Sunday, August 09, 2009

Who needs sleep anyway?

It seems I really do!

When Kendra was still in the NICU and we only had Connor at home, it was a MILLION times easier.

D and I had our system - I did the 11pm and 2am feeds and he did the 5am and 8am feeds. No problem.

I could even cope with him alone when D went to work.

Connor is such an easy baby - we change him first (as they do in NICU) and then feed him and put him back in his bed.

Even when he's still awake, he lies there watching with his big eyes and then eventually nods off.

But no crying.

We were so paranoid about feeding him every 3 hours that we'd even wake him to feed at the scheduled times. And it goes against my very grain to wake a sleeping baby :)

Now that we know he's growing beautifully, and we know the formula (150ml per kg of baby, divide by no. of feeds per day), we're a lot more flexible. But I digress!

If he wakes before we do, he makes these little grunts for about 5 minutes and then if still no response, he starts fussing a bit more and then lets out a proper scream after that.

Kendra is another kettle of fish altogether.

She starts SCREAMING from the get go. No warning. 0 - 100 in 0.1 seconds.

Then we change and feed (we've actually started feeding first to calm her down) and have to wait until she's sleeping soundly before putting her down. If she's even the slightest bit awake she starts the SCREAMING again.

Now here's the thing.

She was absolutely inconsolable on Monday night. Here we were picturing another Connor and rosy feeding times and along came Kendra.

Would not settle - was clean and dry, fed, burped but nothing.


Tuesday was a bit better - just a bit.

Wednesday more or less a repeat of Monday. Then D said something rude to me, I started crying and we were fighting. This all in the early hours of the morning which incidentally was my 35th birthday. Was emotional anyway because the twins' goal due date was Wed (36 weeks)

So I had a terrible start to my momentous birthday. It got better though at the paed appt because everything was perfect with Connor and of course, he was a nice, big boy at 2,57kg.

Afterwards we went to visit the NICU and told our sad story to the nurse there. She suggested that it may be colic? I'm not sure but I don't think so because she's 10 times better during the day.

D apologised for being rude and sarcastic (said it's lack of sleep).... we then went out for a nice bookshop jaunt (that's our nerdy thing to do) and then an early supper while we left the grandmothers babysitting.

That evening my mother (who's staying with us) offered to keep Kendra the entire evening. I couldn't say YES fast enough. I am a bad mother but I need my sleep and I don't mind the getting up (okay, that's a lie, I do :)) but I do mind the unnecessary SCREAMING. And she wakes her brother who then can't seem to settle. Already he gives me these looks like "who on EARTH is that loud girl?" Poor thing.

So my dreams these days don't include travels to exotic new destinations as they did before but a night nurse.

I have already asked God to show me HOW I can make an extra R5000 a month for a night nurse. He did it before with the IVF money so I know we can do it again. Already found R1000 in the budget for one evening a week, R4000 to go!

Any tips on getting Kendra to settle and settle quickly?


  1. Same problem with Claire once Emma came home. She is now our screamer. At my wits end last night I broke into a gift pack from my aunt that had lavender baby lotion. She screamed louder as I rubbed her down but 3 minutes later she was out! So out in fact she didn't want to wake to eat so we were fussing with her to keep her up enough to eat!

  2. Lavendar and Chamomile both work good at settling a restless child/infant ... but you can overdo them - just like any chemical or medicine. As small as she is, I'd just rub it on the bottoms of her feet and maybe a tiny bit on her temples.

    One thing that worked for us was sleeping Vannan at a tilt - so she spent lots of time in a swing. I wish I had known about slings back then. With Joel, we had buckwheat pillows, so I just carved out a tilted spot and he slept much better after that.

    Colic is the biggest reason for screamers - and it is usually much worse at night (everything is worse at night) than during the day. But other things that can cause screaming are ears not draining (tilting works on both colic and ears/nose), irritated skin, overstimulation (sensitive nerves - common in premies), allergies (milk, something in clothes or air, or even perfume or lotions or cleaners), needing more tactile input (needs to be held for one on one contact as much as possible... sometimes putting a hot water bottle near them helps settle one of these - I use to warm Kendra's bed before I layed her down so it was warm already and the cold shock didn't wake her up.)

    Vannan screamed for 4 months straight. But she was 20 months before we figured out that she was fighting allergies the whole time. She has asthma, and now that it is treated, she is a fairly calm child.

    It looks like you've got the swaddling down good - so maybe she wants to move more? All babies are so different.

    Screaming at this age can mean assertiveness, but not temper - usually there is a reason and you just have to research and try different things until something works. The bad news is something may seem to work one day and not the next.

    And don't beat yourself up over it. Most everybody I know with 3 or more kids had at least 1 screamer. It can be so hard to deal with.

    And Happy Birthday.

  3. One thing that worked with Joel really well was Baby Vicks. Rubbed it on his feet. He was always congested and this helped loosen things up so he could breathe at night better.

  4. Anonymous1:39 am

    Our little girl was kind of like that. She didn't calm down or settle easy as an infant. We found out through trial and error that she despised to have her back rubbed gently or patted. She liked to be "scratched" gently with our fingertips on the back ~ who knew??? It put her to sleep every time. She's 8 now and still despises anything but a good back scratching.

    I think colic usually starts at around 6 weeks, doesn't it? Maybe try a different type of blanket, try warming the blanket in a cooler amongst hot water bottles so you can put a warm blanket on her at a moment's notice, a different type of formula if she seems gassy (sudden shrieks as if she's having gas pains), try a warm water bottle next to her, maybe swaddle her tightly, Maybe roll up two small-ish hand towels and put rubber bands around them to keep them tight and put one on either side of her while she sleeps so she doesn't feel "loose" (that can scare them when they awaken), or try a gentle night light versus darkness or the other way around if it applies... Above all else, remember it is just a phase and before you know it, they'll be off to school!!

    One thing I always felt was a bit guilty for wanting and hoping for a baby for so long, and then doing the normal complaining that goes along with early motherhood. Don't feel like that at all, and don't let anyone make you feel bad. Early stages are SO DIFFICULT for everyone, no matter how the little miracles came into your arms :o)


  5. for the lavender and chamomile, use pure essential oils, and don't even rub them on the babies, put them on yourself, close to where you hold them. it's enough since their systems are so sensitive.
    I'm sorry for your sleepness nights and all the screams. But I remember a great friend saying the same thing about her newborn. Hoping that Kendra discovers soon that she's indeed safe and will be fed so she can relax a bit more and let her mamma sleep better.

  6. Mandibula, hmmm, that could be an idea. Yesterday I used baby bedtime bath (Johnsons and Johnsons) for their baths at around lunchtime (it’s winter so I do it at the warmest time of day) and Kendra slept SOLID for hours after that. I just thought she was tired of screaming (while bathing) but maybe it’s the lavender in there...

    We are swaddling well...or so I think and their bed is warmed before. They sleep in a sleep wedge so they're "tight" all the time and it's safer for them.

    Will definitely try the lavender tonight before she sleeps. She screams anyway so what's an extra 3 minutes, right?!

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  8. Oh wow...I can only imagine what lies ahead. Our twins' birthmom is still hospitalized on bedrest (2 weeks tomorrow) and they're thinking they'll do a c-section sometime this week possibly. Now if we can handle the emotional aspects of all of the adoption details, we'll be ready to deal with all the rest! I worry about how I'll handle the lack of sleep, but I will also work to cherish every moment with these precious little ones, our gifts from God! So glad that your babies are doing well!!!


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