Wednesday, May 27, 2009

McKenna Newborn Summary: Week Eight

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This is a summary for McKenna ages 7-8 weeks (the eighth week). Last week was a week of bliss (see Newborn Summary: Week Seven ; this week was a difficult one! Let's move right on to the summary.

I wanted to mention something else about gripe water. Some brands of gripe water come with a dropper to dispense the gripe water while others do not. If you buy a kind that does not come with gripe water, be sure to buy a syringe to dispense the gripe water. You can get it from your pharmacy or often in the baby section of a store.

Nursing remains the same.

Waketime got shorter this week. Strange? I thought so. Remember that a few weeks ago optimal waketime for her was about 60 minutes? This week it was back to 45. After thinking it over, I am assuming she needs shorter waketime now that she is more alert for her waketimes. She is taking so much in that she is getting more stimulation, so she therefore needs shorter waketime.

Another thought on waketime, waketime can vary based on the previous nap. If your baby takes a 1.5 hour naps, she might need a shorter waketime than she would if she took a 2 hour nap. Now remember, a 1.5 hour nap is nothing to be upset about. It is a good nap length. She just might need a shorter waketime than she would after a 2 hour nap.

NAPSHer naps continued on as usual until her growth spurt started.

GROWTH SPURTYep, she started another growth spurt this week, which is right on track. Hogg says growth spurts happen every 3-4 weeks. She had her first one at 4 weeks old, so to have at 7 weeks old is right as it should have been. And boy did she grow! She grew several inches in a few days. I tried to put her in an outfit that fit just one week earlier--and it was very much too small! Those babies sure grow fast.

McKenna has an interesting rhythm to her growth spurts. She starts by eating more often for a couple of intervals one day--2.5 hours instead of 3. The next day, she does the same. The next day, she eats every 2.5 hours more often. She continues this until the final day of her growth spurt. The last day of her growth spurt, McKenna eats every 2 hours for most of the feedings in the day. Then she is done. Happily, her nighttime sleep is not really disrupted. She might eat earlier in the night, but not more often.

WITCHING HOURAbout halfway through this week, McKenna suddenly had a "witching hour" experience one night. The witching hours are between 6-10 in the evening. There is no known reason for it. Baby is fussy during this time. It typically lasts until baby is 3-4 months old.

I was really quite concerned. McKenna had never had a hard time falling asleep in the least, and here she was between 6-10 having a hard time! That evening, I ended up feeding her every two hours--doing what Hogg calls "cluster feeding" or "tanking up." More on that below.

This was a funny experience when I look back at it. At the time, I was naturally very concerned. McKenna had never had a hard time sleeping and I worried something was wrong. I found myself asking myself what was wrong and I remembered a question I had answered from a reader only a day or two before. Basically I said, "This is a normally fussy time for many babies. If your baby is sleeping well for other naps, you can put baby in the swing, bouncy, or rock her." I had to step back and look at my situation as though I was asking myself a question in order to gain proper perspective.

McKenna didn't have this "witching hour" every night--just two in this week. Kaitlyn never had this witching hour, though Brayden did.

I fed her at 6, 8, and then her dreamfeed at 10. Many people swear by this practice for extending baby's sleep at night. I had thought about trying it with McKenna from birth, but she had previously just been hard to feed sooner than three hour intervals. After feeding her like this, she slept much later into the night--by a couple of hours! That is very nice for my sleep :).

I decided to make cluster feeding part of our schedule. It makes for a hectic evening, but it also makes for better sleep for both McKenna and me.

Due to the cluster feeding, McKenna moved her nighttime waking later into the night--even during her growth spurt. She was sleeping about 6 hours. McKenna is at the age where most Babywise babies are supposed to start sleeping 7-8 hours at night. I am honestly not expecting that from her yet. She still has a week of being 8 weeks old, so it is possible, but as I have mentioned in the past, McKenna is small.

Size is not something often considered with Babywise moms and their hopes/expectations for sleeping through the night. I think it is something that needs to be considered. Size gives indication of the capacity of the baby's tummy, and capacity has an effect on nighttime sleep. Most books I read say a baby can't sleep through the night until baby is 12 pounds. My doctor's office says 11 pounds, so obviously opinions differ. McKenna is growing really well, and her percentile is moving up (in other words, she started life in a low percentile and is now in a higher percentile), but she is a small girl.

My guess is she has 2-4 weeks before she hits the weight most babies are at when they sleep through the night. I will remain patient. I can tell she is waking from need. So long as she needs the feeding, I am happy to give it to her.

OUTINGS/EVENTSMy in-laws watched our kids one even while my husband and I went on a date. McKenna of course was somehow aware of my absence and not happy about it, but she eventually settled down and was fine. All was well in the end. She sure likes me :)

McKenna is in the age range for the 45 minute intruder. This is when baby wakes 45 minutes early from nap or 45 minute into nap (BW says it both ways). Did McKenna experience this? I guess the answer is yes. Babywise says it appears the 45 minute intruder is a feeding issue and to treat it as such initially. Since she had a growth spurt, I suppose that is a feeding issue and woke earlier from her naps in order to eat.

PERSPECTIVEThe witching hour experience was an interesting one. It is because of this rough evening that we tried cluster feeding, which in turn showed me how well it worked for McKenna and gave both of us longer periods of sleep in the night. It is often through our difficult times that we learn and are able to improve ourselves and our lives.

I was also able to get to know McKenna better. I got to know her personality more and get to know some methods for soothing her. She has been so good at soothing herself that I haven't needed to sooth her. Through this difficult evening, I was able to get to know her better and improve on my abilities to help her when she needed it.

My list of helpful books for the newborn period:


CO Mom said...

I'm considering the cluster feeding for my next LO. When you cluster fed McKenna were you adding another feeding? From previous posts I remember you saying you were doing 8 feedings, are you now doing 9? What does your schedule look like? When do you think you'll drop the cluster feeding? Thanks for all your newborn posts! Such a challenging, but wonderful time!

trishconway said...

According the the book "The Wonder Weeks," babies have a developmental leap at 8 weeks and will be a bit fussy/have disrupted sleep around that time. That could be why McKenna was being a bit fussy, coupled with that growth spurt. I'm glad it didn't last too long for you!

Jenn Becker said...

I found your comment really interesting about reaching the 12lb mark before being able to sleep longer. My LO seemed to be stuck on needing a feeding between 4:30 and 5:30am for forever! I kept wondering if this had to do with her small size. She is 15 weeks and this is her first week of regularly sleeping through the night. I learned yesterday at her Dr. appointment that she has just now hit the 12.5lb mark. It makes me feel a bit more confident that my hunch was on the right track.

Kelly said...

My daughter is now 9 months old but I consulted your blog daily when she was younger than 6 months. I'm glad you're doing a week by week posting with McKenna. This will be so helpful to those with newborns! Could you clarify something that I always wondered during that stage? When you hit a growth spurt and baby is eating more frequently do you add another nap? Also you mentioned that if baby takes a 1.5 hour nap she'll need a shorter waketime. Shorter waketime and shorter nap means an extra nap compared to those with a 2 hour nap and longer waketime. Correct? The napping issues always had me confused. I was trying to put her down for a nap at the same time but I'm realizing now that it is more contigent on waketime rather than clock time for naps.

Lisa Hardy said...

I've been reading your blog. I have an 8 week old so I've been keeping up to date with your posts about McKenna, since it seems she is the same age as my son Will. I've been trying to implement Babywise and have had some success, but there are a few things that consistently confuse and bother me about this. I know the idea is for a flexible schedule, but what if the half hour window isn't enough? What I'm trying to say is that I have a 3 hour schedule going, but it seems that I have to wake Will up often for his daytime feedings. Therefore, I feel like I'm being ruled by the clock, which is something that BW says not to do. Also, I don't really know his hunger cues, because I either have to wake him up to eat, or he wakes up screaming to eat. I never really know when he is hungry (except for those screaming times...then I'm pretty sure). I also have trouble reading his sleepy cues and I don't know if I have him awake too long or not enough before naps. He is a cranky baby in general and cries often. He does have some issues with reflux and gas that we're trying to address, but it just seems like we can't get anything right. I would appreciate any advice you could give.

Redheads said...

My daughter Sophia started sleeping through the night at 5 weeks old and she only weighed about 8 lbs then. She always seems really healthy and checks out great at the pediatricians. She is just under 12 lbs now and is 4 months old. I used the feed/wake/sleep routinge religiously and fed her every 2.5-3 hours until she was about 8 weeks old. We did have to do cluster feeds the evening before bed, especially since she had a "witching hour" or two EVERY night like clockwork. I think she wore herself out being so fussy and thus slept easier through the night. She is 4 months old now and is finally only having witching hour about once or twice a week.

Redheads said...

Lisa Hardy - I just read your comment and just wanted to encourage you. When my baby had her growth spurts, she took more naps as well. I always follow the feed/wake/sleep routine - it works! Also, I had to wake her up ALOT for feedings for the first 7-8 weeks. I think this helped her to stay on correct day and night schedule. She started STTN at just 5 1/2 weeks, which I know is really early, but all babies are different. My baby was fussy during the evening, and she still takes bad naps about 75% of the time, even though I am trying to do everything by the book! It is just good to know that we all have these struggles but they get better.

Jessica Vaughn said...

My newborn will be 7 weeks old in a couple days. I'm trying to figure out if he's in a growth spurt. Can you tell me if these signs indicate that?
For the past 3 days he's nursed for 30-35 minutes rather than his normal 15-20 minutes. His wake time has remained around the same 35-45 minutes, but he really doesn't have any "play" time before his tired cues basically for 3 days now, he eats then i put him back down Also, he'd slept from 10:30 pm til 6 or 6:30 am for a couple nights in a row....still waking at 4:30 (his old night feed time) but just making noises for around 30 minutes and putting himself back to sleep. then last night he woke at 4:30, "talked" for a while and then cried. i let him cry for around 15 minutes, checked on him and he seemed hungry, so i nursed him for about 15 minutes.....
anyway, i just wondered if that was normal for a growth spurt. the last thing i want to do is start a habit of feeding again at 4 or 5 if he doesn't need it since i know he can go through the night.

Plowmanators said...

CO Mom,

Hopefully you have seen by now that I dropped cluster feeding at 12 weeks, but I should have done it a bit sooner. Not much sooner, though. I dropped it when it was obvious it was interfering with her eating at her dreamfeed.

I didn't add a feeding because when we started cluster feeding, she went to one night nursing instead of two. So it was still 8 feedings in a 24 hour period.

Plowmanators said...

Thanks Trish! I love being able to refer to the wonder weeks stuff.

Plowmanators said...

Jenn, that is great! It is always good to listen to your instincts.

Plowmanators said...

Kelly, yes, I add more naps. I always continue the EWS pattern. They really need the extra nap, also, becuase their naps are so short. With the newborns, you always do EWS with the exception that some feedings dont have a waketime afterward (like the dreamfeed).

Plowmanators said...


By now, your son would be close to three months old. At three months, you can start to really be concerned about having more consistency from day to day.

It is fine to wake him when he needs to eat. I had to do that with McKenna also for a really long time. But they do grow out of it, then they usually start doing it again when it is time to move to a four hour schedule.

Plowmanators said...

Redheads, McKenna still has it at three months. I am hoping it goes away soon :)

Plowmanators said...

Jessica, it sounds like a normal growth spurt and that is a normal growth spurt age.

I have found that again around 3 months you will usually see a big growth spurt. Then I haven't noticed them since then--in that it doesn't disrupt the schedule after that age. We will see if it holds true for McKenna. Many do get disrupted around 6 months.

24hrMommy said...

This may be a repeat comment..sorry new to this blog.
Well let me get right to it. My formula feed daughter is a few days shy of 8 weeks old. She is on 7 feedings at 3 hour schedule with cluster feeding in the afternoon. She dropped her midnight feeding at 6 weeks and goes from 9-9:30 pm to 2:30-3:30 am, then she feeds and sleeps til 6-7 am. I am trying to switch her 6 hr strech from 9pm-3am to midnight-6 am. In order to due this I have to feed at bed time then midnight(dreamfeed) then let her CIO when she wakes at 3am. I have done it for 2 night and hearing the crying is so hard. She will cry for up to 1.5 hrs. sleep a bit thencry again. Is she too young to go 6 hrs without food and too young to CIO? I am not sure if she is waking at 3 am still out of habit or hunger. Should I just give it CIO for a few more days or just cave in and go back to a 3am feeding. I am so tired and exhausted that constant sleep is needed. I am feeling so many mixed emotions about letting her cry on and off from 3am to 6am. Am I wrong to do this to her? Your advice is appreciated..thank you

Angi said...

I know I read in one of your posts (can't remember where right now)that a growth spurt has an eating part and a sleeping part. I think we are going through that right now and would like a bit more of a breakdown on that. Thanks!

Plowmanators said...


A 7-8 week old has the possibility to sleep 7-8 hours, but some aren't ready until 12 weeks. My personal policy is I don't even consider CIO in the night until baby is 12 weeks old. I think before then you are too tired to be an accurate judge of hunger vs. habit.

One thought is that a dreamfeed happens between 10-11--your feed at midnight is not a dreamfeed and can likely disrupt natural sleeping patterns.

If she wakes consistently at the same time every night--within a minute or two--then it is habit. But I would write down the exact time she wakes up every night. I know with McKenna, I would think, "She is waking up at 3:30 every night!" then I would look at my notes and see that she had done it two nights in a row, but other nights were very different. You don't always have your head on straight in the early months :)

Plowmanators said...

Angi, during a growth spurt, your child will eat more often and sleep less because she is waking so often. After the growth spurt, the child typically has a day or two where she is very sleepy because she is catching up on sleep. This would be typical for a child who is well-rested prior to the growth spurt.

Dimple said...


I'm a first timer to this website. My son is 8 weeks old and we have tried to use babywise since he was born. He does take full feedings every 2.5 - 3 hrs but I am having such a hard time getting him to stay awake after feedings. Consequently we are not able to consistently establish feed/wake/sleep cycles yet. Do you have any suggestions on how I can get him into this pattern? I just don't know what to do - if he's sleepy, he won't wake and when I want him to sleep, he wants to cry. How can I get him sorted out? Any suggestions to get started?

I'd appreciate any help.

Plowmanators said...

Dimple, I have a couple of posts on this. If you go to the blog index, scroll down to "newborn" and click on the index for newborns. You will find links to the posts on that page.


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