Wednesday, January 19, 2011

All in the Family

So, Imma brag for a moment -- yesterday the head teacher in his daycare classroom told me that Jackson is their best sleeper and their best eater. Best, y'all. An overachiever like his parents.

If only he didn't use up these talents during the day, as if there's a limited supply and he's met his quota mere moments before I pick him up. He's generally pretty happy, or sometimes sleepy, when I pick him up in the afternoon and is in a reasonably good mood through our dinner time. (We've started putting him in the high chair, in the reclined position, and bringing him to the table with us so we can eat as a family. I am training myself to eat one-handed whilst shaking a rattle/stuffed animals/fill-in-the-blank in his face to distract him if he gets fussy). But then...the return of the nighttime fussing. It is upon us. It's not nearly as bad as colic was *shudder* but he's been thrashing around while KB gives him his bedtime bottle, and fighting the swaddling, and then busting out of the swaddle several times per night. Handily. Our little Houdini broke out the Miracle Blanket, y'all. Twas no miracle. ("Hundreds of thousands of well-rested babies" CAN, in fact, be wrong.) And those blissful weeks of sleeping through the night (from 8PM to 2-4AM), waking me only once per night to eat, are OVAH. He's waking 3-4 times per night now, and doesn't stop raging until his milkhole is sated. WHAT THE EFF, BABY?!? It could be teething (popular theory), could be motor skill milestones (he does roll around and thrash in his crib at night now, and has managed to faceplant in his swaddle a couple of times), could be your garden variety growth spurt (hungry, hungry hippo), or could be that the universe is fucking with me because it can. (Universe: "Did you enjoy your full nights of restful sleep for those few weeks? Did ya? Well? Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha! Suck it, peon! I am the muthertruckin' universe and I will ruin you! Ruin you!"; me: "Yelp.") We're contemplating leaving one arm out of the swaddle to slowly transition him out of it, one limb at a time, until we switch to a sleep sack. Dammit. I was hoping to keep him swaddled until high school. I mean, how great would it be to walk up to a babies-r-us employee and ask where the large swaddlers are: "Do you have a size 5T or larger? What about in the juniors department?" I'll ask the pediatrician about this at our 4-month (!) appointment next week. I am also excited/fearful/curious/etc. about whether it's time to start adding some rice cereal to his diet to ramp up towards solids in the coming months; maybe he needs more calories during the day and guzzling breast milk can only get him so far. We shall see. Do you have any war stories about the 4-month sleep regression? About swaddling? Any ideas, Bloggy Friends?

I need to give a huge THANKS! for all the great assvice I got about pumping during the day. It has improved immensely over the past week. I am eating lotsa oatmeal (add chocolate powder to it -- yum!) and pumping every 2-3 hours, on a lower setting for up to 1 hour, hitting the letdown button a couple of times. I also tried a novel approach recommended by I-forget-which-website, which is to simply send what I pump and see if that's enough. I was sending four 5-oz bottles and having to raid the freezer stash, and have tapered it down to four 4-oz bottles I can pump every day. And guess what? No difference. I just nurse him an extra time before taking him to daycare, regardless of when he last ate, and as soon as I get home after picking him up, to avoid reverse cycling (i.e., more nursing at night to accommodate less milk consumed during the day -- noooooo!). I have read that when you switch to mostly or exclusively bottle feeding, babies can over-eat a bit (and recent studies clearly show that bottle-fed babies eat more than breastfed babies, in support of this idea that the bottle may have something to do with it). Anyway, we're in a decent rhythm now of daily scheduling, and I get some quality time with him every morning and afternoon while still managing to get some work done. And even though I'm chained to the pump all day like Leia in her gold bikini, I'm figuring out how to work my day around a pumping schedule. So far, so good. I still don't love being back at work, but I'm adjusting and accepting. Isn't that a late phase of grief?

But I still miss my little man. My over-achieving, good-sleeping and nom-nom-eating little man.


bunny said...

Oh, you and your perfect baby! I'm glad Bun Bun doesn't have to do to daycare with such a little show off. At least the raging milkhole in the middle of the night sounds quite rough. I'm glad to hear about the pumping improvements--it's all so complicated but it sounds like you're kicking ass, little by little.

'Murgdan' said...

We did the one armed swaddle around that time...and the swaddle was gone around 6 months....but that only stopped the swaddle wrestling, it didn't improve the sleeping...sadly enough.

(though we're on a full week of once a night wakenings here!)....time is apparently the only miracle here.

Anonymous said...

I would love to give you good advice, but sadly I can't. Last night he woke up every 40'. So, if it makes you feel any better, the fact that there are some doing way worse, there you go. Gloat.

In case you wonder, it is now 4 a.m. in this neck of the woods and we've been up for a good half an hour, because Mr. Energizer Happy Feet just HAS to roll over. And over. And mother flipping over. While squealing. But at least I slept a bit tonight. 2hs stretches of sleep, I LURVE YA.

Lisa said...

We went through the whole swaddle fight and tried one arm out for a while. But that only seemed to help him completely escape. We gave up entirely sometime between 4-5 months. It went surprisingly smoothly, so good luck! I'm sure your overachiever will get the hang of it quickly. :) Sorry to hear about the sleep regression. Noah did the same thing. He slept through the night from 9 weeks to almost 4 months, and then all of a sudden he started waking up 1-2 times a night. That lasted until about 7.5 months. Now most nights he sleeps 9-10 hours at a time. I clearly didn't learn any tricks to make it better quickly, but I did google it and found a lot of mommy bloggers out there who also went through the same thing around the same time, if that makes you feel any better. (The one thing I thought might help was the intro of solids, but my experience seemed to suggest that solids do NOT equal better sleep. At all.) I hope Jackson figures it all out faster than Noah did!