see-arrr-eh-zee-why

November 13, 2008

Please excuse me if this is a little disjointed but frankly I’m exhausted. So tired in fact that I’m starting to do exactly what I promised myself I wouldn’t do. Those of you who know me in real life know that while I’m definitely a type-A person I am also pretty laid back and don’t get too worked up about much. I tend not to care (too much) about what others think and in general am not too sensitive about comments/ unsolicited advice. But I am getting tired and desperate over here and after casually laughing and joining in on all the comments about my gigantic baby I’m actually starting to worry. It’s been a slow process that has come to fruition after several non-threatening conversations with different sources about Isaac’s eating and sleeping habits. I started to think that maybe I was misreading his signals and feeding at night just so I could get back to sleep. Is it possible I’ve trained my almost five month old to wake up every hour at night for a quick snack? I don’t know. What I do know if that there are several different lines of thought on the subject of feeding and sleep-training and they contradict each other. I also firmly believe that each baby is an individual and what works for you might not work for me and vice versa, but hey I’m willing to try anything at this point, because I’m pretty sure my (not so) little guy doesn’t NEED to eat every hour. I’m not so sure he even needs to eat every two, but so far this has not stopped him from his constant night wakings.  So we’ve made a few changes around here (to no avail yet, but hey give it time) I’ll elaborate and I’m looking for some input here so please feel free to share, even if it’s to tell me to stop nursing and give formula. If I don’t like your advice  I won’t follow it…so maybe I’m not that desperate yet…anyhow…I digress.

Changes/ Compromise

schedule vs. feeding on demand: As my 20 lb baby can attest to, I’ve been feeding on demand since birth. But now I’m not so sure I’m understanding all of his demands and I’m pretty sure he’s not starving or malnourished so I’m moving towards scheduled feeding. Please note that this schedule is rather flexible and during the day exists in the form of distraction/play until he truly demands to be fed or we’ve hit three hours (BTW how often does your average five month old eat?) instead of the old two.

When we’re out and about and busy Isaac can hardly eat at all during the day because he is simply too distracted. When we were at the Science Center last weekend I tried to nurse him three times, but there was too much going on and he was simply not interested. Then on the drive home hunger hit with full force and he insisted we stop so he could nurse.

Night time is a different story…no distractions there. When he was waking two or three times a night I had no problem with it, but now its five or more and he is screaming to beat the band. I don’t know what’s changed, but I’m trying no to feed him EVERY time he wakes up…instead we strap on the old Ergo and walk the hall, sometimes it works and he’s back to sleep within 10 min and sometimes it doesn’t and I nurse. Even when he nurses sometimes it’s for five minutes just to sooth back to sleep and sometimes he actually has a meal (and sometimes I fall asleep so I don’t really know how much he ate or if he was just soothing).

One thing is certain I’ve decided no more nursing lying down (I know I’ve said this before, but I’m sticking with it this time) as I ALWAYS fall asleep and he ALWAYS stays latched and I really don’t want him to decide he should always sleep with a boob in his mouth. (BTW he still refuses to take the bottle and pacifier…much to my dismay)

Disposable diaper at night – this one is killing me and I’m not sure why I’m finding it so hard. I know he is not waking up because he is wet because when we were using cloth at night I would check him (because he couldn’t possibly be hungry again so soon!?!) he would be dry then he’d pee in his potty in an effort to keep him dry longer when I put his diaper back on. The problem was that even though he was dry the process of checking, pottying, and re-diapering was waking him up fully. With ‘sposies I can leave it on him all night and he doesn’t feel wet at all so I don’t even check. I’m confident that this will EVENTUALLY help us once he’s out of the habit of waking every hour.

Where he sleeps– Isaac starts the night in his room but I was having troubles putting him back in his crib he was waking up and it just seemed easier to bring him to bed with me. I now realize I need to wait until he’s in a deeper state of sleep before I try to transition him from my arms to the crib and if my level of consiousness allows I’m trying not to bring him to bed with me until 6h00 in the morning…sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t, really seems to depend on how tired I am whether I give up and just sleep with him.

Slowing down – Isaac is still not really napping during the day so I was starting to be concerned about the amount of sleep he was actually getting. I like to be busy and on the move so between swimming, books for babies, power stride, lunch dates, groceries, walking the dog, social walks and errands we were pretty busy. In fact recently it seemed we where having days where Isaac couldn’t nap because everytime he fell asleep I was moving him (i.e he fell asleep in the carrier while getting groceries and woke when I transfered him to the car or vice versa). So while I understand errands still need to be run and food need to be bought I’ve resigned myself to the fact that missing story time because he falls asleep when we should be leaving isn’t going to kill us. So we’re trying to spend a bit more time at home where he can nap when he needs too. That being said, I spent two hours in his room yesterday trying to get him to nap to no avail…..

So that’s where we’re at, not too sure what to do or if any of these changes are going to help, but we’ll give it a try. Thankfully he is still a fun, smiley and playful guy during the day. I know it would be much harder if he cried all the time, so I’m glad he’s generally a happy baby…I just wish he’d learn how to sleep for more than an hour or two at a time.

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4 Responses to “see-arrr-eh-zee-why”

  1. eva Says:

    Oh Jackie…thanks for sharing so many of the same thoughts and experiences and feelings that most other moms and definitely this mom can relate to. Feeding on demand does not cause a big baby….I fed on demand for months and got a puny baby! And had the opposite worries and comments! Here’s my totally unresearched junk science opinion/finding: I think each baby has his/her own “set point” for size and they’ll eat to reach/maintain it. Plus, between 6 months and a year, the size thing evens out – the fast growers slow right down and the slow growers just keeping plodding along slowly and by the end they all weigh 18-25ish pounds. Again, totally just my observation. Sorry to take over your comments with so much blah blah blah.

    And I’m totally with you on “slowing down” and “disposables at night” and “where he sleeps.” SO with you. Take care:)

  2. jermangirl Says:

    Eva is so right…Isaac is obviously thriving and that is all thanks to you! I have seen babies bigger than Isaac who were fed on pretty strict schedules…and babes fed totally on demand who were little.

    That being said, I do think it is quite possible that you”trained” him (although I don’t really like the terminology!) to wake at night. Untraining him however, will probably be an uphill battle and it will be way, way tougher on you than on him!

    If you recall, I went through frustrating phase with Nate from about 4-6 months and then things started to get a little better. I don’t think it is as tough as what you are going through, but try to remember that you are not as alone as you feel at 3am! I think your strategies are great ones! I also really, really recommend working towards a rock solid sleep-time routine. If you can start getting him to sleep in his crib in a certain way, he might start staying asleep in his crib longer, or at least going back to sleep after feeds easier.

    And I do believe that at 5 months 3 hours between feeds id reasonable. We started to transition from 2 to 3 hours around that age by using the same methods you are.

    I can’t really comment on the disposable at night. I stopped changing Nate at night around 4 months (except for the odd night) I just double stuff his diaper and he’s good till morning. But I also have Bum Genius diapers that wick the moisture away from his bottom. And way to go on the EC!! We will be trying much harder with baby number 2 for sure!

    I hope this helps to reassure you that you are doing a wonderful job! I certainly don’t think you should do anything drastic like switching to formula when Isaac is doing so well on your mama milk.

    Ok – enough rambling on! *hugs* and wishes for sleep-fllled nights!

  3. Leslie Says:

    Jackie,

    You may not remember me as we met WAY back when you and Bryan were graduating in Kingston. In any case I am up at 3am and looking for things to keep my mind occupied and peeking at your blog:)

    My 2 cents:

    did you knowing that teething can start between 4 and 6 months? as well signs of teething are very similar to feeding cues (sucking on hands, looking for things to mouth etc) So possibly you are misreading some signs for a need to suck as a feeding cue. maybe try giving Isaac a cool damp cloth see if that satisfies the need.

    also your friend is right according to the info our midwives gave us feeding should start to be more like 6-8 per day after 2months rather than 8-12.

    you could also try just a bottle with water. this way Isaac may get that “full” feeling without the added calories.

    Keep in mind the great job you are doing and that some babies are just big, for no good reason. Just like others are just small. And you don’t have to do everything yourself:)

    Congrats on the 4 hours of solid sleep!

  4. lisalou Says:

    He looks great! It sounds like you are trying all the right stuff and more in the sleep department! My friend andrea is having the exact same experience with her little guy. So much so that I want her to read this post so that she can relate to someone! I hope it all works out! It is great to hear you sounding so positive and I must admit I am intrigued with the infant potty…


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