Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The wisdom of Google and a pink koala

Three days ago baby C had her first go of pumpkin. She was initially surprised then quite enthusiastic, especially when given the spoon and allowed to smear it on her face. E was excited beyond measure; for some reason giving the baby proper food has loomed large on the list of things she wants to do as a big sister. We dispensed the first serving mid-morning and then sat C in the highchair with us at dinner that night and I had one of those heart-melting moments looking at my little family all sitting at the table together. We repeated the exercise the next day, but replaced one lot of pumpkin with a serving of baby cereal.

The two nights following pumpkin and baby cereal were two of the worst nights C has ever had. Up every two and a half hours on the dot - you could have set a clock by her. Seemingly starving each time, wanting 40 minute feeds.

Now it might be a case of "getting what you Google" but when I asked he who knows everything "can starting solids make baby sleep worse" various websites assured me that it can if the baby is less than six months old or for some other reason has trouble digesting the new food. C was 22.5 weeks old as at the first serve of pumpkin. She is interested in our food, has good head control, can sit easily in a high chair (with a bit of padding) and has more than doubled her birth weight. I genuinely thought she was ready, although she was not quite six months. (And we started E much earlier and she was fine, and what kind of second-time parent would I be if I didn't endlessly compare my children?) Anyhow, yesterday I decided that it was worth reverting to milk only to see what happened, and last night was significantly better. Still multiple wakings, but much quicker feeds and a decent uninterrupted stretch.

But her day sleeps? Well, they are pretty dreadful. The only way she has ever gone to sleep during the day has been by being patted into oblivion on someone's shoulder. Then, if you are lucky and time it right ,you can sneak her into bed. Where she might stay, or she might not. Later the patting has been taking longer and longer, and she has been increasingly easy to disturb either on the shoulder or whilst being put down, or she just wakes a very short time later. Clearly she has no idea how to put herself back to sleep once she wakes up and ideally we need to find a way of putting her to sleep that involves her falling asleep in her cot rather than in someone's arms. And because C is the poor second child, even sticking to the minimum required for E's weekly routine, C gets dragged out and about a lot, which means she is often tireder than ideal by the time we are somewhere she can sleep. All of this I know, and none of this helps me figure out how to fix the situation.

After various further consultations with Mr Google yesterday I reluctantly chose one of the 600 self-settling techniques that he offered me and we attempted it this morning. It was the kind that advocates putting the baby into bed "sleepy but awake", leaving them to it and going in and out to whisper mindless platitudes and give quick pats if the baby yells, all of which is  eventually supposed to result in the baby giving up and going to sleep. We tried it, for about 35 minutes, whilst C got more and more upset, and ended in hysterical crying. Either she is too stubborn or I am too soft, but I then picked her up and patted her to sleep on my shoulder. I then tried to put her down and she woke up. So I picked her up and patted some more. And then put her down. She stayed down for about 10 minutes and is now up again and on my lap, having had a grand total of about 35 minutes sleep (plus 35 minutes of crying, plus 20 minutes of patting).

All of which is why I am now walking around with a pink koala shoved down my shirt, because a "comfort object that smells like Mum" is Mr Google's next suggestion. Stay tuned for the results... or for my next physio bill brought on by endless rounds of patting a 7.5kg baby on my shoulder.

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