Mama Duck
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Thursday, January 22, 2004

Why we don't co-sleep

The idea of co-sleeping, especially as presented by Dr. Sears and other proponents, is alluring in a practical way. Baby sleeps in bed, nurses as needed and everyone is snuggly and gets more sleep. I considered trying it, but my husband felt strongly that the possibility of overlying far outweighed the potential positive benefits. Instead, we purchased a co-sleeper, a bassinet that attaches to the side of the bed, figuring that being close was close enough. In the five months since the duck was born, I've had two experiences that affirmed out decision not to co-sleep.

In the first days after the duck was born, in the middle of the night I'd take him out of the co-sleeper, and into bed and nurse him in the side-lying position. But the duck and I would both fall asleep, then wake much later and have to start the nursing all over again. One night, though, I fell into such a deep sleep that I had no sense of where the baby was in the bed--I turned over with my back to him and he lay between me and the little ledge of the co-sleeper above the mattress. My husband woke me up, we put the duck back in the co-sleeper and ever since I've gotten up to nurse.

More recently, the baby began to cry in the middle of the night. I took the baby into the bed and began to nurse him. Or at least that's what I thought I was doing. In fact, the baby was still crying, my husband had to get out of bed to calm him and I was lying there, completely convinced in my dream state that I was nursing the baby.

I have friends who have co-slept, either occasionally or habitually. Interestingly, they use the second person when talking about co-sleeping: "Oh, you always know where your baby is in the bed." or "You're aware even when you're asleep; you'd never roll over on the baby."

This may be true for them, and many people have successfully co-slept with babies. Yet my own experiences tell me that I'm not always aware--either of the baby in the bed, or even what's really happening.

The co-sleeper, which seemed like such a good compromise, hasn't worked out so well. Not only did I decide against bringing the baby into bed during the night, but even for the short time that I did, the co-sleeper is taller than our bed, so I had to sit up to pull the duck in, which required rather a lot of leverage and I often had to get out of bed to do so anyway. Additionally, since I had lots of stitches after the birth, movement and leverage was difficult, as was getting into and out of bed, even with the mini-sized sleeper. Eventually we moved the sleeper away from the bed. It's close enough that I can reach into it, but can still get out of bed without trouble.

In retrospect, I think I'd opt for a pack-n-play and a crib rather than the co-sleeper. Like most baby items, I think it's only through use over time that I could conclude this. Many of the product reviews on various sites are by people whose baby hasn't yet arrived, so their comments are of limited help.

posted by Mama Duck8:20 PM


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Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Nighttime can be scary

Bedtime is intimidating time. Will he go to sleep quietly? Will he get up in the night? Once? Twice? More? If he gets up, will he go back to sleep easily?

Right now, the duck has bronchiolitis, caused by RSV, which he picked up in daycare. Our doc said it has a three week trajectory: the first week it looks like a cold with a cough, then gets worse, the second week it stays the same and the third week it gets better. We're just in week two. He's waking a few times at night from his cough, sometimes so bad that he's choking. It's quite alarming sounding, but the doc assured us it would get better. He's also got an ear infection as part of the prize package, so we're treating that with antibiotics. His breath smells of strawberry jello instead of milk now.

For a long time, getting the duck to sleep felt like a total crapshoot as to when, how and how long. For me it's only been the last month to six weeks that things have finally started to feel less random and more routine. Then this bugger of a virus came along and has upset some of the tenuous gains I felt we'd made.

But he's sleeping now in his carseat on the floor next to a warm mist humidifier. My husband and I are each working half days tomorrow and Friday, which is convenenient for no one, but is better than sending the duck back to daycare too soon.

posted by Mama Duck8:19 PM


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Sunday, January 18, 2004

The Secret to Parenthood

I've confirmed the one thing that makes the critical difference in how I feel about being a parent.

Love? Maturity? Patience?



If I've had enough sleep, I'm able to love being a parent. If not, I find myself pursing my lips, clenching my jaw, and taking no consolation in the empathy I feel for parents who have done unspeakable things to babies.

The duck has his first serious cold. For the first few nights, his cough would periodically wake my husband and me, but the duck would slumber on. Not so the last two nights. The night before last, he woke not once, not twice, but three times. I was reeling with fatigue yesterday as I hadn't done in weeks. All perspective and joy was leached away. Last night he only woke once, so today has been a bit better.

If I could do one thing better at being a parent, it would be to get more sleep. I was terrible about napping during the newborn stage--even when I did manage to lay down I rarely slept. It's hard--there's always something else to do, and often that something else is also pretty important, like eating. Years from now I'll look back and won't remember the loads of clean laundry, the phone calls or the vacuumed floors. But I would probably still appreciate the residual benefits of having more sleep. I hereby renew my resolve.

Yet, as soon as he's over this cold, he's probably going to begin teething. It's about that time.


posted by Mama Duck7:22 PM


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Thursday, January 15, 2004

Pampers v. Huggies

The moms I consulted prior to the duck's arrival were almost unanimous in their endorsement of Pampers Swaddlers as the diaper of choice. I have tried the competition, Huggies Supreme, and this is what I found.

Huggies feature Disney Pooh characters. Pampers have baby Sesame Street characters and the Back to Sleep logo.

They cost the same when not on sale: $9.44 at Target for a pack.

But Huggies run small. And the bigger the diaper size, the fewer diapers in a pack. For instance, right now the duck wears size 2 Pampers but size 3 Huggies. But there are only 36 size 3s in a Huggies pack, compared to 46 Pampers. So when I did what felt logical and bought the Huggies because they were on sale and I had a coupon, the Pampers were still less expensive, because he can wear the smaller size and we can get more diapers per pack.

We've never had a wet leak with Pampers, though we've had poop blowouts. With Huggies, though, we had a few wet leaks in addition to blowouts, which seem to try even the hardiest diaper. And for those, I've found that the Dreft stain remover gets them right out in the wash.

The Huggies ads say no leaks, but that hasn't been my experience. Give that they're more expensive, even on sale and with a coupon, I don't see any reason to try them again.

posted by Mama Duck2:16 PM


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Cough and a cold

The duck has had a couple colds already, thanks to the Minnesota winter and daycare. The first two, though, weren't a big deal. Just a runny nose and no fever. So when he got a third one last week, I thought it was a pain, but no big deal. Then he started acting fussier and developed a cough two nights ago. When he woke to eat at 4:20 the next morning, his temperature was about 102. High, but not call-the-doctor high and when I took it again later it was down to just over one hundred.

The cough, though, takes sick to a new level. Before, I worried about the stuffy nose and his being able to breathe at night. Now that's even more difficult for him, and when he's awake and coughing he often gets very upset, or very sad. He'll cough up some goop, which will get stuck in his throat, then start to cry. But he can't cry very loud because of the goop, so he lets out a thin, piteous wail that's both truly heartbreaking and actually kind of cute. So I carry him, and snuggle him, and tell him that he's doing a great job of coughing up phlegm and that it sucks to be sick but it will get better.

I know he probably can't understand me, but I hope that the encouraging, sympathetic tone might be a help.

posted by Mama Duck2:07 PM


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Sunday, January 11, 2004

Where to even begin?

It's been so long since I've written I don't even know where to start. What of the topics in my head I should settle on. Useful/useless baby products? Poop? Derogatory use of the term baby? Breastfeeding trauma/drama? Being both anxious and glad that he isn't rolling over and sitting up?

I'll go with poop.

Do you want to know how to make your baby poop?

Call the doctor.

The Boy switched within a week from pooping a few times a day to pooping once a day, then every other day, and then not for 72 hours. I was concerned. I scoured books and the web for whether this was a problem. I assumed since I couldn't find anything that said it was that it probably wasn't. But when the baby went for his second 72 hour stretch, bringing his total number of poops in a week to what he used to do in a day, we called the doc.

Who said that it was totally normal for babies who are a few months old to go for long stretches; his son had gone only once a week at that age. Breast milk is so efficiently digested that less frequent poops are normal and we shouldn't worry.

Then, of course, the baby pooped three times in a day. Wants to keep us guessing, he does.

posted by Mama Duck6:46 PM


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