Grunting Baby Syndrome

You know that with a new baby there will be sleepness nights. You accept that and then later understand what that actually means and feels like. When the baby is 10 weeks old, he sleeps for a longer period and you can get a few more hours sleep during the night. Bonus. You think better days are ahead. Then, without reason, strange, loud noises emanate from the crib. It is unbelievable that a baby could sound like a bear growling, but these things happen; and they usually do about 4am when everything sounds louder and worse than they do in the light of day when you are fully alert.
Initially, you do the normal thing of running to the crib and making sure your baby is ok, because he sounds in a really bad way. Then you realise he is absolutely fine and you go back to your bed. Then, ‘GGRRRRRR’, there it is again… night after night. Next morning, bleary eyed, you drive to work and try and concentrate, but it is hard.
The name for this is Grunting Baby Syndrome and judging by the www it is not an uncommon occurrence. Not that this helps. Knowing there are others not sleeping does not ease your mind at 4am. There were answers on the www though, all of which started with ‘put baby in his own room’. My wife, Willy, did not want to do this. She did not want him sleeping on his own. A compromise was reached which was that she would sleep on the bed settee in his room.
This meant that I was alone in our room. I am not ashamed to say that this took all of 2 seconds to get used to. The joy of uninterrupted sleep and a whole double bed to myself was unbridled. Even things like making a noise coughing or sneezing was now not a major issue. My only problem was the silence – the utter quiet. As I suffer from tinnitus, in the soundless room, the buzzing and high-pitched whooshing in my brain was clearer than ever. From one extreme to the other, but I can at least sleep with my tinnitus; when Theo is growling or crying I cannot.
The knock on effect of this sleeping arrangement was that Willy did not sleep well, and when she suffers, we all suffer. Willy did four nights of this and I did one (the Friday night into Saturday morning): it was not ideal. The bed in Theo’s room is not comfortable and not being able to sleep is just crazy.
Eventually, we agreed that Willy should come back to our room and we would leave the doors between our rooms open and the baby monitor on, so we could hear anything wrong, but the growling may be dulled enough to ignore.
This we did as well as two other things, which just coincidentally happened at this time: we changed Theo’s milk formula from Aptamil to Cow and Gate (this was due to Theo’s problems passing the Aptamil: see the earlier blog); we put books under one end of his cot to raise it and give a slight incline.
Whether these three things came together as a cure; whether Theo grew out of the growl; or whether we were making him growl by being with him, I do not know. But no sooner had we made separate sleeping arrangements, Theo stopped making his odd growling sounds in the middle of the night. Certainly this also coincided with him sleeping longer through the night, so maybe he did just grow out of it.
Whatever it was, we are now getting adequate sleep now, thank you very much. The only problem now is Willy is missing the boy and wants him back in the room. I think this would be a backwards step and as we have to go in his own room at some stage in the next few months, there is no need to move him back to ours, and then back to his again. The fact is, he likes his room; he likes the animal pictures on the wall and his mobile. He is happy there and I am happy here; mum should accept this and relax a little! The trouble is, because Theo is in the next room, Willy wakes often to make sure she can still hear him breathing through the monitor, so her sleep is still interrupted. But I guess this would be the same wherever Theo slept and it is something Willy needs to let go of. The thing is, if she doesn’t and continues to be sleep deprived, she will be no good to anyone. I try and tell her this sympathetically and she seems to agree; she just needs to do it now.

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