Monday, October 30, 2006

Jen's perspective

Yesterday was one of the longest and most difficult days of parenting yet! Saturday night I only slept about an hour and a half and that wasn't 90 mins in row. In the middle of the night after Claire had already woken up several times, I started reading the Babywise book that Mark mentioned in the last blog entry. I spent the rests of the night tossing and turning thinking about what I read and comparing it to other things I'd read and our experiences and trying not to think about it and go back to sleep...then I would just drift off and Claire would awaken wanting attention. Sunday I was a mess. We decised to skip church. I tried several time to take a nap. I slept about an hour in the morning and 45 mins in the afternoon. The other two times I tried to take naps I was just too upset to fall asleep. (This rivals the day we found out about Claire's brain bleed for the worst day of motherhood.)

Thankfully I had the sense to go to bed early. And with help from Jeeves and Wooster on CD I was able to fall asleep without hashing out sleeping/feeding issues anymore.

The Babywise book helped me to make an important connection. The connection between daytime feeding and nightime sleep. I foolishly let Claire get on a two hour schedule then on an even more frequent snacking schedule because I thought that would facilitate getting her off the bottle completely and onto the breast. (I tried doing cup feeding and syringe feeding and failed at both. I thought giving her smaller amounts this way more frequently might be do-able.) It turns out Claire was so tired and stressed that she couldn't tolerate attempting to feed in this way. She began waking every two hours at night which made her more tired. She was able to take some long naps the past two weeks during skin to skin. Anyway, I think the best advise in the Babywise book is that:

1. Baby isn't always crying because of hunger even if it seems near a usual mealtime (Just about anytime is near a mealtime when meals are only 2 hours from the beginning of one meal to the beginning of the next.)

2. Most babies need an hour and a half of naptime between daytime meals. I've had a hard time figuring out the whole napping thing. Sometimes I have been concerned that Claire wasn't napping enough but I didn't know what to do about it. Many times she would fall asleep on her own and sleep fine. Other times she wouldn't sleep at all between meals. Other tiems she would only sleep for 20-30 mins. The Key is to let her have awake time between the meal and the nap. Many times in the mornings especially, I would be tired, so if she fell asleep at breakfast I would imediately put her down and go back to bed. One thing I don't jive with from the book is putting them down for a nap and letting them cry for as much as 35 mins till they "learn the skill of going to sleep on their own." That seems harsh. I am okay with letting her whimper for 5 mins or so but then I'd rather intervene by rubbing her belly and helping her to relax instead of letting the crying escalate into an absolute fit so that she would only stop from exhaustion. By the way, when we put her down at night after her evening meal and late evening meal she is able to go to sleep on her own without crying so their supposition that babies need to cry themselves to sleep seems bunk.

3. A flexible 3 hour schedule seems to work well. A 3 month old does not need to eat every 2 hours and it only takes a bit of soothing and coaxing to extend the time between meals well as feeding her more at each meal.

Today I feel like a new woman. During the ten hours between when I went to bed and when I gave Claire breakfast I slept 8 hours!! Hurray.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Many parallels between figuring out the care and feeding of a baby and learning to run a new business. I made the connection early on with the tearoom. Smile. Winston Churchills "Never give up", understanding and supportive mate and friends, and the grace of God get you through. The "Baby Wise" was a God-send. All we can do is pray, but love to hear good reports!! Yeah Jeeves & Wooster too. Love & Hugs, Mom