I've done what I'd tell any of my friends to do, were they in my situation. I went and talked to my favourite nurse at the ECHC and I have a referal to Tresillian's residential program. The nurse also talked to my therapist and they have decided it's urgent and that I need to get in ASAP which means I'll get in on a cancellation.
I actually know what the problem is and what needs to be done, but I'm incapable of doing it. Kiz needs to learn to get to sleep without my nipple in his mouth, ideally by himself in his cot, and he needs to eat more food so that he doesn't get quite as hungry during the night. I need to stop feeding him between the hours of say, 11pm and 5am and he needs to be able to get back to sleep and stay asleep without indefinite screaming. Unfortunately I can't do this on my own. It's a tangled circular problem and I can't go in to help the poor little guy get back to sleep in the night, exhausted, wanting to do anything to get back to bed, smelling of comfort and his favourite food and expect a few pats to settle him. I can't imagine waking up with a hungry rumble in my tummy and ignoring the smell of toasting bread and bacon frying and I don't believe I can expect the equivelent from a baby.
I could do it, I could wait it out and cope through this period of next-to-no sleep but I'm not sure my sanity, my relationship with my husband would remain unscathed - in fact, I'm not even sure that my children would remain safe from harm with their mother this bone tired. Until we work this out and I get some more sleep I'm going to maintain my holding pattern, trying to get as much sleep as I can, feeding Kiz as much food during the day as I can and getting him to sleep the only way I can (breastfeeding him to sleep). I'm also instituting some of the suggestions from Elizabeth Pantley's book - today's job might be to sketch out a going-to-bed book, and we already attempt an hour of going to bed ritual time, I'm working on developing his relationship with his teddy and helping him to love his cot. Tonight I'm hoping for better than last night - seven wake ups in 11 hours and, like Aprill said, you gotta know when it's time to hire the experts.
So, being the problem solver that I am, I've been thinking about why he doesn't eat and how I can help him eat a bit more food. I think at the beginning he didn't like the sensation of swallowing, because of the sense-memory of mucous and suction from when he was sick with whooping cough as a tiny baby. Now he's a bit older I think the reason he doesn't eat much is to do with his stubbornness. It's a bit freaky having power and control dramas with a kid under one - I had always associated that kind of thing with toddlers, with two-year-olds asserting their independance.Anyhow, the other day I plonked a bowl of weetbix down in front of him and let him at it. To my surprise he knew what to do with it. He stuck the spoon in the bowl and then in his mouth and then actually swallowed what went in his mouth, rather than spitting it straight out.
So I've just been running with that, letting him make as much mess as he wants, helping him out when he seems to want it. As soon as food starts coming out of his mouth again I wipe him off, wipe the highchair, wipe the floor, remind myself that there will be less wiping up one day and we do something else. At best he's eaten about 60ml (3 tablespoons) volume of food in a day (yesterday) which doesn't seem to be enough. I know a five-month-old who eats that much each meal. Hopefully soon it will start being more satisfying to him and he can get more of his calories during the day so he won't wake so much at night. And the No-Cry Sleep Solution will help me to get him to sleep better by himself and if it doesn't then we'll be off to Tresillian because I'm getting pretty close to the end of my tether here.