Saturday, November 22, 2008


That is the number of times that The Sleepless Wonder woke up last night to eat. I fed him 5 times between 7:30pm and 6:30am. And this was after feeding him every 2-3 hours during the day as well. This is not it?!

I know that he is trying to catch up because of the weight that he lost during surgery, but yikes. I'm exhausted. Like, really exhausted.

I was planning on waiting a month or so before introducing solid food (rice cereal), but now I'm wondering if I should do it sooner. Is breastmilk just not cutting it? But then again, I'm not sure if I am suppose to wait until he can hold up his head better, or until his body seems better adjusted from the surgery. And does the fact that he has Down syndrome come in to play when introducing solids?

I'm at a loss here people.

If anyone has any opinions or suggestions, I would LOVE to hear them.

Thank you! : )


Ellen said...

My second nursed like this on occasion (and she didn't have any complicating things like open heart surgery). It is so completely exhausting. It's probably also pretty normal, especially given his weight loss. No advice, just support. Hang in there.

Crescent Moon Mama said...

Breast milk is higher in calories than rice cereal or a vegtable/fruit that you could introduce now. It's a myth that cereal makes them sleep through the night.

Hang in there -- you're just dealing with a growth spurt/surgery catch-up.

Cathy said...

Hey Laurie...I'm sorry that you're having such a hard time!

Lily started rice cereal (w/o permission from her pedi) a couple of weeks before surgery. I was trying to get a little extra weight on her prior to surgery. At that time I was putting it in a bottle with a little slit cut in the nipple. She loved it.

After surgery I had to wait to start it again because did you know that there is fat in some rice cereal (she couldn't have fat due to the chylothorax issue). After I found an organic, fat-free rice cereal I started it up again using a bottle.

I know that you aren't supposed to feed from a bottle and since she can now hold her head up I started spoon feeding about 2 weeks ago. It's slow going, but she is going fairly well with it. Last week I started mixing a little baby food in with the cereal too. It's going great.

Lily is 6 months old now, but from what I've read, introducing rice cereal can start as early as 4 months. She was actually about 3 1/2 months when I gave her about a tablespoon of cereal a day.

I don't know if this helps or not. If you decide to try the cereal, I would LOVE to see a picture of your sticky-faced little man!

Best of luck and keep us updated!!

Cathy said...

I do agree that breast milk/formula is higher in calories and I never use cereal in place of milk. It is added after she has taken her formula for a little boost.

I also agree that it probably didn't help with the sleeping through the night. That's not what I was trying to do though. I was trying to bulk her up prior to surgery.

Jen said...

It sounds normal (although exhausting) for right after surgery. Give him a few more weeks to catch back up.

Evan had started rice cereal a month before his surgery (he was 6 1/2 months at surgery time). He had okay head control, but not great. We used to feed him in his bouncer seat (semi-reclined). He ate the cereal in the hospital while recovering; maybe four or five days after the surgery. I think it's fine if you want to go ahead and start it, and I don't think you need to wait for head control.

I asked our pediatrician if Evan's delays should have anything to do with when we fed him solids or when he quit nursing or taking a bottle. He said no, and that the surgery shouldn't affect it either. He said just treat him like we would any other kid of ours. And still aim get rid of the bottle at around 12 months.

Hope this helps, and that you get some sleep!

Tricia said...

Oh wow. I just had a total DUH moment. Of COURSE Dylan is eating so much more...I think it HAS to be surgery catch up and b/c he probably has so much more energy now. I am only just realizing that this is probably the case (plus, maybe just wanting that extra comfort after a traumatic time...the only time Georgia EVER EVER wanted to be swaddled was for a couple weeks after surgery and she was 6 months then). Plus, she ate a lot. We introduced solids about 2 weeks after surgery. She had decent head control then, but we also used our high chair which can be semi-reclined like Jen said. I would say try to stick it out a little while with the BF alone (not that I am doctor or anything) and see if it plays out after a week or so. If not, if your pedi- says it's ok I'd go ahead and give him some cereal. But then, maybe I just want someone to commiserate with about sleepless nights! :)
But seriously, good luck. And I don't think you have to worry too much about food/DS right now unless D has some kind of swallow or GI issuses?

Georgia does pretty well with foods, although she's picky and does have SOME problems with textures that are too crunchy. Hope that helps SOMEwhat!

Cleo said...

My niece had her OHS when she was 3 months old, because she was extremely under weight due to her severe heart defects, with permission from her pediatrician, she starting having rice cereal, few weeks before her surgery. After surgery, once again she needed to put on some weight, so she continued to be introduced to solids, little by little. Michelle is 7 months old, she has good head control, she is super active, interacts and communicates a lot with everybody and everything, we just treat her like any other baby. She is currently using a bottle and we are also spoon feeding her. She continues to be introduced to solids, little by little, she gets baby food, home made soup, vegetables, fruits, etc., she eats a lot. Laurie, follow your mother instinct, trust that whatever you decide to do is what FEELS right for Dylan and for you :). All the Best ~

Lisa said...

I just want to second what the others have said about it being a myth that cereal or solids helps them sleep better. In fact, if their digestive system isn't ready to handle solids, it can actually make sleeping tougher.

I feel for you, though, as I've been through the whole sleepless nights thing with a few of my other babies. It's rough. I hope little Dylan gets back into a better routine soon!

Lis said...

Tanner started on rice cereal almost from birth as you might remember. Did NOTHING for helping him sleep longer.

Jeanette said...

I have to agree about rice cereal not helping to sleep through the night. I desperately tried EVERYTHING to get my first to sleep through the night. It took 9 months. I was up every 2 hours like clock work. I feel for you.

We introduced cereal with each of our kids when they could hold their heads up well. They will tell you if they are ready... if they are not, they will push it right back out. Especially with the DS tongue. Good luck and hang in there!

Karly said...

My pedi said we could start at 4 months, just like the typical recommendation. Kailey actually had good head control from birth, so we not waiting for that. We started between 5-6 months. We didn't bother with cereal (since there isn't much nutritional value in it anyway) and just did pureed fruits and veggies to get her used to the new tastes. But we used formula, and Dylan is getting used to different tastes through your breast milk. Just go with your gut. Frankly, I think solids are a PITA, so if you didn't think they would help with the sleeping, I probably wouldn't stress too much. You are doing great, mama!

Eva said...

It's so hard to be one of the walking sleeping - awake! Zombies.

My son has Down syndrome - and still remember his days in the nicu with his rigid feeding schedules. He did revert during his last bout with a cold. Just hang in there, Dylan will catch up on his calories and be so much better off with your breast milk than with any cereal.

Your Milk has all the baby needs for his first year. Antibodies to help him fight off colds. Good calories to help him grow and be strong. It's tempting to supplement - and if he's ready to (sitting up, holding his head well) then it's great to give him a taste of this and that! But I know that your body adjusts to what your baby needs without fail. For his first year all your baby truly needs is breast milk. (feel free to argue, but that is what I was told by Le Leche).

It is hard, but you can do it. Just hang in there, and get a good breast pump if don't have one, so that dad can feed the baby and let you get some rest.

Make sure the rest of your family knows that on the weekends (if you are a working mom) that you are going to nap with the baby. That will really help your energy levels too. Sleep when the baby sleeps.

I wish you the best, and love your pictures of Dylan. All the best to you.

- Eva

Derek, Kenzee and Gage! said...

I really don't know the answer, but I am in big trouble after next week! Gage already wakes up constantly because he gets so mad to have his oxygen hooked up to him while he sleeps! But Gage has been eating cereal along with breast milk since just before he turned 4 months, but that is just because the nurse said it will help him get used to different textures. He doesn't eat a lot for volume, you know what I mean? But it is fun to see them with their entire body covered in cereal... that's for sure! :)

Aaron and Amy said...

Good for you for still breast feeding! A lot of moms would have given up long ago. I have to say, I'm jealous - I wanted to BF Matthew so badly, but he just couldn't do it. I really missed it!

All I know is that after surgery, Matthew started eating like a HORSE! He ate, and ate, and ate! And, our nutritionist still had us concentrate his formula for awhile because she said he needed extra calories after surgery. After surgery was the first time Matthew CRIED because he was hungry!

So, hang in there. Dylan is probably just building up your supply by nursing more often, and your body will respond by increasing your milk supply (which may have decreased while he was in the hospital, both from stress and because he couldn't nurse. Pumps just aren't the same.) Meanwhile, much sympathy from someone who knows what it's like to survive on no sleep!

If you need to, you can try a bottle of formula AFTER you nurse him at bedtime. If he's still hungry after he's exhausted your resources, it will "fill the gap," and might buy you some sleep. Supplementing formula once a day won't affect your milk supply.

Thanks for blogging! It's great to see Dylan's adorable smile. It looks like he's doing great!

Amy said...

So sorry he is waking so much for you. I hope he catches up quickly so you can get some sleep.

Anonymous said...

Just my two cents, but Dylan might also be enjoying the closeness of being with you and nursing that he missed when he was in the hospital.
You are doing awesome, Laurie!