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Evan's Dad's Blog - March/April 2005

A quick word about grammar and spelling....the content of the blog is all edited in a text editor. Spell checking is not an option and neither is grammar checking. For the most part my comments are a stream of consciousness. I'm not a complete English hack I just don't want to spend my time getting the spelling right and leaving the emotion behind. Just know its not a reflection of my education or ability to be thorough.

Friday, 29th April (7 weeks and 5 days)

It's always something....that's the thing to remember with E. We managed one night this week with a sleep between 7 and 10pm...but its not really settling in. On Wednesday night we had our old neighbors around. With so much attention he never slept but was a very good chap. Took his bottle and slept through to 6:20am which was great. Last night, however, we tried again and he just wasn't going to do it. He was really active, kicking around and fussing. He did give us 20 minutes for dinner but he just wasn't settling. We both though 'wind'. I tried to burp him....lots. In the end we tried Gripe Water. No burps really. I just kept bringing his legs into his chest to try and help move things. He was 'tooting' king as I was doing it. But the answer didn't come until 10:25 during his bottle when an almighty poo came out. A 1/2 deep and everywhere...yummy.

Before we decided it was wind we thought maybe he was hungry. So Nic fed him for 10 minutes....this had a knock on effect and he left about 3 ounces unfinished in his 10:00pm bottle. He wouldn't take anymore, thrashed around and would occassionally open his eyes (where normally he would be zonko). I took him upstairs and said to Nic 'No Chance'... I fully expected to be up and down for ages. I went through the usual routine and because Nic wasn't in bed yet I actually shut the door when I left. However, I failed to open it just before bed. At 4:00am I got up to 'pee' and when I walked past his room I noticed the door was shut. I thought, 'Should I open it?'. It makes a noise when you do so I decided no. I wasn't in bed for more that 5 minutes when i heard a sharp cry...then silence. So I thought I would wait. No other sounds, no snuffles...nothing. Next I knew it was 6:15 so I got up to do some PC cleaning and he didn't make a sound until 6:55. So things are well...its nearly the weekend and its also a Bank Holiday weekend as well.

I've got a wedding tomorrow in Worthing...we are going to go and stay at the inlaws summer caravan. A client prospect is coming to see us (at the caravan...how posh...NOT) on Saturday night. The rest of the weekend is free and the weather forecast is promising. We may take E to Hotham Park in Bognor so we can ride the train...I know..8 weeks old what does he care. Well, he likes things that move so that's enough excuse for us.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Wednesday, 27th April (7 weeks and 3 days)

Evan continues to jump percentiles with his weight. He gained another 14oz last week and now stands at 10lbs 2oz. Strangely he is still underweight for his age but I suspect this will cease to be the case soon.

On Monday night slept straight through from 10:45 to 7:00am. The GPs managed to get him to sleep at 8:15 for a quickie before his bottle at 10pm. My wish came true and we stayed in the village for the night out. A pint in the pub and a curry were good therapy. And yes...I had a Cobra (albeit a small one) at the Indian.

Last night we (Nic) were determined to put him down at 7:00pm for a sleep. And, we (Nic) did it. We did have one crazed moment where I suspect he just woke up and thought where the hell am I. But a bit of soothing and he straight back down. We took him upstairs and he stayed there until 10:00 for his bottle. It took nearly an hour to give it to him. I like the Playtex system but they have 2 types of teats...slow and fast. I would love a medium. We're not sure if it was the extra sleep or the fact he was just hungry but he woke up at 5:25 which is a really bad time because you simply don't know what to do...go back to bed, stay up? We'll have to see what happens.

Nic sent an email today saying she was trying to get him to sleep proper at lunch times. He got hysterical and cried...she cried...but he did sleep some. Not sure why she was crying but I can see why she would like him to sleep. She doesn't really get any time to herself to do anything...even clean the loo (hey, she loves that stuff, trust me!). But I'm worried that we're expecting it to happen to easy. Its easy to forget that it took some weeks to get him to go to bed easy at night. I remember reading stories to him not too long ago. I want her to try but only if we can accept some defeats. We have a really well behaved child....I don't want to forget that in the effort. I'm sure he will get there...it will just be a slow ride...of course what happens when she's out for the day. C'est la vie!

Monday, 25th April (7 weeks and 1 days)

Evan has his 6 week check tomorrow...should have been last week but there was a mix up. This means another weigh in and I'm guessing at least 6 ounces. The blog has been a bit dull lately. I mean we haven't had any dramas or anything. As close as it comes is Saturday morning when I made the mistake of letting them both sleep until 9am. Bad news because the boy was out all day with us and did what he usually does when we are out...sleep. So we were about a feed down and 2 naps up. No wonder it took us a while to get him to sleep Saturday night. Of course this ties in with me waking him up at 7:30 on Sunday which he wasn't best pleased about. He was a bit grumpy all day but did his best to charm his grandparents. We did have one funny in that we didn't get a stinky nappy all day Saturday. So by 1:00pm Sunday we were wondering what was going on. Well, by 3 we figured it out. He was storing it for one great explosion. We had it coming through his clothes and up his back. Bath was the only solution.

Now Nicola is going on the 7-10pm sleep offensive. Just as she convinces me to give it up now she wants it to happen. Should be interesting...

The good news is that on Sunday night he went from 10:45 to 6:15. Another 45minutes until the big 7am. Well, who knows if it means anything but given Nic's desire to sleep him at 7pm we just started the day 6:15 instead of 7:00am. He's taking more and smiling all the time. He even 'speaks to us now'. Nic read in a book that we should imitate him if he speaks to us, talk to him a lot and ask him questions pausing for answers. Luckily no matter what he does we can answer for him (if it were only the same with the wife). 'Honey, I'm playing golf with the guys...is that OK?' ........ 'Great, see you at 9:30'

Tonight we are going out again. The GPs are coming down to babysit. don't know where we will go. But I'm hoping the village so we can get a pint and then go to the Indian...I believe there is a Cobra there with my name on it.

Thursday, 21th April (6 weeks and 4 days)

I will survive Ha...last night Nic went out with the rest of the NCT mums for a pub night. I'm guessing no strippers were involved. This meant I was 'home alone' with E. The boy gets all worked up about wanting to go to sleep. Its funny to watch him make noises and flail his arms about. Why fight it I'll never know. Nic left at 7:45 and I kept the same old routine of trying to keep his mind focussed on sleeping. The dummy works great at this time. But was the boy playing me up (ok, maybe he's too young, but it sure felt like it). So in the end I said to him (and you could see him listening...honest), 'you faff about Mr...I'll be in the other room'. I did some work on the PC and after 25 minutes realised I never heard from him. Job done and not another peep until I woke him for his bottle at 10:15.

Wednesday, 20th April (6 weeks and 3 days)

Good golly Miss Molly....the boy at it again. 11oz gained from last Tuesday to this Tuesday. So his weight is now 9lbs 4oz, a full 2lbs up on his original birth weight. He is starting to bust out of his clothes which is great news as we can now start to dress him in all those great things we have but he could never wear.

The nighttimes are going great. After a blip at the weekend of 11:30pm to 4:15am he now back to 11pm to 5/5:15pm. The nighttime routine is working well and its a breeze to put him to bed (touch wood). And for the last two nights he been sleeping more between 7pm and 10pm which is good.

Its weird now...when you go to pick him up from his cot or wherever he feels like a solid little person. Now...if we could just get rid of that baby acne. What a spotty kid we have at the moment.

Business is going well -- really well. 4 bookings in 4 days and hopefully another 2 or 3 this week. :)

Pictured below are E's first recorded smile, a tasty little foot and a photo with his grandparents (Nic's parents). Sadly Evan will never get to know his other Grandparents. My mom died last August and my father some years ago. My mother had always wanted to have a grandson. Of course all of her grandchildren are precious but she wanted a boy to keep the family name going. We were at least fortunate to be pregnant before my mom died. Although she never knew it was boy (neither did we) whilst she was living I wonder if she pulled a few stings. I probably would have cried anyway when he was born regardless of whether he was a she. But it made it all more moving to know that my parents, especially my mother, finally got what she wanted. For those who don't know, Evan's intials are EAB. These are the same as my father (Eugene Alfred Burress). Whilst he'll never meet them I want to make sure that he knows who they were, what they stood for and how much they would have loved him. I miss you Mom and Dad!

Monday, 18th April (6 weeks and 1 days)

The funny thing about the whole not sleeping from 7 to 10pm is that he wants to. He get cranky...you can't hold him, put him down, put him on the shoulder, his chair, the couch, craddle him, let him look out the window. He's just too tired. The only thing that works is the moses basket and the dummy. Funny thing is that at night he 'sleeps like a baby' but daytimes he needs something to help him focus on, well, nothing. I'm also finding that a blanket over the eyes also helps.

We finally got sick of eating on our laps (thank you NEXT for STILL not delivering out dining room table) and put up our new garden table in the house. It make dinner easier and measn that the E doesn't interrupt as much. We are in a position to be preemptive with the dummy. He's usually asleep by 9pm and the shame is that he would quite happily sleep to 9am (with his 5am feed) if we let him. So he's got the 12 hour thing going...just not the right 12 hours for us.

We had a great weekend. Lots of visitors and the brother-in-law and sister-in-law and nephew stayed on Saturday night. Great fun as usual. (I mean that BTW). Sunday we had an NCT reunion. We managed a baby group line up shot...

A new weeks starts today...who knows where we'll be at the end of it. He's got a weigh-in on Tuesday along with his HV 6 week check. Baby massage starts Tuesday, he gets showed off at Nic's work today, Early Day and whole host of other activities to get through to Friday. BTW...I can't recall if I mentioned...his hearing test was fine. No surprise there.

Below are some photos...hope you like.

Friday, 15th April (5 weeks and 5 days)

I've decided to start a book club with Evan. This weeks chapter comes from Gina Ford's Contented Litte Baby Book and it all about sleeping from 7pm to 10pm. Hopefully with a bit of extra study he'll come to grips with this...cause he aint doing it now. Of course its all tongue in cheek as the monster sleeps quite happily from 10:45 to 5:00am most every night. So I'm not really complaining. The thing is that between 7 and 10 he is dog tired. He wants to sleep, his eyes are like leadweights but he just can't do it. I'm beginning to think there may be a connection between the light and his sleep. We've actually given up trying to put him to sleep in his room from 7 to 10. Although if Nicola can't get to the gym in a day it might be a good idea as there would be plenty of stair climbing. Anyway, if he sleeps it always after 8:30. Also he doesn't seem to wake until 5:00am...just as it starts to get a wee bit light. That's fine now but what about in 6 weeks when its light until 10pm and again at 4:15am. We have a black out blind but its still pretty light in there. Some 'Grand Design' ideas may be on the cards.

We've decided to give the daytime bottle feed at 2:00pm. Basically, he doesn't want it at 10am and then parks himself on Nicola all afternoon. Yesterday worked well.

Confession! Whilst I was very bravado about turning off the monitor a few posts ago I have yet to get the nerve. I have, however, done the next best thing. I turn it right down and the leave it on Nicola's side of the bed. From my point of view its just as good as chucking it. He's quite easy to hear if he wants you to hear him.

I had my first evening home wedding photo consultation whilst with child last night. Nic kept him in with her in the lounge and the occassional cry didn't seem to put them off. In fact they took the move that only a few of my B&Gs have done and gave me the cheque there and then. I always encourage people to think about it but I suppose if you know...you know. I'm really looking forward to it as its a December gig and its near Petersfield. I've got two more consulations this week (one Saturday and another on Tuesday). For those interested in last weekends wedding (where Evan was angel) click here.

Wednesday, 13th April (5 weeks and 3 days)

By popular demand the font size has been increased by one point for the blog. I wouldn't want to disappoint my public, now would I?

Last night all but 1 of the NCT dads went back to the NCT Dad's Night session for the current group. I don't remember looking so sh*t scared. But then I don't remember the other dads being so frank about the tough times ahead after the birth. We made a few simple points. 1) the birth is hard work but in reality its quite short, 2) no two births are the same, 3) the real fun begins the day you come home from hospital. Poor sods...they have it all to come :)

I took Evan last night as he was a bit grumpy yesterday afternoon. I think he was tired but just couldn't sleep. I used the dummy way too much but what else could I do. Anywho, he had 140ml+ at 10:30, finished by 11:05, in bed by 11:10 and didn't wake up until Nic woke him up at 6:15. He's now starting to keep hours I can live with. But it all may go pear shaped tomorrow...

SMILES! Man we are getting a lot of smiles out of him these days. Its so rewarding I can't even begin to tell you. I will try to get some photos of said smile at the weekend.

Evan has his hearing test today...I don't see any cause for concern. I'll let you know.

Tuesday, 12th April (5 weeks and 2 days)

STOP THE PRESS! Nic took Evan to the baby clinic today. For those who don't know what the baby clinic is its where the local health visitor sets up shop in a community hall with a set of scales and some charts and opens the doors to whoever wants to come by. Most folks use it as a chance to weigh their baby and ask questions. We were curious to see how his weight had done over the past week. This morning I said it would be around 6oz and Nic said 8oz. Well, we were both wrong...try 15oz. He's now 8lbs 9oz and is starting to fill his clothes. Excellent news!

Last night we went out to dinner just the two of us. The GPs came round to stay with Evan but owing to a double booking Evan's nearly 3 yr old cousin came along. The deal was that his parents would come to collect him. Now...we should have never expected to go out and leave our 5 week old son with babysitters and not have a drama. Sure enough a drama occurred. But not what you would expect. When the inlaws arrived to collect their son they made one crucial mistake....they pulled the handle up on the door. Why? God knows, but in our house it means you have just locked the door. Since we swapped the cars around to go out we had both sets of house keys. So they managed to lock themselves in. Evan simply slept through it all. Go figure!

Monday, 11th April (5 weeks and 1 day)

What a great weekend! Of course by mentioning it I will probably jinx the week. Evan was a star all weekend. He became a rather adored baby on Saturday for the wedding. He was very happy and contented and we couldn't have asked for a better baby. We were out from 10:30am to 10:00pm. He was in the car, the pushchair, a bus, a church, a reception...you name it he was happy to be there. But that was the weekend so all bets are off. I'm trying not to get too excited and tell the world what a great little boy I've got.

Sunday was cool as well. Went shopping and then for a long walk with friends. He had a bit of a freeding frenzy last night. It happens and Nicola felt permanently connected. Of course his grandparents don't help...they give him so much attention, which is great, but unfortunately a little too much at the 6:30 feed. As a consequence he wouldn't sleep (and you could tell he wanted to) and he stayed up with us as we had some dinner. Once the GPs left I tried to get him to sleep in his room but it wasn't happening. He was quite happy in his moses basket next to me downstairs. He finally fell asleep at 9 but that's tough as I have to wake him at 10:15. He only took 80ml but as he was on a major feeding frenzy from 3:30 to 8:00 its no big surprise. He still slept until 4:15am.

I'm nearly to the stage (well, at least I am) of turning the monitor off at night. He makes such a racket sometimes. And when you look at him he's totally asleep. The worst part is that the monitor is on full blast so its even louder. When he finally wakes up and is ready for feeding the noise change and they are most like a cry...and instantly we wake up. So perhaps tonight the darn thing is going off. Just don't tell me wife!

Friday, 8th April (4 weeks and 5 days)

Yesterday afternoon I got a call from Nic and before I could say hello the screams from Evan were piercing. E decided to cry pretty much all afternoon. I had never heard him cry like that so I rushed home early from work. I got home and he had settled a bit but Nicola still looked frazzled. Its not like Evan to cry for anything more than food so I was a bit concerned.

Our GP is brilliant...4 kids of her own. We love to see her so I decided to ease the tension we would book an appointment. The local surgery had a great system and they said to bring him in in 30 minutes. Its no secret that the treatment dished out to infants of first time parents tends to be more about the parents than the child. This was no exception. Although we couldn't see our beloved GP we did see another mature GP who was also a mother of a few in her day. She was very reassuring and didn't make us feel like idiots. He was fine..probably a bit windy down below and Nic believes possible a bit hungry. He's still a faffer on the breast and actually needs less winding when using the bottle. Whilst I was holding him he let one rip. When we got home I decided that I would feed him and let Nic take a break. I then thought about changing him...WOW...that was a major amount of poo. More than I have ever seen from the monster. The entire lining of the nappy was yellow. Perhaps that was the problem. Gosh, who knows. The main point is that we were confident (again...this new parenting lark can be testing on your confidence) that he was fine and he had stopped crying. He took 90ml of bottled breast milk and went to sleep. Slept until I woke him at 10:15, had 140ml of forumla and went off to sleep again. I heard some murmuring on the monitor at 1:30. He's quite a loud sleeper so I turned it down and waited to see if I would hear a cry. The truth is he makes noise when he sleeps. But if he isn't crying he's more than likely asleep. The next I knew it was daylight and Nic was crawling back into bed. I asked what time he work up...she said 4:45...it was now 5:30. Not bad.

The weekend, well tomorrow, will be interesting. We are going to a wedding. I'm shooting another photographers wedding as well as going as a guest. Gary Hector and Angela Pini tie the know tomorrow and we are all going. Between kid stuff and camera stuff the car will be quite full. I live in hope he's a happy chappie tomorrow.

Thursday, 7th April (4 weeks and 4 days)

I must find a way to stop writing novels on here. :)

The last few entries have surely been good therapy and I apologise to those who have read every word. I must sound like a babbling idiot. However now that feeding is going well, I can pee again without agony and we are convinced the boy is normal its a whole new ballgame.

Last night I went out the NCT dads to the Bat and Ball in Hambledon. It was a great laugh and our group is full of interesting and diverse characters. The chitter chatter was interesting and luckily didn't centre on nappies and puke the whole time which is great. I've since learned that the girlies are going to have their own night out. Some people just can't be original.

When I got home at 11:15 I was surprised to find Nic and Evan both still up. When I feed him at 10:15 he is a zombie. But last night he was wide eyed and ready for action. This may be because we gave him a good fill-up before 7 and then woke him at 10:15 to feed again. We used to do that in the beginning of 'Gina' and he was happy to go back to sleep. But I suppose maybe his gut was not quite so happy. Now we're second guessing putting him down at 7:00 as the night before it was no hassle having him awake from 8 till 10 and then getting from 10:45 to 5:00am to sleep. Better to be awake from 8 to 10 instead of 11 to 1am.

I took the boy off Nic's hands (she pretended to be hard done by but I know he slept the whole time, I fed him before I left and she sent emails and watched American Pie) and sent her to bed and we stayed up until 1:00am when a bit of bottled breastmilk sent him to dreamland.

Today in the BLOG I am adding a new table which will sit on the right hand side and at the top for the rest of the blog. Its all about the products which I have bought or used which I feel work. Its clearly subjective but it may help someone someday.

Wednesday, 6th April (4 Weeks and 3 days -- by some officially one month)

I went home Monday to a happier son. His sleep was still a bit erratic but he did well in the night. We had the in-laws around just for company. I still felt sick to my stomach and this didn't go the next morning either. I started to really get worried. Was I having baby depression? Of course the one thing that I haven't mentioned is that I had to go to the hospital on Tuesday for my own medical procedure. During a insurance led check up in January microscopic traces of blood were detected in my urine. I booked an appointment with a specialist and from there I had to do two procedures. The first an ultrasound and the second is (and I forget the medical term) a tube up the old dragon. I had the ultra sound a few weeks back and it was completely clear. On Tuesday I had the tube in the willy. It would seem that whilst I was worried about Evan (what new parent isn't) I was mistaking my worry for him with the fear I was was subconsciously having about my little procedure. It seemed clear to me that when I finally finished I was completely at ease with everything. You would have figured I could tell the difference but clearly it wasn't the case.

As my procedure was done and dusted by 8:50 and I figured I would be there until 10:30 I took a liberty by going back to the village to meet my wife at the Baby Clinic. We decided that we wanted him weighed before the HV came out on Thursday. We also had a few questions regarding the sleep and the fact that everytime we lay him on his back he makes these awful noises and eventually he wakes up. I was concerned he may be alergic to the formula or be suffering from god knows what. In the morning before everything else I did some googling of 'baby won't sleep on his back' and found lots of people who have the same situation. We got a good suggestion to prop him up which is welcome news because in desperation the night before that's exactly what I did. So that gave some weight to that idea. Anyway, back at the clinic, Evan had gained 5 oz and is now 7lbs 10 which is great news. The terrible noises when he is on his back may be a bit of reflux (read acid type indigestion) that may be giving him some agro. The change in sleep patterns is normal and the HV said by everything she sees and hears he is completely normal. They all have their unique aspects. I felt a bit guilty because I had worried my wife senseless. She was really concerned when I left the house that morning because I mentioned how 'sick' I felt. But after the procedure and the visit to the clinic I was well chuffed. I also decided to take it a bit more as it comes.

The wife had a 10:15 meeting with the breast feeding counselor. We decided that even if she has decided to go a bit more bottle that its good to check her 'form'. Well, it was a good idea because apparently we were doing it all wrong (I would like to say though that she was doing it exactly the way she was taught). The poor guys head was tilting downward not back. Imagine drinking with your chin on your chest -- not a good idea. He fed much better and in fact most of the time was finished in around 20 minutes. This is good news for Nicola and she felt better. Heck we all felt better. Evan didn't sleep from 7 to 10 but hell...it didn't matter. He did sleep from 7:20 to 8:10 (the 45 minute cycle). Once awake he was quite happy and we got to finish dinner with very little interuption. Lesson here is to eat when you can. Dinner could have been ready at 7:30 but we did other things and then just as the plates were on the table (not that we have a table at the moment -- thank you NEXT for your crap delivery times) his eyes opened.

As 'E' was contented we watched Desperate Housewives on tape (great show) and I sneaked in a bit of the Liverpool/Juventus match. At 10:15 I fed him 120ml of formula (tried it through the new Faster flow teat...I don't think he was ready and I switched back). 10:45 he was dead to the world. Lights out at 10:50, propped up with homemade head bumpers and slumber bear at the foot of his basket. I woke later to hear his little cries from the monitor...its always an interesting feeling rolling over to see the clock...will it be 1:30 or 2:15 or 2:45...not today my friend -- try 4:45. 6 hours. So what made the change? Was it the titled bed, the better feeding, the fact he was up a bit between 8 and 10 (not likely, he did that the last 3 nights), the slumber bear, the Kiddopotamus Swaddle Me or everything combined. Who knows but the one thing we won't know is how long he would have stayed down. Nic confessed that when she got up at 4:30 to 'pee' she was amazed to see the clock. She turned on the bathroom light, went into his room, thought he was uncomfortable so respositioned him, moved the bear, adjusted the covers. Silly woman! Rule #1...let sleeping babies lie.

So I suppose we'll have to see where we go from here. I'm much more relaxed with it all. I'm relieved that some of my 'concern' was more to do with my own issues and not issues with him. My wife is much happier. 3 steps forward!

BTW...the second procedure (ouch, not a pleasant experience) revealed no pathological reason for the blood. It apparently is something that can happen to anyone and I have been given the all clear. In case you were wondering.

Monday, 4th April (4 weeks and 1 day)

HoHum. An intersting weekend to say the least. It started off good enough. I met some clients on Saturday morning and Evan and Nic came with me. We hung out at a layby on the A285 whilst we tried to wake the sleeping menace and breast feed him. Kids are funny...when they want to sleep nothing wakes them up. When you want the to sleep nothing seems to make them sleep.

After my meeting we went into Chichester to have a nice day out. It was a nice day and we did a bit of shopping and wheeled 'E' around quite happily. We had some sandwiches on the cathedral lawn and the temptation of Costa Coffee was just too much. So off I went but on my return I found Nic and Evan both out on the blanket. He was awake and ready for feeding. So off to Mothercare we went. They have a great feeding and changing room. I settled in to read all the latest products when the room became Charing Cross Tube station. In the end I was out on me'ear whilst they queue'd to get in. I saw them come and go and eventually there was only the 3 of us again. I think this is where I started to get concerned. If Evan would breastfeed in 20 minutes like most of the others it would be great. But 1hr and 10 minutes went by and I'm thinking he would have camped there for another 20 minutes if we let him. We decided by this point it was nearly time for his next nap so we packed up and started to make our way home. Feed, bath, feed plus a top up as the night before he wasn't too keen on sleeping. He gurgled and fussed but eventually he went down.

On Sunday we decided that we needed a day around the house. We had some chores to do and Evan was out all day the day before. He was uncooperative for his 9:00am nap. Fair enough. Fussy for the midday nap but once he hit the push chair that was it...he was out. A nice long walk followed and we got back in time for his 2:00pm feed. 1 1/2 hrs later he was dead to the world and so I took him off to sleep. This lasted all of 5 minutes. The fussing continued but I wanted to let Nicola sleep. Finally I found myself lying on the bed with Evan in the crook of my arm wondering how for the past two nights we have had him waking up at 1:30am. Strange that a few weeks ago he would go from 10:30 to 3:00 (sometimes 3:30). This coupled with the fact that he's up for 2 hours in the night. I just couldn't get over the fact that feeds led to sleeps which led to rude awakenings to feed more and sometimes no sleeps. I kept coming back to this and wondering what would be different if feeds took 20 - 25 minutes (ie. bottles) and he had more time to settle. Now he always falls asleep on the breast so I suppose its no wonder when he wakes a bit to see his beloved boobies are gone. (come to think of it I know how he feels) So I decided to bring it up and to say we had an argument was an understatement. I made my point, she made hers. It wasn't a pretty sight. We put him down at 7:15 and within 10 minutes he was up again. I'm finding it all too much. We gave him a top up -- was it enough, was it too little, is it too hot in his room, is it too light. In the end we decided to bring him downstairs and I then sat with him, swaddled in my arms, until he fell asleep. I put him in his basket...he was completely zonked..and I can see why. Babies aren't supposed to be up for more than 2 hours. He was up from 2 till 8:30. Hopefully this would mean a quiet night. Think again. He was up at 1:30 -- this after a hearty 100ml formula feed. So this begs the question am I correct? I mean, I gave him a big dinner and he still woke up. Or is the fact that he's not getting the right amount for an entire day and therefore its waking him up at night. Or is it that we expect too much. Or is it the feed/snack/sleep breast routine which is storing up small pockets of sleep which means he is happier with shorter spells. The worst part about the 1:30 wake up is that even though I am in bed I am on edge. I lay there waiting for Nicola to come back to bed. I can't sleep so I doze. I wake up every few minutes to look at the clock. 2:20, 2:35, 2:52, 3:09, 3:18, 3:40, 3:55, 4:10, 4:15, 4:20 -- christ should I get up? Finally at 4:30 I hear Nicola coming up the stairs. I get up to greet her. I expect to find a hysterical wife. I find a well relaxed sleepy wife. "I feel asleep on the couch." "When," I ask. "An hour and half ago."

Today we had agreed that they would come to work and have lunch with me. I'll be honest, with all that has gone on lately there was a bit of me that just wanted to say no. I felt sick for the largest part of the day. Man...how can this be good. Its like I feel a bit of depression. I don't know why. The last time I felt this way was when I changed jobs in 1997 and hated my new job. Its that feeling that there is nothing you can do. And I hated feeling that way about him...her...us. She called at 12 to say she would be late. She decided that after a tiny 15 minute nap that this sleep thing may be related to an illness. She booked an appointment with the GP. However lovely she was she didn't know much about babies. She checked his heart, lungs, testicles (why do they always do that). All looked in good working order. She actually advised Nicola to ask the health visitor about the sleeping. Luckily there is a baby clinic at the local community centre tomorrow. She can weigh him and ask a few questions.

I don't know what changed but when she got here she felt more positive. She then said that she had a bottle of breast milk was intending on feeding him at 2:00pm. She also said that she had decided that she was going to start switching from breast to bottle. Clearly, if all of my hypothesis is correct this could be a good thing. Now the pressure is on to see if it make a positive change. It will take a few weeks to transfer completely. In that time he may have changed for himself. The fact is we'll never know. He will have changed so much at a more fundamental level that it will be hard to say if it helped. Of course no matter what it should eliminate an uncertainty regarding food intake. The not knowing always keeps us guessing and without the weight gain to back it up its hard to continue never knowing if its working for him.

Nic felt quite liberated doing the bottle feeding. And 'E' looked quite contented at the end of it. I suppose the true test will be in how things went after she went home. I can't call now -- just in case they are all sleeping (God, I hope so). You will simply have to check back tomorrow.

Can I just say a big thank you to Hannah...she know's who she is. Her support has been really great and its been nice to speak to someone about the way I have been feeling. She a great listener and never judges. Thanks!

Friday, 1 April (26 days old)

Yesterday Evan had his first visit by the local Health Visitor. Unfortunately it would seem that his weight has only gone up by 2 ounces in 5 days. I suppose we have to decide whether this is a problem. He's nearly a month old and is only 1.5 ounces more than his birth weight. Dilemma. I've read a few websites and they all say focus on the child, not the scales. He seems to meet all the qualities of a happy baby. Pooing and peeing as he should, alert, contented and happy to feed (even though sometimes he likes to sleep during them a bit). Given his family history putting on weight shouldn't be a great task. Of course there are a few possible reasons. The question is which one. Is it because he's lazy at breastfeeding. Is it because with the plan meal times usually run into sleep times and the two are becoming one. For now we will continue with the breastfeeding and forumla bottle top ups at his 10:00pm feed.

FWIW, I think its a bit of the fact that meals and sleeps seem to go in hand and hand. Last night we tried to feed him at 6:45. He fell asleep and there was no waking him. But sure enough at 7:30 was screaming blue murder. So after various snack feeds and methods to soothe him he joined us downstairs at 9:15. By 9:45 he was rooting quite badly and leaving wet spots on my t-shirt. So I feed him his bottle and with 3 minutes of finishing he was completely dead to the world. We didn't hear from him again until 2:45am. Which was great and unlike the night before he fed and went back to sleep within an hour. Thursday is 2 1/4 hours.

We've now had 3 nights of completely dry beds. So to those out there who suggested the next size up...you were spot on.

Today hopefully our Slumber Bear arrives (and the Kiddopotamus). Possible a gimmick...we shall see. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, 30 March (24 days old)

Leaking Nappy Update! After doing some intensive research (aka, googling 'leaky nappies') I found quite a bit of advice on how to ensure a dry night. The most popular was try the next size up. Most manufacturers make a 4-11lb as well as a 6-13lb 'model'. We currently have a rack full of the 4-11lb.

So last night I sent the wife out (I thought it would be a great idea to let her get out of the house without Evan. We agreed that all he could do is cry as it was bed time...he didn't need feeding anymore until 10:00ish.

I waved her goodbye and went in to an array of baby lights on the monitor. Someone was worked up and wanted to let me know about it. I tried a bit Gina (controlled crying..but he's only 3 weeks so I never let it go for more than 2 minutes). I tried 'Baby Whisperer' (reasure him, pat him on the back, etc). After 30 minutes I picked him up and he nearly bit my nipple off. The chappie was hungry -- again! 3 week growth spurt? So Nicola fed him a bit and then I gave him 40ml of bottled breast milk. He was asleep by 8:30. This left us in a pickle. We are down 70ml for the night time bottle feed. Looks like our plans to open the Aptamil were being brought forward.

So at 10:30 a full 118ml of Aptamil 1st went into the bottle. There was no great change. The world didn't collapse. Demons never came from hell to take me away. He feed and then slept. Done deal. Although he didn't take the full amount. We are going to try it again tonight to see if its because its fuller or because of his later unscheduled feed. It feels nice having the formula as a back up.

BTW...the larger size -- WORKED! At least for last night. I've learned over the last few weeks that nothing is a pattern until you forget what it used to be like.

Monday, 28th March (22 days old)

OK...I'm pissed about something...literally.  For the last three nights Evan has woken up covered in his own pee.  It seems to be escaping through the sides of the legs which means a complete change of clothes in the night (as well as new bedding).  Not helpful when trying to get him back to sleep.  So I rushed to Tesco to try Huggies (we have a wardrobe full of Pampers).  Huggies seem to fit his legs a bit better but only time will tell.

We went to some friends for a Easter Brunch.  Evan slept until 2:00pm and fed pretty well.  We left at 3:30 and Nic surprises me with 'fancy going out for a drink tonight'.  I must admit I was caught off guard.  I wondered if we were putting a nail in the coffin.  Out all day, out for a bit tonight.  Surely he is going to be a rascal and keep us up all night.  I was also concerned we would have a repeat of Easter.  I was afraid taht after getting home we would find a wound up child not ready to complete his 7:00pm sleep.  So, we decided to leave him in his car seat whilst we ate the dinner we prepared before we left.  I then took him upstairs at 8:30 and gently moved him.  A few gurgles and Bob is your mother's brother.  He slept until I woke him at 10:10.  Took his bottle and went down at 11:00pm. 

BTW...the Huggies leaked as well.  GRRRRRRRR. 

Sunday, 27 March 2005 (21 days old) - Easter Sunday

Today was a interesting one.  More so for us than for him.  It all started off with a great elation.  The monitor woke us up at 4:45am.  So that was one great sleep.  Then at 6:00am I noticed that there was no light outside.  Then it occured to me that we have an alarm clock that synchs with the national time radio signal.  The clocks went forward overnight and our clock went right along with it.  Still, 5+ hours is a still a gift. 

We went to Middleton to spend the afternoon with his Grandparents and Great Aunties at the Grandparent's summer caravan.  He did really well adjusting to the new environment and even slept whilst his 2 1/2 year old cousin did what 2 1/2 year old kids do.   It was a nice afternoon and I have to say that I felt that all the changes to the day would give us a real hell like night.  This was even more evident when we finally got home and tried to get him into his moses basket at 8:15pm.  He just wasn't having it.  So awake he stayed (off and on) until the his 10:15 feed.   However, he was down in 45 minutes and slept through until 3:45am.  Great stuff.  So now we wonder...can we be so cheeky and get away with it...possibly so.

Saturday, 26 March 2005 (20 days old)

Today was weigh day.  His last weighing showed only a 2 ounce gain on 5 days.  All but one of these days were prior to the routine.  So today we were really concerned.  If not enough weight went on then it was looking like other methods were going to be needed.  Fortunately he gained 6 ounces in 5 days.  We are delighted as is his midwife.  So much so that she discharged us to the Health Visitor.  I suppose we should have told her we were using the Gina Ford book.  But to be fair it was as plain as day, sitting on the coffee table (as well as the 'Secrets of the Baby Whisperer').  So perhaps she decided to simply not mention it.  Who knows.  All is going pretty well.

Friday, 25 March 2005 (19 days old)

We are both looking forward to the long holiday weekend.  It will be nice to have both of us at home to help in rooting this routine.  So far, so good.  Evan has really taken to the bottle for night feeds and seems to be better than ever at breastfeeding.  So at the moment the theory of nipple confusion seems to be just that -- a theory.   Evan now spends the first half of the night in his room, in his moses basket, in his cot.  I'm pretty good at this but his mother brings him back into the room after his night feed (weak!  :) ).   I put my foot down on the first half because he is a little noise machine.  He kicks a bit and makes strange noises.  All normal but when he's right next to you you feel inclined to do something about it...even though there is nothing you can do. 

Wednesday, 23rd March 2005 (17 days old)

Today is my second day back at work. It hurts leaving in the morning but in honesty its also a relief. I can see how mums resent dads for going off to work. I do what I like when I like and that must be really annoying. But if I could keep the family in the 'style they are accustomed to' without going to work I would do it. Knowing that we have a routine has made going back to work easier. I feel that at least Nic has something to work towards. Its still bloody hard work. She's had her mum yesterday and her sister today but both only in the afternoon. So she's on her own in the morning which is a really busy time. One more day at work and its the Easter holidays.

Here are my Top 5 Baby Design Flaws

  1. No fuel gauge -- it would be alot easier if I knew when he was really hungry by turning him over and checking the tank
  2. No volume or mute -- my BP goes up when he cries...it would be nice if I could stop it instantly
  3. No off button -- maybe not off...how about 'standby' -- say from 10:30pm to 6:00am -- that's not too much to ask is it
  4. No radiator key -- for the Brits you know when you put a radiator back on after decorating and there is air at the top you simply open the valve with a little key...the air goes out, the water comes up and the whole unit is heating the house. Wouldn't it be great if babies had the same feature. Open them up, let out the wind and off you go.
  5. No internal clock -- well, I suppose they have one but at the moment the darn thing simply blinks 12:00am all the time. If only they knew it was 3:00am

Tuesday, 22rd March 2005 (16 days old)

In hindsight it would have been good to start the blog the night he was born. But it would seem a mighty challenge to have done so...or to go back and try to think about what I missed. In a nutshell the last two and bit weeks has had every type of emotion you can imagine. From utter joy, to worry, fear to excitement, contentment to stress. People always say nothing can prepare you. In a lot of ways they are correct. But I rather like to think of it as no one can tell you what you need to prepare for because you just never know. If only I knew when I put him down to sleep at 11pm that I had (or rather his mum in most cases) 3 hours till he woke up or 30 minutes. That would be nice. I wouldn't climb back into bed listening for the slightest noise fearing that my 'rest' was over...I would simply know. Its the not knowning -- the unpredictability of it all that makes it more stressfull.

This past Sunday we reached a milestone where we decided that a meandering feed me now, sleep me when I want to pattern was putting a negative spin on his arrival. So we decided to go down the dreaded (well, to some, not us) Gina Ford Contented Little Baby Book. Some people liken this to torture. Some say its cruel. I wonder, I've never felt tortured knowing that dinner was at 7:30, lunch was at 1:30 and I went to bed each night at 11pm. Do you? Anyway...I'm not here to preach about what's right for the world, only to say that this has been a good direction for us over the past few days. We have a much better sense of when things will happen and its made us happier as a family. I believe that as a parent you have got to believe in what you are doing. Believe in it and stay committed and half of the battle is over. Second guess and you've lost it all. Some direction is better than none... you can always change tack if you need to and that's easier with a bit of momentum behind you.


 

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