My daughter looked a bit worried as she dropped off her son to my house yesterday morning. She was on call last night and was a bit worried how I’d cope, “He was up all night Mama,” she cautioned me, “I just had to rock him back at least once every hour! But even if he wakes up, don’t give him a feed!” At eight months and getting on to nine, he was still one of those fussy sleepers.
Of course he slept well during the day but during the nights he would get up, sometimes crying in his sleep, at other times for a feed. And despite eating three solid meals in the day, he would insist on getting up for a quick snack at night. Funnily enough he dropped his 4 am feed but it was the 2 am one that he refused to shake off. What was irritating though was the fact that he would just about have an ounce or so before going back to sleep.
And to make matters worse, these past two weeks of a cough and cold left him breathing heavily, his pacifier dropping off from time to time as he breathed through his mouth and all in all leaving him quite sleepy as a result.
Of course we got lots of advice on how to tackle this:
- Sleep train him – even if he cries don’t pick him up
- Give him a pacifier – that will do the trick – actually it did, till the pacifier fell out of his mouth and he would get up crying for us to put it back in!
- Give him some water – babies sleep with their mouths open and often wake up with parched mouths and a little water will do the trick – oh no! Our little one knew the difference between water and milk.
- Give him homeopathy – babies often cry when they are growing so that helps
- Give him a massage with sesame seed oil just before he sleeps – that soothes the bones when they grow at night.
- Feed him khichdi at 11 in the night – that will tank him up and he’ll sleep the rest of the night – yes this weird suggestion was actually made by his pediatrician which we flatly refused to follow
The poor girl and her husband has spent several nights rocking the little one to sleep, sometimes walking up and down as he breathed through his blocked nose. One of the remedies the pediatrician suggested apart from the medication was to substitute his afternoon milk feed with green tea and to dilute his night feeds with half the amount of formula. Well, this worked like a charm. The cough and cold vanished, the teeth erupted and baby was back to his cheery self.
However, the problem of dropping the 2 am feed persisted. Baby would get up at night and want an ounce. Four nights ago baby woke up for his post midnight snack but before my daughter could fix it for him, he fell asleep while being rocked by his father till she fixed the bottle. She realized then that just rocking him sent him back to lala land. So she persisted for the next three nights. Last night he would be with me and she was anxious as to how he’d behave. Would he go back to sleep with some gentle rocking or would he bring the house down and force me to give him a feed?
We found out soon enough. After a day of playing with all of us, the little one actually fell asleep on my shoulder while all of us were chatting in the living room. As I was putting him down in his bed, his father made a dash for the pacifier asking me to put it in his mouth before putting him down. I looked at his little mouth shut tight and told him I’d slip it in if and when he woke up. He looked skeptically at his son and went back home sure that he’d hear tales of how he howled and screamed the whole night through. At eleven o’clock he woke up for his feed and went back to sleep.
At around 2, I heard some rustling from his bed but before he could wake up, I gently pressed his legs and arms ( to massage those growing bones!) and he went back to sleep. At 4 am, expecting wails, again I heard the sheets rustle and when I looked at him; his eyes were wide open as was his huge big smile. Resisting the urge to pick him up, I again shushed him back to sleep and rubbed his head and back he went to sleep. It was only at 5 am when he actually cried lustily and before he woke up the house, I quickly grabbed him in my lap and rocked him back to sleep.
When he woke up this morning we realized that he had slept without the pacifier the whole night! So the blocked nose was a good thing because he found it hard to breathe with the pacifier in his mouth. It would seem then that the cough and cold actually had a silver lining because apart from the night feed, it also got him off the pacifier (another difficulty parents’ face) and we were glad we could get rid of two evils in one shot.
So I would advise every parent that there truly is a silver lining behind every dark cloud that looms ahead. Just be patient and wail it out.
As a mother of two thirty-year old daughters and a grandmother of a nineteen week old grandson, Sunita Rajwade has been there and done that. A hands on mom, she has seen two girls grow successfully through baby hood, toddler hood, adolescence and adult hood; solving their maths problems and contributing to their angst of growing up with a mom “who doesn’t understand”. But now as a grandmother, she’s being appreciated for her “wisdom” and “understanding” and would like to share my experiences of this wonderful journey from motherhood to grandmotherhood