Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Clarification

OH! What great advice I got. I want to thank each and every person who commented and/or emailed me after that last pathetic post. And I have and will try many of the things you suggested, I promise.

BUT.

I want to clarify what I wrote because, dude, what I wrote was far from clear!

The issue is not so much that Matthew cries allatime for no reason. Oh no. His reason for crying is very very simple.

He does not want to take his naps. Unless he is allowed to take them in my arms or in the Snugli. Period. He will sleep, once we get him to sleep, which I will discuss in a minute, in his crib overnight, and he's still doing pretty well at that. But once the sun is up, that boy cries his head off when I put him in there, no matter WHAT state he's in when I put him in. Awake, asleep, half awake, half asleep... doesn't matter... the minute I lower his little self into that bed, he commences to wailing. For a very very long time. Napping in the crib, unless I am willing to let him cry for 45 minutes or more, is a NO GO.

Now, the putting-him-to-bed thing. Here's the issue. Peabody likes his belly plenty full when he goes to bed for the night. Trouble is, he also likes to eat many, many times leading up to bedtime - he's a cluster-feeder starting around 4:30 or so. So by bedtime, he can eat and there are milkies there, but he is tired and The Girls are not chock full and he is displeased with that situation. He fusses and fights and fumes and WILL drift off to sleep and allow himself to be placed into his bed, but then, 5 or 10 minutes later he's up crying and screaming and mad.

So we've been giving him a couple of ounces of expressed milk from a bottle, which for some reason, does the trick, puts him out like a light, and he's happy.

Trouble is, the way the days are going, I have a baby strapped to my front all day and zero free time or really opportunity between live feedings to actually pump any milk anymore. He seems satisfied with what he gets from me during the day at each feeding, but JUST satisfied. And two hours later he eats again.

Now maybe, MAYBE this no napping, eating every two hours thing is STILL the 6 week growth spurty thing, but if so, that means he's been growth spurting for TWO FULL WEEKS as of tomorrow. That's a long time, and I haven't read or heard a thing about a spurt lasting longer than a week. So.

But the issue is, well, after tomorrow, if I don't find time to pump at some point, we will have gone through our supply of expressed milkies.

AND even more importantly, is this little "supplement" at the end of every day (would it still be a supplement if I pumped it out at some other point during the day?) somehow going to mess up or at least not properly adjust my supply?

To be honest, after all of this baby-wearing feed-on-demanding I EXPECTED my supply to be noticeably more plentiful, but it doesn't seem to be at all. Maybe it's because at the exact same time as that growth spurt my body finally adjusted itself, but lately I do leak less, feel less full, and then there's those feeds that never seem to want to space themselves out even a little bit more over time. Also the night feeds are staying exactly as they were, or are maybe slightly closer together, too.

All of this is rattling my confidence.

And the baby-not-sleeping thing too.

And I feel whiny. And tired.

This is all SO EXACTLY BEAN. She did all of these things. And we ended up letting her cry (which I so do not believe in for a baby this age!) and giving her formula. And all that made life so much easier for everyone. She slept, we slept, she was happy, we were happy. (Well, I wasn't all that happy about the crying and the formula, of course.)

I WANT this to get better without employing either of those methods. I wonder, though, if it will.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I want to give up

I do NOT know what to do with this baby. I've been feeding him non-stop for 3 days and still he is completely miserable. Bean hasn't had any attention (except to be told be be quiet or sit down or handed a box of dry cereal or some grapes to eat) in days and I AM EXHAUSTED.

If he isn't eating or being held in my arms, he's SCREAMING.

Is he sick? In pain?

What do I do? I can't do this to Bean any longer. Right now he's lying in his crib just wailing his little heart out/ head off, but I HAVE to get Bean ready and I have to EAT SOMETHING, as does she.

Should I just give up and feed him formula? What is wrong with him?

Can't cope like this. Just can't.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Six Weeks and Some Days - I'm Bleary, Sue Me.

I need to be napping! It's crazy I'm here instead about to "waffle on" as Alice would say, but I have so much to talk about and I NEVER get a minute to myself, until today, because TODAY, I finally caved and put Peabody down to sleep on his belly and he's napped so well thanks to that. I already feel like a new person and it's only 1:30 PM.

Since last Wednesday we've been having a rough time with sleep for Matthew. Prior to that he was literally allowing himself to be put to bed awake and was peacefully drifting off on his own. BUT THEN! Like clockwork, just as the books and new baby websites state, my little almost six-week old (at that time) found his hands and decided that HE MUST SUCK ON THOSE HANDS, OR DIE TRYING.

Which meant we could not swaddle him tightly enough to keep him from prying those hands and arms loose, whereupon they'd wave wildly around his little head (because he hasn't developed control of them yet), batting him in the face and ultimately knocking out his precious pacifier. Then the floodgates would open and he'd be inconsolable until somebody went in, reswaddled and plugged the pacifier back in, which would last another 8 minutes until he'd pry his hands loose and start the whole miserable cycle again.

At night he still slept very well, but getting him DOWN the first time at night was miserable. I'd feed him, swaddle him and put him into his bed all sleepy with his eyes closed and the minute he was actually fully into his bed, his eyes would FLY open and he'd just lie there, staring up at me with this "HOW COULD YOU???" look on his face, wrestling his swaddle blanket and whimpering.

Sigh. And I'd rub his head, tell him I loved him and to have a good sleep, and walk away, hoping he'd drift off quickly.

And the nursing at that time of night has been really difficult. For some reason he squirms and pulls and grimaces and kicks while I try to feed him. He pops off and on and angrily roots around, but once latched he seems SO DISSATISFIED with the meal. I thought it was that he was tired because a few times two weeks ago the MINUTE he started that I'd just wrap him up and put him to bed and he'd go right to sleep, but that didn't last and now he just does the whole stare pathetically thing and begins to howl. So of course my first thought was, "I'm not making enough milk for him." Because as well as we've been doing, my confidence is still very shaky and the first sign of anything wrong immediately makes me think I'm going to FAIL AGAIN at feeding him myself. Anyway so two nights ago I decided to give him, on top of nursing him, about 2 oz. of expressed milk from a bottle.

And wouldn't you know he guzzled that down and fell merrily off to sleep as if that was all he'd ever needed and why hadn't I done that ages ago?

Sigh.

So all day yesterday I fed him every hour on the hour (he wouldn't nap anyway so I figured why not?) to build up my supply and by day's end my back and The Girls were KILLING ME from all that nursing (not my nibbles - his latch is great and they've really never hurt - just the whole breast feels bruised and raw on the inside from all that vaccuum action, if that makes sense). I haven't pumped today so I don't know if it did anything for the supply, and now I think that wasn't the issue anyway because he went to sleep pretty well last night (after an hour of the pacifier relay we do, one going to plug it in, then the other, back and forth like that for an hour. It's so stupid. Why did we cave and give him that thing?)

Besides, if I've been putting him to bed hungry night after night, why does he sleep six hours and then wake up and only eat one side before falling back into blissful sleep again?

It really can't be that I'm not giving him enough milk.

So today I decided to try some new sleeping positions, and to let him out of that swaddle for awhile to see what he'd do. First I tried him on his back without the swaddle and that just made him cry. Then I tried him (I know, it's bad, but I'm right here with the monitor, his bedding is plenty tight and the mattress very firm) on his belly and WHAMMO. Lights out, dude. Oh, and I also put a little wind up sailbox that plays Row Row Row Your Boat in there with him, which he LOVED. I think the best part of being on his belly is that with his right fist placed naturally up by his chin, he can actually hold his pacifier in his own mouth.

So now, he sleeps again. I don't think I'll put him on his tummy overnight - maybe on his tummy for the first sleep of the night and the when he gets up to eat I can put him back down on his back or his side, because he seems very easy to get back to sleep then anyway.

We shall see. All I know is that by 11:30 AM yesterday I called Al to warn him that things were not going well at ALL and he might need to come home, but I'd give it another hour or two before I asked him to do that. (I never called him again but he came home by 3 anyway. I guess he knows I don't make that kindof call without a seriously good reason and so decided to just come on home.) I never made a call like that even once with Bean, although she wouldn't sleep during the day for MONTHS. It's the two-kid factor, I guess. I was kindof at my wit's end yesterday. But then again, I forgot to mention that night before last Bean was up for an hour on top of the two times I got up with Peabody, and we stayed up until nearly 11, so I only got about 2.5 hours of sleep that night, which I can't handle. At rock bottom minimum, I have to have 5 hours or my brain does all sorts of weird things the next day. I really need 9 hours a night, but that's pretty much out of the question at this point, obviously.

--------

The bloodtests:

We went last Thursday to the hospital where Matthew was born to have blood drawn for his bili-level and anemia/hemophelia tests. The phlebotomists couldn't find a vein in my poor boy for the longest time - he had to be stuck FOUR times, once in the hand, then in both arms and finally in his heel (should have done that to begin with!) to get the blood they wanted for the tests. At one point they decided they couldn't SEE a vein anywhere so they'd just stick a needle into the inner crease of his elbow and DIG AROUND in there until they struck gold.

I about body slammed them after several minutes of digging in my baby's arm as he screamed and cried. They made ME hold him down, too. It was AWFUL.

I know it's hard to find veins on newborns. I do. It's hard to find a vein on me - I'm notorious for that and no one can EVER get into a vein the first stick on me. I'm an adult. I can take it. BUT A BABY?

What a nightmare. We were in the room working on him for TWO HOURS, with poor Bean bored and restless, me sweating and angry and ready to FIGHT someone, and Matthew wailing away. I stopped them at one point and nursed the poor guy for awhile to give him some comfort, but he had to go back to them again after that.

The test results were fine though. I shouldn't have had to take him in for those tests - she KNEW he was fine.

Anyway by the end of that day I couldn't string two words together. Al came home and I just looked at him blankly. Bean had to tell him where we'd gone and he gleaned all the info he needed from what she told him. "MAFEW CRIED A LOT DADDY. A REALLY REALLY LOT."

Oh yes. He did.

Anyway, his bili levels were slightly elevated but not enough to warrant the doctor "insisting" I stop breastfeeding for 24 hours. Much to her credit, she said, "You could do it, but I know you really would prefer not to, so we'll reassess at his 2 month c/u in three weeks."

You betcha we will. He'll be fine, too. He's fine now. No longer yellow as far as I can tell.

I just want to know how much he weighs, because I was looking at him today and I swear he's gigantic. His facial features used to take up his whole head/face area and now they seem so small when I look at them in the context of his big round noggin. Al comes home every DAY and says he's grown more. I just bought 0-3 mos sleepers for him less than two weeks ago and he'll be out of those in a few days - his FEET are too big for the feet on the sleepers, and he's so long they just pull on his little shoulders when he stretches out full-length. My boy is BIG.

He's also gettin' those CHEEKS like Bean's. I need to take a picture of his little pumpkin-head cheeks. He's adorable.

And smiley.

But he has cradle cap really badly. (Did someone say to put breastmilk on cradle cap? Jemma, was that you?) I'm using dandruff shampoo on it and that works great, actually, but I have to be SO careful not to get it in his little eyes, and one place he has it very badly is his eyebrows, so that's a challenge! He also has it on his ears and the creases on each side of his nose. Never seen anything like it, but it's confirmed to be cradle cap. I want it gone - because he's just so adorable but then he has this CRUST all over his cute little self.

Oh, I have to go. He's starting to grumble which means time is of the essence and I have to potty and hopefully get a little fifteen minute rest in myself. And drink something. I have constant cotton mouth!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

5 weeks old!

We had Peanut's one month appointment today with his pediatrician!

Guess who now weighs 10 lbs. 3 oz.?

ZIKES!

I don't think Bean weighed 10 lbs. until she was 3 months old!

He's 22 inches long now, too. My baby boy is growing so fast. It's amazing.

He is very alert these days, looking around when he's awake and really focusing in on my face and trying SO HARD to smile and laugh at his Mama. Sometimes he just stares and stares at me and opens his mouth up and the corners just baaaaaaaaarely turn up and he makes this little "AHAAAAAAAA" sound. SO CUTE. He also occasionally tells me "Goooooooo." and "OOOOH." Mostly in the morning, right after he wakes up and eats and he's sitting up in the bed with Bean and me.

He's just so sweet.

He's outgrown, obviously, all of the preemie clothes I bought for him (not many, but enough to get him through those very tiny early days) AND most of his size Newborn things. I'll be buying him size 1 diapers next time because his Newborn sized diapers are starting to mash his little cheeks together in back and leave creases and lines.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. The doctor noted that Peanut is still slightly jaundiced and although she's certain this is just normal breastmilk jaundice, she wants me to take him to the hospital for a little blood draw and some tests to rule out anything more sinister. He's fine though. He's growing really well and showing all the signs of perfectly normal development. The tests are basically to cover the doctor's you-know-what. I don't relish the idea of blood draws and a trip to the hospital, but I'll do it anyway.

The only real "cure" for breastmilk jaundice, apparently, besides just waiting it out, is to feed the baby formula for 24 hours (while the mother pumps). I am seriously not into that idea, but since it is likely breastmilk jaundice he's "suffering" (if you can call being slightly yellow suffering, that is), that's what's going to be offered to me as the solution. Either that or he just stays yellow for another month or two, which honestly wouldn't bother me, really.

Anyway speaking of pumping, I have a pretty nice supply of milk stored up now from pumping several times over the past week. I pumped last night after 4 hours (I was out at Bunco and came home after Peanut had gone to bed and likely wouldn't be up for another 3 hours or so) and got a total of 5 ounces of milk. Wow!

So that was about it for the doctor's appointment. Peanut didn't get any shots today and we discussed briefly that at his next visit (2 months) I only want him to have a couple of the vaccinations he'll be due for, and then I'll take him back at three months when he isn't DUE for a visit or anymore shots, to get the remainder of the ones due at 2 months. I don't like too many of them going into his tiny system at a time.

Anyway after that Bean, Peanut and I made a quick trip to our local Penney's to exchange some MORE outgrown shoes of hers (her feet are suddenly enormous to me, and to her shoes, apparently) and I picked up a few little 0-3 month outfits for Peanut. For some reason when I've shopped for him earlier I've bought Newborn things and then 3-6 month things and completely omitted the 0-3 month size. I guess those are harder to find on sale or something so I just didn't buy them? Or did I think he was going to be born small and then wake up one morning BIG? (Not so very far off what has really happened!) Anyway so now I have three more little cute outfits for him so he won't have to wear Newborn snap-crotch shirts and kinda hunch over because they're too short! (Hee hee, I really haven't made him do that!)

Let's see. Peanut has had many baths in his little bathtub on the bathroom counter and he hates them as passionately now as he did his first one. This is a boy who simply despises to be chilly! Bean never cared a bit about that, but Peanut really gets himself worked up EVERY TIME I take his clothes off or change his diaper and he really, really, REALLY can't stand bathtime, even if I try my best to keep as much of him covered as possible with warm washclothes while I'm washing. He also passionately dislikes WIPES on his bummy. Those are good for some real screaming, as well. I used to think wipe warmers were a silly waste of money, but come wintertime I may have to have one for my little NO COLD WIPES ON MY BUMMY boy or I think I'm going to be listening to a LOT of crying at diaper-change time. I tried using warm water and cloth wipes but it takes forever to get the water in the kids' bathroom to warm up AND that breastmilk poop's impossible to rinse out of those things! IMPOSSIBLE. Heck, it's impossible enough just tryin' to get it off of nice, smooth SKIN.

He's going about 3 hours between feeds in the daytime and his first sleep at night, which usually starts between 8 and 9, lasts 5 hours or more, then he sleeps another 3 hours and eats again, and then about another 90 minutes. So his nighttime "schedule," which he's setting himself and has kept very regular for weeks now, is bed by 9, up at 1:30, up at 4:30 and then up for the day at about 7 AM. The days are a little bit more chaotic and I haven't tried to force a schedule but I am learning his patterns and tricks (as is Al, who is the Baby Whisperer in some respects!) that make for less crying and more happy time and more sleep in the crib during the day vs. sleep in the Snugli, which has been lovely but the boy weighs 10 lbs. and having him strapped onto me all day is starting to really do my back in.

Knowing now that he needs to be headed back to sleep about 90 minutes after some wakings (some wakings he goes immediately back to sleep after he eats - the 90 minutes awake thing happens 2 to 3 times a day right now) has made for many fewer hours of trying to soothe an overtired little boy to sleep as he screams and cries and flails his little arms around. As long as he's tightly swaddled and has a nice full tummy 90 minutes after he last woke, he easily goes back to sleep and stays asleep for 2 hours or more in his bed.

When he wakes, I feed him, change him and then Bean and I play with him gently for 15 or 20 minutes. After that he's usually just pooped out so I'll either put him in the Snugli if I need to be up and about, and he'll fall asleep in there and I can pull him out and put him down, or I swaddle him and put him in his vibrating bouncy chair for a few minutes, until he shows signs it's time to go get rocked to sleep and put in bed. Of course it doesn't work every time and sometimes he DOES get overtired and then we are IN FOR IT, because once this child is overtired, he fights sleep with EVERY THING IN HIM. Just like his sister did.

Oh, there's more to say but I'm tired, (overtired) and snippy and in need of a hot bath and some mindless TV before bedtime. Tomorrow is Friday. After tomorrow, I'll be able to say I managed a WHOLE work week with my two children, alone.

And in a few more weeks, it'll hopefully all seem a lot easier. If it weren't for the aching back and the crying, I'd say it's almost fun to experiment and tweak to find the right routines for these kids of mine. ALMOST.

What IS fun is how cute they are, and how much more I love them both every single day. Yay!

Monday, September 1, 2008

3 Weeks, 4 Days - Must. Write. It.

ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH! I am itching to write Matthew's birth story but there's never time! Somebody come take dictation, please!

That is all.

My Lil Family