Tuesday, May 23, 2006

With Much Wailing & Gnashing of Gums

As I predicted, this evening has not been easy and it's only 10:30. I further predict a long night ahead.

I took Amelia up to bed, as usual, at 6:30, gave her a quick bath and then settled down to feed her. I lay down with her as usual. However, as she stopped feeding, but was still awake (although very very drowsy), I picked her up and placed her in her cot. This, naturally, surprised her and startled her into a state of sudden alertness! After all, every day of her life she has fallen asleep next to me, at which point I've either moved her into her cot already asleep or left her sleeping in our bed. I then sat with her rocking the cot gently, letting her suck my finger from time to time until she fell asleep. She did sleep and only took a little longer than usual and with no small amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth - or gums to be precise. I didn't note exactly how long it took, but I did have enough time to read Barnaby about half of The Cat in the Hat before he, too, fell asleep. By 7:30 Sheep and I were downstairs together, comparing notes, having successfully put them both to bed with no rocking on his behalf and no falling asleep next to me on her behalf.

Our expressions of self-congratulation were premature, to say the least.

Foolishly, I decided to take advantage of the early hour to do some baking (in preparation for the NCT Coffee Group which are meeting at our house tomorrow. Eeeek!). Well, I can report that I have finished baking cookies and flapjacks, but with about 4 interruptions from Amelia. (To be fair, I should also add that Barnaby has also woken twice, due to a cough he has, and Sheep has re-settled him, so both of us have been up and downstairs like a pair of yo-yos all evening).

The first two, or was it three, times Amelia awoke, I sat beside her, not saying anything apart from an occassional "shush", rocking her cot and letting her suck on my finger intermittently, in order to comfort her if and when she became too distressed. Each time it took between 20-30 minutes to resettle her, at which point I would run downstairs in order to do a bit more baking (I fear the quality has suffered greatly) before the next wails over the monitor. Just before 10:00 she awoke again and this time I decided to feed her, so I took her into our bed, we lay down for a feed, as usual, and afterwards I repeated my actions from the beginning of this evening. I am now on her first post-feed (i.e. fifth (?) awakening) re-settling duty. I am typing one-handedly as she intermittently sucks on the little finger of my left hand: I am trying to perfect the "Pantley-Pull-Off": the method Elizabeth Pantley recommends for breaking the sucking sleep-assocation. This is what I am trying to do:

Pantley's gentle removal plan

"When your baby wakes, go ahead and pop his pacifier or his bottle in his mouth, or nurse him. But, instead of leaving him there and going back to bed, or letting him fall asleep at the breast, let him suck for a few minutes until his sucking slows and he is relaxed and sleepy. Then break the seal with your finger and gently remove the pacifier or nipple.

Often, especially at first, your baby then will startle and root for the nipple. Try to very gently hold his mouth closed with your finger under his chin, or apply pressure to his chin, just under his lip, at the same time rocking or swaying with him. If he struggles against this and fusses or roots for you or his bottle or pacifier, go ahead and replace the nipple, but repeat the removal process as often as necessary until he falls asleep.

How long between removals? Every baby is different, but about ten to sixty seconds between removals usually works. You also should watch your baby's sucking action. If a baby is sucking strongly or swallowing regularly when feeding, wait a few minutes until he slows his pace. Usually, after the initial burst of activity, your baby will slow to a more relaxed, fluttery pace; this is a good time to begin your removal attempts.

It may take two to five (or even more) attempts, but eventually your baby will fall asleep without the pacifier or nipple in her mouth. When she has done this a number of times over a period of days, you will notice the removals are much easier, and her awakenings are less frequent."
Elizabeth Pantley

But it's time consuming. Really time consuming: it takes about half an hour to resettle her each time. Oooh, I think she's off! It's 11:05. How long will this last for? As I said before, I predict a long, long night ahead. I'm off to snatch a couple of minutes to finish cleaning the kitchen. It's 11:30, I am back from cleaning the kitchen (and putting the flapjacks and cookies into airtight containers ready for tomorrow). Amelia is still asleep. I will post the events of the rest of the night tomorrow. Wish me luck. Yawn.

Final post-script. I checked out the frequency distribution of the incidence of SIDS. See the chart below. It seems as if we are out of the most dangerous period (1-2 months) but not yet in the clear.

Source: The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths


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