Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Sleepy time

Probably the biggest issue for any new mum, getting baby to sleep!
Well, I've had some success and quite a lot of failure. Nap time today seems to last only as long as he can keep the dummy in his mouth. For some reason he's just not managing to go deeply asleep, at least not for long. Sometimes I can pop him down in his moses basket and off he goes to the land of nod with nary a peep and I'm having to actively wake him for his next feed. This is, however, quite a rarity.
My usual routine for his daytime naps are as follows: -
Spend half an hour calmly cuddling him whilst sitting on the sofa with my finger in his mouth. Sometime this works like a charm and he goes right off, sometimes it seems to have no effect.
Pop him down carefully in the moses basket and wait and see....
Sometimes he'll sleep and sometimes he just wont. I usually end up hovering around with a dummy in my hand. If he's grumpy he needs it. He's sure needed it today, we've had a series of about ten minute long cat naps interspersed with grizzle, which is my cue to replace the dummy. I know a lot of the "professionals" say you shouldn't use them, but if the choice is that my baby either has the sleep he needs or spends ALL afternoon working himself into a state, I know which option I would choose. I had a dummy as a child, and I don't recall a great emotional upheval having to give it up. My son is also fast becoming a determined finger sucker and it wont be long before he works out how to get his thumb in there. All the professional people who go on and on about the problems of dummy use should spend a week with a baby who needs to sleep but doesn't want to. After all, the other choice is to spend the entire duration of his nap with my finger in his mouth, not good for either of us, really.
Aparently, cuddling him off to sleep is a bad idea too, he might get "dependant" on the cuddles just like the dummy. Bah humbug! At this age I want to give him as many cuddles as I can as it will no doubt feel like no time at all before he's pulling away because I'm being an embarrasing mum. While he's small I'm not at all bothered if he's a little cuddle dependant. He's a baby, he needs cuddles!
He also sleep grizzles. I suppose it's his sleep cycle - sometimes he's in the peaceful deep sleep phase, sometimes it's a lighter sleep and he will often make little noises in his sleep. It might be just baby babble, sometimes it's loud piggy like snorts and sometimes it's little cries. I watch him carefully when he does this and I have learned to my cost that picking up and cuddling him as soon as this starts is a bad idea. He is asleep and all I will be doing is waking him up. Sometimes the grizzles subside, perhaps they are just a bad dream. I'm not sure what a little boy of seven weeks and two days can dream about, but it's possible. Sometimes they don't go away and start getting louder and closer together. This is my cue to go and get his bottle ready as he's about to wake and will undoubtedly be hungry.
He's dropped off again now. The dummy has slipped from his mouth and for the first time in over an hour he hasn't instantly woken up with a cry. No - he's awake, it just took a little longer. Dummy is replaced and now I have to wait and see. When it fell out this time, it landed in his hand and his little fingers were gripping the teat quite firmly!! He's calm, but not dropping off again. The other problem is that he goes to rub his face and then knocks it out of his mouth. Being only tiny he can't put it back and grizzles. He is sleepy, but he doesn't understand, he just doesn't like the feeling.
Overnight he seems to do better. Andy is much better at calming him and he always has a big feed before night time sleeping. Quite often, it knocks him right out. At the moment his night sleeps go from 7.30pm to somewhere between midnight and two and then go on till between five and six. Andy likes to sleep downstairs until the late feed and our most recent purchase of a proper sofa bed has made this easier. After that, he comes upstairs with Joseph and I get up for the early feed. Sometimes he wakes me up early, but is still asleep himself. It's the funny little noises I mentioned earler. This is my cue to scamper off downstairs, baby, basket at all so Andy can sleep uninterupted until he has to get up for work. It's a good system, he's better at late night and I'm better at early mornings - with the proviso of a decent early night. It's a system I would recomend to new parents.
I am reliably informed that night sleeps only work as well as the day sleeps. A baby that's slept too much in the day wont sleep as well at night (well duh!) which is where a routine comes in a little handy. Day by day I'm starting to feel a little less like a lorry has run me over. It's more like a small car now, something VW Golf sized, perhaps. I'm hoping to downgrade to a Peel 50 soon, or even a small moped!
He has one other bad habit - waking up and screaming just when I can't run straight too him. Usually when I'm on the loo or similar. Babies, I can confirm have no sense of responsibility at one end and no sense of volume at the other. It's an old saying, but it sure is true!

Monday, 24 January 2011

Baby at Seven Weeks

Well, have taken a little break from the blog simply due to general tiredness and not a lot of free time. It's time to write some of my experiences during the last week, lest I forget. Right now he's sleeping, but lightly. I've run the dishwasher, done some ironing and a little tidying up so I might as well waste five minutes on this as on anything else.
Have been on this routine for more than a week now and I certainly do appreciate having some sort of structure to my day. Up until the weekend, the feeding routine was working well, I felt like I was - more often than not - anticipating his needs. However he seems to have had an apetite jump and although he can't take a greater volume of milk in one hit, he seems to be getting hungrier sooner, which really makes the routine fall apart. I'm offering small top-ups in the mid point between feeds which I hope will work. I'm wary of overfeeding him, I don't want him to turn into a blob.
Some days over the last week have gone well, some have not. It seems to be that if I muck up the morning feed and sleep routine, the rest of the day is doomed to follow. A good start doesn't guarantee a good end, but it sure does seem to help. He has now twice managed the full 12-2pm nap and has been asleep for nearly an hour for todays effort. He went down a little earlier than planned, he was clearly a lot more tired than he looked and dozed off in half the usual time. Has gribbled in the moses basket a little, but is definately showing good progress at settling himself as long as he's comfy and warm. I have taken to calling him "Saveloy" as sausage is already taken. Plus, he does go the same colour when he cries!
Andy and I had our wedding anniversary this weekend and, in eerie echoes of last year, we spent it looking at furniture. Sigh, where did it all go wrong? :-) Regularly, one or other of us is sleeping downstairs (or trying to) with noisy baby so that the other can get some rest. Our current sofa was wrecked ages ago, and after 7 weeks of regular sleeping on it, it's now past the point of simple uncomfortableness and into sheer torture on the gluteus maximus, not to mention the lumbar spine. A four letter word made our new sofa possible....
Oh yes! A half price one with an extra 20% off and a zero interest credit agreement. Ah, happy times! It's a sofa bed, so uncomfy bum, cricked neck and bad back will soon be things of the past. It's coming tomorrow and I can't wait! Will have fun disposing of the old one! It's been a stalwart, but if it was a horse we'd have shot it years ago.

Joseph has been smiling more and more. It's what makes the whole business worthwhile. I'll never forget the first time, when he looked at me and his mouth opened wide into a massive grin. It wasn't wind, it was a real proper smile with dimples! He's really starting to get the hang of it now and....
He's just announced that he doesn't want to sleep any more and is much happier whinging. I have deployed the dummy, but I think it wont last. He just isn't getting the hang of keeping it in his mouth. I suspect, as mentioned earlier that he's getting peckish a little earler than usual. I will give him a short time, a minute or two, to see if he calms, but I think nap time is over for now.
Let's hope he makes up for it by lots of smiles later.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

New Mum Dilemmas

Well, he's asleep for his middle of the day nap. At 1pm this is so far the longest he's managed at this time of day and I'm hoping that means he'll be a bit more alert in the afternoon and perhaps then might sleep better overnight. Who knows? I can but hope. The only difference is that I have kept the moses basket downstairs with me in the living room. Obseving him sleeping I have noticed that the first 45 minutes or so comprise of cat naps only a few minutes long with breaks where he sometimes opens his eyes and looks about. In the familiarity of the living room and knowing I am close, he seems not to have whinged very much at all during the wakeful moments, settling back to dozing off quite quickly. The wakeful moments have got shorter, free of whinges and further and further apart and now he seems quite deeply asleep. Touch wood!
This morning it didn't look to be going too well. He was alert enough during scheduled play time and having fun in his playgym/mat thingy so I took a moment to pop into the kitchen and rotate things round the steriliser. He whinged, I asumed that this was simply because I was out of eyeshot - he's been starting to do that this week, co-incidence? - so I finished what I was doing and came quickly back.
He was unhappy due to the fact he was covered and I mean covered in sick. I hadn't even heard it happen, even being only feet away as I was. The only blessing is that he was on his playmat so it didn't go all over the carpet and it didn't go all over me as I'm currently in my only fitting outfit that's clean at the moment. Need to iron, desperately.
Off we trot to the bathroom. I would like to point out that only yesterday he leaked yellow all over his clothes and had done the same the day before. This morning he had done another massive one literally minutes after dressing him. What has happened to my previously well behaved (in the rear department) baby? I do know that switching to far more formula does produce.... more, but this is mad! It smells worse as well. My bath has last nights poopy clothes having a pre-soak and now has sick added to it. The smell up there is not pleasant.

Will use the rest of this blog to mentioning two big decisions new mums face. I'm embarking on a routine system which has polarised opinions in whomever you ask. I have been told that trying this is actively cruel by some, and the best thing they ever did by others. So why am I doing it?
Sleep, for one. If this routine delivers what Gina Ford promises - baby sleeping much longer in the night - then Andy and I will be better rested, better able to cope through the day and better able to deal with incidents like I have mentioned above. We have seen some positives even after one week, we have (on average) managed to get better sleep this week with more success than failure in the overnight stakes. Also, if I'm more alert in general I'll be less likely to make mistakes or do anything silly.
Simply for Josephs benefit, having a structure means I know exactly how much nutrition he's getting and I know he's getting enough. Just as importantly as I'm using mostly formula now, I also know I'm not inadvertantly giving him too much!
This brings me on to my next point - bottlefeeding. It was with quite a heavy heart that I had to concede something of a failure with breastfeeding. Due to difficulties after the birth, he being sleepy and me being unwell, feeding was slow to start and his blood sugar dropped and he got a little dehydrated. Having seen this happen I did not want it to happen again and I know what it looks like. During the first two weeks of his life I slogged away at breastfeeding, and inevitably by the end of the day, he was starving hungry and I could give him no more. What could I do, but give a bottle?
My milk started coming in, but clearly too slowly for him. His apetite was increasing and I was lucky if I could get to 1pm without needing to top him off having fed him from me for at least an hour till I was dry, only to find him still ravenous. I set myself a six week limit, having been told that it can take that long for milk production to fully get into swing. It's been hard. By the end I have had to top him up by 90ml (that's quite a lot) each feed just to get him to go 3 hours, which seems to be the minimum time I need to 'recharge'. The sheer pointlessness of it coupled with my ever increasing levels of discomfort made it harder.
Now, I am expressing about 4 times a day and bottlefeeding. I am more comfortable, he's getting what he needs and for the first time I am starting to feel a bit less guilty. He's still asleep by the way, the longest yet during the day, but it's back to lighter sleep so I'll sign off now and get a bite to eat while I can. If anyone would like to comment I'll be interested in your opinions.

Monday, 17 January 2011

The baby routine hits the weekend (and misses)

Well, he went to sleep on friday night all right. Shame I didn't. Not sure why, but he seemed noisier in his sleep than usual and my sleep was very disrupted. For once, Andy seemed to sleep quite well.
Saturday had some success, his morning nap more or less worked. Got him to sleep for the midday sleep, but he wasn't down for long, he just did not want to stay asleep. We gave up and decided to get the grocery shopping done with me carrying him in the sling. Not exactly to the routine, but at least he slept for a bit. Can't remember what happened in the afternoon, but I do know the evening and night were disasterous. He wouldn't sleep at 7, it was gone 9 by the time he dropped off. I went to bed for my usual early night and was blissfully unawhare of the later events which mostly involved him waking up, having a bit of a whinge and not wanting to sleep - at all! Andy said he had about an hours worth of sleep in total, managed in little cat naps on the sofa in the brief moments when Joseph calmed down. I got up to do the early feed, sometime between five and six, but my memory can't be more exact. Andy decided to have a lie in, he clearly needed it, and I phoned my mum for a lift to church, what with my car still suffering from a mystery overheating problem. It's very frustrating trying to manage without a car, something that's not really happened to me for a long time. I can't drive Andys car as my insurance will no longer cover me on it.
Managed to pay attention in church, last week I had been quite sleepy and kept loosing the thread, but was ok this time. Had to disappear out to the mums and babies room as Joseph wanted an unscheduled snack. That room needs to be more strictly maintained to its original function, it's not a youth room, it's a mum and baby room. Mothers like a little privacy.
Oddly enough, he fell asleep just before 12 without me even trying. Didn't sleep till 2, but still managed a reasonable nap. Over to the grandparents for lunch, which was very much appreciated. Joseph had his bath, but was a little wary about the different baby bath and didn't enjoy it as much as usual. We had tea, he went to sleep at 7.30 and try as I might, Andy would not take an early night and stayed up till midnight to do the late feed. He did at least let me take over after that so he could have unbroken sleep till he had to get up for work. Joseph was well behaved. He woke me at 3.30am, but he was asleep himself, just making a lot of noise. It was nearly 6am when he finally decided he was hungry, an impressive feat! Andy and I have both managed just about enough sleep to cope, for once.
Today was always going to be a bit of a mess. With a Drs appointment at 11am, the scheduled naps in the routine have all gone to pot. I'm simply managing to keep his feeds on time. He didn't want to sleep for his 9am nap, but then I couldn't wake him properly in the morning and he ended up sleeping till past 8am. He did at least drop off on his way back from the doctors and slept till about 1.30pm in the car seat. He had a big lunch and refused to stay awake. I gave up at this point and we decided to become "Ladies wot lunch" again and headed out for a garden centre meal. Joseph slept on and on, leaving me decided that my favourite word at the moment is "somnolent".
Due to the late sleep, he was wide awake at 4pm and up until one minute ago was enjoying a happy kick about on his playgym. Excuse me a moment.
He's getting tired again and wants his next feed early, I think. Looks like I have to finish there. Byebye!

Friday, 14 January 2011

The Routine - Day 3

Am finding that writing my experiences down quite a good thing for me, even if in the end, nobody bothers to read this.
Today has been hit and miss, and it feels like more miss than hit. He woke at about 5.15, having gone down well at 7pm and taken his 11pm feed. He took half his early feed and slept for about half an hour before taking the rest. Did manage to encourage him to play on his mat for a little while - that's another thing Gina Ford neglects to mention. What on earth do you do with a nearly six week old baby for an hour or so to keep him entertained and awake? He's grabbing things I put in his hands sometimes and if I tickle his cheek I sometimes get a cute smile, but that's all we really have right now. He yawns a lot and wants to doze off on the mat.
The morning nap was ok, took his time going down and only woke a little early. I took extra care for the main nap at 12pm, I spent all of the previous half an hour keeping him calm and gently cuddling him. I have read that one of the reasons babies don't settle well is that they get overtired and overstimulated. He fell asleep in my arms and I put him in his moses basket at about ten to twelve and he seemed to be out like a light.
He woke at about quarter past, but seemed initially to settle back on his own. My mum had popped over for a visit and we had a chat in the living room. I did listen out, but couldn't hear anything. He woke again at one and wouldn't settle. I gave him half his next feed as the book suggests and tried to re-calm him but to no avail. Gentle cuddles didn't work, giving him my little finger to suck worked for all of a few minutes and then seemed to make it worse. I spent nearly an hour trying to re-calm him back to sleep and then gave up. I popped him in his sling and went out for a short walk as the sun was out. Not on the routine at all, but I was desperate and a little cabin-fevered.
Within minutes he was asleep. I remained out for half an hour and he slept the whole time. Gave him the rest of his feed when we got home. Managed to play with him for a little while and Andy got some big smiles when he came home for his lunch.
When it came to the 4pm nap, we had some yawns, but the widest open eyes I have ever seen. Half an hour of cuddling later, I had a reasonably calm baby, but not a sleepy one. Have tried popping him down anyway, but by the sounds of it, nap time has been a total failure.
At least today I have decided to call time on the direct breast feeding. Expressing and topping up with formula means I know he's getting enough and he seems happier.
He's not settling at all. Got to go.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

A routine for a newborn baby

Well hello there....

So, is it possible to get a newborn baby into a routine? Have decided to take the sensible (according to Gina Ford) or totally mad (according to just about every midwife and baby health professional) to try and find out if my little man can be tamed into order. He's five and a bit weeks old and as hungry as the proverbial hippos.

Started yesterday and it seemed ok. Am debating how long to keep up the breast feeding as I'm having terrible trouble filling him up, he always seems to need formula top-ups to be content. Everyone says not to do this, but have got rather tired of getting to the middle of the day with a chest that feels like it's gone six rounds in a boxing ring. Plus, he's not been sleeping well in the day and formula seems to help him settle.
Well, have hit on one big snag with the whole routine thing, in that he's sleepy when he's supposed to be awake and wakeful when he's supposed to be napping.
On the other hand, he went down with only a short spell of crying at 7pm, took his 11pm feed (bottle, from the capable hands of my other half so I could have an early night) and apparently went down again quite well. He slept till 5.30am which is the longest he's ever managed in his little life so far.

Started well enough with a somewhat earler than scheduled feed at quarter to six, but he was a bit slow and needed a top-up which brought things a little back to the hallowed schedule. Got some very cute smiles of him when he was on his play mat and he seems to be grasping things a little more.
Didn't go down well for his morning nap, cried a lot.
Very sleepy through the hour I'm meant to keep him awake before the middle of the day sleep. Fed pretty well though, didn't seem to want such a big top-up as usual.
Of the two and a half hour nap scheduled for him, the first hour was spent with him almost going to sleep and then waking up yelling with me popping up to find out what was wrong. Resorted to giving him his dummy, one of the Tomme Tippee natural latex jobbies. Can't seem to keep it in his mouth too well, but it's better than the orthodontic one we tried that always got spat straight back at us. He dozed off, then woke up with the dummy teat stuck to the side of his head, so when he looked up at me it remained in place like some sort of odd plastic growth.
A very sleepy slow feed. Thought he was full, but he was yelling half an hour later and had to top up. Feed not on the schedule, but he was hungry, what was I supposed to do.
We're at the afternoon nap stage now. Went down ok, but woke up ten minutes later crying. Gave him a few minutes to settle and all seems quiet. Let me just go and check...
Yes, all still quiet. Would open the door and look, but it seems to have developed an annoying squeak and I don't want to wake him.
All in all, day 2 does not feel like it has gone so well. I'm guessing that this whole thing is one of those getting worse before it gets better things, but can I stick it out? For the promise of more regular days and a higher chance of him sleeping through the night, I will persevere.

Tata for now, more tomorrow if he gives me the chance.