Friday, December 4, 2009

Four-Month Well Visit

Well, Cayden is thinning out and becoming more proportional, although he's still at the top of the growth charts. His stats are as follows:

Head Circumference: 18 inches (97th percentile)
Length: 26.5 inches (95th percentile)
Weight: 19 pounds, 3 ounces (97th percentile)

Dr. Baker gave us the green light to start solid foods, so I brought the high chair up from the garage this morning, and as soon as Chicken Wing wakes up, I'll start putting it together while he plays.

We may try some rice cereal tonight -- about a tablespoon mixed with breastmilk and fed to him using a baby spoon (rather than bottle, because of choking hazard), all as the doc recommended.

Doc Baker says he approaches sleep and BF kind of in the middle of the two extremes. While he thinks Cayden is a little young at four months for hard-core Ferberizing, he does think we can encourage him to learn self-soothing and putting himself to sleep by repeatedly presenting him opportunities to do so. He says to keep putting him in the crib, but if he screams and cries, we can certainly pick him up and soothe him, but then put him back down in the crib. His theory? After 8, 10, 12... tries, Cayden will start to learn it's just easier to fall asleep than fight it and go through the up-down, up-down routine.

The doc is also confident Cayden is eating more at night following the days I'm away from him, because he simply couldn't grow like this if his intake all day long was comparable to the 13 ounces he has during the 10 hours away from me. So he's not concerned about night feedings or feeding on demand at this point. He said that if multiple night feedings are still interrupting sleep around 9 months, then we'll explore whether or not he's looking for food or something else.

In short, Dr. Baker says we shouldn't worry about developing bad habits at this point. He says we're still in "survival mode" -- very common with a four month-old breastfed baby -- and that he wouldn't worry about bad habits until somewhere between 9 and 12 months.

Kind of reassuring, but also kinda not, since he basically said to keep doing what we've been doing (even trying the bedtime CIO we did for the past two nights with questionable results) and keep looking for opportunities to help him learn to self-soothe and go to sleep on his own.

About the past two nights' bedtime CIO routines: they were tough on us (we were both ready to quit at varying points each night), but both nights he did fall asleep on his own within an hour, and he slept until 2 or 2:30 each time. 40 minutes of crying Wed. night and 50 minutes of crying last night. Heartbreaking. But the progressive waiting approach did allow him reassurance every so often that we were still around, and he had eaten shortly before, so we knew he wasn't hungry. Just unhappy. It's tough stuff bein' a baby.

And bedtime CIO, whether it becomes regular or occasional, it about all we can take at this point. Doc Baker did say he doesn't recommend pushing it to nighttime wakings at this point, which is A-OK by us. His little I-cried-for-almost-an-hour-last-night puffy eyes this morning -- although he was all smiles and giggles when he woke -- were enough to convince me that taking small steps forward is plenty progress for now.

Oh, and Dad's biggest concern was put to rest. Before bathtime and after naked tummy time, Shorty's "shortie" usually shrinks back so that you can barely see it. But "disappearing penis" is actually a medically recognized and completely normal condition in infants. It looks funny, but it's nothing for Dad to worry about.

1 comment:

MEM said...

I love the contrast between Mom's big concerns and Dad's big concerns. :-) Glad to hear Cayden's visit went well!! Hope that the 5th month brings you sleep!