It hasn’t escaped my notice that I last posted something 4 months ago. It’s also no coincidence that 4 months ago, unbeknown to me at the time, I had my last consecutive 6 hours sleep in a row. Any hope of regular blogging flew out of the window with those last precious zzzzzz’s. Unfortunately, as sleep flew out the window, sleep deprivation and anxiety crept in until I quite honestly reached the end of my tether about two weeks ago. When Beth went off the food she usually wolfs down with mucho gusto, I kind of lost it a little. Not eating on top of not sleeping… It was the limit! But I am back on the blog right now and not in bits and pieces. So, what changed? I decided to go back to basics. Instead of losing myself in a fog of sleep schedules, ounce measurements, fancy stage 2 weaning meals and endless google searches for the magic solution, I took a step back and looked at what really matters. What works. And what is good.
IS MY BABY HEALTHY? Yes! She most certainly is. Despite still suffering from reflux, Beth is thriving. Her paediatrician is so pleased with the progress she has made and even declared to me, “She is perfect”.
IS MY BABY HAPPY?
Okay, not really! But it could be worse and we have made huge progress already. At one point, Beth was waking up every two hours until midnight and then every hour after! It was utterly untenable, especially considering the only way she would go back to sleep was for me to breastfeed her. It took months for us to get the hours to stretch to two, then three, then four and now five between feeds! Realistically, what more can we expect of her at night?! We’ve attempted sleep training to reduce two wakeups to one or even none but the upset for the whole family, including the dog (!), just is not worth it. Day naps have always been an issue for Beth, ever since she was a newborn. It used to be that the only way she would nap during the day was in her bouncer or being pushed in her pram. Not really practical, let’s be honest! Now, with the help of Al and Jen Ferguson and a very patient and long suffering sleep angel named Sarah from Jo’s Sleep Angels, Beth goes down for three naps a day, in her cot! She may only nap for 30 minutes, half the time she “should” sleep for, but it’s progress and we continue to work on helping her extend her naps. As far as I’m concerned, we’ve gone from dire straits to manageable straits.
IS MY BABY EATING? With the transition from breast to bottle, Beth lost her appetite for solid food. This really threw me as she is usually a voracious eater! However, when I stopped to think about it after a particularly tearful and trying tea time (I genuinely thought she would love the chicken, apple and sweet potato purée I lovingly prepared), she had a lot to contend with. In two weeks she had moved on from the only milk she knew – mine – and all the cuddles and emotional closeness associated with that, to not one but two different kinds of formula from a cold, hard bottle. Of course we cuddle when I give her her bottle but it’s not the same for either of us. The upside is the anti reflux formula has finally put a stop to the regular spitting up and hiccups that punctuated every milk feed previously. But the bottom line is, yummy chicken was not at the top of Beth’s priority list when it came to food consumption! I went back to old favourites like butternut squash and zucchini, on their own, and voila! Beth started to eat again. I’m just thankful her default comfort food is zucchini and not ice cream, unlike her mum! It turns out all she needed was a taste of the familiar and known.
IS MY FAMILY HAPPY?
The bottom line is that babies do things in their own time and at their own pace. Every step forward is progress. And sometimes it is okay to go back to basics. Not just okay, absolutely vital. Especially if a few steps back facilitate giant leaps forward. We have a healthy, happy baby and a family full of joy, gratitude and love. Basically, as they say in Barbados, “We good, man.”