

I mean, it had to be that right?  He cried when on his back and stop crying while in our arms.  I asked my partner if he would kindly get the Advil.  He, of course, wanting nothing more than to sleep being the wonderful partner and father that he is, kindly obliged.  I gave Charles the medicine as daddy went back to bed and then let him comfort suck his way back to sleep.

Except he didn’t!

Oh he wasn’t crying anymore.  He was still squirming wildly though.  So I tried rocking him in a different way, by sitting him on my lap.  But he continued to squirm and squirm.  Except, I then realized that this wasn’t random squirming.  No, this was my 8.5 month old trying to turn to face me and climb on me.

The little turd oh-so-wonderful baby was wide awake!  To confirm my suspicion, he even started to chat merrily.

AT 11 EFFING 30 PM!

Well, now that I knew that he wasn’t dying of pain from “teething” – because, obviously Mr. If-You’re-Happy-And-You-Know-It had decided that it was a great idea to be wide awake when you’re supposed to be sleeping – I decided to put him back in his crib and get back in my own bed.

Well, he screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed…while I hoped he’d calm down and the dadster was sleeping blissfully.

After an hour of screaming (yes yes, I know, I am a TERRIBLE mom for letting my son scream like that for so long) I got out of bed again to try to soothe my Banshee baby back to sleep again because I couldn’t take the screaming anymore and wanted to sleep I’m an awesome mom who loves to be awake in the dead of night.

Turns out he just wanted to climb all over me and chatter a storm up with me again.  By this time, it was 1am.  He had been screaming on and off for three hours now and I was pretty much ready to give in and just put him back in his crib, get a pair of earplugs in and go sleep in the shed.  But I decided to try one more thing.

A couple of months ago, I purchased a white noise machine that also had the option of projecting some images on the ceiling.  We never use this for nighttime sleep as it is much too stimulating for the little man.  But I figured that it couldn’t hurt to try given that my son was already wide awake.

It worked!

Oh the joys of being able to sleep!

Of course, Little Dude decided that 5 am was a goo time to wake up this morning, meaning that I got about 3h of sleep last night and he got about 6, but hey, 3 is better than none, right?

And for those of you who may be wondering what kind of mood he is in today, think Jeckyl & Hyde…

Please tell me I will sleep wonderfully tonight!

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Posted in Infant, Parenting

How To Stump A Pediatrician

For those of you not following my blog on BLW, here’s a small recap of what has gone on so far.

We started BLW when my son turned 6 months old – nearly 3 weeks ago.  Seeing as neither my partner or I have any food allergies, we dove right in and avoided only foods that had a high risk of triggering an allergic reaction like nuts.  Things were going really well until I noticed one day that my son had a pretty gnarly rash on his lower face and forearms.  At first, I brushed it off as being an eczema flare-up, a decent assumption given that I only noticed the redness the following day after an overnight change of temperature from cold to hot.

The thing is, though, the next time I gave my son some yogurt, I wiped him down, sat him on his playmat and, when I turned around to start cleaning the table, he started screaming.  I looked at him and immediately noticed this his lower face, cheeks and the inside of his arms were bright red with little white bumps all over.  Enter Benadryl…  Eventually, I put two and two together and realized that my son was reacting to dairy, or, at the very least, yogurt.  Reading up on it, I found that it wasn’t uncommon for babies to have trouble processing lactose and that this reaction could just be the result of his system not being mature enough to handle it.  ‘No matter’, I thought, we’ll just wait a few months before reintroducing dairy.

Then, he had a reaction to tomato – the second time he ate it only.  I thought that it might be because the second time around it had been in contact with an acidic dressing, but I still decided to err on the side of caution.  Henceforth, I would only introduce one new food at a time.  I made some fishcakes.  New ingredient: panko bread crumbs.  I did not want to use the other breadcrumbs because I read in the ingredients that it had been produced in a plant where they also use milk ingredients (yeah, you can say that I was overcautious…).  The first time he ate some, he was fine.  The second time he ate some, he was fine.  The third time…the third time he had an allergic reaction.  His lower face was bright red again and some bright red patches with little white bumps had crept on his back as well.

Damn.

So…where did that leave me?  I had (read: have) no idea what my son can eat.  I mean, seriously, why is he fine one day and not the next?  So, I rang up my pediatrician’s office this morning to see if I could get an appointment and perhaps a referral to an allergist.  Her office was very accommodating and found a spot for me today!

Well, after spending about a quarter hour in her office, she was stumped.  At first, she thought I might be mistaking an allergic reaction with eczema.  I suppose, however, that after asking me the same question about five different ways and getting the same answer from me, she realized that I actually was able to distinguish the two (don’t fault her for asking in so many ways though, she was being thorough!).  What also confused her was that I hadn’t changed my diet since giving birth.  She told me that, according to what she knew, my son shouldn’t be reacting to food because he hadn’t had any reactions to the proteins that were in my milk.

Eventually, she took out her prescription booklet and a post it and told me that she would be referring us to an allergist at a children’s hospital.  I’m calling tomorrow to get an appointment.

In the mean time, we are going to continue solids and I will be jotting everything down.  That way, I will have a mine of information by the time we are able to see the specialist.

Posted in Parenting

Note To Self

1.  You are not perfect, but you are perfectly capable of taking care of your son.

2.  Parenting life is like a bouncy ball: what goes up, must come down…and back up again!

3.  You are allowed to cry.  In fact, you will cry.  Embrace the tears when they come instead of holding them back.

4.  Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength.

5.  Life would be boring if your son was happy 24/7 😛

6.  If you’re tired, TAKE A NAP if your son is napping.  Screw the chores!

7.  Parenting can be the most thankless job in the world.  Thankfully, it can also be the best job in the world.

8.  Get out of the house.

9.  Just because you can’t see the sun on a rainy day, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

10.  By all means read up on parenting, but keep listening to your heart.

11.  You love your son, unconditionally and he loves you in the same way.  That’s all that matters.

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Posted in Parenting

The Secret To Baby Sleep!

Reblogged from http://starcrossedkayla.tumblr.com

I went on amazon and bought all the top books on baby sleep and development. I read through them all, as well as several blogs and sleep websites. I gathered lots of advice.

You shouldn’t sleep train at all, before a year, before 6 months, or before 4 months, but if you wait too late, your baby will never be able to sleep without you. College-aged children never need to be nursed, rocked, helped to sleep, so don’t worry about any bad habits. Nursing, rocking, singing, swaddling, etc to sleep are all bad habits and should be stopped immediately. White noise will help them fall asleep. White noise, heartbeart sounds, etc, don’t work. Naps should only be taken in the bed, never in a swing, carseat, stroller, or when worn. Letting them sleep in the carseat or swing will damage their skulls. If your baby has trouble falling asleep in the bed, put them in a swing, carseat, stroller, or wear them.

Put the baby in a nursery, bed in your room, in your bed. Cosleeping is the best way to get sleep, except that it can kill your baby, so never, ever do it. If your baby doesn’t die, you will need to bedshare until college.

Use the same cues as night: cut lights, keep the house quiet and still. Differentiate naps from nightly sleep by leaving the lights on and making a regular amount of noise. Keep the room warm, but not too warm. Swaddle the baby tightly, but not too tightly. Put them on their back to sleep, but don’t let them be on their backs too long or they will be developmentally delayed. Give them a pacifier to reduce SIDS. Be careful about pacifiers because they can cause nursing problems and stop your baby from sleeping soundly. If your baby sleeps too soundly, they’ll die of SIDS.

Don’t let your baby sleep too long, except when they’ve been napping too much, then you should wake them. Never wake a sleeping baby. Any baby problem can be solved by putting them to bed earlier, even if they are waking up too early. If your baby wakes up too early, put them to bed later or cut out a nap. Don’t let them nap after 5 pm. Sleep begets sleep, so try to get your child to sleep as much as possible. Put the baby to bed awake but drowsy. Don’t wake the baby if it fell asleep while nursing.

You should start a routine and keep track of everything. Not just when they sleep and how long, but how long it has been between sleep, how many naps they’ve had per day, and what you were doing before they slept. Have a set time per day that you put them to bed. Don’t watch the clock. Put them on a schedule. Scheduling will make your life impossible because they will constantly be thrown off of it and you will become a prisoner in your home.

Using CIO will make them think they’ve been abandoned and will be eaten by a lion shortly. It also causes brain damage. Not getting enough sleep will cause behavior and mental problems, so be sure to put them to sleep by any means necessary, especially CIO, which is the most effective form. Extinction CIO is cruel beyond belief and the only thing that truly works because parents are a distraction. The Sleep Lady Shuffle and Ferber method are really CIO in disguise or Controlled Crying and so much better than Extinction. All three of these will prevent your child from ever bonding with you in a healthy way. Bedsharing and gentler forms of settling will cause your child to become too dependent on you.

Topping the baby off before bed will help prevent night wakings. When babies wake at night, it isn’t because they are hungry. If the baby wants to nurse to sleep, press on the baby’s chin to close its mouth. Don’t stop the baby from nursing when asleep because that doesn’t cause a bad habit. Be wary of night feeds. If you respond too quickly with food or comfort, your baby is manipulating you. Babies can’t manipulate. Babies older than six months can manipulate.
Sleep when the baby sleeps. Clean when the baby cleans. Don’t worry. Stress causes your baby stress and a stressed baby won’t sleep.

Well, that clears things up!  Not that we have any problems with sleep around here… *whistles innocently*.

Posted in Infant, Parenting

Yup, I’m Thinking About It: Baby-Led Weaning!

Step 1: Give the baby milk.

Step 2: Give the baby cereal.

Step 3: Give the baby smooth purées.

Step 4: Give the baby lumpy purées.

Step 5: Give the baby finger foods.

Seriously?  As if there weren’t enough steps that went into raising a child.  Not that I mind, but wouldn’t it be simpler if we could just skip the cereal and texture-less, tasteless purées?

Well, with baby-led weaning (BLW) you can!

What is BLW?

Baby Led Weaning, quite simply, means letting your child feed themselves from the very start of weaning. […] * re ‘wean’. This is meant in the Brit sense, not the American. In the UK, ‘weaning’ means ‘adding complementary foods’, whereas in the States it means ‘giving up breastfeeding’.

http://www.babyledweaning.com/

Basically, you give your child adequately-sized pieces  of food (a stick size that is long enough to protrude from your baby’s closed fist or chip size) and allow them to learn to grab it, put it in their mouth, gum (or bite) down on it, chew it, and swallow it.  The basic idea behind BLW is that if your child is able to do all this, then it is a surefire sign that s/he is developmentally ready to eat that particular food.

We are told that it is important to follow our children’s cues.  So why wouldn’t we take the same approach with solids?  You see, BLW enthusiasts argue that since we trust our little ones to roll over, crawl, walk when ready that it goes to reason that we should also trust them to eat when ready because playing airplane to force a loaded spoon into a baby’s mouth  hardly seems like following a baby’s cues.

Advantages and Disadvantages

According to Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett, authors of Baby-Led Weaning, The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods and Helping Your Baby to Grop Up a Happy and Confident Eater, there are many advantages to using this approach (pages 20-28):

  • Learning to eat safely: by allowing your child to explore the food with their hands before it goes in their mouths allows them to judge size and texture and may contribute in lowering the chances for him/her to choke once it is in their mouth.
  • Learning about his/her world: when the food is being manipulated by your baby, it becomes a learning tool that exploits all five senses.  For instance, your baby can see the white and yellow part of a banana, can feel how easily it can be squished and how slippery the inside of it is, can smell its odor and taste its flavor and hear that there is no crunch.
  • Trusting food: It would seem that BLW babies may be less reluctant to try out new foods because they are ultimately in control of what they put in their mouths.  Quite amazingly, it has happened in many instances that a baby would reject a certain food (ie: not even trying it or trying it once but not wanting to touch it again) and his/her parents would learn later on that their little one had an allergy or intolerance to the particular food.
  • Appetite control: Because your baby is in charge of what s/he wants to eat, s/he is also in control of how much s/he want to eat.  In BLW, there is no forcing a child to eat “just another bite”.  Because they are allowed to decide when they are done eating, it allows them to listen to their body’s cues and can be a contributing factor to reducing the risk of overeating and obesity in adulthood.
  • Easier, less complicated meals: With BLW, there is no need to prepare purées in advance or heat them.  Since your baby is included in mealtimes and their food doesn’t have to be reduced to mush, they can eat  what the rest of the family is eating (plus, their food doesn’t have to be bland, it can be seasoned!).  Because of this, eating out is easier as well.

As for the disadvantages, well, it would seem that BLW is a very messy process, especially at first when your baby is still exploring and hasn’t figured out that these new ‘toys’ actually serve to fill up his/her belly.

Of course, as with any method, there are always two sides to the proverbial coin.  As such, some caution against using this method.

But, won’t my baby choke?

^^This, is the first thing that popped into my mind when I first started reading up on solids and came across the world of BLW.  However, from what I’ve read (mind you, from the biased point of view of those who actually do BLW), the risk of choking is smaller than it is for babies who were fed purées.

But why?

Well, in a nutshell, babies who are fed purées learn to swallow before they learn to chew, whereas in BLW babies, it is the opposite.  Furthermore, since the gag reflex is triggered further down the mouth as our little ones grow, they will have less time to push out a piece of food that is too large than a younger child..

But BLW enthusiasts warn that your baby will gag as s/he learns to move food from the front of his/her mouth to the back of his/her mouth.  They also say that though it is alarming at first, that it is important to not panic and to allow your child to get the food out of their mouth themselves.  It is also important to keep in mind that your baby has to be in control at all times because if an adult (or ‘helpful’ toddler) tries to feed your baby by bringing the food to their mouth for them, then the potential for chocking is multiplied (think about how you’d react is another person tried to shove a piece of food in your mouth).

This all makes sense to me and so I decided that this is the approach I wanted to go with.

When do I know that my baby is ready?

  • Though some pediatricians give parents the green light to start solids when their baby is 4 months old, both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization caution against the introduction to solids (ie: anything other than breastmilk or formula) before the age of 6 months.  Before 6 months, it would seem, the stomach just isn’t ready to process solids.

Furthermore, your baby should:

  • Be able to sit up well without support
  • Have lost the tongue-thrust reflex
  • Attempt to grab food and put it in his/her mouth
  • Be able to reach out, grab things and bring them to his/her mouth quickly and accurately

What do you think about BLW?  Have you tried it, do you plan to?  How did introducing solids with your children go?

Related posts

Little Foodie (theamazingmoores.wordpress.com)

Drink (and food!) (stumblingthroughparenting.wordpress.com)

Posted in Infant, Parenting

Angel + Angel = Spirited?

“You’ll see: they eat, dirty diapers and sleep.”

“You’ll have to work harder on keeping them awake than on getting them to sleep.”

“You just have to feed them and they fall right to sleep.”

Among other things, these are some of the nuggets of knowledge that were bestowed upon me by family, friends and strangers alike when they found out I was pregnant.

Humpf…

You know what?  I think my son didn’t get the memo.

But seriously, all babies are different.  They are individuals just as us adults are and their personality generally shines through early on.

Take my son for instance.  He.  Is.  So.  Curious!  He wasn’t even 24h old and the nurses kept commenting on the fact that he was always awake when they came in (which, for the record, was often *sigh* so much for trying to get some rest while at the hospital)!  He’s still like that: fighting sleep to the death!  (In fact, that is what he is doing at the moment…excuse me while I try for an umpteenth time to get my son down for bedtime).

Back to personalities!

Several authors have come up with a typology of baby personalities.  Among them, was the late Tracy Hogg.  In her book The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems she and co-author Melinda Blau list five.

So, in a nutshell… (paraphrased from the book)

Angel

Eating: Efficient eater (whether nursed or bottle fed) and open to new foods once solids are introduced.

Activities: Can play alone or in groups easily in moderately active settings.  Very social and adapt well to new situations.

Sleep: Easy to put down for independent sleep pretty much from birth.  Will generally start sleeping through the night (6 consecutive hours) by the time they are 6 weeks old and will be going down without a fuss for two good naps and a catnap by the time they hit the 4 month mark.

Mood: Generally easygoing and hardly reactive.  Their cues are easy to read.

Textbook

Eating: Efficient eater, but may be more resistant to solids at first.

Activities: Developmentally, they are “by the book” meaning that they will be able to play with a 3month tagged toy at 3 months and a 6 month tagged toy at 6 months.

Sleep: On average, they require about 20 minutes to drift off to sleep on their own.  They may need assistance if they are overstimulated.

Mood: Generally easygoing and hardly reactive as long as their cues are read adequately.

Touchy

Eating: Easily frustrated and distracted while they eat and will likely refuse solids when introduced.

Activities: Are generally weary of anything new (toys, people, situations) and need support and encouragement in those instances.  They prefer to play alone or in a one-on-one setting and are more easygoing in the morning than in the afternoon (note that ‘more’ easygoing’ does not mean ‘very’ easygoing…).

Sleep: Need to be swaddled and in a low stimulation environment.  They get overtired very easily and tend to nap for longer periods of time in the morning than in the afternoon.

Mood: Very reactive and can get overstimulated in a heartbeat.

Spirited

Eating: Efficient eater (though they can become impatient if the milk doesn’t come quickly enough).  Breastfed babies seem to resent the colostrum phase.  Their natural curiosity means that they will readily accept solids.

Activities: Very active and seem to have endless amounts of energy.  They are highly reactive and can become overwhelming to peers in a group.  They are typically calmer in the mornings.

Sleep: They begin to protest as soon as they realize that they are going down (naptime and bedtime rituals) and fight sleep because they do not want to miss anything.  They generally resent being swaddled and need to be in a low stimulation environment to sleep.

Mood: Very vocal and impatient.  Their mood can change in a heart beat and are generally described as being stubborn.  Because of their high-energy and curiosity, they can become overstimulated or overtired quickly.

Grumpy

Eating: Very impatient and feeding (whether nursed or bottle fed) can take forever.  Will typically be very resistant to solids when introduced.

Activities: Prefer playing by themselves and hate being interrupted in the middle of an activity.

Sleep: They fight sleep which generally leads to them becoming overtired.  They are also notorious catnappers.

Mood: They do not react well to a change in routine and it is very important to learn to read their cues to avoid a meltdown.  They need a routine to function.

Now, to hear my parents and in-laws tell it, both my partner and I were Angel babies.  Stands to reason that our son would be the same, right?

Wrong!

He falls into the Spirited category (though, if I had to choose a sub-category, I would say that he is Grumpy as well).  As such, I need to time my outings properly, spend a lot of time stimulating him to quench his never ending curiosity and spend even more time getting him to sleep.

*Sigh*

But it’s all worth it.  Or so they say…

(Just kidding, I know it’s worth it)

Tell me, what type of personality do your children have?

Related posts

http://writinginwhite.com/2013/04/10/rolling-over-and-over-and-over/

http://raisingapic.wordpress.com/2013/03/21/magical-babies-what-sleep-should-look-like-sleep-part-ii-2/

Mr. Spirited in the flesh!
Mr. Spirited in the flesh!

 

 

Posted in Infant

Bawling Bedtime Brawl

I’m an insomniac.  I’ve been fighting to fall asleep ever since my early teens.  I’ve had some good periods, periods that have given me a shard of hope that I may have finally gotten over the insomnia.  But it was not to be.  In the days following the arrival of my son, I was so sleep-deprived and exhausted that I had no issues falling asleep.  But it did not last.  Gone are the days where I could fall asleep quickly when I went to bed and fall back asleep without issue after a middle of the night nursing session despite my “non-snoring” boyfriend”s seamless imitation of some type of motor.

As for my son, well, he does not fight to fall asleep.  No, he battles sleep.  He seems to do everything in his power to remain awake and, when my partner or I are finally able to help him fall asleep, it is only to have him wake up and fuss as soon as he hits the mattress of his crib.  I love the little bugger, but after two weeks of this, he is very quickly eroding any sanity and self-confidence I have left.

You might recall that I started my son on E.A.S.Y. when he turned seven weeks.  Simultaneously, I started swaddling him again.  I had a new baby, on that would give me three 90 minute naps and one 45 minute nap per day.  It was great!  He was in an awesome mood.  Both of our lives had become more predictable and I found it easier to manage motherhood with a three hour schedule.   Life was good.

And then, about two days before he turned three months old, all hell broke loose.  I’ve already posted on his three month growth spurt, so I won’t detail it again here.  Suffices to say, he didn’t sleep much.  I naively thought that when he would get back to normal when he finished his spurt; I had forgotten that my son made a point of changing things up each time I figured him out.  Well, now, he’s gone from being a great napper to being a crap-napper cat-napper. For the past week, I can consider that I’m having a good day when he naps for two hours total.

The E.A.S.Y. routine has worked so well that now he knows exactly when he’s going down for a nap or for bedtime.  As soon as he starts yawning and rubbing his eyes, I bring him to his room.  As soon as we are in his room, he starts crying his head off.  And we’re not talking about a small whimper cry.  Oh no!  We’re talking full-blown-red-faced-scream-myself-hoarse cry.  Of course, the same is true for bedtime.  He’ll go from fussy at the breast for his last nursing session, to calm and smiling while I undress him and his father runs his bath, to happy while he’s in the bath and then BAM as soon as his father takes him out of the tub, he starts screaming his head off.  Holy, am I glad to not be in an apartment building anymore; I’m sure the neighbors would call child services!

I don’t know what to think right now.  What I do know is that he seems to be going through a transition phase.  He is at a point where he cannot be swaddled anymore because he breaks out of it all the time.  He seems to want to learn to self-soothe because he is always spitting out his pacifier and sucking on his hands.  However, we need to put mitts on his hands when he goes to bed because otherwise he’ll scratch his face up pretty badly even though I trim and file down the darned things every other day.

What to do, what to do?

Posted in Infant, Newborn

Is it a Dog? Is it a Burglar? No Honey, it’s Just the Baby.

Something amusing happened this morning.  Though I’m not sure my boyfriend will be all too pleased, I thought I would share it with you.

I woke up for seemingly no reason this morning at 5:30 am.  Though I couldn’t hear anything, I knew that it was the baby who had woken me up.  After all, he hadn’t nursed since half-past midnight so he was most likely hungry.  I was about to get out of bed when I noticed that my significant other was getting out himself.  I figured he was going to get the baby for me so that I could nurse in bed.  However, that’s not exactly what happened.  Not right away anyways.

– Him (half-awake): Did you hear that?

-Me (calmly): It was probably the baby.  He’s likely hungry.

-Him (with certainty): No, it sounded like a dog.

-Me (confused): A dog?

-Me (matter-of-factly): No, it was the baby.

-Him (bravely): I’m going to go check.

Upon these words he shuffles out of the room and goes in the direction opposite to the baby’s room.  A short while later, he comes back in to the room.

-Him (somewhat confused): I don’t know what it is.

-Me (getting exasperated): I was the baby.  He’s hungry.

He leaves the room again and goes into the baby’s room.

-Him (relieved) : Oh!  It’s the baby, he’s awake.  Hang on, let me bring him to you.

-Me: *eyeroll* Ok.

Remember how I said in a previous post that my boyfriend can sleep through the night even if my son was crying his heart out, but that he would wake up if he heard an unusual noise, even if it wasn’t all that loud?  Well, what you need to understand is that my son has graduated from outright crying.  In fact, he hasn’t woken me up by crying for weeks now.  Now, he starts off by cooing.  If I don’t come after a little bit, he’ll go into whiny-coo mode.  After that, he’ll let out a couple of short loud screams.  Only after going through all that will he burst out into an all out cry.  I’m thinking that this morning he bellowed a few of those screams and that my boyfriend, in his half-awake state, though they were dog barks.  Of course, he quieted down as soon as my boyfriend got out of bed as he knew that someone was up and would come and pick him up.  Smart baby.

Posted in Infant, Newborn

Baby Schedule Made E.A.S.Y.

I’ve never thought of myself as the type that would want to enforce a schedule for her baby.  I mean, I’m a pretty easy-going go-with-the-flow kind of gal.  When I first came home with my son and started reading feverishly on the web any tidbit of information that could help me out with understanding how to adjust to my new life with a newborn, I was amazed at the sheer quantity of information there was.  Of course, on different subjects, different people have different points of view.  One such subject concerned sleep.  Some say that it’s important to initiate a well-organized routine as soon as possible.  Others believe in living your life around the routine your baby sets.  And, of course, there’s everything in between.

At first, I let my newborn lead my life.  He slept when he was tired.  He ate when he was hungry.  Period.  But, as time went by and he got older (ok, so he’s just past seven weeks old, but he’s already changed a lot), I started to wonder whether I should try to ease him into a schedule.  I realized that I needed some more predictability in my life, especially since my boyfriend was back to work.  I also figured that my baby would probably be comforted by more predictability.  So I read and read and read about sleep and came across one baby whisperer’s take on putting a baby on a schedule.  She calls it E.A.S.Y.

E.A.S.Y. is an acronym (duh!) for Eat, Activity, Sleep, Your time.  It is devilishly simple to remember and to implement.  It is based on a baby’s need to sleep, play and eat and on a parent’s need to have some time of their own.  The method takes into account the baby’s age and so is adapted to consider that a four week old, for instance, will not only need to eat more often than a five month old but will also need more daily nap time hours than a five month old.

With regards to my son, he typically eats every three hours (except when he is going through a growth spurt) so I use a three-hour rotating schedule.  Here is an example:

(E) 7:00 – Wake, nurse, burp

(A) 7:30 – Diaper change / change out of pyjamas and into clothing / various activities such as tummy time or playing with his foot piano.

(S) 8:30 – Whisper to him that he is tired and that it is nap time, go into room, wrap him up in his blankets, rock him, put him into his crib sleepy but not sleeping (ideally).

(Y) As soon as he is asleep – My time (nap and/or shower and/or do some chores…)

(E) 10:00 – Wake up, nurse, burp…

Please note that the hours that I jotted down are only there as examples.  I do not wake him at 7am so that we can start the schedule at exactly that hour.  Also, though I prefer to put him down for naps after active play so that he doesn’t associate nursing with sleep and NEED to nurse to fall asleep in the long run, I don’t force him to stay awake if he can’t keep his eyes open after being nursed, burped and changed.  Furthermore, if, for instance, he ate at 7 and by 9 he looks hungry, I don’t force him to wait an hour before nursing just because he is “supposed” to eat every three hours nor do I force him to nap if he clearly isn’t tired.  I use this schedule in a flexible way based on his cues.  However, it does have some predictability to it.

Honestly *knock on wood*, with regards to naps, it has been going rather well now that I’ve started using this method with my son.  I was actually surprised that he was able to fall asleep after active play rather than after nursing so quickly (just last week I would still put him down after he nursed).  I’ve been able to get him to take about four 1 to 2 hour naps per day for the past three days and so I think that he understands the daytime routine.

I am now gradually implementing the nighttime routine which would look something like this:

(E) 19:00 – Wake, nurse, burp

(A) 19:30 – Bath (with daddy!), change into pyjamas

(S) 20:00 – Whisper to him that it is time for sleep, mom and dad give him a kiss goodnight and either one of us brings him to his room, wraps him up into his blanket, turns on the white noise, sings a lullaby and attempts to rocks him to sleep.

Now this part of the routine isn’t integrated yet.  My son isn’t used to taking his bath every night and so, I think, hasn’t associated the bath with bedtime.  Furthermore, I think he just doesn’t like the dark (this despite the fact that there are two nightlights in his room) because he will generally start to fuss as soon as the lights in his room are turned off.  If within about a quarter-hour, my little one still isn’t sleeping, well, I get out of the rocking chair, get him out of his blankets, , turn off the white noise and bring him back into the living room with his father and I to wait for his next “I’m sleepy” cue (the eye rubbing and yawning usually gives it away).  I’ll keep you posted on how are nights are doing in a couple of weeks.

Of course, not everyone would agree with this method.  I mean, there are several parenting experts out there and thus several ways of seeing child-rearing.  I’m a fan of reading on different methods and then picking and choosing from each one what works best for me.  I am a firm believer that there are as many methods as there are children in the world as no two individuals are alike and so no single copy-pasted method can work for two children.

On the note of different opinions, there is one subject that I haven’t made up my mind on yet: waking a baby to feed.  Though I do wake him during the day to make sure he eats every three hours max, I am inclined to let him sleep at night…up to a certain point.  Last night, I awoke at half past midnight.  My mommy brain knew that my son hadn’t eaten for a little over three hours.  Now, usually, when this happens, I will get out of bed and get my son out of his crib to feed him (waking him in the process).  Last night, however, I forced myself back to sleep (after getting up, going into my son’s room to make sure he actually still had his eyes closed and he was still breathing).  I woke up two hours later, my mommy brain worried because my wonderful son hadn’t eaten in a little over five hours.  This time, I did get out of bed to nurse him even though he was still sleeping peacefully.  I guess I still think my son is much to little, at seven weeks young, to be going so long without eating.

I wonder though, what would you have done?

Posted in Infant, Newborn

Who Are You And What Have You Done With My Son?

Just when I thought I was getting the hang of things….

I hate it when this happens.  For the past  week, things have been going really well.  I mean, despite Christmas coming around (which meant family parties), we’d been getting into a rather predictable routine of waking, eating, playing, napping and bedtime.  But, of course, things were going too well.

For the past two evenings and nights, my little tyke is giving me grief.  His last feedings of the day have been hellish as he’s been going through them fussing, squirming, screaming and crying.  He moves around so much that he loses his latch or just plain hurts me by flipping out and remaining stuck to my breast.  His arms flay about either allowing him to grab and hold on (tightly) to some loose locks of hair (two words: haircut time) or punching, pushing against or clawing at (have I ever mentioned how hard it is to trim a baby’s nails?) the hollow right above the spot where my two collarbones meet with his little fist.  Of course, when I put him up to burp him during and after a feeding, he tenses up, pushing against my thighs with his legs and he straightening his back, holding his head up high and refuses to burp.

 

This, of course, affects both his sleep and mine.  You see, because he gets so worked up, he is nearly impossible to put down for a nap or for the night.  He ends up falling asleep from pure exhaustion around 10:30.  If it were only that, it wouldn’t be so bad, but his nighttime feedings are seldom better.  Oh, he doesn’t squirm around or anything, but after his (around) 3am nursing session, I can’t get him back into his crib.  He’ll fall asleep un my arms, but as soon as I put him down, he wakes up, fists clenched and grunting.  So I rub his tummy, turn on his white noise, but there’s nothing to do, he just starts panicking.  And so I pick him up again and he calms down and falls back to sleep in a matter of seconds.

Meanwhile, I, am going crazy and so I’ve been reviewing the likely culprits.

1.  Overstimulated/overtired: his grandparents came during the day and there is never any shortage of stimulation when they are with the baby and he is awake.  Of course, as I’ve mentioned before, an overstimulated baby usually leads to a cranky overtired baby especially when the baby in question fights off sleep.  But you know, even as I write these lines, I know that overstimulation is not this evening’s problem.

2.  Milk flow issues: I can’t help but wonder, when my son is squirming and screaming at the breast, if the problem might be with my milk.  Do I have too little?  Is the milk flow too slow?  Is it too fast?  Is he getting too much foremilk and is eager to get to the rich creamy stuff?  However, I know that this evening the problem isn’t in the quantity or flow of the milk.  After all, we are changing many wet diapers a day.  He’s gaining weight nicely (his clothing and my arm muscles can attest to that).   I’ve taken care of the foremilk/hindmilk imbalance by feeding from the same breast twice before switching to the next.  Plus, he’s not coughing and spluttering as  he’s drinking.

3.  Gas:  You’ll notice I’ve kept this for last.  Fact is, I know that this is the real problem.  When he’s in my arms, not only can I feel the gas bubbles in his tummy but I can hear them as well.  When I put him down in his crib, I know he is awoken by the gas as I can hear the farts resounding as he clenches his fists and works hard  to push out the bubbles that are causing him so much discomfort.

It’s frustrating because I feel like there’s nothing I can do about it but hold him.  I mean, when he started having tummy issues a few weeks back, I started burping him after every nursing session.  Then, I started doing it mid-session too.  I’ve cut out certain foods from my diet,  I’ve done tummy massages, I’ve used a magic bag, I “bicycle” his legs…it seems like nothing is working.  It’s frustrating because this nighttime problem started out of the blue.  He’s always had gas, but he’s always fallen back asleep quickly during the night.  Right now, I’m eager for the 22nd of January to come up; not only will he be two months old, but he’s seeing his pediatrician.  I just hope the problem resolves itself before then.  If not, I hope I can at least keep a handle on my sanity; there is no way I can be even remotely close to functioning with the little sleep I’ve been getting these past two nights.

6:40 am.  It’s as good a time as any to try for the umpteenth time to get him (and myself( to bed I suppose.

Wish me luck…