Monday, 15 March 2010

Sometimes late at night...

“Newborns sleep 20 hours a day”.

My blue tinged scrotum they do.

Aside from the standard changing, feeding, shaking, and bathing which keeps her awake for a good 5 hours a day, Mango likes to unwind of an evening by engaging in some gentle lullaby based demonic screeching. An angelic screaming so pure and piercing, the hounds of hell prick their ears and raise their snouts to the wind, for 3, 4, or 5 hours long.

Attempts first to soothe her, and then reverse her antipodean body clock, take many forms. Lights on, lights off, lights on outside with door open, TV on, TV off, walking and rocking, standing and rocking, sitting and rocking, crying-it-out in the Moses basket, rolling the pram up and down the stairs, and banging the bed with a lump hammer. Feeding her to the point of infantile obesity and changing her every 20 minutes doesn’t have much of an impact. Offering her cash, soft drugs, and the car keys only leaves us out of pocket.

There is something magically baffling about a baby who will only sleep when the theme music to ‘law & order’ is blaring in the bedroom, yet will wake screaming when you hold your breath and silently tip-toe away.

I’m not even going to entertain the mental image of the cheap motels and string of relationships that will lie decimated in her wake as a consequence, but Mango refuses to sleep at night without the warmth of another body to carry her towards slumber. When I shake off the neck injury I’m carrying from accommodating her ever increasing weight on my shoulder I’m going to source a quality chastity belt and an “I’m a confident single woman” hypnosis CD.

Last night she drifted off into her angelic nocturnal bliss lying beside a powered-on vacuum cleaner, the ford focus parked on the landing with the engine running, and 7 construction site spotlights pointing directly at her.

After a mere 5 hours of wailing.


Before I forget, again, thanks to the at least one person I know of who nominated the blog in the Irish blog awards to be held in Galway at the end of the month. It managed to pass the first bit and is now on the not-so-shortlist for 3 categories. It can only progress in one of them, so we’ll see how she blows from here on. Oh, and all the sponsors are great and handsome etc

58 comments:

Chrissy said...

hmmm, colic perhaps? my friend's baby would cry about an hr. or so after being nursed... omg, on cue, she would cry, after awhile Michael would close the sliding glass door because he knew how incessant it was... she eventually grew out of it till her brother joined in....
how about some leg stretches? it might ease cramping in her tummy...

Russ said...

Get thee a white noise machine! It helps.

Tara R. said...

I'm not laughing at you... only across the ocean from you. Welcome to the sleepless days and nights of parenthood.

Neither of my kids had colic (if that is what is the problem), but they could rattle windows with those hungry/bored/lonely wails.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to recommend two things:

Swadding her in The Miracle Blanket for naps and night time sleep. We use it every day (and night) for our DD, she loves it!

Carrying her in The Ergo Baby Carrier (with the newborn insert). This way she will be held, be calm, and you will be hands free.

Good luck, love your blog!

Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] said...

Just remember: you asked for this.

And like Tara, I'm giggling from across the ocean.

And also, I'm wishing I could come rescue you for the night and teach you the ways of the jiggle/swaddle/shush.

The Moiderer said...

Definitely need to check that it's not colic. That can happen from 2 weeks to 4 months I believe. Other than that, of the 20 hours my little one did sleep - at least 5 were in the evenings, on me, in front of the tv with me pinned down. We only broke the habit when she was older than 6 months!
Failing that check out the "How to hold a baby in a Tiger in the Tree hold" vlog on http://notesfromlapland.blogspot.com/2010/03/teach-us-something-vlogging-carnival.html

Sadia said...

My girls found swaddling to be hugely calming.

20 hours? Ha! What they forget to tell you is that the buggers can nurse in their sleep, but the mother can't nurse in her sleep until they're older. (12 hours a day nursing. How am I still alive? And how in the world are my breasts still attached to me?)

Anonymous said...

I agree with Russ. 20ish years ago I had a similar problem and found that the automatic fan in the bathroom calmed the screaming bundle immediately... More than once he spent almost the entire day in there, rather than me spending life in prison.

Chrissy said...

Sadia is right swaddling does help... oh and if your baby is drawing its knees up when crying that is a sure sign of colic

WhatAboutNovember said...

Oi.

Shannon said...

Anything that anyone tells you about colin: IGNORE. Colic can manifest at any time and in about a thousand different ways. I did it with both my babies and it looked totally different. All I can tell you is, I PROMISE it does not go on like this forever. It will stop eventually. I PROMISE I PROMISE I PROMISE!!!! I know how little that probably makes you feel better, but there's so little anyone can really do to help parents of a fussy baby. Except wish you Strength! Courage! Peace! And a long-lived vacuum!!!

Ms. Moon said...

Congratulations on the award nomination. And as to poor Mango and her parents- this too, shall pass. And not a moment too soon, obviously.

Muddling Along Mummy said...

Welcome to the gang. No2 would only sleep whilst carried for many months. Invest in a sling to save your back and sanity and some White noise on your iPod

Anonymous said...

Shannon is right - If it is colic - the only thing you can do is KNOW that it will pass...usually by 4 months it will end! Hang in there - you are doing a great job!!

I love your blog

Hockeymandad said...

They forgot to tell you its 20 hours a day in infant time and an infant time day is actually 96 hours. Also, the sleep is not consecutive. It's a scam.

Heather said...

All babies are so different, and what works for one may not work for another. So, take this with a grain of salt, but my babies would calm and fall asleep instantly whenever we went outside. I know, midnight walks aren't always such a good idea, but the better a baby naps during the day the better they will sleep at night. A long walk and fresh air is good for all of you.

The early weeks are so dang tough. A friend and I were just laughing about all the 'sleep experiments' we would conduct in an attempt to get the babes to sleep well. You'll find what works for your baby girl, and someday you will feel rested again. I promise.

Chhandita said...

Sigh..been there done that...my son did the same...no colic, no problem, just didnt want to sleep...and the crying, OMG, it was like he was being hurt or sumthing, scared the s*** outta me...but all I can say is, it gets better...he naps like a chanmp now (6mo) and the crying has eased up too...Did i just jinx myself :(

Gina said...

you don't need my advice but well it is free so shush and listen!

try Swaddling, Gripe Water with every feeding, and if that fails. Strap her in the car seat and set her on the dryer... Stand there, read a book and do the laundry.. My daughter loved to sleep on the dryer.

Edith said...

hahahahaha
*hysterical laughter*

;)

merinz said...

Swaddling often helps.

Also have her checked out for reflux which is when they spit up after a feed and some of the stomach contents come up as well and burn their throat. Often happens when they are lying flat, and putting your thickest books under the top two legs of the bassinet can help. Otherwise there is some magic medication available which soothes the throat.

If it is colic they tend to tense and pull their knees up.

Take heart, it all passes!

Jo said...

It makes sense, after the birth she had. There would be soreness. A baby-specialist osteopath could make a lot of difference.

Also look at caffeine.dairy and wheat in ET's diet. Mine were colicky for months. It's stressful. The remedy Colocynthus was what worked best for D, along with the osteopathy.

And yes. Four months comes round surprisingly fast, and you do forget the horror. Really.

Rebecca said...

Dr Harvey Karp video is in your future.

He'll teach you the five S's

Sucking, Swaddling, Swaying, Shushing, Side laying..........

Geeks in Rome said...

ET's diet is key. My Pea suffered tremendously (I mean cried ALL THE TIME and had to be held ALL THE TIME) from gas so I eliminated all beans, legumes and all veggies except potatoes, carrots and lettuce from my diet.
Garlic and onions were a big NO, which is really hard in Italy.

This helped a lot for the pain, but she still wanted to be held and co-sleeping was/is the only real solution for nighttime. I worked full time and co-sleeping meant I could get at least 4 hours of scattered sleep bursts and 4 hours rest (nursing on my side in the dark in bed).

Babies want to be held. Cuz they know that if they aren't some big tiger will gobble them up. It's been programmed in their DNA :)
And yes, it will end some day.

In the meantime, you will have the most kick-ass biceps this side of Dover.

Veronica said...

Eh, babies scream and refuse to sleep. She'll be right.

Sinead said...

The first 6-8 weeks are the worst! Until they can tell day from night it is a matter of riding out the sleep deprivation.

As for crying loads, Boy Z had really dreadful colic (screaming until he passed out for 4-5 hours a night) and it took me months to work out that he was intolerant to cows milk. I eliminated all from my diet and he improved almost immediately. If you are using formula maybe try soy based ones for a couple of days and see if there is any improvement.

Hang in there though, when she starts to smile and then laugh you will start to forget the hell that is a newborn child.

IrishNYC said...

This: http://www.happiestbaby.com/ (well, the book), and swaddling saved our sanity. We also used a white noise machine, because I could only "shhhh" for so long before I got light headed and delirious.

amanda said...

Laughed so hard. So sorry for your fatigue.

Erika said...

For our baby, it's body heat, the Moses blanket, and a solid half-hour of spanking in the glider. But then, who doesn't love a good butt-patting.

Deb said...

Oh, yeah. Good times. Good times.

FYI, in case no one has mentioned it, you will never sleep through the night again. Unless you leave town without your child. Seriously, I thought it would get better, and about six months ago, I asked a friend with a teenager and a grade schooler, and she said she never sleeps through the night. Still. And it took me almost four years of parenting to ask that question. No one ever tells you the ugly details unless you ask. Sorry, mate.

darcie said...

you have me totally laughing my ass off - no offense, I feel your pain, really I do...
but yeah...I'm not even gonna bother adding to the advice pot....kids are impossible to figure out...there's no way around it....

People in the Sun said...

Oh yea, I forgot to tell you, Babies cry a lot. Sorry...

kbxmas said...

Whoever said babies sleep a lot was just having a go at new parents. When our daughter was young she slept all night in one of those battery powered swings. And I mean *all*night*with*the*swing*going. Yeah. It's the only way we could keep her asleep. She's 7 now and fairly intelligent (beats us at chess), so no permanent harm it appears.

Kim (frogpondsrock) said...

Children just like to fuck with our heads.

Get used to it. There is no rhyme or reason to anything a baby does. Once you work out a routine and get comfortable with it, the dear sweet little darlings change their minds.

Sometimes I think that turtles have the right idea.

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.(I know that was dory but the turle thing reminded me of dory and ......

Mwa said...

Commiserations, dear Xbox. We had some of that with our youngest until we finally turned her onto her stomach (against all advice). I hope you find some magic solution soon as well.

River said...

I can offer no help at all here. All of mine were excellent sleepers and when not sleeping happily laid or sat wherever I'd put them. When small they were always in the same room as me, once they learned to crawl I would walk slower so they could follow me from room to room. None of this helps you now of course. Have you tried her on a different type of milk? Even breast milk can cause colic if the mother drinks regular milk and the baby has a lactose or protein intolerance. My eldest daughter had to give up breast feeding and put her baby onto soy milk. The change was remarkable and instant. The "baby" is now 16.

River said...

I'm reading through the other comments and I'm a little astounded at the number of people saying that it might be colic and will pass eventually. EVENTUALLY?? Colic has a cause and should be found, as soon as possible I'd say. If a baby is formula fed the cause may be the type of formula. A breast fed baby may have an allergy or intolerance to something in the mother's diet. You're all going to hate me for saying so, but a baby crying in pain nightly or daily for several months just isn't right. Hard on the parents too....

Xbox4NappyRash said...

@Chrissy - all covered ;-)

@Russ - I'm kind of edging towards not wanting to get her in the habit of needing any of these things to settle, but we'll see.

@Tara R. - bored/lonely/unsettled I belive it was.

@Anonymous - You on a comission ;-)

@Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] - bite me.

@The Moiderer - It's not colic. She's in no distress.

@Sadia - she doesn't like swaddling actually, restrict her arms at your peril.

@Anonymous - hhhhhhhhhhhahaha.

@Chrissy - the occasional cramp, which she always works out.

@WhatAboutNovember - Oi indeed ;-)

@Shannon - haha, no worries, she's fine.

@Ms. Moon - all part of the fun!

@Muddling Along Mummy - we have a sling, a couple in fact, want to let her get a bit more weight and strength on first though.

@Anonymous - aww, thanks.

@Hockeymandad - it's ALL a scam I'm discovering!

@Heather - yeah she's had a couple of good nights on the back of a long stint in the fresh air. noted!

@Chhandita - I think we unsettled her un our attempts to get her to get her night and day straight, and once that was done she gets excited.

@Gina - hahaha. Gripe water is hard to get these days.

@Edith - Oh, you are laughing NOW...

@merinz - Barring the first few days, she's feeding, winding, and keeping it down really well.

@Jo - Bizarrely, through the whole thing, she never once came close to being in distress. She was exceptionally calm and content through the birth.
I doubt ET's diet will affect her much, unless she takes offence to the smell of an onion or something.

@Rebecca - I can think of a few other S ones...

@Geeks in Rome - heh, she doesn't seem to like the bed either, I think we got an hour out of her once in it.
Diet not an issue, formula fed.

@Veronica - she will indeed!

@Sinead - they are really hit and miss for sure, you think you have it nailed and then bang, she changes her mind.

@IrishNYC - she'd headbutt me if I restricted her arms.

@amanda - hahah thanks.

@Erika - yep, 'tapping that ass' has an effect!

@Deb - gee...er...thanks....!

@darcie - hehe

@People in the Sun - now he tells me...

@kbxmas - heh, I did swing her for a half hour in the basket the other night. not my preferred approach ;-)

@Kim (frogpondsrock) - oh that they do, that they do...

@Mwa - funny you say that, I'm convinced she would sleep on her front, but too chicken to try.

@River - no worries, it's not colic, just mean parents disrupting her.

Steve said...

It's 30 months since I went through all this for the last time so I'll leave practical advice to others, except to recommend this book regarding sleep.

Just know this is by far the worst time and it will get better soon.

Rikki said...

I am going to echo the rest and recommend a good swaddle. Gripe water might help if it is gas that is making her tummy rumble. Poor girl.

areyoukiddingme said...

The problem is that you're probably trying to put her down to sleep. That is just a bad idea. She should sleep comfortably nestled in your arms while you pace back and forth. All night. You now exist for her comfort and the demonic screeching is to remind you of that every time you consider doing something for yourself. Like eating, or sleeping.

Also, newborns sleep 20 hours a day...in 20 minute increments.

I also recommend The Happiest Baby On The Block. You have to get the swaddle nice and tight - just to the point of immobility without cutting off circulation - before they like it. Otherwise, just hold her, because she'll be too big for that before you know it.

Clair (Elf) said...

Hey Daddy!
Sean had colic, he survived it and so did we all ... eventually...

lying him on his bac on your knees and cycling his legs in and out so his knees massaged his tummy really helped.... (doing this on the commuter train to dublin was fun..not)

Also some "magic formula" infacol stuff we gave him in an oversized eyedropper just before feeds helped too..

if you cant source it and think Mango does have colic let me know and i'll send it to you..

Hugs for you both you are doing a great job rasing the little Law and Order adict (try CSI)

C

Chelsea Lietz said...

yikes. good luck!

AnnD said...

It gets better. Cherish it now because a year from now she won't want to cuddle, she'll be too busy playing and exploring.

James (SeattleDad) said...

Whoa, sounds like you are one of the lucky parents who don't have a great sleeper. Lukas was a trouble sleeper too but eventually got over it. It was a year, but he now sleeps like a charm.

Good luck, and I hope things improve sooner for Mango, and you and ET too!

Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...

Two words: Disco ball.

You are totally clueless aren't you.

River said...

So it's possible you are wanting her to sleep when she's just not ready to. some babies need less sleep than others. Prop her up by the tv, or where she can see a colourful mobile, or anything really that gets her attention, until she gets sleepy. At least you'll get a few minutes peace. The trick of course is finding out what it is that will hold her attention. My second baby, M, almost never slept during the day, but did get a solid 12 hours overnight. I would feed and change him, play with him a bit, then put him on the floor (on a soft rug)where he could see and hear me and he was happy like that. Went to sleep at about 6pm, woke up about 6am.
Not to worry too much, you and ET will work it out.

Ed said...

Is it too late to exchange her for one of the newer, more quiet-running models?

Xbox4NappyRash said...

@Steve - Thanks ;-)

@Rikki - Swaddling is a non-starter

@areyoukiddingme - that does seem to be the case!

@Clair (Elf) - Thanks :-)

@Chelsea Lietz - hehehe indeed.

@AnnD - probably!

@James (SeattleDad) - hit and miss, so far anyway.

@Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo - shut it.

@River - yes that is pretty much it actually.

@Ed - a prius baby?

Barbara said...

Oh love. I don't know what to say that won't either enrage you or sound patronising or hasn't already been said, so I'm keeping schtum (sp?)

Sadia said...

Swaddling update: Melody liked to be swaddled traditionally, arms constrained. Jessica preferred her left arm free. What about swaddling from the chest down? Worth a shot?

Mwa said...

Yeah, I totally see where you're coming from. Took me a full month to crack as well. And I never stopped worrying until she was about a year old. But we all sure slept better. Bummer that. All children my age were put to sleep on their tummies. My doctor said it's not the position that is dangerous, it's overheating. And overheating is more likely to happen on their front, so it's just more important to make sure they're not covered too much. But I completely agree that all the advice says the opposite, so I was too scared as well. Obviously, if anything had happened I would never have forgiven myself. I did the research and came out at a chance of about 1 in 200,000 or something of cot death, and went with it.

Best of luck anyway - maybe it's something else. Or you could try it once and see what gives.

stella said...

im not giving you one piece of damned advice. why not? because you did not ask for any. only to say...

WELCOME TO THE CLUB MY FRIEND!!!!

get comfy. enjoy the ride.

good times....good times.

one day in the very near future, you and ET will look back on this time and joke to eachother as though it wasn't all THAT BAD. and thats total bullocks.

it blows.

but you all will survive it. until then, carry on with your circus act. its the MANGO SHOW BABY!!! lol.

Xbox4NappyRash said...

@Barbara - heh, you shoudl give lessons ;-)

@Sadia - is that really swaddling then?

@Mwa - that comment has totally put me off the idea ;-)

@stella - hehe, indeed.

Amber said...

Oh my. Have I been there. He napped exclusively attached to my body for 6 months. While bouncing around the room. And holding the hairdryer. And vaccumming. The noisier his world was the better and white noise hardly scratched the surface. I could offer a hundred tips, but it Mango is anything like my Oliver they'd be useless - the kid was like the Borg, constantly adapting to and solution we thought we'd found. The only thing that worked was time and it was a looooong time with a lot of screaming. But the day did come when he could sleep on his own in a quiet room. And someday he'll do it for more than 3 hours at a time. I hope.

Until then, hang in there and know that many have gone through this before you and have come out the other side (mostly) intact.

Gail said...

Welcome to parenthood!

Sorry, but you have to smirk just a little. It's a 'been there got the T shirt' thing!

Xbox4NappyRash said...

@Amber - 'mostly'...oh dear

@Gail - hahaha, fair enough

Amy said...

Forgot to respond to this one when I read it before. Both mine did this too for the first few weeks. It was like at the end of the day it was sensory overload or something and they just needed to cry and cry to wind down. It stopped after a few weeks... maybe 6-8?
Sounds like you guys are coping so marvelously well with the curve balls Mango has been throwing you. Good for you. xx

A Free Man said...

I reckon they propagate that lie because if people knew the truth then the species would die out pretty quickly. You asked for it...