Saturday, October 3, 2009

Getting Settled

Today was Charlie’s third full day home and we’re doing our best to get him all settled in to a routine. Right now I feel like Charlie isn't sleeping very well. It seems as though he's simply taking little cat naps here and there but not really settling in to a restful sleep. Joe suggested that Charlie might sleep better if he was swaddled tightly (for some reason we hadn't been doing that) so after his 12:30 AM bottle last night Joe swaddled him up before putting him in the bassinet and Charlie slept for about 3 hours - his longest stretch so far. But after that he went back to the little naps. I think this lack of solid sleep is making him tired and perhaps that is why he hasn't been taking his bottles as well. I feel as if he's not taking as much per feeding as he was in the NICU and he seems so pokey with them, sometimes taking over 45 mintues from start to finish. Many people have suggested to me that Charlie is just getting adjusted to his new surroundings so I'm hoping that's all it is. Any suggestions or experiences?

Aside from these few concerns, things with Charlie are going well. Our dog Tucker met Charlie yesterday and so far the two of them are doing well together, meaning that neither is all that interested in the other. We took Charlie for his first walk this afternoon since the weather was so nice. I pushed Charlie in the stroller while Joe walked Tucker. Tucker had a grand time. Charlie slept. Maybe that's the key to him getting some good rest.... My mom came over this evening to visit with Charlie. She came over with my sister on Thursday, but her co-worker had been sick so my mom did not hold Charlie just in case she was carrying any germs. So tonight was her first time holding him and she enjoyed every second of it. Charlie seemed to enjoy it too - he snoozed contently in her arms the entire time.

Our love bug Lily had a good day. She was super wide awake during my afternoon visit today and her wide-eyed gazing attracted the attention of many of the nurses and doctors. At one point she had three nurses standing over her telling her how beautiful she is. No wonder she doesn't want to leave the NICU - who would want to give up consant adoration? I promised her that we would adore her just as much at home! But in the NICU she is a princess - a fact that was reinforced by her nurse Julia today, who came across a little pink princess crown headband and bestowed it on the Bug. Lily loved wearing the crown and showing off her royalty status to the world.

Tomorrow will mark Charlie and Lily's 99th day of life. We have talked for a long time about wanting to make sure that they didn't hit triple digets while still in the NICU. We made sure to tell this to Lily so she can get her tiny butt home!


Charlie and his Crackers!


The Cuddles and Naps Division is going above and beyond its duties.


This is quite different from the previous visits with Lily; she was wide awake and happy to show off her beauty!


Princess Lily!

30 comments:

Claire said...

Just precious! They are both growing up so much. Lily will be home soon and Charlie will get back to his normal feeds...I can just tell! I just bet that he is figuring out home...even term babies change habits a bit when they come home. I have a friend who has a dog like you (I think!) and his name is Tucker, too. Cool! :-)

Kim said...

I love the crown, so cute!

Rebecca, from CT said...

Absolutely love the crown!!! So cute!!! Hoping that Charlie is able to settle into a more normal routine for sleeping. And Miss Lily Bug needs to get home!!! Hope her 100th day of life will be the day!!

Anonymous said...

Charlie looks very happy to be home... hopefully his sister will be there very soon!! Although who wouldn't like all the extra attention :)

Just wanted to also say that our daughter is the same age as your babies, and we recently tried to switch her sleeping arrangements (to a different bassinet, a little smaller) and she didn't sleep at all for 2 nights (we ended up giving in and switching back so we could get sleep!) When she wasn't sleeping, she wasn't as interested in eating either. So Charlie is probably just getting used to his new environment. He'll learn to sleep better... but in the meantime, he's probably just enjoying the extra mommy and daddy time!

Stephanie said...

Wow Lily is soooo beautiful! I love her big eyes!

Well, keep telling her has one more day to get home and hopefully she will listen!

Kim said...

have you thought of a noise maker? I've heard that preemies usually have this problem because they are use to all the beeps of monitors and nurses working all the time. They aren't cheap, but helping baby sleep better means mommy and daddy sleep better! Good luck and I'm so glad Charlie is home!

Lindsay said...

yay awake Lily! She is adorable!

I like Kim's advice about giving Charlie some noise in his room. We got a $20 sound machine from Bed, Bath and Beyond that we use in our little guy's room. GL!

E. Merritt said...

I agree about the noise. For us, it was too quiet in the babies room when they came home because they were used to the noise in the NICU. Instead of paying for a machine, we simply turned on the radio. Every few days we'd switch the station. About a month ago we invested in an ihome and surrendered my nano to the babies and we made playlists of "baby" music. It now plays 24/7.

Andy and Lisa said...

When we brought our babies home one especially didn't eat as much as when they were in the hospital, but after everyone got adjusted their feeding picked up and they've been eating well ever since. Everyone is right preemies are use to noise from everyone talking in the NICU and all the beeping. They also are use to there being lights on all the time. I read you can gradually get them use to your house by keeping lights and music on then turning it down a little at a time until you no longer need either. When we have one that is fussy we usually swaddle him or her tighter and they fall right to sleep. Lily is beautiful!

The Paro Family said...

It took Jax a while to get into the swing of things at home. He took about an hour with his bottles and attempting to BF was a joke...he just slept through the whole "attempt". My best advice is to keep at it.

The ONLY way my preemie would sleep at night was swaddled with white noise and complete darkness. Took us a while to figure this out, but once we did, he started sleeping through the night every once in a while, and now (we've dropped the swaddle) but he STTN 12-13 hours every night thanks to white noise & darkness.

Precious pictures! Lily is beautiful & look so wide awake! Love her eyes!

The Paro Family said...

ps- for white noise, we use (and LOVE) the Homedics Sound Spa Lullaby aka "baby crack machine"!

MC said...

Our NICU graduates' parents often say that they have to keep a radio going and some lights on when their babies go home. We don't do a great job of keeping it dark and quiet in our NICU (although we try), so transitioning to a dark and quiet sleeping environment can be difficult for them. Maybe a baby CD and a hall light on?

Becky, MN said...

When our son came home he had the exact same troubles, he spent 12 weeks 5 days in NICU. The nurses were sure to tell us that some times preemies have troubles with sensory overload....they can't focus on too many sensory inputs at one time. So as you know eating is a tuffy for these little tikes...We initially thought try to keep him awake for his feedings...it back fired. The more talking, rubbing even rocking in a rocking chair was all sensory input, and he would shut down when eating. We had to be still, and quiet so he could just focus on the bottle. When company would come over, even trying to talk to them quietly while doing a bottle would make the feeding go worse. I know this sounds backwards, because we had to play music for him to sleep well because he was used to the sounds of NICU, but when he was trying to sleep that was it....no suck, swallow, breath, listen to music, deal with rocking motion. We even experimented with it a bit....if he was fussing and you held him close and spun your body in a half circle he'd get overwhelmed by the stimulation and shut down, stop spinning and the eyes would come back open. Same thing with the swing, for the longest time if we put him in it sure he'd go right out, but we weren't sure if it was because he was shutting down or if he was actually enjoying it and sleeping. So we avoided turning the swinging motion on for awile until we knew he could handle the stimulation of it. I'm not sure if we still have the research on this and the handouts from NICU, but I could look if you're interested.

Newman Family said...

Brandon had a hard time sleeping well when he came home from the NICU too. It was always loud in the NICU (the machines noise, nurses talking, etc.) and at home it was so quiet.I started turning the tv in our room on low and Brandon slept so much better. Eventually he was able to sleep without it.

Anonymous said...

Great pictures! The one with Lily and the crown was adorable.

What seems to be a huge concern about sleeping is... normal! :) Welcome to the world of parenting! LOL. Keep Charlie awake as much as possible during the day. Take him for walks. Try not to give him a nap too late at night. He'll develop a pattern. YOU guys are going to have to adjust to his schedule, not matter how hard you try! :)

Glad to see you're all doing well!

Cheryl

Anonymous said...

It's so nice Charlie out for a walk! Soon you will have 2 babies to walk! These pictures are so cute! Lily is, of course, a little princess! She's so pretty!
About Charlie not sleeping, I have to agree with everyone else, maybe he needs some noise. Just a radio should work... maybe a CD of nature sounds. Good luck & I'm sure it will just get better with time.

Katie said...

Try the Original Slumber Bear - here's the website from Babies R Us - I'd send it to you but I don't know your address...this is the only thing that worked for us when we bought both of our daughters home from the hospital. They are used to having the noise to sleep.

http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2401349

Other than that, I agree with the others about Charlie's feedings. One thing I have learned is that every time my daughters reached a milestone, they took a step back in something else. So that could be what you are experiencing.

I hope Lily comes home soon. I'm rooting for you guys! I don't know you, but I have come to love you all!

Momma said...

Oh, Brooke I had been away for awhile and had no clue that Charlie was home and Lily was close..this is amazing news, I am so happy for everyone!

Although neither of my children were preemies I certainly found that the long walks in the fresh air did amazing things for them and helped them sleep much more soundly and ditto the noise idea..

Congratulations just sounds so weak considering all that you guys have been through...here is hoping that The Bug is home soon!

*hugs*
Sarah/Copzy

Krissie said...

Our 5-month-old was in the NICU for 5 weeks, and when we came home I ended up getting him a Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders aquarium--suddenly, we had a baby who slept much better. I'd been charmed into it when I read a story about how some parents couldn't figure out how the aquarium was running out of batteries so quickly until they took their baby with them on vacation. As they were trying to sleep, they'd here the music go off, a grunt from their daughter, and then "Whack!", and the music went on again. This went on for awhile until the little girl went into a deep sleep. The parents about laughed themselves silly. My little one hasn't managed to turn it on yet since I swaddle him, but I imagine one day he will.
The other good thing about it is that it has a remote, so you can sneak up to the doorway and start the sounds again if you need to. I felt uncomfortable with those sound-making stuffed animals in the bed, so this seemed like the best alternative.

Could Charley be eating less because his formula is thicker and he's getting frustrated? If so, maybe a faster flowing nipple would do the trick.

Stephanie said...

Oh my gosh the pictures are so adorable! I have been away from my blog reading for a bit and didn't realize Charile was home already! I'm so thrilled to hear that! I hope Lily is soon to follow.

As far as the napping goes...when we first brought our babies home they didn't sleep well either. I know your situation is much different since Charlie is several months old, but I think it could be that he has a whole new environment to get used to. We did swaddle, and still swaddle, and that has always helped. We also have the bear that makes sounds like a heartbeat (bought at BRU) and that seems to help them settle down. Or some kind of white noise of some sort (our humidifier also is kind of loud and turing that on can sometimes calm them). I think if it is too quiet mine have a hard time getting to sleep. And since Charlie is used to the hustle and bustle of the NICU, that could be the case.

you are doing an amazing job! Hang in there!!

Anonymous said...

As long as Charlie isn't losing weight and turning colors during his feedings, ie tiring out, I wouldn't worry clinically. I'm an RN. Had to throw that in. BUT as a grandmother of twins who were 35 weekers, they had a lullaby CD. It was used since the day they came home and they are 4 now. They have to have it to sleep. They are such creatures of habit. NICU noise is truly their lullaby for the time spent there. Although the staff try to keep down the noise especially once they step down to feed and grow area, it is still not home-like. Good luck. Maybe he just need Lily to co-bed with him. Awwwww! Sweet though.

Anonymous said...

I agree with avoiding the sensory overload. Swing (with movement, lights, sounds), then stroller, then your arms, then his bassinette, then the pack'n'play, swinging, rocking......just too many experiences in too short a time. In the NICU, it was probably 2 things: either the isolette (or whatever he was in) or your arms. Do it gradually. He'll get used to it. Most newborns LOVE to be swathled, because it mimicks being in the womb. Your babies may or may not like it, since they have been "free" in the NICU for so long. Certainly worth a try. Just be consistent and don't throw in too many changes.

They are both so beautiful. Praying for Lily to join her brother at home.

Anonymous said...

Always swaddle when putting him to sleep - I was told many years ago that it makes them feel more secure... Also Michael would fall asleep from the noise of the swing not the swing itself. I also used to play lullaby's everytime they went to sleep and they both slept like champs. Either that was the trick or they were just both good sleepers. That's my experiences and hopefully everyone's input will help you find your own little tricks. Each baby is different - but he'll sleep eventually - he's a DiGiuseppe - don't worry... This is all new to him - just give him time and maybe he misses his nurses - afterall they've been a huge part of his life - all of his life so far...

Anddddd Miss Lily's princess crown is adorable. Come home soon sweetpea...

All My Love, Auntie :) xxoxoxo

Michele from FTHS said...

I WANT ONE!!!!! ;-) The Lily Crown is just too precious! Way to go Cuddles and Naps Division. Dad you seem to be training your partner well.

Melissa said...

I just wanted to let you know our boys behaved the same way coming home from the NICU. Their feedings dropped in quantity and seemed to take forever. Within a couple week of being home they were back to taking more and more and growing like weeds! Goodluck. So glad Charlie is home and doing well. Come on Lily!

- Melissa (multiplemamas)

Kim said...

sorry, I know, second comment:
upon reading your blog to my husband he suggested I suggest "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child"
http://www.amazon.com/Healthy-Sleep-Habits-Happy-Child/dp/0449004023

Our baby had bad colic and refused to sleep for longer than 45 minutes. It was a huge blessing and gives really awesome insight/help.

Amy said...

LOVE the pics, and especially the tiara pic! :) And I do love Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child that the pp mentioned. :)

Pamela said...

Another nicu mommy that experienced the sleepless nights you are describing. We had a couple of tools - we have the Fisher Price Aquarium (she still uses it to fall asleep and soothe at night), we have a Sleepy Sheep (white noise machine), we have a seahorse that plays music and the belly lights up, we had a night light that was on all night and she slept in her pack-n-play for the first month at home (it had a light and it vibrated). We also swaddled with Swaddle Mes from BRU. It's all trial and error, you will find the right mix for your babies. What a wonderful problem to have after all of the struggles so far. Happy 99 days!

Courtney said...

My son was born at 35 weeks which I know is substantially older than little Charlie. However, he spent a little time in the NICU, and he ate pretty well there. He also seemed to sleep well. Then we brought him home. He wouldn't eat! It would take 45+ minutes to get 25ml in the child. We would then take a 2 hour break and start all over (he only weighed 4 1/2 lbs). He was also jaundice, and I was petrified we would end up back at the hospital. I can remember sitting on the bed crying, but we just kept at it. He also only cat-napped. We just kept at it, and after about a week and a couple of pediatrician's office trips to make sure he was maintaining his weight he started to get the hang of it. The stress was unbelievable, but we did survive and so will you. I don't know you, but I can tell that you're good, loving parents. Hang in there - you'll make it.

Oh yeah - I don't know what Charlie's original due date was, but once Andrew got closer to his due date he started to act more like a newborn, and less like a preemie. For us it was about 3 weeks at home.

Anonymous said...

When we first brough our babies home, they were so use to bright lights and noise, we had the tv on and a small light on in their nursery. It seemed to work for a couple weeks and then we moved them on to lullaby music and only a night light. It defenitely takes the babies getting use to their new surroundings, his feeding should pick up. Try and keep him on the same schedule he was in, in the NICU.

Jill GBB @ 29 wks