Thursday, 10 March 2011

The Baby Routine - update

Well, the original purpose of this was to keep a diary of my ups and downs trying to get my baby into a routine and I haven't been thinking about it much to be honest.
The truth is that he is in a settled routine now, more or less. It isn't exactly what Gina Ford suggests, but it's near enough.
Night feeding has been the sticking point. The idea was to feed him so he is ready to sleep at 7pm, then wake him up 10.30-11pm for another feed and then have him sleep through till 7am. (a top up at 3am if needed, to be slowly phased out)
The problem has been the 10.30pm feed. He always went to sleep well at 7pm - a little too well! We were finding that he simply wasn't hungry at 10.30, so the feed got moved back to 11.30pm and then to midnight. Even then he wouldn't take a big feed, and was still waking up 3-4am for a top up. On some memorable occasions, he simply couldn't be woken up enough to take a feed at all, short of actually yelling in his ear. Andy's job was the late feed, with me taking back over for the early morning so that both of us could get a minimum sleep allowance. Andy turned the late feed into a demand feed, i.e. Joseph deciding when he was hungry by waking up and asking to be fed in the only way a baby knows how - waah!
This, essentially eliminated the late feed as Joseph simply wasn't hungry till 3am, which Andy did. I was then getting up 5 - 6am for the morning routine. We did try to re-introduce the late feed, but it made no difference as Joseph simply carried on waking up at the same time in the night for another feed regardless and we still had disrupted sleep.
Eventually he started sleeping till 6ish without a demand feed in the night. 7pm-6am, pretty good for a 10 week old at the time. Now, at 13 weeks (3 months) we've had days where he's gone the 12 hours straight with me having to actually wake him properly for the feed. Usually, we tend to get a bit of grizzle from 6am onwards and I try to silence this with a dummy and this usually works. I want to get him used to the day starting at 7am and no earlier! Perhaps you think I'm cruel in doing this, but if he was really very very hungry, I wouldn't be able to persuade him to go back to sleep by simply giving him his dummy, would I?
Tonight we're upping his 7pm feed to see if that is an extra help.
The biggest problem his night sleeping has presented is making sure he gets enough food during the day. A baby his age needs 5 feeds of 180ml, or thereabouts. By loosing one of the night feeds before he is weaned means I have had to tweak the day feeds to fit an extra one in. Instead of 7am, 10.45am, 2.30pm, 7pm and 11pm as Gina Ford recommends, I have 7am, 10am, a half feed at 12pm before his longest nap, 2pm, 4.30pm and 7pm. The 4.30pm feed is flexible as it comes right before his afternoon nap. If he's looking drowsy earlier he has the feed moved forwards to compensate. Due to the closeness of the feeds he doesn't tend to take a full one at 4.30, but it doesn't matter as he's had the extra top-up at 12.
The naps are working pretty well. Had a few problems with him waking up after 45 minutes with the nap in the middle of the day, but the addition of the little top-up feed seems to have really helped him sleep through till close to 2pm. This gives me a much needed 2 hour break in the middle of the day to catch up on things, relax and generally do a few self indulgent things I haven't had time or opportunity for when he's awake. I do think it's wrong to ignore him when he's in awake for something that's a bit self indulgent, but having the little break in the day for my mind to think about things other than baby does really help.
We've just filled in another section of his diary sheet for the clinical trial. One of his injection sites has healed so well you can't tell where it even was but the other seems to have some residual swelling and hardness, not a lot, but enough to record. It doesn't seem to be causing him any pain and we had a much less drowsy and grumpy day today, which was really rather nice. We've also started giving him his infacol on a spoon so that when it comes to weaning, the whole process will be a lit less scary. That's the idea, anyway.
We've also noticed that he recognises Andy straight away when he comes home from work, which is really sweet! But, as Andy points out, this doesn't stop him having a good old scream.
I'm sorry, health professionals, but Andy and I are agreed that the reason Joseph is sleeping through the night so well is, in the greater part, down to Gina Fords routine. I know that most of you would happily take all of her books and make a Fascist style bonfire out of them, but in our case it really seems to have worked. I do know that babies can settle into a routine of their own by 3 months, but it often isn't one that is particularly convenient or in any way sensible and limiting his day sleeping means more overnight which means Andy and I sleep better... and so on.
All in all, something of a success. That doesn't mean I'm stopping the blog, though. There's lots more things to blog about, he's got two bumps in his bottom gum, for instance, which means I've got all the 'wonders' of teething to write about and then there's weaning....

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