Posts Tagged ‘three month old’

Applying science to Baby’s sleep

June 14, 2013

Have been reading around the web in an attempt to solve our baby sleep issues. For now I am feeding Baby before each nap. However he is only taking super short 45 minute naps (cos when he stirs the boob isn’t there.) Plus there are times he is tired but not at all hungry which mean no sleep… The overall result is a tired and grouchy Baby who is getting about three hours less daytime sleep than he needs. Plus the prospect of even more night feeds as he unlearns how to sleep longer nighttime stretches. So this isn’t a long term solution.

In my Internet travels I’ve come across a fab blog by a mum who is also a scientist. She has read lots of studies on baby sleep and shares her views on her blog. I particularly liked her post called ‘6 little secrets of a sleeping baby’. I won’t re-blog it all but a couple of bits stood out for me.

On crying and self-soothing…

I believed that my success as a mother was tied to my ability to stop my baby’s cries, as quickly as possible. If she cried, I felt that I was failing…. There is a significant body of research that shows that infants will learn to self-soothe if given the chance. As a new mother, I wish that I had paused to listen before jumping to stop BabyC’s cries and, in doing so, perhaps given her a chance to develop her own ways of soothing. I wish that I had thought carefully about what my soothing techniques were teaching her about sleep. And I wish that, at least occasionally, I had given her the chance to try to fall asleep without my intervention. After all, she might have surprised me. It would have been easier for me to think clearly about these things if I had thought of my job as being to support my baby in learning how to sleep rather than being to stop the crying….BabyC cried because she was tired. I responded by distracting her with bounces until she was lulled to sleep. I now realize that what she needed was to be heard, not hushed. I am not suggesting that we should ignore babies’ cries – not at all – but simply that we be thoughtful about responding in a non-intrusive way that is consistent with how we want the baby to eventually learn to sleep. In reality, this may be just a small shift in our actions, but it is a huge shift in our intention, and it actually requires greater attention to our babies. I believe that this simple shift in thinking may have prevented the sleep problems we found down the road.

And on parental presence during sleep training…

Many sleep experts advise that extinction – letting babies cry-it-out without any reassurances – is the fastest way to good sleep and results in less crying in the long run. They’re probably right, but again, I think we need to stop measuring our success by minutes of crying. A more gradual approach may take longer and require more patience, but it is likely less stressful to the baby. A crying baby may be protesting, struggling to fall asleep in a new way, or frustrated by the change, but she is not necessarily in distress or despair. When we let our babies know that we hear them and acknowledge their emotions, they’ll probably keep telling us how they feel for a while, and that’s OK. Every baby is different, but I now believe that most babies benefit from a gradual approach with more parental support.

The author did use a cry-it-out approach with her baby and this clearly colours her views. Plus this seems to have involved only a few hours of crying in total. I think we went through that with Baby last week! Not to mention the bad experience we had with big brother Bub who cried for hours through weeks of sleep training. Ultimately there our success lay in preventing crying, not ignoring it, but only after he HAD learned to fall asleep without intervention at least sometimes.

I am still undecided about what we’ll do but this has given me some food for thought.

It’s all gone horribly wrong! (baby sleep)

June 12, 2013

Remember the cheery post of a couple of weeks back? Where I boasted of our successful transition from breastfeeding to sleep? And said I could just pop three month old Baby into bed and he’s sleep for a two hour nap? Yes? Well that isn’t the case anymore.

Sadly Baby’s sleep has regressed back to where we started. He wants to feed to get to sleep and nothing else will do. Jiggling in the cot? Nope. Rocking on my shoulder? No. Walking in the sling does still work but isn’t exactly a three times a day and bedtime solution.

It was only ten days ago that he had an amazing day. Two naps of over two hours each. And a great night with just one wake up. But since moving him to his own room and getting a bit more lax with my approach it has all go to pot. It only took a couple of times when he resisted sleep and I then fed him to sleep. Before I knew it he hadn’t fallen asleep in the cot for days and was reliant on feeding to sleep again.

To make matters worse he is also waking at night more. From one month old he’s woken once in a ten or eleven hour nightly stretch. But this last week he started waking twice. Not dreadful as baby sleep goes but a shock to my system. Plus at night I do tend to feed to sleep so this has become another opportunity to reinforce the wrong habit.

Had a dreadful few days where I’ve resisted feeding him at nap time. I’ve tried jiggling him, rocking him, singing, a dummy. I fished out a mobile and tried white noise and lullabies. I even got his daddy on the case. All to no joy. He just screams and screams until it’s eventually feeding time. Sometimes for two hours! All rather horrible.

I’m not sure if he is genuinely hungry. Ninety minutes plus of crying (never alone) seems excessive if he’s not. Maybe it’s a growth spurt? Or my menstrual cycle throwing things out? I then worry he might be teething but there aren’t really other signs of this. I just don’t know.

So at the moment I am at a loss. Trying to get him to sleep without milk has been awful. I have a cold too so my energy is low. Maybe I’ll let him take the lead for a while and stop trying to control things. After all just because his brother got a dreadful sleep association with hourly wakings all night it doesn’t mean Baby will….

I may live to regret those words!

Baby has his own bedroom

June 4, 2013

We’re experimenting with Baby having his own bedroom. He’s only three months so it feels a bit early. But our bedroom is quite small so we’re struggling to fit his cot and associated paraphernalia in there. Plus where he is now he’s only a thin stud wall away from his big brother. I’m so paranoid about him waking him at night I think I sometimes get Baby up too soon and he might well have gone back to sleep.

I remember moving Bub to his own room too at about this age. And promptly moved him straight back the next day. He felt too young! Plus he was waking two or more times a night. Baby only wakes once so this is less of an issue. Plus I really want to use my rocking chair for late night breastfeeds. All good reasons I hope this works out. But if not I’m not going to hesitate to go back to the old arrangements.
As you can see Baby’s new room is not exactly large. It’ll be better when we take out the single bed but for now that is staying to help with the night wakings.
Also spot the use of a travel cot as his main bed. A lesson I learned from his big brother. Makes it so much easier to sleep away from home and with a nice mattress it’s just as good as a ‘real’ cot and a quarter of the price.

Poo still green and now nappy rash

June 2, 2013

Poor Baby has had a nasty nappy rash. This is from his frequent green poos which were happening every few hours. He’s red and sore from all the nappy changes.

I hope I’m not tempting fate to say that things are looking a little bit better today. He still poo’d a lot (two nappy changes at 5am are no fun for anyone!) But less than yesterday. And they were less green too. His rash is a bit less fierce.

I think we have had a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. I have been googling like crazy to see how we can resolve this. Things were a bit confusing as the web is full of contradictory advice (no kidding!) He already only took one breast per feed which seems to be the standard advice in this situation (this helpful article explains why.) If this isn’t enough then it suggests using the same breast for more than one feed. But as Baby is now sometimes going four hours between feeds this would be a VERY long time on one side.

Interestingly, and confusingly, I’ve found some information which slightly contradicts the standard line. Apparently the longer you go between feeds the more watery your foremilk. This would imply the opposite of the above advice – feed frequently and from both breasts.

So what to do? So far I’ve continued the one sided feeding. I’ve tried to feed without distractions to help him get a full feed. I’ve also tried to be more attuned to his feeding cues. I’ve only offered the breast if he seemed hungry rather than routinely offering once three hours have passed. Sometimes this has meant going more than four hours between daytime feeds. But it has meant the eventual feed is a fuller one. It seems like this is working so I’ll persevere for now.

Green and very frequent poo

May 31, 2013

This post is not for those of a delicate disposition. Or those who aren’t interested in some heavy duty wittering about breastfeeding, poo and the relationship between them. If this is not for you please turn away now…

And for those still reading here is my dilemma.

Thirteen week old Baby and I are having a bit of a poo crisis. He’s gone from having one or two mustard coloured poo’s a day to doing lots and lots and lots. At least one poo each feed and sometimes extra in between. Often these are green. This has been going on for about a week. He is otherwise fine in himself and I don’t think he is ill. My main worry is that he’s going to get a nasty nappy rash. And that maybe something isn’t going quite right with his feeding.

I’ve done a fair bit of Internet searching, as you do, and it looks like frequent green poo is mostly linked to a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. Or perhaps teething (though he is a bit young, I’d hope). Or maybe something I am eating. My diet hasn’t really changed though. And whilst he is drooling more he doesn’t appear to be in discomfort from his teeth.

So I’m thinking the foremilk/hindmilk thing might be the culprit. I already feed off just one side per feeding so too frequent breast switching isn’t an issue. I have however noticed that Baby’s feeds are getting shorter. They’ve gone from 20-30 minutes a feed to 10-15 minutes. This might explain any possible imbalance in his milk. I had thought maybe he was just getting more efficient or maybe more distractible. And doing a poo mid-feed probably is quite a distraction!

My current theory is that maybe he is ready to space out his feeds longer than every three hours. According to the Baby Whisperer, and my experience with Bub, this would be at around four months of age. But maybe he is ready now? If so it could be that he isn’t very hungry at three hours and therefore doesn’t take much.

Anyway I think I might experiment to see if he wants more time between his feedings. I won’t deny him if he wants milk but I won’t pro-actively offer at three hours either. I’ll also try to ensure he gets a full feed by minimising distractions. With a toddler around that might be hard!

Welcome any advice or ideas on this from readers.

UPDATE: See what happened here.

In praise of… swaddling

May 17, 2013

Have been using my magic swaddling blankets with eleven week old Baby. I found them invaluable with his older brother Bub who had a very strong Moro reflex and slept poorly from birth. Baby didn’t have this problem and was a great little sleeper at first. Now he’s older his naps aren’t great. He wants to suck his fingers but can’t do it for more than a second. So he just hits himself in the face and wakes himself up!

The main aim is to try to extend his naps but we’re also using them for night sleep. I can’t yet really comment on whether it is working on the naps. We have had a few longer naps with it. He can’t yet fall asleep independently and this is probably a bigger factor. But it’s definitely extended his night sleep. He was a good night sleeper anyway but he is now doing a stretch 2-4 hours longer 🙂

This isn’t a long term thing as I guess quite quickly he’ll be too big for swaddling. But hopefully by then he’ll have mastered the finger sucking and will stop whacking himself mid sleep!

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