Posted by: emjb | January 5, 2006

Emergency momcare

I’m sending Matt and Nathan home early to stay with his folks for a few weeks while I finish up the packing here. It’s just too much, the non-sleeping and the stress all in one horrible package. Matt needs a break, and I have to keep working as much as I can, so I can’t do it for him. We’re zombies.

We’re trying the Happiest Baby on the Block methods* to help Nathan sleep, but have run into a few obstacles. One, finding a blanket big enough to swaddle him–he’s a bruiser. I sewed, sloppily, two receiving blankets together in desperation, and they do fine width wise, except we can’t swaddle his legs–he’s 27 inches long now–so I may try cutting up an old sheet into a large square tonight and using that instead. Because last night we had to use safety pins (which make me nervous) or duct tape to hold the swaddle together. And even then, I didn’t notice a huge increase in the amount of sleeping he did. The one improvement is that we didn’t take him out of his crib except once; we had been getting up and going out to the couch with him, which is a habit we want to break. Still…between 3 and 6 am was still Nonsleeping Yet Cranky Baby Weeping Parent Nightmare Theater. And while I’m grateful that he seems to relax and sleep nicely as soon as the sun comes up, it sure doesn’t make it possible to do any of the critical life stuff that we have to do, like work or pay bills.

Also, he gets a bit overheated, even when just swaddled in his diaper. We don’t control our radiator’s temp, unless you count getting up to crack a window, so our room can either be a bit cold or way hot. One more strike against urban living. Stupid non central heating.

White noise we can kind of do, except as we found out from his pediatrician today, he still isn’t hearing out of his right ear**, so we’ll have to be sure his left ear is near the noise source. And that the noise isn’t so annoying it keeps us up too…we tried radio static last night, which worked for a while, but was a little hard to get used to. We tried our fan also, but it’s not quite loud enough.

Vibration/swinging: we don’t have his swing here, so once our arms give out, that’s it. Apparently some babies need to swing and listen to white noise all night to sleep, which we can’t do for him. That might be what he needs.

He hates pacifiers and can only drink so much formula, so sucking is no-go. He’s not a fan of finger-sucking either. At least not my fingers.

He doesn’t seem to care much about being on his side, although I did try letting him sleep that way with a pillow behind him ( I know, it’s verboten, but he wasn’t going to go over on his belly). It may or may not have helped, I’m not sure. I was pretty punchy at the time.

I called in sick to work today, further pissing off my boss, so Matt could sleep this afternoon and let me sleep tonight. He’s asleep now, so Nathan is sleeping on a makeshift pallet in the living room floor…his face is nowhere near being buried in pillows, so I don’t care if anyone disapproves. He’s asleep. I would rejoice, except I am skeptical of his ability to do the same thing 6 hours from now when we need it most.

If it takes a village to raise a child, then we need a village of insomniacs. Lacking that, the best we can do is go home to our parents and say “Help, for the love of all that is holy. Just take him for a few hours so I can sleep, before I go completely psychotic.”

My new philosophy is, a parent alone is a parent in trouble. At least at this stage. It’s amazing that anybody gets through this without hurting themselves or their kids, really. It’s just fucking brutal.

*Swaddle, white noise, vibration, sucking, being put to sleep on his side if he needs it.

**They keep telling us this is normal, but I can’t say I’m happy about it. Poor little guy.



  1. He’s recovering to some extent from his ordeal. I’m glad you are trying the HBOTB and being proactive about getting help.

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