Yeah, Sofi woke me up at three-something with a little fussing and now I'm wide awake for whatever reason.
Hey, where is everybody? I tell you, I stop blogging for a couple weeks and now that I'm back not a single comment? I went back to work, people, I can't spend all my time blogging for you anymore.
After Sofi was born, my chess rating dropped 150 points. What that means is the pre-Sofi Jamie would beat me at chess something like 7 out of 8 games. Mark Nau warned me that babies make you stupid. Here's empirical proof.
A couple weekends ago I decided it was time for Sofi to quit sleeping in our room and make a nursery. I moved the crib halfway, realized it wouldn't fit through the door of the future nursery to be, moved it back to the bedroom and spent the rest of the day watching Babylon 5...constantly interrupted by baby needs, of course. Maybe I'll try again next month.
Sofi's eight weeks old as of yesterday, and, new record: she went from eleven to seven between feedings last night! Woo!
On the other hand, lately she's been not happy about sleeping in the crib. I read in *Sleeping Through The Night* that co-sleeping can lead to sleep problems later but right now it seems to help her sleep longer.
Let's see, other milestones: we've heard her laugh, we think; she can sort of rub her eyes, sometimes (not sure if she's doing it on purpose or not).
The formula trick, by the way, did seem to help; she started going four-five hours between feedings after a tanking up of formula. BUT...last night we didn't give her any...so we've failed to reject the null hypothesis. (I'm not sure I ever noticed until now that phrase I learned in statistics class is actually a triple negative. Awesome.)
Formula makes babies sleep longer. Discovered this reading *Sleeping Through The Night*. And anecdotally, we gave Sofi 4 oz of formula around noon yesterday; at 5 she was in a near-coma. Going to try an experiment, where we give her the formula later, so the coma happens at night. Maybe we'll get a good four hours of straight sleep! I'll let you know how it goes.
What I said about Ferber a week ago: I've relented. I was weak. I only did it for one morning and then stopped. Cathy never did approve. We're back to being baby slaves, jumping at the first sound of distress. Last night, it felt like it was practically hourly. And I wasn't technically a Ferber baby, either: although mom and dad started skipping my midnight feed after I was just a month old, they did try (although they failed) to soothe me while I cried for the lost meal. They didn't just leave me to cry it out on my own.
So there it is: I'm a bad person, I neglected my baby, and possibly caused her brain damage if you believe what some of the websites say about crying babies.
Oh yeah, and those products I didn't like in my first post? Now we actually use the boppy and the bouncer. (We don't typically use the 'bounce' feature of the bouncer, it's really just a convenient chair, but still.) Shows what I know.
I wanted our baby to be breastmilk only, mostly because of second hand, possibly apocryphal things I had heard long ago about the Nestle company killing babies with free samples of formula. The idea is formula is like crack: once a baby tries it, she'll never go back to the boring old breast. The way I heard the story about Nestle was that they'd have a free sample of formula and then never eat from the breast again. (Googling around for it just now I came across this, which makes it sound like the Nestle company is not as evil as I was led to believe.)
So, when we were starving our baby with breastfeeding, I came off high and mighty. "We'd really rather not use any formula," I said. (BTW, I hadn't done the math right and didn't realize just how much weight our baby had lost - I thought it was under 10% but really it was over 15. If we were metric I wouldn't have made the mistake...) Our pediatrician ignored me and gave Sofi some right then and there, and gave us instructions to supplement and to figure out how to actually breastfeed so the baby gets some.
In order to solve our problem we had to pump breast milk. Pumping breast milk is one of the strangest things I've ever seen, like something out of some kind of science fiction S&M movie directed by David Cronenberg. There's nothing natural about it, and it's bizarre how we have to go through this unnatural act in order to finally accomplish something that's supposedly natural. Breastfeeding is cheaper than formula but after what we've spent on pumps and cushions and consultants we may give formula a run for its money.
We also had to use formula. And guess what? Our baby did not take to it like crack. In fact, the first time we tried to give her formula, we couldn't get her to figure out how to drink from the bottle. (Side product-endorsement note: Playtex nipples worked better for our baby than Avent.) When we finally did get her to drink from the bottle, we had no problem getting her to go back to the breast. Right now, we bottle feed her a couple times a day, usually from pumped breast milk but not always, and the rest of the time its breast feeding. I figure she gets about six ounces from the bottle and the remaining eighteen or so from the breast each day.
Which means, thanks to our pediatrician, and despite breast nazis like Dr. Spock and crowd, we've accidentally stumbled on a best-of-both-worlds scenario. Sofi's getting all the nutritional and health advantages of breastfeeding, plus I get to feed Sofi too, plus when Cathy doesn't feel like breastfeeding she doesn't have to, plus we can have babysitters, plus Cathy isn't chained to the baby.
We went to a parenting class last night, for babies 0 - 6 months. The class was about two minutes of instruction and an hour of singing to our babies. I found the whole thing kind of freaky and disturbing and lame. I think one of two things are going on here:
* I've always wanted to be "cool", too-cool-for-school, the kind of guy who cultivates an "I'm bored with everything" attitude. Campfire songs are lame, organized social events are lame, everything's lame. Now that I'm a father, maybe this is a part of me I have to kill.
* Maybe it really was lame. I looked around: of the twenty or so babies in the class, maybe one or two seemed to enjoy and respond to being sung to. It's as if even the babies thought it was lame. Hey, who knows? Maybe we become too-cool-for-school as a sort of reaction to all this toucy-feely pap we're fed as children.
What's going on here? I'm some kind of pro-Ferber anti-singing parent? Maybe I should change the name of this blog to fathercurmudgeon.
"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? Maybe, if they screamed all the time for no apparent reason." - Jack Handy
A couple of weeks ago I thought we lucked out and got one of those easy babies. She was sleeping five, six hours at a stretch at night, and seemed happy and content during the day. Alas, it was not to last. Lately she'll wake up in under an hour, for whatever reason: gas, food, diaper, "I just want to be held", and seemingly for no reason at all.
Dr. Spock says that when a baby cries we should attend to her: at this stage in her life she needs to be reassured that the world is a safe place. Dr. Ferber - recently made popular in *Meet the Fockers* - says we should let the baby cry, weather the extinction burst (behaviorism term: increase in a behavior when the reinforcing stimuli is removed), because we have been creating the crying ourselves by reinforcing it. Dr. Karp says calm for the first three months, then the rules change.
I wanted to be a follower of Dr. Spock and Karp, I really did, but it's just too exhausting. Plus, I was a Ferber baby, and if it was good enough for me, it's good enough for Sofi. (Although my dad says he still feels guilty about doing it that way.) She's crying right now. And here I am, writing a blog entry instead of attending to her.
Ah, there, she stopped. Self soothing! Yay Ferber.
We woke Sofi up for New Year's so we could get a photo of Sofi's first New Year and after a feeding it seemed like she was going to fall right back asleep but - NO! Three hours later she was ready for her next feeding without managing to drift off once, and I stayed up trying to calm and soothe her. At three I handed her off to her mother (who had been sleeping in the guest room) and managed to get some sleep myself. While she was up, I started reading *Sleeping Through The Night*, a gift from my brother and sister-in-law that says that in the first six weeks you really can't control when your baby is going to sleep or not, and the best thing to do is to nap when your baby naps.
I just can't do it. I've tried several times now. Even though I'm very tired, I lie down and try to nap. This last time, just now, I tried counting prime numbers. I made it into the hundreds and realized I didn't know my over-ten multiplication well enough to go any further. So I started going over my over-ten times tables in my head. I hear the neighbors walking overhead. I start stressing: I better get to sleep soon, or the baby's going to wake up before I drift off. I'm like the overtired child who can't get to sleep because she's upset that she's so tired. Eventually I gave up, got up, and wrote this blog entry.
One thing Cathy and I do that does work is spell each other: every couple nights one of us will let the other sleep in the guest room while they do all the baby-tending. So we manage to get a good night sleep out of every four or five.