Monday, January 2, 2012

The reason they're so darn cute

So we don't strangle them at 2 am when they won't stop screaming.

Instead we cuddle, change, rock, feed, bounce, burp, cuddle, rinse & repeat until they finally pass out.  Do I know that sometimes babies just cry because they need to cry?  Yes.  This isn't that sort of situation.

Little man has developed a severe gassiness issue that has him screaming bloody murder through the late afternoon-evening, and none too comfy the rest of the time.  Poor little guy whimpers in his sleep, when he does sleep.  Mornings & early afternoons aren't too bad, but once he gets rolling around 4 or 5, he won't go down to nap, he'll only sleep if I leave him at the breast, and then only for 15 - 20 minutes at a time.  Screams and curls up, thrashes all over the place, fights at the breast & yet is obviously ravenous... Makes for long evenings, lemme tell ya.  And then somewhere between 10pm and midnight, it just shuts off like somebody threw a switch, and he passes out until morning.

Having tried the "He's not getting enough" route for a week & a half and getting nowhere (ie, nurse, nurse, nurse, and when in doubt, nurse some more), researching like crazy, and passing out from sheer exhaustion one too many times, I'm starting to think we're actually dealing with an over-supply problem.  Apparently too much foremilk doesn't just make for green poos (yeah, when did you ever think you'd see THAT in print), the excessive amounts of lactose not balanced by the fatty hindmilk cause stomach discomfort and intestinal gas for baby.

Ouchie. :(

Having hit the La Leche League website and quite a few other places, I'm trying "block-feeding" for the next several days to see if that makes a difference.  Means that from the time he gets up for the first feed in the morning, the day gets divided into four-hour blocks.  Each block, he gets fed from one breast only.  Every time he goes to the breast during a given block, he goes back to the same breast.  From what I've read, this results in successively lower volume - higher fat content feedings during each block.

Yes, we've been to the doctor.  No, the medicines don't help.  They actually make it worse, because they're so thick & syrupy that he swallows more air in the process of taking them, which then has to be burped, & that syrupy stuff makes that harder too.   = Shrieking baby.  Not good.

What does help is a very small dose of mint tea.  Small, as in a quarter to half a teaspoon.  It settles his stomach, calms down or even preempts the screaming entirely, and seems to make it easier for him to burp, meaning less air gets into his stomach & guts in the first place.  It's gotten to where he recognizes the dropper and knows he's supposed to get that before the breast, since it makes him feel better, so he scowls and yells at me if I forget.  Yes, I know about the menthol in mint and babies, but I watch him like a hawk and he doesn't seem to be sensitive to it, so I'm going with what works.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand passing on my obsession with herbal teas.  Yay!

On the flip side, about a week ago he started to noticeably smile.  And I mean GRIN, people.  Experts be damned, it's not just gas, he specifically reacts to our voices and faces.  It's cute as heck, and as soon as I get him to hold it long enough, I'll take pictures, I swear.

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