My mum went home yesterday.
Babby decided to give us an easy day by going to sleep relatively easily and at regular intervals throughout the day.
Perfect Husband and I were like “We totally rock.”
Then night happened.
Now, most of his 6-7 hour screaming jags have taken place in daytime, and nightime has actually been fairly regular with wakings every 1.5-3 hours and reasonably prompt sleep after feeding/diaper changes.
Not last night.
Today, my first day home alone with Babby, was mixed success. Morning was awful, afternoon was fine. I finally managed to get him to fall asleep at about 10:30 this morning and collapsed into exhausted sleep until 1:30. So that was good. Then he fed, had a diaper change, went in the Sleepy Wrap while we walked the dog, fussed a bit and then slept in the wrap for an hour and a half. Then he woke up, was fed, went back in the wrap, fussed a bit and fell asleep.
This evening was more difficult. It took us an hour to get him to sleep after his dinner meal.
Now, here’s the thing I’m having a lot of difficulty coming to terms with – he seems to need to cry to sleep, sometimes.
The other night we were taking turns walking the floor with him as he had been alternately crying and feeding and crying WHILE feeding for hours. Perfect Husband was flipping through a book I had picked up at the library, called The Baby Whisperer. Now, I had already discounted this woman earlier in the evening because she talked a lot about how “no baby needs to eat more often than every two hours” and saying that once baby’s needs are met, he should be put down to “foster independence.” Both sounds like total nonsense to me and goes against what the lactation consultants and child psychologists say (babies carried more actually have MORE independence later on in life, because they trust their caretaker etc). So I had given her up as a resource. But then PH said,
“Are his eyes staring as if propped open by toothpicks, not focusing on anything?”
“Yes,” I said, “the dog just sniffed his face and he stared right past him.”
“Is he arching his back when he cries?”
“Then the book says he’s overtired.”
“He hasn’t slept for five hours. We know he’s overtired! What does it say to do about it?”
The book said to lay the baby the hell down and let him fuss himself to sleep.
“That’s cry-it-out! You can’t do that to a newborn. I won’t do that,” I said angrily.
“No, no, it isn’t cry-it-out. She says to stay with the baby and let him know you are with him, but he needs to sleep and anything we do will just continue to stimulate him.”
So against my better judgement, Babby was laid down in his moses basket, covered snugly, and then rocked and rocked and rocked. And damn it all, it worked. Within ten minutes he had settled down.
“The book says he’ll wake and fuss three times before settling down for good,” said my husband.
And damn it all, that’s just what the baby did.
He slept for nearly four hours.
Early the next morning, the same thing happened – he wouldn’t go down. So Perfect Husband took him from me, laid him in his basket, and sat on the edge of the bed, shushing soothingly, watching him and occasionally holding down his arms when he started to flail wildly (because he flails in his sleep and then hits himself in the face, which wakes him up and makes him cry because all he knows is that someone randomly hit him in the face…), while my baby cried and cried. It was breaking my heart, and I kept wanting to take the baby from the basket, but Perfect Husband reminded me that we had tried that and tried that. It was his turn to try.
It felt like forever, but it wasn’t actually all that long. In half an hour, Babby was out for the count, having had his three drift-offs-then-wake-up-and-fuss episodes.
But I was a mess.
Perfect Husband kissed me and told me he was proud of me.
“I don’t like this. It feels like cry-it-out and he’s just a tiny baby. If we let him cry like this it’ll break his trust in us…” I sniffled.
“You fed him. You changed him. You rocked him. He was still crying. He was crying because he was tired, and we can’t force him to sleep. He needs to learn how to do that himself and we can’t help him. Rocking him and walking with him just seems to overstimulate him. We never left him. We were right there with him, and I even held his hands.”
I knew all of this, and over the last couple of days, PH has been proven right time and time again. He cries… and then he will sleep. I did make PH promise to ignore anything this woman Baby Whisperer says about breastfeeding. I picked up a copy of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding from the library as well, and that has comforted me, because it specifically mentions a growth-spurt in the second and third week, which explains his constant feeding which has been leading to this overtired issue. The constant feeding does seem to be dying down – and my breasts are fuller than they were so I think he was just working to bring in my milk. It’s just a matter of getting him to go to sleep, the poor little insomniac.
Sometimes I can nurse him to sleep, which is always my first choice, but other times he just pulls away from the breast and squirms and cries and that’s when PH steps in with his shhshing noises and his heavy hands pinning down those flailing arms. A friend of mine even sent me a link indicating that some babies are just like this – they need to have a good cry. And the way he just suddenly goes limp after ten or fifteen minutes of fussing shows that it IS exhaustion – not a matter of him crying himself to sleep. But the waiting through that ten minutes is breaking my heart. At least, today, he fussed in his wrap instead of in his basket, and for some reason that was easier on me. I don’t know why it matters, him crying his heart out in his basket or crying his heart out in a carrier, but I can tolerate the carrier easier.
But that doesn’t help at night, when I have to put him down.
There HAS to be a better way.
Poor kid inherited my insomnia and my webbed toe.
I’m sorry, Babby.