Nearly 7 months

Man it’s tough parenting the Dude! I find it hard to relate to my friends in the same way as I did pre baby, as my attention is so focused on him. And he is full on! I was heartened to read Rixa’s post about her youngest’s night waking antics; not that I rejoice in the suffering of others, but it’s more that I am glad to know even she, who seems so sorted out, has to deal with challenges like that. I hope I don’t have all that to look forward to in two months! At least Inga actually sleeps in her cot though, the Dude just won’t, it’s madness! I want my bed back!

He now has five teeth, the first of which arrived just over a month ago, and the last, on the side of his front top, I noticed just poked through this morning.  He doesn’t seem to be suffering too much with the teething, despite the sudden onslaught, and I think the homepathic chamomilla, nux vomica, placenta remedy, emergency essence and Brauer teething relief have all really helped stave off any real pain.  So far he’s been eating very heartily, and would eat lots more given the chance but I’m not very good at coordinating food for him!  He’s had apples, carrots, mangos, watermelon, rockmelon, blueberries, sweet potato, potato (he grabbed it off my plate when I wasn’t watching!), bread (again, grabbed), avocado, and bananas.  He loves everything.  He’s eating his first teething rusk right now and totally loving it.  I don’t think we’re going to have any eating issues with this one.

I just took him for his six month check up with the doctor (yeah, it’s late, I didn’t book him in until now) and he is a very healthy 9.8kg, so well in the 90th percentile.  I wouldn’t say he’s a particularly chubby baby, but he is really solid, like one big muscle.  He’s very wriggly and is trying to get up on his hands and knees a fair bit.  Yesterday I came out of the shower to find he’s rolled onto his front in his sleep but hadn’t managed to pull his arm out from under himself so he was flat on his face!  I found it pretty funny actually but my husband was a bit concerned.  I just took a quick photo and then pulled his arm through and he slept peacefully on his tummy for the first time since he was a newborn.

The doctor was really not that helpful, but hey, she never usually is, and I didn’t really take him to her so she could confirm he was healthy or whatever – I knew that!  She was immediately concerned about his skin, which is actually not too bad at the moment, although it is a bit flaky and cracked around his ankles, and he has a bit of redness and irritation round his neck which comes and goes.  I am putting coconut oil on it which really soothes but it doesn’t make it go away.  Not that I expected it to, given that his skin issue is constitutional, and therefore the skin irritation is just an external symptom of what’s going on internally, so why would an externally applied thing ‘fix’ it?  The doctor was like, ‘but what you’re doing is clearly not working as he’s still got it,’ and I explained that quashing the symptoms – ie. the rash – is not my intention, and rather I’d prefer to let his body sort itself out internally in its own time.  She didn’t get it and again recommended Hydrozole and Cetaphil, acknowledging that the former has cortisone in it.  I actually purchased them both this time but I’m still undecided as to whether I’ll use them, must research more – stay tuned for a post on cortisone.

Despite the fact that he’s clearly thriving, the doc is still obsessed with the idea that suddenly at six months babies stop getting adequate iron via breastmilk.  She was stupidly obsessed with me having enough iron in pregnancy too, despite the fact that I’ve never come close to being anaemic in my life.  I asked her why and she didn’t really answer me, she just said, ‘I’m just telling you what the studies show’.  She’s such a coward.  How can you, as a professional, recommend products and practices without knowing all the info?  I thought then that I should have become a doctor!  Seriously I swear this woman is a plant by the big pharma companies, she is obsessed with all pharmaceutical products!  She goes, ‘oh, get Cetaphil, it’s a really gentle moisturiser, won’t irritate the skin,’ and I was like, ‘oh, so it’s alcohol free,’ and she goes, ‘oh, I don’t know what’s in it, but yes, it’s very gentle.’  Are you for real, woman?  You don’t know what’s in it but you’re recommending it for a baby?  Yeesh.  Anyway, she says he should be having baby rice cereal that’s fortified with iron, so I did buy him some organic stuff, and will give him a go on it, can’t hurt, but I’m not really fussed, as I think all this obsession with iron is bollocks, frankly.

Anyway, the little dude is thriving.  He says, ‘de’, ‘ghe’, ‘ne’, ‘be’ and a whole bunch of other random noises that often sound like ‘mama’, ‘dada’ and other actual words.  He also understands a lot of what I say.  He knows what ‘boobie’ is, and he knows his full name, nickname, as well as ‘bug’ and ‘dude’ and ‘little boy’.  I am pretty sure he knows what I’m on about most of the time, and his needs are so well met that he doesn’t really need to ask for anything much.  The other week he asked for boobie by opening his mouth and virtually gesturing, and then grabbing my boob when I leaned down over him on his change table!  He then smiled when I asked if that’s what he wanted.  I reckon half the time he is frustrated because I’m not doing what he asks straight away – sometimes it’s because I’m not paying attention to his clear signals, and other times it’s because I’m busy doing something else.

Back to the sleeping thing, it’s really challenged me, just on a patience level.  I now firmly believe that this baby came to me for a reason, because there’s no way anyone else would be able to retain the level of patience I have.  I’m pretty over cosleeping.  Not that it doesn’t work, but the bed is just too small, the Dude takes up a lot of space, as does his dad, and I am sandwiched in between.  I also think it’s a two edged sword in a way.  I think he wakes BECAUSE I’m next to him, and yet he’d probably wake if I WASN’T next to him.  I’ve tried time and again to get him to sleep in his cot and it just doesn’t happen.  He’s not one of those babies who just drops off to sleep with a bit of patting after a bath.  He doesn’t fall asleep with rocking.  He only sleeps when lying down in bed feeding, or when being walked round in the Ergo, that’s it.  And then if I do get him to sleep in bed (usually takes at least an hour), he doesn’t stay asleep.  If I try to put him down say at 7pm, I will be in and out of the room and lying next to him for at least two hours, and that’s if he actually does go to sleep.  So although I’d love to get him in a routine, it just doesn’t happen and we end up keeping him up til 10:30 or so when we go to bed.

Anyway, he’s currently wriggling in my lap needing to sleep so I’m stopping here…

The latest dilemmas – 8 week update

So the little Dude is 8 weeks old today.  Tonight at 7:57pm to be precise.  Like many big changes in life, it’s like he’s been here all along and yet feels surreal at the same time.  Sometimes I look at him and think, shit, that’s my baby!  I have a baby!  I am a mother!  Really?!

Overall, he’s thriving.  I’m producing heaps of milk, too much in fact, so that he will feed just from the one breast for ages and ages (often all night) and there’s still milk available.  My midwife had said he is up to the stage of being able to drain both breasts during the one feeding, but there’s no way that’s possible.  He gets to the end of the first and wants to keep sucking but more and more milk is flowing and he’s full!  Poor little guy, really wants to fall asleep while feeding, which is fair enough, but some of the time it’s just not an option, as the milk is still flowing fast and he’s had enough.  I think over time he’ll get bigger and be able to handle more, and my milk will settle more.

So much for not being able to feel letdowns – ouch, they are painful and intense!  Recently I’ve begun to feel the milk flood in when he’s ready for a feed.  So I can always tell when he’s going to wake up, even if he’s not on me in the carrier or being held.  Suddenly there’s just this overwhelming twinging and tingling, pretty painful, and I know he’s going to wake in the next few minutes.  I don’t know if it’s because I’ve had the thought he might wake soon, having looked at the clock and seen it’s been 2 hours or whatever.  The letdowns during feeding aren’t pleasant either, really intense pressure under my arm, and often more painful in the breast he’s not feeding from.  It’s really annoying sitting up in bed and feeling an odd wet sensation on my side or my leg and realising it’s my boob leaking!  Urgh!

He’s been a bit spewy actually, which I guess is normal, especially for a baby like him who is so full of intense energy – kinesthetic is the word, I believe.  It’s annoying because it’s nice to feed him lying down in bed in the middle of the night, but he rarely feeds and then just falls back to sleep.  He usually gets worked up, sucks like crazy, swallows a whole lot of air, writhes around, keeps detaching and clearly has wind he needs to bring up, and the only way to do that is sit up and put him upright; which pisses him off because he wants to be feeding and he’s half asleep and just cranky!  And on top of that I’ve got to keep him quiet because not only will he wake husband, who has to get up for work, but he’ll wake himself up more and then it takes forever to settle him down again.

I’m learning that although he doesn’t have very clear patterns or routines yet, by the same token any patterns or routines get set in stone very easily, and can happen without me realising.  On the one hand, there are so many points when I just want to settle him, in any way possible, so I’ll try everything; but on the other hand, some ways of settling him can prove an issue down the track.  Feeding to sleep, for example: yes, he does do it sometimes, and yes, it’s a great way to settle him, but I don’t want him to associate feeding with sleeping to closely because when he’s bigger he’ll have to feed every time he wants to sleep, and I might not want to do that.

I can’t say I really enjoy breastfeeding.  The various little niggling pains, like the letdown or when he feeds from the same breast and just sucks forever and my nipple gets a bit sore, are just not pleasant.  I think it would be more pleasurable if I was less touch sensitive, and if I enjoyed my breasts and nipples being touched, but I really don’t, never have.  A friend who just had her first baby said she is loving breastfeeding so much (even after only two weeks!) and it makes her feel all warm and fuzzy.  That’s how it’s supposed to feel; I read about this, how breastfeeding causes the release of oxytocin in both mother and baby, the love hormone.  Well, I’m sure I must secrete it because I gave birth without any pain relief, but I certainly can’t feel anything.  I do like that I can nourish my baby myself with my body, and I enjoy seeing him satisfied by my breast milk.  But the actual act, the physical feeling of having my nipple sucked, hmm, take it or leave it really I think.  It doesn’t help that his latch is pretty dodgy, he takes in lots of air while feeding, with every second suck in fact, he breaks the seal, and he often de-latches a dozen times at least during a feed, I think mainly because the milk is flowing so fast.  I don’t get why he hasn’t learnt to just swallow the milk, not to suck so much or so fast and just let the milk flood in.

So because we’re pretty certain that the Dude loves to comfort suck, I have actually be considering getting him a dummy!  I know, it’s something I said I’d never consider – why have some artificial thing for a kid to suck on, when they are perfectly okay as they are, without artificial pacifiers.  But this baby is really full on!  He wants to suck!  And he’s clearly very comforted by it.  I just don’t like dummies, I don’t like what they can potentially do to a kid’s bite, to the sucking reflex, to the formation of teeth, and I really don’t like seeing little kids running around with dummies in their mouths.  I don’t want him becoming dependent on it and having to fight him when he’s three or so to remove it for good.  I want to do things naturally, and dummies just don’t seem natural to me.  Who knows, maybe he’d hate a dummy… but I’m just not sure I want to even try it, maybe I’ll just keep on trying to help him settle without.

Now it’s a waiting game.  Waiting for his sleep cycles to lengthen… waiting for him to learn how to settle back down when transitioning from one sleep cycle to another… waiting to see whether he’ll sleep longer…  We’ve been meaning to put up the cot for two weeks now, and I’m planning on side carting it on my side of the bed, which will be annoying because I won’t be able to easily get into my bedside drawers, but if we can get him to sleep in it, which means getting him to sleep about 30 or 40 cm away from me and being able to be pulled or roll across for feeding during the night, that will make all the difference.  I was ready to get back on the horse with husband in the bedroom weeks ago, but we just haven’t had any opportunities!  The little guy slept for an hour and 20 minutes alone in the bedroom during the day, which is a record, and I think it’s only because I swaddled him… but that was the maximum.  And it’s so much harder work to get him to sleep like that than it is to just strap him in the Hug-a-Bub during the day for sleeps and lie down with him in the crook of my arm at night.  But all that has meant I can count the number of proper cuddles I’ve had with husband during the last 8 weeks on the fingers of one hand.  Not good.  I feel us drifting apart on the physical side and I hate it, I really do.  He occasionally makes some kind of sleepy, pointless attempt to touch me, often in the middle of the night while I’m sitting up feeding and feeling like total shit… doesn’t get him too far!  Or he tries to touch my boobs when he sees one exposed after a feed, which is awful because they’re extra sensitive after the Dude has been suckling like an ant-eater for the past however long… as I said, I never liked my boobs being touched before, but now I like it even less unfortunately.

Anyway, time will tell.  Next update hopefully we’ll be getting more sleep and more time together.