Posted in Newborn, Parenting

Confused

Dear Amélie,

I know that you have spent the better part of your existence inside the womb and that the outside can be confusing, so allow me to give you a few pointers on how things work out here.

  • When I swaddle you, it’s not for you to attempt Houdini-like escapes only to get pissed off when you’re unsuccessful (which, admittedly, doesn’t happen very often).  In fact, it’s to help contain your Moro reflex so that you (and I) can sleep.
  • Speaking of sleep, being rocked isn’t supposed to be an overstimulating activity that keeps you awake and a brightly lit living room with a toddler screaming (from joy or anger) and running around isn’t supposed to be conductive to sleep (though I’m certainly not going to complain that you manage to fall asleep in that environment).
  • Nursing time isn’t supposed to be guzzle-down-my-milk-ASAP-and-then-proceed-to-spit-up-and-have-the-hiccups-for-15-minutes.
  • When I put you up against my shoulder, it isn’t an invitation to work out you neck muscles.  It’s to burp you so that we might skip the spitting up part of your nursing routine.
  • Alternatively, the whole point of putting you on your tummy after diaper changes is 
  • By the way, you are allowed to poop in a wet diaper.  Seriously, you really don’t have to wait until the moment where I have just finished swaddling you after changing your diaper to poop.
  • I don’t mind that you prefer to sleep on your side or tummy and am happy to indulge your preferences during your daytime naps because I can keep an eye on you, but during the night, I would really, really like it if you could stay on your back.

There, I hope that clears up a few things for you.

Love you to bits,

Mama

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…

Posted in Sleep (and lack thereof)

Sweet Dreams

I’ve got a curious little fella.  I mean, really curious.  From the time he wakes from his two-hour nightly sleep spurts to the time nighttime comes again, he usually refuses to fall asleep.  He yawns, his eyes become glazed over and his eyelids start to shut.  Sometimes, this means sleep, but other times, he refuses to let sleep claim him.  As soon as I think he will finally fall asleep, he forces his eyes open wide again and then, it’s almost impossible to get him to sleep.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love to see his eyes open, staring at my face, his hands grasping the strands of hair that are within arms reach.  I love to see the faces he makes, love to see his lips curl into a smile.  The problem is, when he stays awake for too long, he gets overstimulated, which in turn causes him to become overtired and an overtired newborn (well, my overtired newborn) is even harder to get to sleep!

In the days following our return from the hospital, my son would fall asleep consistently at the breast.  It was so simple: I would nurse, he would fall asleep, I would put him to bed, then put myself to bed.  However, this no longer works systematically.  So I’ve been reading and have tried different things to get my little one to sleep.

  1. Distinguishing night and day: Now I know that newborns don’t know the difference between day and night.  As far as I understand, this comprehension can’t come in until a baby is about six weeks of age.  However, I’ve implemented some things to help my son make the distinction more easily.  First, his day naps happen in his moses basket wherever my boyfriend or I are.  This means he sleeps in a bright place with usual household noises going on around him.  We do not whisper when we talk or tiptoe around, we go about our business.  This seems to reassure our little one as he knows that we are nearby.  When night comes, we move him to his crib.  His room is kept dark with only a nightlight bright enough to allow me to see him when he wakes during the night for a feeding or diaper change (or pyjama change when his father or I had trouble putting on his diaper properly…).  This *knock on wood* seems to be working so far.
  2. Swaddling: My mother-in-law swears by this method, but it hasn’t worked for me.  My son HATES, I mean REALLY HATES being swaddled.  He always screams out in anger and frustration when he loses the use of his arms because they are pinned down against him by a blanket.  I would say that the only time during which he actually agreed to be swaddled, was in the 24 hours following his exit from the womb.
  3. Burping him:  Oddly enough, this seems to be one of his preferred methods of falling asleep these days.  When we finish a feed, I put him over my shoulder and switch between lightly tapping and rubbing his back.  Generally, within about five to ten minutes he has not only burped but has fallen asleep against me.  Now, perhaps it is because he is in contact with his mother, perhaps it is because he is being held in an upright position, perhaps it is because it helps his stomach settle, I don’t know what the reason is, but I am very happy that this method works – most of the time!
  4. Singing/Rocking:  Pretty self-explanatory.  Sometimes it works, most times it doesn’t…
  5. Holding him: This usually helps a lot.  Sometimes, my son seems to only want to be held.  He needs this contact with his mother (and sometimes his father).  The only problem is that when he is sleeping in my arms, I can’t allow myself to fall asleep and usually when he is seeking contact, even if he does fall asleep in my arms, he will almost assuredly always wake up as soon as I put him in his moses or crib.
  6. Secret weapon: the pacifier: There are times during which nothing seems to work.  Sometimes, my little one only needs to suck.  I am becoming better at recognizing these moments – though I am by no means ever 100% right – and will offer him a pacifier to help him get to sleep.  I usually try out this method when I am zombie tired and need to sleep, even for 30 minutes.  However, I refuse to give him a pacifier to fall asleep in his crib at night and I usually use this tool as a last resort.
  7. Ultimate secret weapon: co-sleeping: When I learned I was pregnant I swore I would never co-sleep with my child.  The idea has always scared me to death.  There are waaay too many thing that could go wrong for my liking.  However, it has happened to me.  Though unintentional, my co-sleeping experience has opened my eyes to the fact that it can be a good idea.  Though I would definitely not do it every night, I think that it is something I may do again in the future when my son will be going through another growth spurt.  The way I see it, it is less dangerous to co-sleep when I haven’t slept in over 24 hours than to risk falling asleep nursing my son on the couch or in the rocking chair that is in his room.  Of course, though I know that this method is not recommended, I follow all safety guidelines that have been set for parents who choose to do this.  I sleep in the spare bedroom on the firm mattress bed with my son between myself and the wall.  I sleep in my pyjamas so that I don’t have to use a blanket; our mutual body heat keeps us warm.  Of course, I would NEVER even think of doing this if I had consumed even one glass of wine in the evening.

Sleep Tight