My adventures into Motherhood
Everything was going so well, Mikala was settling in and sleeping well and taking quite a lot of milk – a seemingly hungry baby – and then we hit week three. And everything started going pear shaped in the custard hitting the fan. She cried incessantly, she puked up half her feed, she gurgled a weird choking noise in her sleep when you lay her down flat and she really liked to be held….all the time! I didn’t know what to do, Sofia had never had these problems?!? In fact, I never appreciated exactly how content and easy Sof was as a baby until I had Mikala and she turned out so different despite me thinking I could just do what I did the first time.
One Friday Mikala cried all day and I was only getting about two hours sleep a night. I couldn’t function or think straight and I had zero energy for anything more than holding and feeding the baby. Poor Sof didn’t even get a look-in on Mummy’s time, she was Por Por’s girl now, going out to all her activities and play groups with Por Por who would come home with tales from other parents with difficult babies. Their advice? Stick it out until they grow out of it, co-sleep sitting upright in an armchair, carry them round 24/7 in a sling. Ummmm no thanks….. I wanted a content happy little baby, not a monkey on my back! So I decided something had to change, but what exactly??
The first thing I thought we had to address were the reflux-like symptoms. Nath was a serious reflux baby, so I knew we didn’t have it that bad, but I still would prefer a less pukey baby. Infacol drops for wind and some google recommendations for cranial osteopaths were the start. Then we introduced a dummy, to no avail, she kept spitting it out! After more screaming and crying – from the mummy-meltdowns, not just the baby – Por Por asked Aunty Tracy to Skype with me and tell me what’s what. Aunty Tracy is a GP and mother of five. If anyone has seen and heard it all, it’s her. Her best advice for the dummy – hold it in until they take it! Genius! Once we had that sorted I felt like I could hear again! The crying isn’t that hard to take emotionally, but it is irritating in the same way that a ringing phone is constantly annoying until you finally rip the whole thing out of the wall.
Next up, the cranial oesteopath Charles Lim. When I called and made an appointment and was told that he only takes payment in cash at the session, I was a bit dubious. But I decided to reserve my stereotypes about dodgy Asians til after I’d met with him. At the first session he asked me a lot of in-depth questions about my pregnancy and delivery. Two things he pointed out I could see for myself, Mikala could turn her head more to one side than the other (neck tension) and she cocked her bum to the left when held upright (possibly from being squashed in utero) so she needed some straightening out. The neck nerves are related to the stomach and could be causing her pukey tummy upsets, anecdotal reviews we’d heard from other parents made it sound like these sessions would cure her, but I’m not that much of a believer. We only saw him once a week for four sessions and babies grow very rapidly in a month, so part of it could have been that, but at the third week Mikala had definitely improved and I was definitely getting more sleep. My only bug bear was that I couldn’t actually see him doing anything?!?! I know it’s a very gentle paediatric process but I swear he was just holding her with his eyes closed in concentration, nothing more. Those that believe in the power of chi or reiki might be more open to how this works, but I am just way too cynical, so it’s just as well I could see tangible results. By the end of the fourth session her neck had full movement to each side and her spine had straightened out. Plus she could also lie comfortably on a flat surface without spilling all her milk and getting cranky.
The biggest change I made in this period was Aunty Tracy’s mandate “Do NOT feed her any more often than every three hours” Yes Sir! Sofia naturally fell into a three-hourly, then four hourly routine and I thought that Mikala would do the same as she grew bigger. Plus all the literature promotes demand feeding so it never occurred to me that I could make the baby do what I wanted rather than the other way around. It didn’t take long for Miki to figure out that if she didn’t eat well when I offered it, she wasn’t going to get anymore for another three hours. Then she started feeding properly and that enabled her to sleep properly with a full tummy. And I had all this spare time to do things with Sofia because I knew that Mikala wasn’t due a feed until a certain time and if she complained about it, it was the dummy for her and some tough bikkies.
Just before we were due to go to NZ for a family holiday for five weeks and four long-haul flights in total, Mikala started sleeping for 6-8 hours a night. It was bliss!! I was so well-rested and everyone was more relaxed and happy and Sofia had her Mummy back instead of a brainless zombie. She was 8 weeks old and apparently fixed!!!