Daily Archives: November 22, 2011

Owlet: Fifteen and a Half Weeks

There haven’t been any huge leaps lately, just refining the recent developmental achievements like chatting and grabbing for things. Owlet is officially in size 3-6 month clothes now; she’s a very long baby. She makes a lot more noise all of a sudden. We have reached the squeaky, shrieky stage of vocal exploration, which is a lot sooner than I expected.

One of the significant acquisitions this month has been a Wubbanub. What is a Wubbanub, you ask? It’s an Avent Soothie pacifier with a small plush animal sewn to it. Soothies are terrific pacifiers, used by hospitals all over, but they fall out of the baby’s mouth when they stop actively sucking on them. That may be a deliberate design thing to avoid dependence, I don’t know… but it’s problematic when you have a child who has a strong sucking need. The addition of the small stuffed animal means it’s less likely to fall and bounce away, and it more or less stays put. Chantale told me about these (her daughter got one in the hospital) and I tracked one down at my local high-end mama-baby supply shop. They had only one left, and it was a giraffe, which was the one I wanted out of the half dozen or so available. Owlet loves it: she can cross her arm over her chest and hold the animal in place, and the soother doesn’t fall out of her mouth any more. She can also pick the giraffe up and drag the soother part to the vicinity of her mouth, or just turn it over and over in her hands, exploring all the legs and ears and horns and tail. We call it Gracie.

We have graduated to a legs-out carry in the mei tai, as she had been resisting being tucked in with her legs froggied inside. Because she’s so small, I had to cinch in the middle where she sits with a ribbon. It’s getting chilly, though, so we’ve been opting for a stroller to go to the boy’s bus stop since we don’t yet have a winter outfit for her and all her pant as are too short to keep her warm. She began to complain about lying flat in the landau, so we’ve switched to the seat unit instead with a big thick snuggly cover, and she likes to look around.

The biggest thing to report from the past two weeks is that we gave her a taste of formula. With HRH’s mom retiring and looking forward to grandma days, and Owlet not giving me time to pump to build up a stash, she’s going to need to be fed somehow. And with her digestive system nicely settled down, her feeding issues mostly resolved, and my supply firmly established, I felt a lot more comfortable introducing it to her. I wanted to be sure we had a tested and approved alternate way of feeding her in case I couldn’t for any reason. We tried Sparky on formula as a back-up around three and a half months, too, so the timing seemed good. I had a sample of Nestlé’s Good Start, so I mixed up two ounces of that one evening, and before I gave it to HRH to feed to her, I tasted it myself. It was atrocious, so much so that I told HRH I didn’t want her to have it, but he said we might as well try anyway because it was there. Well, she took one gulp and spat it back out, and I cannot blame her. HRH described the taste as something like rotting fish, and I added tarnished pennies to that description. (I later did some reading on Nestlé’s unethical practices and conscious, ongoing violations of WHO’s rules concerning marketing formula and if she’d taken it, I still would have switched brands.) A couple of days later I picked up some liquid Enfamil, which was the brand we’d fed to Sparky, and I tasted that before giving it to her as well. It tasted a heck of a lot more like my own milk, which was reassuring, and she drank it without batting an eyelash. Her digestive system handled it just fine, too, so it’s good to know we have a backup. She takes about three ounces of milk or formula at a time from a bottle.

Feeding is still happening every hour and a half to two hours. She’s a slow eater and a snacker; she doesn’t ever fill up, she just takes the edge off and then leisurely enjoys the experience, dozes a bit, then does it all over again. I try to stretch the time between feedings by occupying her attention in other ways; the bounce chair, cooking shows while she’s in the high chair, the play mat (now not total anathema, but still not good for very long). I managed to have her for about twenty minutes in the bounce chair while I sat at the spinning wheel last week, where she alternated between whacking at the dangly toys and watching what I was doing while I narrated my long draw technique to her. She’s been resisting the car, which is irritating, because she used to love it; she’ll shriek when put in her car seat, and then she’ll shriek in the car, and that makes going out stressful for us both. The boy was home on a ped day last week so all three of us went out together in the car, and she was like a completely different child: she watched Sparky in fascination, cooing at him now and then. She adores him. We had the first shared sibling bath last week, which was fun, and made bath time a lot more palatable to her, because she was distracted by watching Sparky play while we washed her up.

She is what books call a high-needs child. She craves lots of physical contact, and doesn’t do well on her own. This means she’s been sleeping on or right next to us nine out of ten times. Sometimes we can succeed in slipping her into a cot for about half an hour, but only sometimes, whereas she’ll sleep for an hour or more in a lap. She often falls asleep in the mei tai on the way back from the boy’s bus stop, and sleeps there for an hourish while I answer e-mail or clean or bake. We finally packed away the Amby Bed that was standing unused next to our bed, because she hated being in it. She slept in bed with us until a couple of weeks ago when I started to transition her to a co-sleeper that goes in the parental bed. She hated this thing as a newborn because she was still too far away from us, but she tolerates it most of the time now, because I can snuggle right up to it and she can feel my breath and reach out to touch me. It’s a step towards transitioning her into a sidecar cot, a kind of three-sided mini crib that attaches to my side of the bed that will be her own space, but she’ll still be within reach of me. She’s still eating every couple of hours all night long with each feeding taking about an hour, so getting up to feed her is just out of the question; I’d never sleep. With her in bed with me or right next to me, it’s much easier. I’m looking forward to the sidecar cot. HRH is building it, and so it will be gorgeous and exactly what we want instead of something expensive that isn’t quite right.

I am so looking forward to Owlet growing out of the glomming stage. I’d like to have my evenings back instead of going to bed at eight with her and being stuck there till the next morning. I’d love to have more than an hour of sleep at any given time. I’d really, really like her to eat efficiently, but I don’t think that’s ever going to happen; the way she breastfeeds is just really slow and not very focused, unlike how she’ll take a bottle. That has probably a lot to do with the five weeks of tongue-tie back at the beginning. Granted, she’s a lot better than she was initially, and we’ve done very good work on retraining her, but I suspect it will never entirely click into place. Not an enormous obstacle, because she’s on the cusp of four months, and in a month or so we can think about offering her solids.

I know all babies are different, but I am continually amazed at how she is really so very different from the baby Sparky was.