I neglected to post weeks 4-6 so I am going to combine them together, which is good because I feel like nothing huge changed between these 3 weeks.
I still continue to nurse one side per feeding, but there are some feedings now where I find myself nursing him from both breasts. My crazy over active let down is still in full force during these weeks, but I have at least found ways to cope with it- see this post for more on that. I started to suspect some issues other than a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance because breastfeeding became extremely difficult around 6 weeks old. While part of the breastfeeding difficulty is probably related to a growth spurt, what really concerned me was how he would pull of a scream and kick while nursing. He was also terribly gassy at the time. I spoke to a few baby wise friends that I have made on line and the suggested possible silent reflux or food allergies. I spoke to my sons doctor and he suggested that I cut out all dairy (which I had already done) and a few other items. I have found that what was truly causing the problem was caffeine!!! I was drinking 1-2 cups of coffee in the morning and then having a chocolate dessert at night. I might even have another soda or coffee in the afternoon if I was really dragging. I think I was overloading my system and poor little Haydon’s system with caffeine. After being off caffeine for over 3-4 days, he was like a totally different child. Nursing became much easier. He stopped pull off and screaming and kicking his legs. I also found that cutting out citrus helped, especially with diaper rash that he was getting. It still takes me about 20-30 minutes to complete a feeding, but at least I am able to get him to take a full feeding. He was also eating every 2-2.5 hours during this time. Like I mentioned before, I think he was in a growth spurt season.
Wonder Week 5:
Haydon hit wonder week 5 during this time. He was extra needy- wanting to be held more. His naps, which were averaging 1.5-2 hours, were more like 45 minutes. Haydon would gladly sleep in someone’s arms, but boycotted his crib it seemed. Evenings were not so good, which could also be a product of his wonder week or perhaps a witching hour. He just did not want to settle at night and refused to take a catnap. He was often awake from 6-9/10pm with little snoozes here and there, but no real sleep. I was cluster feeding in the evenings about every 2 hours from 6pm until he finally went to sleep. Once I realized that he was in the mist of a wonder wee, the crazy witching hours seemed to make more sense. By the end of week 5, Haydon seemed more content and had become more alter and aware of his surroundings. He began to turn his head to see different sound or people, as well as tracking objects with his eyes. By week 6, Haydon gave his first social smile. Oh, I just love those toothless baby open mouth grins!
During these three weeks, I was only able to stay consistent with a starting wake-up time to our day. From that point on, I ended up feeding about every 2-2.5 hours during the day. His naps were just not extending long enough to complete a longer enough wake, eat, sleep cycle. His wake time during this time remained about 45-50 minutes. he went down very easy for all his naps so I know I achieved the right amount of waketime for him. Naps were about 45-60 minutes long. I did get an occasional 1.5 hour nap here and there. I tired to extend his naps if he woke early by giving him a paci, shush/patting him, or rubbing his head- non of these things works. I also tired letting him cry if he woke early, but that too proved to be counter-productive because he does not have the self-soothing skills in place to help himself back to sleep. Plus, since this was smack dab in the middle of a wonder week and growth spurt, crying-it-out would just be counter productive. So, I thought I should accept it and treat it like a growth spurt and then start a new wake, eat, cycle. My goals was for Haydon to be in bed for the night by 8pm, but due to his witching hour, I was not always able to achieve this. He started off only waking once in the middle of the night for a feeding, but by week 6, he was back to waking twice at night for feedings. I attributed this to his growth spurt. (by week 7, he was back to waking only once at night). He was able to go 6 hours between bedtime and his first middle of the night feeding at this time.
I have to admit. I was tired. Nursing a very difficult to feed baby every 2-2.5 hours and taking care of 3 other children (two 2 year old toddlers and a 3.5 year old preschooler) was very very exhausting. I found myself getting very weepy over little things. I was easily angered. The combination of sleep deprivation and a difficult baby who was eating so frequently and take such short naps was just wearing me down. My husband reminded me that I got this way with all of my children between around this age. I knew that this phase would pass, but when you are in the thick of it all- sheesh- all you want to do is cry. Do you know what I mean? Don’t get my wrong, I just love my son Haydon and my other 3 children, but sleep deprivation is real and so are the baby blues. I am just glad I have a husband who is very supportive and loving to get me through this phase.