|Gratuitous baby picture: the tail end of a smile|
Step 4 was booking a visit to the local Family Centre- a charitable trust which provides support and assistance to Mums with high needs babies, PND and the like. By the time I went in, I was feeling a bit of a fraud- Chip had been so.much.better, and his “issues” pale in comparison to a serious high needs baby, but I hoped they could help me get more in tune with some of his cues (still thinking HOW COULD THIS BE SO HARD?).
The idea is that you go in, talk about your issues, feed for them, then they help you to wind and settle your baby, provide pointers, and invite you back if there’s anything more you need (even if what you need is helpful grandmotherly ladies who will cuddle your baby while you eat or rest or sleep). Then, when your baby wakes up you feed again, wind again, and you’re sent home, theoretically to put your happy wee munchkin to bed again. Exactly what I was looking for a few weeks ago when I wailed “I just want SOMEONE to watch me and tell me what I’m doing WRONG”.
I knew they were keen on routine, and also thought they would encourage me to cry it out. I was not initially keen on routine at all, but after 6 weeks winging it with an unsettled baby, I felt that a more orderly day might help him, so was willing to give it a shot. I was NOT however keen on CIO- I don’t criticise anyone who does it, but it’s not for me and my snuggle-loving, frequently in pain, 6-week old.
I wasn't that happy after my first visit, but I'm not going to go into that here. Basically, of all the people I've spoken to about Chip, they were the first who seemed to be making me feel inadequate. Fortunately, 6 weeks, seeing results, and so much other support meant I reacted indignantly and defensively, instead of feeling insecure. I also felt vindicated- they couldn't burp him or settle him in his bassinet either, and I ended up being handed a sleeping baby and told to rock him until his next feed. They also couldn't tell his windy cry from his overtired cry (...for the record, I was pretty sure it was windy...)
And there were some helpful things. First, they recommended a different type of dummy (we were already using nuk but they recommended a rubber instead of silicone teat). Next, they used a dispenser like this for their colic powder, which is much more awesome than the stupid dropper thing I’d been using. Their wrapping style is pretty good for warm days, or days when he’s so quiet I feel I can get away with it. They were really good at saying nice things about the babies. Some I know they say to all the babies (“he’s so handsome”). Others I know were special for my Chippo (“gosh, he’s got an opinion on EVERYTHING. Has he always been this chatty?”).
Most importantly, part of their service involved weighing before and after a feed, which has provided some insights into Chip’s behaviour. He’s crap-ass at sleeping in the morning. Even today when we had very little wind/belly trouble, he decided lying around being awake was a better deal. This means he’s lazy as shit at his second feed of the day. On our first visit, he took forever to get a pathetic 90ml and I had to express some off. After his sleep in my arms he did a bit better, but took a lot of coaxing to get to 115ml (they want him to be getting 120 ml per feed). Today, he mucked around for over AN HOUR to get 85ml (…this could have been to do with his jabs yesterday). No wonder he gets cranky!
He doesn’t feed like this all the time- he’s often ravenous, and really gulps it down. But there are enough feeds like this that I can see how the bad patterns begin. I don’t know if it’s just his tiredness, or if there’s a supply/flow/latching issue there somewhere. And I don’t know how this feeding issue plays into the winding/colic/intolerance/potential reflux issues. Hopefully we’ll find out!
For completeness, my second visit was much better, maybe because we didn’t “bed in” (his first feed was at 9am, so we didn’t get there til midday), and maybe because I decided to approach it in a way that I would get what I needed and file what I didn’t for another day. Maybe because I was greeted like an old friend, and complimented on making progress. Maybe just because they called him handsome and chatty again. I’m going back in a week (Easter is in the way big time), and I’m determined to get to the bottom of this and fix this lazy sucker!
So, how am I feeling?
- Mothereffing confused. One day we’re worried about overfeeding, the next it’s underfeeding. One day, I’m being put on one-sided feeding to address potential oversupply issues, the next I’m being given homeopathic lactation drops to stimulate supply. One day, I’m leaking all over the bed, the next I’m feeling saggy and empty. WHAT IS THE DEAL HERE?
- Stressed and guilty again. Have I been STARVING my baby to try to keep his tummy settled?? Are his good day sleeps just the exhaustion of pure starvation?? (rationally, I know this is not the case. He has been gaining fine, and he is much happier than he was a little while ago, but....?)