baby, breastfeeding, cluster feeding, newborn, sleep, two week old
I’m almost done writing up the next part of the labour story, I swear, but it’s bloody hard to find a moment in which to work on it.
This kid doesn’t sleep.
He is 16 days old and he doesn’t sleep. He suckles, and he cries, and sometimes he lies quietly alert and being all cure, before crying/suckling some more.
Now, I am not particularly disillusioned. I knew that having a baby would mean sleepless nights and a lot of screaming. But I did think that newborns, while waking up every couple of hours, would eventually go back to sleep for an hour or two at a time.
But when this baby dozes off, I am constantly afraid that it is for the last time, and that the next wake-up, which will likely happen in the next fifteen minutes or so, will never, ever end. Even my mother is baffled by his constant wakefulness and insatiable hunger. On Facebook, people keep commenting on how alert he looks in his pictures. They’re telling us.
On Tuesday, he was awake from 5 pm until 1 am. On Wednesday he was awake from 2:30 pm until nearly 10:00 pm. On Thursday he was awake from 1:30 pm until 9:30 pm. Today he woke up at 12:30, and right now he has FINALLY gone limp and he is downstairs in his moses basket with my mother and husband hovering over him like he is a bomb ready to go off. He may wake at any moment.
If we’re lucky, he’ll sleep for a couple hours before he’s up and screaming for food again. My nipples, which were beginning to heal, are getting sore again.
One thing I will say about him – the worst of the feeding/screaming fits have mostly been during the afternoon/evening. He does often sleep for as much as two or even three hours together over the night and in the morning, although last night it took my mother and I from 2 am until 4 am to get him to go back to sleep for those couple of hours.
In the meantime, he’s learning lots. He has discovered his rattle, and he reaches for my shirt or my glasses when he is enraged. He’s working on rolling over. He has also decided to try and help me put him to the breast by clutching at the sides of my boob and exerting as much muscle strength as he can summon to bring the booba to his mouth. Unfortunately, he hasn’t worked out the difference between Push and Pull, so he actually sits there pushing the breast away while gaping frantically like a goldfish out of water, and eventually screwing up his eyes and wailing in frustration, at which point I snatch away his fists and plunk my breast into his mouth.
So basically he’s strong and fit. I, on the other hand, am a hollowed-out shell of a woman who has watched far more HGTV than any normal human should watch in a year.
Can anyone explain to me why I feel guilty snatching half an hour to myself for a bath or to check Facebook, leaving the baby under the care of my mother or Perfect Husband? I mean, it’s not like he’s mine and only mine. He’s every bit as much my husband’s baby, and PH doesn’t feel the need to ask me if I can watch the baby for an hour while he reads cracked.com. But PH is happy to care for his son (if apologetic that he can’t help me with the constant-hunger issue), and my mother is delighted to have a chance to be useful before she leaves on Monday.
So how come I feel like I’m being selfish and asking them to do my job for me when I try to give myself a just few moments out of the rocking chair?
I feel for you honey, my little man did this exactly. It was like he was afraid he’d miss something, his giant staring bright blue eye balls sucking in the world all the time. He didn’t start really sleeping for more than 2 hours at a go till he was about 9 months old. Not to scare you or anything….
Flop that baby on your mom while she’s there as much as you can so you can take a moment here and there to try and be a normal person. Normal people get to check their email, pee by themselves and have showers longer than 3 minutes. Don’t feel guilty or selfish for needing a bit of you time here and there. It’s what’s going to keep you sane in the long haul. A sane mommy is a good mommy.
It’s going to suck when my mother leaves on Monday. What does one do with a screaming baby when one has to pee?
Gettysburg Mom said:
Atlee was like that. She’d sleep on me sometimes though- and so she did. We napped in the recliner in the living room. I felt like a scene out of a TV show, with the seasons and life going on outside of the bay window, while inside every day was the same.
She’s a clever, clever girl- and I think the lack of sleep as a baby was indicative of who she is now. She just has to see everything that’s going on at all times.
He will sleep some day mama. And while it doesn’t feel like it, you will too.
What a great image – I can almost hear “Eleanor Rigby” playing in the background :-p
Here’s hoping it’s a sign of intelligence. Damn DHA, I shouldn’t have taken so much during pregnancy!
Awwwww. Poor you. The sleep deprivation is just really all-consuming, huh? And yet, despite the fact that he won’t let you sleep and makes your nipples ache, you are reluctant to hand him over to anyone else. I think that’s the hormones. Otherwise, infants would never survive.
1) Have you (or PH or your mum) tried wearing him to sleep? Just a thought. I remember this was the only way Xander (Meg and Matthew’s son) would nap at first.
2) How are his poops? Any green or frothiness? Just wondering if there’s a breastfeeding problem making him seem to never be satisfied, like intolerances to something in your diet or a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. If you haven’t already, bookmark this site: http://www.kellymom.com/ Lots of very valuable information there.
“And yet, despite the fact that he won’t let you sleep and makes your nipples ache, you are reluctant to hand him over to anyone else. I think that’s the hormones. Otherwise, infants would never survive.”
It’s true. It would be snow banks for them, if not for those blasted hormones.
It’s true, I think they boost your capacity for mawkish sentamentality. Which is why I find the new Skittle commercial to be the most painfully heartbreaking thing evar.
Tried the wearing thing yesterday, but he just wanted to eat and being worn only served to further enrage him. To be fair, it wasn’t the Sleepy Wrap’s fault. He slept solidly for two and a half hours in it at the mall on Tuesday (before this crying/eating jag began) and when I took the dog for a walk with him in it, the outside world distracted him sufficiently to make him quiet for the duration of the walk. He just stared in worried fascination. However, once back inside, he remembered The Booba, and how much he wanted it…
Poops are good – grainy and brown/yellow. And he’s pooping/peeing constantly, so he MUST be getting enough milk.
My nephew and one of my neices were both like this. They slept so little it seemed like they should do a study on them to find out how it was possible they survived it. They have both become great sleepers. Nephew is the happiest baby who ever lived now, at five months, and goes out like a light. There is hope.
With nephew, it may also have been a feeding problem – there were supply issues in the beginning which probably included a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance, reflux, and an apparent allergy to his mother drinking cow’s milk. Do they automatically set you up with a lactation specialist consult there? On the other hand, niece was just a baby who didn’t need much sleep, and time and strong routine were the only things that were going to help with her. But help they did, and everyone gets rest these days. He is new, and he is clearly brilliant, and he has so much to learn, it may take him a while to learn to shut off the curiosity long enough to sleep.
On Mommy Guilt: I blame hormones. Evolution needed a way to keep moms from wandering off and leaving their babies behind to become prey before logic and choice were viable options. Now we’re stuck with anxiety and guilt that don’t respond well to reason. But is IS entirely reasonable for you to spend a little bit of your energy taking care of yourself when you have already arranged it so your baby is completely safe and taken care of, as you know. Baby needs a happy, healthy Mommy. Daddy needs some time to be primary parent, bond, and make his own parenting decisions. It is not just excusable, it’s practically mandatory that you go take a drink and a book and soak in the tub for a while.
I had a problem with dairy, too, resulting in colic as a baby. It took my mother a long time to figure it out.
However, because of my dairy sensitivity I have never been a milk drinker, and my only dairy exposure has been yoghurt or the occasional bit of cheese.
Oh wow, he’s adorable.
My wife is expecting, and I’m still only the stage of just realizing how cute babies have suddenly become. I really appreciate your experiences and you blog as a window of what is to come.
Congratulations! Trust me – all the other babies out there are dogs compared to how cute you’ll find your OWN baby.
Judging from the pain, the sleep deprivation, and the cost, they’d better be, right?
Oh, this is going to be fun.
When Mike was a baby, he only slept in 15 minute intervals for the first two years of his life. Mike’s mom doesn’t actually remember those first two years, except that she thinks she may have dropped him at one point because she fell asleep while holding him (she was standing up at the time). She says now that she thinks he may have had a cow’s milk allergy, but at the time all the doctor would say is that, “he’ll sleep eventually.” This was 1975, after all. I’m sure it was hormones alone that kept him from being tossed out in a snow bank.
Gotta be. I wish I could just tie this kid to my boob with some kind of straight jacket and let him be.
I’ve heard of some women being able to hook the baby up the the boob while the baby is being carried around in a wrap or sling, and further able to go about their business, but I’ve never been able to do it myself (or even figured out how it’s possible). Plus your little one probably doesn’t have the head/neck control as of yet for such a feat. I did manage to read once in a while when Violet got better at managing the boob on her own, until she got too interested in the sound of pages being turned behind her head.
I’ve been trying to figure out that same thing.
Back when I used to believe I would someday actually finish a sewn project, I bought a great little babywearing instructional dvd to show to all the people I was going to make slings for. in hunting for it on youtube, I came across lots of others:
I imagine it takes a fair bit of practice.
The HGTV thing brings back such memories – I became permanently averse to TLC after watching too many re-runs of Trading Spaces when Bub was a newborn.
Since it seems as if he is both wakeful and hungry, there’s a good chance that addressing the second will resolve the first. Are there supply issues? Are there breastfeeding clinics available so you can talk to a public health nurse about how feeding is going?
Yes, lots of access to public health nurse, but she says that since his diaper-messing is prolific and since he has regained his birth weight, my supply must be fine.
Poor you. Much sympathy xx
This was Isaac:
1. nurse left boob, slowly, methodically, for up to 30 min.
2. drift off to sleep, for 45 min AS LONG AS I DIDN’T MOVE
3. wake, nurse right boob for up to 30 min.
4. drift off to sleep, for 45 min AS LONG AS I DIDN’T MOVE
5. repeat. for four months.
He didn’t like to sleep. He didn’t sleep a night through (from 10-ish until 6-ish) until after I’d gone back to work. He just didn’t. I watched a LOT of crappy television. One of his first recognizable words was “docta Phiw” (I’m not proud of this).
He is now a great sleeper.
James, on the other hand, ate fast, slept alone from the first week, but had a rough patch of about six weeks of colic at around the three-month mark for no reason we could determine. Now, at 2.5 years, he still has night wakings (sometimes multiple ones).
I dunno. Some babies are just really, really alert and wakeful. You will adjust. Promise.
As to how you pee when there is a crying baby, I used to keep an infant bounce chair in the bathroom, and plop them in it when I needed to pee. Or shower. Yes, they fussed, but they were safe, could see me, and it kept me from developing bladder infections or typhoid. 🙂
I’m not 100% sure how I missed this posting as I check this blog on an almost hourly basis, but I did.
Now, I can’t tell you why your demon spawn won’t sleep (and I mean that in the nicest, most god-motherly way! In fact, I wonder if he’s in any way related to my own demon spawn…), but I can tell you that it’s normal, for whatever reason, to feel guilty passing him off to others. I bet you that your reasoning is, ‘I’m his mother. I should be responsible for everything baby related. PH works all day, he shouldn’t have to come home to baby work….’ and on and on and on. But the truth is, you need those little breaks because you are responsible for all those things. Maybe not solely, but no one else can feed him, and as you’ve pointed out, you’ll be the one getting up in the middle of the night with him after your mother leaves BECAUSE PH has to be up in the morning. Allow yourself those little breaks to be on your own. They help protect what little sanity you’ve got right now!
You poor thing. …But on the plus side, how crazy super cute is he with those great big excitable eyes?? Very. That’s how.
Here’s hoping he gives you a break soon. Until then, absolutely do take every minute you can. You deserve it, whether or not your hormones currently agree.
I was sure Sailor was getting enough milk because she pooped like a crazy lady (10-12 diapers a day) and was gaining weight like a champ. However, when I got mastitis I went ahead and pumped some bottles for her. Now, I know that the pumps only get about half of what the baby can, but even knowing that it became clear she wasn’t getting enough. After 20 minutes of pumping one breast only had 1oz and the other had 2oz. Once I fed her a bottle until she was full, she was drinking 4oz. You might want to try pumping a bottle. It’s still breastmilk and you can pump and feed immediately – just to get an idea of how much he’s eating vs how much you’ve got coming out.
Also, have you tried the Five S’s? I copied this from babyslumber.com (do all 5 at the same time):
* Swaddling – Tight swaddling provides the continuous touching and support the fetus experienced while still in Mom’s womb. (some people double swaddle if he pulls his arms out easily)
* Side/stomach position – You place your baby, while holding her, either on her left side to assist in digestion, or on her stomach to provide reassuring support. Once your baby is happily asleep, you can safely put her in her crib, on her back.
* Shushing Sounds – These sounds imitate the continual whooshing sound made by the blood flowing through arteries near the womb. This white noise can be in the form of a vacuum cleaner, a hair dryer, a fan and so on. The good news is that you can easily save the motors on your household appliances and get a white noise CD which can be played over and over again with no worries.
* Swinging – Newborns are used to the swinging motions that were present when they were still in Mom’s womb. Every step mom took, every movement caused a swinging motion for your baby. After your baby is born, this calming motion, which was so comforting and familiar, is abruptly taken away. Your baby misses the motion and has a difficult time getting used to it not being there. “It’s disorienting and unnatural,” says Karp. Rocking, car rides, and other swinging movements all can help.
* Sucking – “Sucking has its effects deep within the nervous system,” notes Karp, “and triggers the calming reflex and releases natural chemicals within the brain.” This “S” can be accomplished with breast, bottle, pacifier or even a finger.
I also noticed the first person who commented and said her baby didn’t sleep more than 2 hours until he was 9 months. Wanted to unscare you and let you know that Sailor has been sleeping 11 hours at night for almost a month now.
Yeah, my first pumping session yielded one ounce from both breasts, and the next session ditto. I think that in my case though it’s just getting used to the pump, because I’m doing much better now. He’s too young for a bottle still – I don’t want to mess up his latch – but we figure we had better start building up.
I’m sure he’s getting enough milk, but he’s probably putting on a growth spurt. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding says that around 2 weeks of age they tend to go on a growth spurt and feed every hour and I was like ‘OHHHHHHH”…
Swaddling helps a lot if we can pin his crazy arms down – he tends to hit himself in the face if he can wiggle them free. Swinging no good – doesn’t work in arms and I think he’s the only infant in the world who hates his infant swing. Sucking – all he does :-p
On the swinging – if possible, try him in something that swings gently side to side like the Fisher Price swings can. Numerous bits of purely anecdotal evidence suggest to me that most infants hate front-to-back swings but love side-to-side ones as long as they’re not set too fast.
yeah, he doesn’t like the swing the neighbour gave us.
We set his moses basket on the gliding ottoman that came with the gliding rocker – instant side-to-side rocking!
Yeah, Sailor didn’t like her swing for a couple of weeks, too. Those growth spurts are awful, and there seem to be so many right at the start! Sailor cluster fed on our second night in the hospital every hour – and I just ended up crying a lot and finally, after many hours and she seemed to be stopping, handed her to the nurses for three hours so I could sleep. I felt SO guilty.
It does get better, I promise. But I know where you are right now and it’s not fun.
Pingback: Did I Miss Something? « If By Yes