I’m tired. Not the all-encompassing OhMyGodIMightPukeI’mSoTired kind of tired, more like the EveryThreeHoursOverandOverandOhMyGodThisisForever kind of tired.
aka: the “looking into the horizon at my unlimited future Senior Picture” pose
I haven’t blogged because I’m not sure what to say. Unloading my anxieties just makes me feel bad afterward; I’m not at the point yet where I have solutions and when I do, I’m past the point of having the time to blog about them.
Case in point: when breastfeeding, rather than try to guide the kid’s head by his head, instead put your hand on his upper back/ neck and make sure he’s solid there. He’ll then be free to bob his head until he’s comfortable. Newborns have a surprising amount of head control.
Also: when the latch is good, his body will relax. In addition to listening for the sounds of swallowing and making sure his lips look like a fish’s, check out this body language. This is also helpful to know when making sure the kid doesn’t drown when drinking from a bottle or when confirming he’s ready for sleepy time and happy with his pacifier (rather than hungry). Relaxed body = good.
By the time I’ve learned, I’ve moved on, and time is too precious to spend blogging about things that don’t directly affect my life right this minute. (Exceptions: the hours I spend mindlessly catching up on posts in my Reader – but lacking the energy to comment – and those spent researching yet another doodad we need to buy. This kid is worse for the bank account than all of our hobbies put together.)
So, every three-ish hours, the cycle of eat-play(=diaper change)-sleep repeats. On a good day. On a not-so-good day, the cycle is shorter and less under control, with both parents frantically guessing at what might help and the kid getting increasingly annoyed and frantic.
And because I am a Rule Follower (hi, I’m a nerd), I jump from one baby-management framework to another, never feeling like I’m doing them “right” but not willing to insist we adapt to allow for that.
I’ve now read at least four books on babies and sleeping (not to mention the $30 blown on Moms on Call). The only change in our lives, it seems, is that my level of anxiety because we’re not doing it right is increasing. Fail.
This week, week six, the glorious week six we’ve been looking forward to since the craziness of week four began, week six is finally behind us. And still, we’ve spent half our days on the verge of frantic, trying to figure out what’s up with the kid.
We take him out in public and people stop us to chat, unable to resist telling us about their own kids. The sweet ones look at us sympathetically and assure us that things get better. We try to smile, bleary-eyed and not quite sure we’re ready to hope.
This son of ours, he’s an experiment, a guinea pig, our first born not-the-control study. I spent so much time apologizing to him for not knowing what the hell I was doing, I felt like, “I’m sorry” would be his first words. We do things like buy generic formula because it seems like a good idea then all suffer the consequences (hello, no sleep). (Another post I won’t get around to writing should be titled, “Even If the Ingredients Are the Same, It May Not Be QUITE the Same.” Or another called, “Switching from Enfamil to Similac May Cause Exorcist-style Puking.”) We swap from tracking wakefulness to tracking feeding intervals and back. We hand him off like a hot potato, trading kid-for-wine and back.
God love this little guinea pig, he sure is cute.
I’m going to tempt fate and share a few things because I found it so helpful when my fellow bloggers did the same.
As of this moment, I’m NOT SAYING* the following might be sort of working*:
- Tracking feeding intervals so we don’t constantly try to feed the kid when he’s fussy. He’ll sort of eat, then get annoyed, then we get annoyed, then things deteriorate. So, we track feeding intervals and shoot for at least 2.5 hours between bottles. Next week, we shoot for three- and four-hour intervals.
- Tracking awake times so we know when fussy = sleepy, approximately 80 minutes from the time he last woke up. For a few days I thought the 90 minute guideline was a rule, but it’s really just a hint around here. Sometimes he’s sleepy way sooner, other time not at all, but it’s helpful.
- What if feeding and awake intervals collide? Last week I let the awake win, this week I’m paying more attention to the feeding times. I’ll let you know if I work out the math problem.
- The Baby Connect iPhone/ iPod app. Sara recommended it and I paid five bucks in desperation one morning, and man, the thing is great. I particularly like the graph showing weight percentiles (go, baby boy, go!) and the little bubble that tells me how much he’d eaten or slept as of this moment yesterday so I can compare. Also helpful: you can enter info online, although the graphs aren’t available there. Since my iPod is now a really expensive white noise machine for the kiddo, I can retreat to the living room to log his latest bottle.
- Swaddle blankets by Summer. I don’t mind swaddling with a regular flat blanket (in fact, I made like five of them and quite fancy them, thankyouverymuch), but my husband can’t manage to make it work, so we broke out the one velcro blanket we got as a gift and then promptly ordered three more. I know lots of people prefer the Miracle Blanket and I kind of want the Halo Sleepsack Swaddler, but these were less expensive so we can have one everywhere we look. No more frantic 3 am searches for the one special swaddler.
More later. I’m off to blow my glorious evening quiet hours doing nothing productive and continuing my prayers to the gods of sleep and parenthood that my child stays asleep for a while.
*Parents of infants are very superstitious. “Where is the SPECIAL swaddle blanket? You know, the one he slept in for 5 hours the other night?” So we don’t say anything is working, EVER, lest it stop working because we’ve jinxed it. Yes, we’re like third graders now. I’m NOT saying any of this stuff is working, wink, wink.
We play the smoochy game, where I smooch him over and over and he leans into it and smiles. *swoon* Thank you, God, for giving me a kid who leans into smoochies from his mama. (Please note that his camo print shorts are actually dinosaurs.)
P.S. I’m stroller shopping. Does anybody know anybody that didn’t love their Bob stroller? So far all I find are raves, but I’m feeling like I’m not quite hard core enough
for a Bob.