July 27, 2009

Babysitting A 6 Week Old

(photo taken using my mobile phone) She looks a lot like mummy here but she usually looks more like daddy

Last Friday, hubby and I offered to babysit our 6 wo (week old) niece tonight while her parents go out for dinner to celebrate their 4th wedding anniversary. It was quite an experience!

Bub just visited the doc that afternoon for her routine check up. Because of that, she lost her usual routine and one feed. Just before my SIL and hubby went out, she breastfed bub. And the story was that bub should fall asleep very quickly after her feed if she has had enough to keep her full. Of course we were also given instructions on how to watch out for her spews, changing nappies, warming up cold breast milk, how she will feel secure, etc.

When SIL left, bub was still awake... and after a while, she cried and wailed real bad. No matter what I did, did not help in settling or pacifying her. And I'd say that I am generally confident and quite good at handling and caring for bubs. It did not scare me but I just wonder how else I can stop a wailing bub. I figured that she could be hungry and true enough, she was eagerly sucking and licking my finger knuckle when I put it in her mouth. we warmed up 30ml of milk and fed her, which she drank up fairly quickly. It seems like she was still hungry and so we gave her another 30ml soon after. But her eyes were still quite wide awake and she was supposed to be sleeping!

Bub soon began her cries after she stared blankly for some time. I knew that she was really tired but surprised that she did not sleep no matter how I carried her, cuddle her, sing to her, etc. I decided to ring her parents up to ask if I should give her more milk. Just as I was on the phone, hubby carried her... and soon after, she somehow fell asleep as I warmed up a 60ml feed for her! Well we thought to let her sleep in hubby's arms until she is soundly asleep before we put her down in her cot. We reckoned she only slept for about 15 minutes at the most and she woke up and began to cry again. I quickly fed her with 60ml milk which she gobbled up in no time. And guess what? She is still awake!

By then, she'd have drank 120ml of milk... but it did not require help to make her drowsy to sleep. All these while, she'll cry and wail and stop for a bit and repeat the cycle again. I thought I will give her another 40ml milk... but it did not quite work. In the last 30 minutes before her parents got home, I was sitting on the nursing chair, singing to her and rocking her (even though I generally do not think children should be rocked too much) to try to settle her cries. I found out that if I pop my finger knuckle into her mouth, she will stop crying and she really sucked and licked it pretty vigorously. I suppose that is why pacifiers or dummies worked and helped to settle babies. That also tells me that she is still hungry but I thought I will wait for her mummy to come home to feed her...

My SIL finally returned home and went to feed her immediately. They must have thought that I was traumatised by the experience but really, I was not. If I knew that she was that hungry, I would have fed her a lot at the beginning. The staggered feeds did not satisfy her as she required a good feed at one go. Maybe that was why she was unsettled throughout the 3 hours. But well, my SIL just fed her to almost a full feed before she left and hence I only gave her some later as a supplement. The fact that she missed a feed earlier in the day probably explains why she was really hungry. Well, at least I know that her parents would have done similar to what and how I have handled her.

The night's experience rendered me tired and my back and arms were aching from all the carrying her. Hubby had a true experience of a crying-non-stop baby. Her wails sound soft but when you are carrying her, her wails can be pretty deafening! This gave us a glimpse of how life will be like when we have our own children. I think we recognised that we will have more arguments and quarrels and being impatient with each other at those stressful moments. Well, at least we know that it will probably happen and gives us a chance to be prepared and talk about it now while we are still sane!

But otherwise, it was a great experience to babysit and we would not mind doing it again :)

Hubby with bub and watching tv at the same time

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