We've made it to our last week in China! I'm not sure if I'll get a chance to update next week. We'll be on the plane next Saturday, hopefully with a sleeping baby.
This has been a week of some big changes for Brax, and also a slightly more frustrating week for me. Or I should say, part of me gets frustrated with the constant mid-nap wakings and the sudden middle-of-the-night wakings, and the other part of me stands aloof and laughs at what small things become so huge when you have a baby. The big changes we went through? Letting both arms out of the swaddle, extending daytime feeds, and dropping the dreamfeed. Pretty monumental. Right up there with starting kindergarten and puberty, I would say.
Sarcasm aside, it does feel good to have transitioned with those things before we leave and to have a week to adjust before we throw a total day/night reversal at ourselves and our baby. At least we'll know what kind of routine to aim for as we all adjust from jet lag, live in three different places, travel to Georgia, and then travel home. By which time Brax will be 4 1/2 months old and certainly have gone through even more transitions.
Did I mention that he and I will be in a different house every week for the next six weeks? Between now and September 1, we'll actually have been in 7 different houses, 2 countries, 2 states, 3 time zones (not counting the ones we cross), and at least 6 different planes. Fun times! I am looking forward to the Georgia visit. But I'm also looking forward to September 1 and being able to relearn what settled feels like.
Now for the extended version of the weekly summary...
While Brax is still going all night without being fed, he's started waking in the middle of the night and fussing for a few minutes before falling back asleep. I actually did feed him one night when I woke up and was afraid he had already been crying for a while. But I don't think he needed it. He's also started waking between 6:15 and 6:45 before I get him at 7. Sometimes I don't even realize he's been awake but he's awake when I get him. Other times, he chatters or fusses a little off and on. It doesn't seem to bother him, though.
In the midst of those disruptions, we decided to go ahead and drop the dreamfeed. He was barely waking up for it and barely eating anything. So I thought he might sleep better at night without it. Thursday was the first day without it, and it didn't really seem to change much with the night sleep. So we're sticking with no dreamfeed for now, which means he goes to bed around 8 and gets up at 7. And usually sleeps 10-10.5 hours out of that 11-hour span. It's a very weird feeling to have him sleep so long, but soooo nice to have our evenings uninterrupted!
The mid-nap waking that was an occasional problem before became more regular this week. He has been waking 30-60 minutes into most naps, fussing for 20-30 minutes, then falling back asleep. I've been confused as to whether I should keep him awake longer before each nap, as he often doesn't seem that tired when we put him down, or if he's overstimulated and needs to go down earlier. After some trial and error, I've decided that overtiredness doesn't keep him from falling asleep that often, even though it's apparently a big problem for most babies. So we're now trying to keep him up longer and not put him down until he really seems tired (either yawning and getting still or fussy). It worked great this morning--he was up for almost 2 hours but then slept soundly with no peeps for 1hr50m! We'll see how the rest of the day goes.
In the midst of all the other changes, I've also decided to mostly drop the 4th nap of the day. He was only usually sleeping about 30 minutes for it. In the process of dropping the dreamfeed and realizing he was sometimes undertired, we decided to shoot for 3 longer naps rather than 4 shorter ones. We've moved to a 3.5 hour schedule for most of the day, but with the last two feeds being only 2 hours apart and without a nap between them. This is day 2 of that schedule, so I can't say whether it's working or not yet. Though he did sleep better last night and fell asleep more easily at bed time.
He's pretty consistent at feeding for 15-20 minutes these days. I tried keeping him on longer a few times when I was afraid maybe he was growth spurting and I needed to increase milk supply, but he simply didn't want to. Our feeding schedule since we dropped the dreamfeed and 4th nap is 7:00, 10:30, 2:00, 5:30, and 7:30 (right before bed). Those are definitely very approximate times. I've also been pumping right before I go to bed at night, just because I'm nervous about keeping up my supply now that we've dropped to 5 feeds a day. I don't have any indications that this might be happening, but I just want to play it safe for now--at least until we go to the pediatrician next and get an accurate weight check.
We discovered Brax's limit on disruptions this week. We took him out for short activities last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, were home Monday, and then tried to take him out for a good chunk of the day on Tuesday to do some touring with some of Pete's Chinese lab mates. He napped pretty well in the sling during the morning. We fed him a bottle sitting on some stairs at the Forbidden City (with lots of people staring and taking pictures), then we had lunch. Our plan was to put him in the sling again and let him nap for the afternoon while we went to the Hutong. However, he hadn't napped well at all for his first nap of the day, then only for about 1hr and 15m for the second nap, and then we kept him up for almost 2 hours before the third. By then, sleep did not come so easily for him. He fell asleep for about 5 minutes but then woke up. And cried the rest of the afternoon. We were walking down the streets of the Hutong with a screaming baby. So fun. We decided we needed to get home, of course, but the taxi ride was still about 30 minutes. Brax screamed for about 20 of those 30 minutes, until I finally calmed him by holding him over my shoulder and patting his back.
Lesson learned: Brax can get overtired from too many disruptions. And his pleasant, sunny self disappears. Better to spread out the disruptions a little more and make sure he gets at least one good nap in the morning!
Growth and Development
Braxon's ability to grasp things and move them where he wants them is getting better. He still loves his gym, but I also sometimes just let him lay on the bed and look around without the stimulation of all the toys. He seems to like that for a few minutes at a time. He's discovering new sounds that he can make with his mouth, as well.
I do think he may have mild torticollis that probably caused the currently crooked flat head. He has great neck control, but when he's upright (standing or sitting), his head definitely tilts to his left. He's willing to sleep with his head turned either direction, but because it's flatter on his right side, that's naturally where he rests it. I kind of hope the pediatrician can give me a helmet that he can just wear while he's sleeping. I think that would solve the problem at this point. I don't want him to have to wear a helmet 24/7 if we can avoid it, but I don't see the flat spot rounding out on its own unless he becomes a tummy sleeper.
I'm getting dizzy from hunger. so I think it's time to stop and eat. One of the bonuses of living in China is that most restaurants do free delivery--with no tip required. But, we've learned that our address is a difficult one for delivery men to find. And Pete's Chinese isn't quite good enough to give them really clear directions over the phone. So we're currently waiting for Indian food to be delivered--and both starving. Come on, delivery man!