Thursday, January 27, 2011

FAIL, 3 Ways

Or, Failure: A Dish Best Served With a Warm Compress

Yup, full-blown mastitis of the right tit. Seven shades of super awesome. Or, rather, pink and red. Back on the antibiotics and pumping like a muthafucka along with deep tissue massage (oh, if only squishing my tender boob was as relaxing as a massaaaaaaage) to empty as often as possible. The only silver lining is that I can see how far I can shoot a milkstream while pummeling my poor infected udder, which I like to the think is the feminine equivalent of peeing your name in the snow. At least I'm treating it before the flu-like bullshit starts, which is what happened last time. Last time. Shit, y'all. One of the risk factors for getting mastitis is having already had it. Fucked. But persevering. That should be the motto on my family crest. Or an ironic headstone.

We tried the sleepsack Tuesday night and it seemed fine for about 3 hours after bedtime and then...FAIL. Big time. He woke up and WOULD NOT go back to sleep until I fed him an hour and much screaming later. It may have also been due to the vaccinations he got that afternoon, which may have made him feel icky (I know I did after getting my flu shot), so we'll try again this weekend (or as soon as we feel like we've gotten enough combined sleep to cope). In the meantime, we are the proud owners of a sleepsack/swaddle combo, a Woombie, and possibly soon a Peke Moe. There's no sleep attire too crazy that we won't try it. I just don't know if he's completely ready to stay asleep during the night without being wrapped in something, but we'll keep trying from time to time until it works. He still escapes from his swaddle several times per night (we'll see how the new contraptions fare -- the Woombie we ordered is called a Houdini swaddle -- I'm sure Jackson will laugh in the face of this new challenge), but that's better than the screaming we endured with the sleepsack trial. And as an aside, for anyone who has used a sleepsack (or nothing at all), how do you keep your baby's hands warm? I know they have poor circulation in their hands and feet and it's nothing to be overly worried about, but I do anyway...I would feel better if I could keep his little hands warm at night and the sleeveless sleepsack doesn't cut it. And the pajamas he wears now don't really have a fold-over-mitten option anymore; I'm not sure we could keep anything over his hands, anyway, since he favors bringing them together near his chin most of the time. I am realizing as I type this that the question is becoming more and more rhetorical, but I pose it to you, anyway. How do you keep their hands warm until they're old enough to have a blanket in the crib? Bueller? Bueller?

KB thinks we should start rice cereal, soon. His coworkers (a cackle of mother hens) SWEAR to him that Jackson will sleep longer if we give him cereal with his evening bottle (or around dinner time, before bed). I explained to KB that, per the pediatrician (who has a medical degree and specific training in the care and management of babies), solids do not produce more sleep since at this stage, they are not a significant source of nutrition or calories. They are stunt food at best, and something to fuck up the baby's poops at worst. KB still thinks all those other women can't be wrong. Hmmm. This presents a quandary for me, since I have been thinking this over for a while and have decided I would rather wait at least another month to introduce solids. I guess we'll have a longer talk about it over the weekend and reach some compromise. I'm not completely opposed to starting a little bit of cereal, but I don't want to rush into other solids (unless Jackson absolutely adores being fed from a spoon and starts shouting out, using his first words, "Feed me more solids, Mommy, I heart them!"). Maybe we could try a little spoonful here and there, so KB can see for himself that the baby's sleep pattern is unlikely to change as a result (sleep may change coincident with, but would be unlikely causally-related to, eating cereal). And if constipation occurs, KB can glove up and shove the suppository up his little pooper and then clean up the consequent blow-out diaper afterwards. Just sayin'.


Lauren said...

I understand the concern about the cold hands. When I tried unswaddling my son at about 6 months his hands were like ice blocks and I hated it. I ended up having to swaddle him for the following 2 months because our first swaddle attempt failed. But by the time I unswaddled him again he had been sleeping on his tummy 99% of the time (in his swaddle), and for whatever reason his hands don't end up as cold when he lies on his stomach.

And you're right about the solids, they won't help him sleep. He's most likely not sleeping well because he's just gotten into bad habits. A 4 month sleep regression is totally normal, and not nutritionally related. I know my son was eating solids before bed from 6.5 months onward and it NEVER affected his sleep at all. We had to sleep train to get him to sleep better.

Trinity said...

Sorry to about the mastitis, Jen. :( I have to say, it puts the fear of god in me. I had what I think was the beginnings of a plugged duct week before last, and the pain from that alone was enough to unglue me... Hope Ms. Righty feels good as new soon!

At first we were using those muslin blankets (Aden & Anais) for swaddling... I love them because they're so light and you can get a really tight swaddle, but he eventually wriggles his feet and hands out. We started using the kiddopotamus SwaddleMe, and though he can ninja his way out of it, it lasts a heck of a lot longer than the muslin blanket. I just looked at the Peke Mo, and it looks like the baby version of Snuggie, hehe.

Sleep training...ugh. I have to say I'm not looking forward to this. I fear I am creating a monster...we're co-sleeping right now, and after some of his feedings (okay, many of his feedings) he sleeps on my chest. Or N's chest. I think we are in for some trouble...

Esperanza said...

There have been multiple studies done that show that rice cereal does not lead to better sleep. Multiple studies can't be wrong either. I would do what you want to do, and not listen to the cluck clucking of others.

As far as sleep attire, it sounds like what we went through. We LOVED the woombie. We had three - two regular ones and one convertible. We used the regular ones until she was about 3 months old and then took just one arm out with the convertible. I thought we could easily transition to two arms out but it took her about a month to be ready for that. It's amazing how that one arm throws them off!

I hope you find something that works for you. Going cold turkey is pretty much impossible. We tried for two days and promptly bought the Woombies. Thank god we did because NO ONE was sleeping on those cold turkey nights.

Good luck!

Esperanza @

JB said...

Trin -- I had a plugged duct a few times, though it was not painful, so I wouldn't worry too much about it. On those occasions it didn't lead to mastitis (that has come out of the blue both times). Just nurse more on the side that's plugged (pump the other side if you have to even things out) and it will work its way out. If it doesn't after one day...get thee to an OB and get antibiotics before the fever sets in. Treat early and save yourself. The antibiotics seemed to have no effect on the behbeh (i.e., no bad poops).

I wouldn't stress too much about creating a sleep monster, either. That's exactly how Jackson slept his first month, on us, and when the pediatrician encouraged us to move him to his crib (in the room next door to our bedroom), we did it with much fear -- and it turned out fine. Two months is (I was told by our pedi) when sleep habits start to form, so if you begin transitioning to the time and place you'd like him to go to sleep for the long-term around that time, you'll get him "sleep trained" as much as you can until the 4-month regression happens. And then, all bets are off as far as I can tell. Jackson still prefers most daytime naps in someone's arms, although we've made some progress with getting him to nap in a crib. All in all, I'm gathering there are no hard and fast rules to success, only guidelines and suggestions (assvice is a whole 'nother category) and you have to tailor it to your comfort and what appears to work. Trial and error, baby. I will say, when you start sleep training, begin over a long weekend and give it 3-4 days. The first 1-2 days are Geneva Convention-violating torture, but we found by the 4th day things were winding down and we saw some progress.

Oh, and have you tried Aden and Anais burp cloths? They have snaps so you can use then as bibs when the drooling starts -- so clever! And absorbent...

Lauren -- what swaddling did you use for the last 2 months, when he was bigger and more wiggly? Our little ninja has defied most attempts to swaddle recently, and is stretching all the swaddles out so they are less swaddly, so we're close to giving up for that reason alone...though he does sleep better for as long as the swaddle is intact...How did you do it?

jenicini said...

What the hell is this crap? Mastitis again. Cut the effing infertile girls an effing break would ya universe. I seriously hope this is it for you (and me)!

Every time I read your blog it cracks me up how we are going through similar things. I've been perusing Amazon trying to figure out which of the sleepsac/swaddlers to buy. We started out with kiddopotamus which was fine but we never matched up with their velcro spots and then outgrew the length before it got tight enough. I've been eyeing the woombie so you'll have to let us know how it works! For now, I'm just wrapping my little burrito with blankets in the traditional swaddle. Hah.

I've been combatting the cold hands by trying to raise his core temperature. I've been layering a long sleeve onesie under his pajamas along with socks to keep the toes extra warm.

Feel better!

ASP said...

Sorry about your boobay! That stinks! Hope it feels better soon. Sheesh! I don't have any great assvice to offer about the swaddling either but I am going to try some of those Aden and Anais burp clothes you spoke of up above. I did buy some calendula lotion, per your assvice, and I have to say I looooooove it! I got the California Baby brand and it smells so delicious and makes O's skin so lovely. It smells like a Lush bathbomb. Love, love it. Thanks and feel better soon, woman. XO.

JB said...

Jen -- I EFFING KNOW! Twice in a month is plenty, thankyouverymuch. I feel for you, lady, having put up with so much more of this shit than even I have. Ouch. I just got ol' righty to empty with tons of pumping and nursing, after lugging around a full, hard, sore MegaTit all day. Monstrous. Hopefully a full day of antibiotics today will kill this infection (the symptoms of, anyway) by tomorrow morning. I am trying to avoid the fever and chills that are ohsomuch fun.

And I can't layer him underneath the swaddle 'cause he's a sweaty beast -- I am using OTC hydrocortisone cream to clear up a heat rash right now. His feet seem okay in cotton footie pajamas under the swaddle, but if his hands get free they turn into little handcicles. Even his face feels cool in the morning. I guess when he starts flipping over to sleep on his tummy he'll tuck his hands under and stay toasty. The Woombie went on him tonight and fits pretty well -- it even lets him bring his hands together underneath it, like he prefers, but seems like it will prevent him from escaping with arms flailing over the top of it (that's been his MO with the Kiddopotamus swaddles). The Woombie "big baby" size is pretty long and gives him room to grow (he's a long, skinny dude, although he still manages to have thunder thighs).

Amber -- calendula cream is MAGICAL, like unicorn pee, man. It smells nice and makes their skin so soft and smooth. Like a baby's bottom, hehe. I wish it wasn't as expensive as La Mer, or else I'd buy enough to use it myself.

JB said...

Esperanza -- how did it go when you started leaving one arm out? Did she sleep okay like that, or did it take a while (few days, week, ??)? We've seen him asleep in there when we peek in on him with one or both arms already freed, but it never lasts very long. Does it just take some more time and persistent sleep training (i.e., consistency) to get him to adjust to the arm (or two arms) being out? So many questions! I'm just very interested in realistic and practical approaches that have worked (medical advice is nice, but it is always in the "ideal world" category).

Anonymous said...

When I returned to work we chose not to pump, and for two weeks I would hand express words into paper towels in the bathroom at work!!

Anonymous said...

When he sleeps in his crib (so rare these days...), I dress him with something underneath the pj that has longer sleeves, quite difficult to manage, since I have a long kid, and longer sleeves means usually larger than needed clothes altogether. But, I do have a couple of onesies that are narrow and have long sleeves, and they are the official sleeping onesies. I let the long sleeves unrolled and they are almost covering his fingers, and so his hands are not icy. This does not work during the day, since since hands are always in his mouth.

Sorry for the darned mastitis...

Roccie said...

I think you left me about the best comment I ever read. In my life.

I wish I could send you some sleep as a reward, but I am so stingy, I would likely just keep it for myself.

It does get better.... later. Then it gets bad again... then better... see the cycle? Ugh.

Good job holding your ground on the solids. My mother in law was certain I was starving our IVF toddler. Ugh it is a brutal fight.

Lauren said...

I just saw your question. I know you have the woombie now (if it actually works I just might try that with my next kid). But when I was swaddling Noah from 6-8 months old I had to double swaddle him. I used a size large SwaddleMe wrap (I had to stretch it out so it was long enough, but could only use it once at a time before I had to wash it to shrink its width - I have a string bean), and then I would wrap him up tight in a GIANT receiving blanket on top of that. I would swaddle him SOOOOO tightly. He could get out, but it would take forever.

I found the stretchiness of the SwaddleMe combined with the zero-give of the receiving blanket did the trick. Either by themselves weren't tight enough, but together they worked really well.

When he started rolling over in the swaddle I was kind of screwed, unless I wanted to duct tape the receiving blanket shut. So I was just using the SwaddleMe. It was weird. Some nights he would migrate all around his crib and sleep on his stomach and the whole time he would keep his arms in the swaddle. He just never bothered to get free. Other nights he would get one arm out, other nights both arms... by that point he could sleep fine without being swaddled (this was POST sleep-training, though), I was just afraid to stop.

Lauren said...

Oh, and when I swaddle-weaned Noah (both times) I waited until he was very used to it at naptime and THEN took him out at nighttime. The first time he was fine at naptime and fine at first when I unswaddled at night, but after about a week of night-time sleep going to hell (he's ALWAYS been a crap napper) I realized he was no longer fine unswaddled at night. The next time was successful, but I still didn't go cold turkey.

And for the actual transition for naps, I did the one arm out until he was used to that, then swaddle around the chest, then sleep sack.

Once he was cool unswaddled for naps, I didn't bother doing the one arm out at nighttime. I just went straight to the sleepsack.

That's just my own swaddle-weaning story...