Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dream Feed Nightmare

So I decided to take another piece of the Baby.Whisperer's advice and try the "dream feed."

A dream feed is where you feed the baby at around your bedtime, hopefully without actually waking the baby. Seems easy enough -- Calliope is generally agreeable with eating at least a little when it's offered. And it had been in the neighborhood of three hours since her last feeding when I was considering this.

So I gently scooped her up out of the swing and cuddled her in the glider.

I was so gentle and cuddly, in fact, that she didn't wake up.

I eventually managed to nurse her for three minutes, at best, before she was passed out and refusing to take any more.

Then I had the brilliant idea to thaw some breast milk and put it into a bottle. She hadn't had a bottle yet today (I try to be disciplined about giving one every day, because I've had some friends have really terrible times with their babies refusing the bottle when mama had to go back to work) and also, a bottle nipple is easier to stick into a sleeping baby's mouth than a human nipple -- a more firm shape.

I figured she was so passed out that I would lie her in her bassinet while I thawed the milk. If she was so soundly asleep that she wouldn't wake to eat after three hours, surely she wouldn't wake up from being in the bassinet, right?


By the time the milk was thawed -- not very long -- she was wide awake, staring at the walls of the bassinet.

She didn't take more than a half an ounce of the breastmilk, but she wasn't unhappy.

So I put her back in the bassinet and got into bed to read. I took a nap this afternoon so I wasn't that tired. Maybe an hour later I turned off the light.

Girlfriend stayed awake in her bassinet for TWO HOURS. Not true. At one point, she was asleep. For as long as several minutes. Then awake again.

Not crying. Just quietly lying there, looking at the sides, making her little awake noises now and then, these coos and grunts. Nothing loud, but loud enough, coupled with the sinking knowledge that she wasn't going to sleep, to keep me wide awake.

Finally I caved, after more than two hours, when I found her scooted into the corner of the bassinet and rooting against the wall, and took her into bed to nurse. She was happy to do so, but quickly became restless.

She pooped.

I changed her.

I tried to nurse again.

She was rooting, and suckling, but then twisting wildly and pulling off... only to root again.

I burped her. Got a burp. Tried feeding again. Same problem.

I figured she was done.

I put her in the baby glider chair by my bed.

She rooted frantically. I stuck the pacifier in her mouth. She sucked avidly for a few moments, then spit it out and began to cry, the first crying of the evening.

After several rounds of this, I took her out and tried to nurse again.

No luck.

I gave up and got out of bed to carry her to the beloved swing in the living room. On top of everything else, I was trying to be conscious of my downstairs neighbors.

Walking out of my bedroom, my arm pressed hard enough against her belly to induce a forceful spit-up.

Ah. Now I know what was bothering her.

Into the living room we go. I try to nurse her one more time, just to make sure that air in her belly hadn't caused the problem.


She rooted and sucked frantically for about three seconds, then her eyes closed.

I sang "You Are My Sunshine" (thanks to Jennifer and Tate for the inspiration!), and rocked her briefly and told her I loved her -- all part of our new Baby.Whisperer inspired ritual -- and put her in the swing.

Where she is now conked out.

I stayed in here with her because I wanted to make sure that if I was going to have to replace the pacifier in the first few minutes, I wanted to be close by.

But she seems to be down for the count.

So I spent more than three hours of lost sleep trying to gain an advantage with the Dream Feed.

Maybe it would've been okay if I had just stuck with the not-very-successful initial attempt to breastfeed (the one that lasted three minutes) and then put her back in the swing. Not sure that would've given me much in the way of extra sleep though, either.

Thanks for the reassurances re: daycare organizing her sleep. I hadn't thought of that. I certainly hope so. Because the bassinet was certainly a disaster tonight. And since she doesn't cry or show any signs of unhappiness with it, just the inability to sleep there... I don't know how to tackle the issue.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Abby!!

    I wrote a comment the other day about this and Google lost it! Bah!!!

    Anyway, I tried this dreamfeed business and it was a nightmare for me as well.

    However, you may have better success than me. I got help from Babycenter's Teaching your Child to Sleep board.

    Tate was quite a bit older than Calliope when I tried it...closer to 4 months. Some background on why I decided to try age 6w1d he started sleeping 7p-12/1a skipping his 10p wake-up/eating. So it was clear to me that he could go 5-6 hours without eating. (I nursed and formula fed at each and every feeding). I was going to bed around 10 or so and that 12/1a wake-up was brutal. I always wished he would have learned to go to sleep at 10 and sleep until 3/4am. That would have been delightful.

    So that's why I attempted the dream cut out the 12/1a feeding.

    The women on that board, who are fab by the way and real life moms, stated several times it could take quite a few days for babies to figure out the dream feed. I tried for 9. Bah. At first I tried just nursing which required getting him out of his crib and onto the boppy with me and my huge breasts swinging in his face. I would manhandle him into position which was always awkward because when not pregnant/nursing I'm a HH. (and seriously never produced enough 14 months never got enough, can you tell I'm a bit bitter?) All that wiggling around I did with him...HE DID NOT WAKE UP ENOUGH TO NURSE!! I mean come on child!! No luck. I tried with the dice. I was furious that first night, and the next and the one after that. I decided to blow off the nursing and feed him a bottle of formula in his crib at the appointed time for a few nights...even less successful.

    However, perhaps had I tried for 10 nights he would have figured it out. Then around 6-7 months he started waking at 10p anyway, so who knows. Maybe payback for those 9 days I annoyed him greatly?

    All that to say, don't give up after one night of trying. You have to be consistent apparently.

    Have you tried the crib yet? Tate has been in his crib for nighttime sleep since his second day home. Or has the bassinet gotten better?