Survival Mode Part II: Relief

When I wrote Survival Mode, I was a bit broken…little did I know it would get worse. Everyday, I woke up and genuinely had hope my baby would go back to how she used to be: a self- settling good sleeper…or that I wouldn’t be so stressed that she doesn’t sleep anymore. But each laboured bedtime was wearing me down until the other night I was a sobbing mess at another failed settling attempt. “I can’t do this anymore!” I whined. I don’t know what I thought the alternative was but something had to change. I hated the person I’d become: highly strung, permanently exhausted, cynical, angry and frustrated. Most of all I felt utterly helpless. After posting, I had remorse. A friend of mine lost her wee newborn this week and here I was, so lucky to be in a position to feel this way. I was overwhelmed by guilt and sorrow. I didn’t think anything would make a difference so I called my lifeline, the baby whisperer.

Symptoms

* Only 2-3 x 30 min naps per day (some guidelines have 7 month olds sleeping for 4 hours per day

* Traumatic bedtimes (tears from baby and mum)

* Often having to resort to car or pram to achieve 2/3 of these naps

* Waking 4 x overnight

* Always 40 mins after settling

* Latter wakeups taking between 30 mins and 3 hours to re-settle

Verdict

“You feed her what for breakfast?!”

So here’s the thing: starting solids is anything but straightforward.

Plunket says: oh yeah Watties baby rice and Watties tins and pouches. Milk feeds before solid food

Nutritionist says: No grains before 1 year old. Solids before milk feeds. Cut down on fruit. Veggie meals fine but introduce meat, eggs, peanut butter

Naturopath says: Milk feeds before solid foods. Some babies have a little solids, some have heaps, whatevs

Others say: Food before 1 just for fun

We started with baby rice, which caused her pain 11 hours later, so nix that. Then apples, pears, kumara, courgette, pumpkin, carrot, green beans, brocolli, peach and our regular prune juice doses. Tried avo but same reaction as baby rice. She got so bound up at times, I sought advice from the nutritionist: cut down on the fruit, too much can bind them up. Introduced prune/kiwi/spinach/coconut milk smoothie. I was about to introduce meat when the sleep issues started.

So back to the baby whisperer…Jessica’s meals were essentially veggie. I was trying to avoid too much fruit and thought I was doing the right thing feeding her nutritious foods. However, it is her opinion that the diet is lacking much needed protein for fullness. So my sample day with carrot for breakfast (with chicken stock btw) got poo-pooed.

“The amount of conflicting info is highly frustrating!” I grumbled angrily over the phone. (I later apologised for my attitude but an eyelash wasn’t batted on the other end: you are sleep deprived after all)

So now we have quinoa for breakfast with vegemite on a bit of english muffin to munch on, baked beans for lunch and chicken and veg for dinner.

Day 1 saw 3 x 30 min naps and only TWO overnight wakeups. She slept through from 9.20pm – 6.20am

Day 2 (today) saw the first nap an astounding 1h 50m (I wasn’t going to wake her!!) Then 1h 10m after lunch and a late arvo catnap in the car. It’s 10pm and so far we’ve had NO wakeups whereas usually there’d have been two.

The other piece of advice has been the safety sleep which has stopped her rolling and waking up and hurting herself. However I now need to get safety pins for it as my clever bear has already had several cracks at breaking free (when I put her down too early for bed)

I’m now hopeful we can see even more improvements and perhaps get back to self settling. I feel like a different person today not constantly dreading the next bedtime and the dramas it brought. Even just having the baby whisperer on phone support helps me feel like I can make a difference for my daughter and not feel so helpless.

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