Update on Life with Jamie

Life with a new baby is getting easier in some ways, and harder in others. Jamie is a little more predictable now, and we’re a little more experienced in reading his cues.

We’ve begun to develop a rudimentary routine. I go to bed after his last feeding of the day, usually around 10:30 p.m. Doc watches Jamie (who’s hopefully sleeping) until he’s hungry again, often around 1 or 1:30 a.m. Doc goes to sleep then. Jamie eats again around 3:30 and then around 5:30. (All times approximate). Usually he will sleep between feedings, although he’s occasionally fussy in his sleep and I soothe him by rocking him a little with my hand and shushing him (a loud white-noise style SHHHHHH). Doc takes Jamie downstairs after that session and, because I’m not getting steady sleep for most of the night, I snooze until the 8 a.m. feeding. Sometimes, I then sleep again until the next nursing session, around 10:30 a.m., but usually I get up and go pump milk instead.

Since he eats about every 2 hours, and a feeding takes around 45 minutes (longer if I need to soothe him to sleep afterwards), I usually don’t get more than 1-1/2 hours of sleep at a stretch. Sometimes Doc has worked it so I’ve gotten 3 hours in a row, and once he bottle-fed Jamie some breastmilk so that I got 4-1/2 hours straight!

I estimate that Doc gets about 4 hours of somewhat solid sleep most nights, and I get about 5 or 6 over the course of any given day. I think what’s been hardest for me is not getting that 5 or 6 hours all in a row. Doc works his butt off to give me as much sleep as possible, but because we breastfeed exclusively (the occasional bottle of pumped milk notwithstanding) there’s really no way around the fact that I have to be awake every two hours. It’s draining for both of us.

I calculated that I spend probably 7 to 8 hours a day feeding Jamie. That’s a full time job!! Throw in pumping and cleaning the pumping equipment, and that’s another hour or two, depending on how many times I pump each day. Pumping is a real pain in the ass. I love feeding our son and providing his nutrition — it’s a wonderful bonding experience for me and Jamie, and he is usually quiet and relaxed while feeding. But it sure takes a ton of time and energy.

He’s outgrowing a lot of his clothes. He doesn’t fit into any newborn sizes anymore, and some of the 3 month sizes are too small for him. His feet are too big for most of his little sleepers that have feet in them. I hope that he’ll grow into those big old feet soon!

He’s begun, over the past week or so, to smile actual smiles. He also coos and gurgles and makes laughing-type sounds. When we look at him and smile and talk to him in a happy tone of voice, he’ll often give you a huge smile in return and make little happy noises. IT IS SO FREAKING CUTE. That makes it all worth it, right there.

However, he also has some pretty major meltdowns on most days. We strongly suspect that he is what you call a “colicky baby,” as his fussing does not seem like it’s normal to us. Our intuition tells us that it’s not his temperament; it’s pain. When he’s not in pain, he is such a happy mellow baby. And his pain is pretty intense. It makes us hurt inside to hear him scream uncontrollably for sometimes an hour or more at a time. We read a really helpful article at askdrsears.com about colic. He suggests that instead of saying “colic,” call it “the hurting baby” because that’s really what it is.

The general rule is that if the baby cries inconsolably for 3 or more hours a day, 3 or more days a week, for more than 3 weeks, they’ll slap the colic label on your kid. But really, “colic” is just another way to say “we don’t know what’s wrong with him.” It’s a label that describes a collection of symptoms with an unknown cause and no real solution. And really, if your kid cries for 2-1/2 hours a day instead of three, what’s the difference? Is it not colic then? Why not?

Jamie’s pain is largely gastrointestinal. He’ll begin to cry, arch his back, and alternately stiffen his legs and draw them in to his body over and over. His crying escalates to screaming and all we can hope for is to be able to distract him enough that his pain becomes less noticeable. Occasionally he’ll let out a burp or begin to fart like a little motorboat. This often relieves the pain and he’ll relax for a few minutes, until it starts all over again.

Things that seem to work for him (depending on the day) include babywearing (Doc wraps him against his chest and that usually calms him down and makes him go to sleep), gentle bouncing, shushing, singing. Taking him outside does seem to help him quite a bit, although it’s hard right now since it’s winter. We’ve been taking advantage of every warm-ish day and beam of sunlight that we can.

Also, we have been using gDiapers most of the time, now that Jamie is big enough to fit into them snugly. They’re more expensive than disposable diapers, and require more maintenance since you have to wash the liners and the cloth pants. They require a little more time when changing him, since you either have to load up a new flushable insert into the liner or change the outer pants and/or liner completely, and if you don’t have one pre-prepared, it can take more time than you’d want it to with a baby on the verge of getting annoyed with being changed. Jamie looks really cute in the little pants; they’re trim enough to not be any bulkier than a regular diaper underneath his clothing. We like the fact that the inserts are either flushable or compostable, or will biodegrade in a landfill within two to five months. We have had some leak-through issues, though probably not any more than we would with regular disposable diapers. Overall, I’d say that gDiapers are a win. I imagine we will keep using them, although we’ll always have a stash of disposables on hand as backup.

2 Comments

  1. seedub

    re: gas pain, grace had the same issue, albeit to what sounds like a lesser degree. we found that it helped to lie her on her back in our lap and ‘work’ her legs into her chest, then out to full extension. kind of an active, baby version of wind-relieving pose (which is precisely the point, yes?). it really seemed to help work out the gas.

  2. Carrie

    Tiring as a gassy baby maybe, later Jamie will fart and take great pleasure in it and in sharing his great pleasure with his entire family. That’s about age 7 to a few months of a first girlfriend. And then into manhood where such activities are primarily shared with his “buddies” rather than EVERYONE.

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