Sunday, February 28, 2010

Floor Bed - Montessori

First of all, I've been reading this blog - smonkyou - that I have mentioned before, but I think you all should read! It's great! But he has posted about their decision to do a floor bed rather than a regular crib. It's an interesting idea that Lewis and I are going to talk about for our next child. The concept comes from the Montessori ideas of how children learn best. I've always been interested in the Montessori schools. Although I don't think we will send Isis to a Montessori school, I do agree with a lot of their concepts on how to help children learn.

The idea of the floor bed has to do with allowing your child the opportunity to explore their environment themselves. You make their bedroom completely safe and baby-friendly and place a regular crib mattress on the floor. You start placing the baby on it at the same time you would have started putting them in their crib. Read more about it here and on smonkyou. He also posted pictures of their child's bedroom all set up with the floor bed!

HOTmilk Nursing Bra!!

HOTmilk has lots of cute lingerie for pregnant & nursing women! Although, I must admit, some of the pictures on the website really freak me out. But I definitely wish my nursing bra looked a little more like this...

and a little less like this...

US retailers:
Linda the bra lady
Breakout Bras

Slept Through the Night!!!

So exciting!!!!! Last night we did our normal routine - fed Isis at 7:00pm, put her down at 8:00pm after her bath & bedtime routine. We knew the night was starting off a little strange because she didn't cry - AT ALL. Not even a peep! So much so that I made Lewis go in and check to make sure she was still breathing! She was so quiet!!

Normally, she will get up sometime between 12 & 1 and then sometime between 3 & 4. Well, last night I woke up at 3:00am to find that she hadn't woken up yet!! Of course I kinda freaked out. Was something wrong?? But I heard her stir a little bit. I promptly poked Lewis to make sure he could enjoy this moment with me! Isis had finally slept for longer than 4 hours!! We were actually at 7 hours!!! Lewis went back to sleep while I just lay there wide awake because I just couldn't get over it! Finally, she woke up at 3:30am, but she didn't cry & scream like she normally does. She just cried a little, but I could tell she was up & not going back to sleep because I let her fuss like that for about 10 minutes to make sure this wasn't just her pooping in her sleep or something. She does that sometimes.

Anyway, she woke up at 3:30am and then at 7:30am! So last night, she only woke up one time for a feeding!!! According to all the books & websites & stuff, a baby sleeping for a 5 hour stretch is considered "sleeping through the night" so I guess we are doing just great!!! She went from 8:00pm to 3:30am!! 7 1/2 hours!!! And she was 8 weeks old yesterday!!

Yay Isis!!!! Now let's see if that repeats tonight or if she goes back to 2 feedings. Either way, it's great to know she's capable!! And she actually seemed happier last night & this morning than she has any of the other nights where she got up a couple of times to eat! Party in the Clark house!!!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

A dad's perspective on labor & childbirth

Written by my husband, Lewis...

Before 36 weeks I waited with anticipation for Cameron to go into labor with almost an element of magic to it. Somehow I just secretly hoped it was going to be the perfect labor; short and wonderful. It was only after we thought Cam’s water had possibly broken twice that I began to almost not anticipate it anymore. I wasn’t as nervous about being a dad as I was about just waiting for labor to actually come. Based on the fact that we had both agreed that we wanted to do everything natural, I knew that it would be difficult. We began early preparing for how things would go so that we would have the best chance of succeeding. Logically I knew that labor wasn’t going to be all that pleasant but you always have that thought in the back of your mind that tells you that your wife will be the 1 in a million that has no pain from it and lasts 30 min from beginning to end. It’s funny to listen to people talk about their labor experience or about how they feel about what yours will be like. Sometimes when Cam would tell people how she wanted things they would often giggle or flat out say “good luck.” I don’t think they really understand how Cameron is when she decides to do something.

I woke up at 9 am on New Year’s Day to the realization that Cameron was in labor. I didn’t freak out or anything. I mean I had spent the last several months in Centering class, watching dozens of deliveries, learning coaching techniques and reading everything that I could. The first several hours were exactly as I imagined it. I made us food, cleaned the house, gave Cam a massage and even played a video game or 2 while she labored at home. The entire time no overwhelming feelings ever came over me. I thought that I would begin to feel really scared about what was happening but I really didn’t. It wasn’t until about 5 pm when the contractions were about 2.5 minutes apart that I began to get uncomfortable not being at a hospital. When we left the house all the ridiculous TV moments flashed through my head. You know the ones where the women are screaming and the guys are tripping all over everything followed by all sorts of hilarious moments and a NASCAR like drive to the hospital. Yeah, ours wasn’t like that at all.

This was the point where I started to notice that the contractions were getting more intense. Something inside of me wanted to start cracking jokes but the smarter part of my brain told me that it wasn’t a good idea. Once we arrived at the hospital we stepped onto the elevator with a group of people who stared at Cameron and were obviously very uncomfortable with her being in labor. If I had it to do over again I would have had Cam let out a yell just to see what they would do. Soon after check-in we were settled a bit in the room and Cameron’s best friend Diana joined us. I turned on the TV and AFV was on. Is there ever a moment in time where that show isn’t playing on some channel??!! We met our nurse and she gave us the update of 4-5 cm. Through the next 10 hours things were pretty much the same. We went from the birthing ball when she was being monitored for 20 minutes to the labor tub when she wasn’t. There was a short time period when the progression was slowing (had been about 1 cm per 1.5-2 hours). This was the point that we started taking walks. Advice for guys getting ready to coach a labor: do a decent amount of back/ab/core workouts in the weeks before labor. Holding 80% of someone’s weight as they have a contraction is pretty easy a few times but after many hours, it can become really exhausting. When you haven’t been through a labor experience before, I really don’t think that anything can really prepare you. It isn’t that there is anything surprising about it. I mean pretty much it’s just pain, waiting, yelling, grunting, nerves and repetition. The major factor I wasn’t prepared for was the length. After 16-17 hours I began to wonder how much longer we could both stay in a decent mood and not be completely exhausted. I tried to be as positive as possible. Up to this point Cameron had been nothing but a rock, taking every contraction in stride without any complaining or harsh words. It was also then that I realized that I was going to start the beginning of my little girl’s life with a huge sleep deficit. It’s funny to me that until I had a child, I never really had multiple nights with little sleep (something made very apparent in the weeks to come). Still, labor isn’t something you can really stop. Nature just says here comes your baby and you just say ok. During the transitions in and out of the tub Cam would always have a contraction because she would stand up. When this would happen she would also get a chill from just getting out of the water. After hours of doing this I began to just want it to all be over with, not because of my situation but because I could tell Cam was becoming really drained.

Around 3:30 am our nurse midwife arrived to my relief. She hadn’t arrived before then because it wasn’t necessary, Cam was doing fine on her own. Besides being a great medical professional she is also a joy to be around. If anyone is planning on going natural, I can’t stress enough how important your choices of people in the room with you is. Choose someone who doesn’t think you can actually do it or someone who annoys you to death and you already put yourself at a disadvantage. Back to the labor, Cam was dilated to almost 8 cm so we decided to allow breaking her water. Then, everything kind of seems like a blur. Progression really picked up and the contractions got really intense. I only found comfort in seeing Cameron’s normal personality show on her face occasionally and the fact that I knew she was moving towards the end. Contractions started being punctuated at the end with a little pushing. This led to well, more pushing. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a woman and deliver a baby. All I can say is that the whole process is amazing both in what happens and the amount of pain that is endured. Realize that the entire labor, Cameron had no epidural, no iv, and no food for 21 hours. As we closed in on the real pushing Melissa (the midwife) had Cam move to the bed. (On a side note here, I have no idea how women labor on their back in a bed. It’s absolutely the worst place physically to do it.) When Cam would push she would grunt a little but she wasn’t loud at all. Everyone talks about (plus every movie I have ever seen) the phase where the laboring woman goes crazy and yells at everyone in the room. You know the moments where she tells everyone she hates them or says “get this out of me” or something. I can say from experience that this doesn’t always happen as Cam never did anything like this. In fact as she started pushing more I wanted her to be louder to move things forward. With a little work we got her louder. Soon after that she finally got tired of covering herself and went straight birthday suit on me (which made things way better btw). When Cam hit 9.5 cm the midwife actually had to “push” the lip of the cervix out of the way. This was the first time in my life that I had actually seen my wife in enough pain to where I had to hold her down. I think that I felt the same in that moment that I would have if she was actually being tortured. Tears rushed to my eyes but I fought them back knowing that if they appeared, it wouldn’t help anything one bit. Then…10 cm, phew. On her back the final rounds of pushing began. Up for 20 straight hours, very little food, middle of the night, we started the last step to seeing our baby girl. Each time there was a contraction I would help Cam curl and we would all help her push. Each time I hoped it would be the last and each time I kept wondering where she was getting the strength to go on. After each round Cam would go into what seemed like a very small nap only to change facial expression and start all over again. When Isis began to crown everything hit me like a ton of bricks. That was my daughters head!!! MY daughter. I saw her hair and looked at Cameron. All I could say was, “you are really doing this, oh my goodness you are really doing it.” The head began to turn with each push and then I started to wonder how Cam was going to push out something that big. Every second brought some new element that blew me away. I was caught in the middle of an exhausting, nightmarish, wonderful, amazing situation where I realized that if I didn’t know my wife, I would have fallen in love with her right then. Who could watch someone endure that and not see real love and sacrifice? Then the head came out and a chill ran through me as I saw my child’s eyes for the first time. Then her whole body emerged as I quickly counted toes and fingers. She was perfect. Watching her squirm there and burst into crying, I could no longer stop the tears. I didn’t care anymore. I looked in both the eyes of my daughter and the eyes of my wife and felt possibly the most overwhelming sensation of my life. As they cleaned Isis and Cameron delivered the placenta I just kind of stood in awe. The first time you hold your child is like the first time you realize how wonderful love can be. Although the weeks to come would be terrifying, I got through them. I mean, I hadn’t ever changed a diaper, bathed a baby, swaddled anything or even held a newborn more than once. The whole process really is life changing. I can’t imagine looking back and not being a part of every minute.

A dad's perspective...

I've asked Lewis to write a couple of posts for my blog because I want people to see what he has to say about a few things! He is currently working on the first post I asked him to do about his perspective of our labor & delivery experience. I also asked him to write about cloth diapers and also what things he's learned. I'm trying to think of other things I want him to write & I'll post them under "A dad's perspective."

In the meantime, check out these other dad blogs:
Smonk You: A story about being a dad
Write to Mean: Fatherness


These are the pictures from the website, not pictures of Isis, but look what I bought!!!

A swing changed my life!!

First let me say that several of my friends bought me a wonderful swing at one of my baby showers! I was so excited, as were they! We all remember hearing stories from our moms about putting us in swings & how much we loved them! Well, this has not been the case with Isis! We tried putting her in the swing we had and she SCREAMED!! It was like we were hurting her by putting her in it! I was so sad! On top of this, she hates pacifiers. We have tried like 5 different kinds and she won't take one. She will, on the other hand, suck on her hand. I'm not a huge fan of this because after a while, you can take a pacifier away. You can't take away a thumb! But what are you gonna do? She will seriously choke on the pacifier if you even try to give one to her. She's just adamant that she's not going to use one! (Anyone seeing any resemblances to me?) This is why my nap issues have been so rough! She won't take a pacifier, won't sleep in a swing or in her bouncy seat since she turned 5 weeks old! She would sleep if I held her and she would sleep for a little while if I held her until she fell asleep and then put her down in the pack n play or in the middle of our bed or something. But even then, she would wake up after like 20-40 minutes and have to be held again until she fell asleep. I couldn't nap when she napped. I could make a lot of noise because she would wake up at everything. It's confined me to the couch or sitting on the bed being really quiet.

All this has changed...

We spent our Thursday at my friend Laurel's house. Laurel has two little girls, 3 years old and 10 months old. She had mentioned that she had this fabulous swing that she had yet to find a baby for whom it didn't work. I was obviously apprehensive. Well, I was SHOCKED to find that when I put her in the swing - asleep the first time - she stayed asleep for an hour & 45 minutes!! And the two kids playing on the floor by her and the moms talking on the couch around her didn't wake her up at all!! I thought it was a fluke. So the next nap, we decided to try to put her in it awake and let her play by looking at the mobile above her head and then see if she would fall asleep on her own. I, of course, didn't think this would happen. Laurel put her in the swing awake and I stayed in the kitchen and watched from there to see what happened. Isis LOVED the mobile, just smiled and made sweet baby noises. Then she started getting sleepy and you saw those eyelids start to droop. She fussed for about 10 seconds at one point and then slowly just fell asleep!! Laurel and I were both nowhere near her!!

Needless to say, I went to Babies R Us immediately upon leaving Laurel's and purchased my own swing. Currently, Isis is in the swing and has been for almost two hours! She's been asleep for about an hour and 40 minutes! The swing is in the kitchen. I did dishes, did laundry, set up the monitor and went upstairs to get ready & she has stayed asleep the entire time!!!

I think the swing is magical.

I will still try to transition her to the crib in a month or so, but for now, I'm just happy that she's happy and that she can get some sleep and that I can get some stuff done while she's asleep! Yay!!!

Oh, and if you're wondering what this magical swing is, it's the Fisher Price My Little Lamb Cradle 'n Swing!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Post-Baby Hips

I weighed myself this morning & was happy to find that I've reached my pre-pregnancy weight!! 7 weeks & I'm back to what I was before!! Except I'm not. My hips are wider & things are still distributed strangely. And my belly is not quite as tight as it used to be - hard to believe, huh? LOL. So although the number says normal, the pants say "nuh uh." I've been talking to Diana about Jazzercise & I'm thinking I may give it a shot! While it all sounds very 1987 to me, I'm thinking the price is good & Diana has a lot of fun & it would be a way to get out of the house & they have childcare for $1! Fabulous! I'm there!

And by the way, I have plans this week to go to the library with Diana & to go to Laurel's house on Thursday & maybe to go to lunch with my dad & grandfather! Yay!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Hard Stuff

First, the title of this post is not a reference to alcohol. LOL. Rather, let's have a discussion about PPD and other post-baby hardships. I'm not sure how it was for all the moms out there. Sometimes I think we feel like we can't admit if things were really hard. I know for me, I've already fallen prey to that need to act like everything is just going great. As you can see with my sleep stuff, it's not necessarily going great. I've gotten messages and comments from several people about my nap training. First - "training" is sort-of a strong word for what I've been doing. I've really just been trying to put her down in her crib for naps. Mainly because I just couldn't deal with holding her for 5-6 hours of naps everyday. And there are reasons for that. And I would like to be candid with you about those reasons.

For those who know me in real life, you'll know that I've always been one of those people that has to be going, going, going. In January 2007, I started back to school to get my BA in Elementary Education. I also continued to work full time. I was also a wife, friend, daughter, etc. So between work, school, social and family responsibilities, I was a busy girl. But it worked for me. I continued this year-round - with summer classes in the summers - from January 2007 until last semester. I cut my hours back a little bit at work in the very end, but that was made up for by my increase in school responsibilities. Therefore from January 2007 until December 2009, I was going, going, going. I had plans to continue this after having Isis. I thought I would just start my student teaching on January 27 - after having Isis on January 2 - and just keep going. I also thought that if for some reason I didn't start my student teaching, I would go back to work after 6-8 weeks.

Well, neither of these things happened. I suddenly found myself a stay-at-home mom. This was something I never had planned on for myself. Not because I didn't want to spend time with my child or because I didn't respect stay-at-home moms, but rather because I know myself and I knew that staying at home would potentially and literally be very depressing for me. This has turned out to be true. But it's partially my own fault and it's partially because of several other things. For one thing, it's cold outside and it keeps snowing a lot! As a result, I have spent a couple of solid Monday through Friday weeks at home without leaving. Most of that time being at home with just Isis - and as most of you probably know with newborns - she isn't awake a lot and when she is, she isn't super interactive. So I'm left with my own thoughts, fears, worries, etc. I just sit there and over-analyze and over-think everything.

This resulted in a minor emotional breakdown yesterday. I felt lonely. I felt like I wasn't a good mom. I felt like I wasn't a good wife. I felt like I wasn't contributing to my family. I felt like no one wanted to hang out with me now that I have a baby. I felt bad that I didn't want to hold her for 5-6 hours a day. I love cuddling with her. I would love to hold her for one of her naps everyday just because I know that she won't be that little for that long and I won't always be able to hold her for naps. But sitting still on my couch while she sleeps on my chest for 5-6 hours gets very emotionally tiring for me. And you can think what you want about that, but that's how it is. I need to be moving around. I need to be doing something. I need to be productive. And at the end of the day, I think one of the best things I will have to offer Isis is ME. And ME is someone who needs to be doing stuff. If I'm home all day while Lewis is at work, then when he gets home, I want the dishes to be done and the laundry finished and dinner cooking, etc. I feel like it's my job and I will enjoy doing it. But I can't do it if she's sleeping on me all the time.

On the flip side, I also need to get out of my house. Sometimes I just need a break. And going out and doing things - even WITH Isis - would be a break! I don't want to be away from her, I just want to be out of the house. I finally talked to some people about this and found a couple of ways to get out of my house, so that'll be good. I also love when I have visitors, but the ones who were so eager to come at the very beginning have backed off as Isis gets older. I don't think they're backing off because they aren't interested. I just think that people have lives & things to do during the day. And I need to find my stuff to do. But still, if anyone wants to come visit & watch a movie or just sit & talk - let me know! But I think I may start going to Jazzercise with Diana and she also goes to the public library for story time with her girls, so me & Isis may join her for that. I also have been invited to go hang out at Laurel's house because she stays home with her girls & she can talk to me about mom stuff & maybe help me with some stuff with Isis!

So basic gist of my post - I may or may not have PPD - I actually am not sure it's that as much as it's just a cabin fever kind of thing. But I can already tell that moms are under a lot of pressure. I feel pressure to be a good mom and to do the "right" things, but I've found that the "right" thing varies depending on the mother and the child. I feel pressure to contribute to my family and it's really hard for me that my contribution is not monetary, but Lewis has been really encouraging and made it clear that my contribution is just as valuable. And I'll be working when I finish my student teaching, so I won't always be staying home all the time like this. I need to enjoy this time with Isis. With the second (& hopefully 3rd) child, I won't be able to stay home so long with them. So I'm going to ease up on some of my stress about naps with Isis, but I'm going to continue to try to get her to sleep in places other than in my arms and I think it's okay that I need to do that. I'm also going to try to get out of the house. If anyone has suggestions - let me know! I really want to do something like MUMS at Southland, but I know that I can't do that this year and I don't know of any other groups like that.

And more than that, I'm going to try to be clear and candid with the people who care about me so that they know if and when I need help. After opening up to some people yesterday, I've found that there are people everywhere who want to help.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Nap Training Day 5

(I've run out of sleeping pictures...)

I think I'm just troubleshooting at this point to see what method is going to work. I know I need to give it a little while. Sleep training is supposed to take 3-7 days - which it did for Isis - and then nap training is supposed to take up to 2 weeks - which it's looking like it's going to.

Anyway, today Isis went back to what she did a couple of days ago. She went to sleep in the crib for naps within 5-15 minutes. She woke up in the middle of 2 different naps and soothed herself back to sleep within 5 minutes. She woke up a little while later for a total of about an hour per nap for the first 2. The third nap, I put her to sleep in her crib and then when she didn't soothe herself after she woke up in the middle of it, I went and got her. She ended up falling asleep while I held her and I let her because I knew she needed some sleep. Plus I've been reading all these message boards on Baby Center and this one woman is like a baby sleep guru & she had some great advice that I think I'm going to try...

She said that if your child really won't sleep well in the crib for naps and you know she won't get enough sleep if you do the nap training the way you have been, to pretty much do what I have been doing for the first 2 naps and then for the last 2, do whatever you were doing before - in my case, hold her. Do this for a week or so and then once she gets the hang of the first 2 naps, do it for all of the naps.

What do you all think of this plan?? Honestly, the nap training is much harder for me. I'm at home by myself with her and I obviously hate to hear her cry. Normally when she is going down for naps or for night time sleep, she doesn't CRY, she more just kinda fusses and whines. So it's hard for me when she wakes up from a nap just crying a lot and I know that her diaper is clean and she's eaten within the last hour and she's not too hot or too cold, so I know she's just tired. I want to just pick her up and hold her to go to sleep. But I know that this will create a child that needs to be helped to go to sleep and I don't want that. I want a child and future adult who has good, healthy sleep habits and can sleep well. All our parenting decisions take into consideration the current child as well as the future whole person. So for me, starting nap training with the first 2 naps and leaving the last 2 for a little while sounds like the best of both worlds to me. I know she can sleep in the crib because she does so wonderfully at night. We just gotta work out the naps.

Any more advice? I've loved all the comments!! I really value the opinions of other experienced moms!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Post-Baby Shopping!!

I'm preparing to do some post-baby shopping! I'm waiting until I can fit in all my clothes again. I'm almost there, but not quite. Any pants that are a little stretchy, I can fit in. So my stretchy jeans fit - my ones that have no stretch are still not awesome. I've got a couple more pounds left to lose, too. So I started making an effort to watch what I eat today. I'm nursing Isis, so I can't exactly "diet." I just want to make sure that all my calories are good calories! So I ate waffles for breakfast, a turkey sandwich for lunch and some sushi for dinner. Not too bad! My snacks were fruits & stuff, so that's good!

I have gift cards from Forever 21 from Christmas that I'm excited to spend! I asked for gift cards there for Christmas so that I could buy some post-baby clothes when I was ready! I also have some leftover Christmas money & income from my blogging! So I think I might buy a new pair of 7 For All Mankind jeans because they're totally my favorite thing ever!!!

So yay for losing weight & buying post-baby clothes!!!

Nap Training Day 4

I think it's Day 4...I've lost track.

Either way, today was rough!!! I cried at one point! LOL

Isis did okay going to sleep in her crib during the day for naps, but she didn't soothe herself today. She woke up screaming after 20-40 minutes of her first 2 naps. She didn't sleep much at all. I think part of it is due to her new bedding! It's absolutely fabulous - made by my friend Susan, but she's used to seeing through the slats in her crib and I think she gets scared not being able to see. But anyway, since she didn't sleep a lot, she was super tired and therefore SUPER fussy! I thought maybe it was a growth spurt because a couple of times the only thing I could do to calm her down was nurse her. But once she calmed down later in the day, she went back to just seeming hungry every 3 hours or so.

I don't really care about putting her on a consistent schedule right now. We're doing the consistent bedtime, but during the day the schedule just kinda goes by how she's doing and what time she wakes up. But I just really need her to be sleeping for naps in her crib because I can't sit there and hold her all day. But today she hated the crib. It was not fun.

I'll just try again tomorrow! It's a process. We're taking it one day at a time. On a happier note, bedtimes are still going great! She was out in like 3 minutes today. Woo hoo!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Nap Training Day 3

Nap training today was a little messed up. I had my 6 week postpartum doctor appointment today, so we weren't home for one of her naps. And her schedule last night was different with feedings. I don't wake her up at night for feedings. I just let her go as long as she goes. It's just been lucky enough to happen that she would wake up between 8:00am and 8:30am since starting sleep training. But last night, her last feeding was at 6:45am, so she wasn't going to get up anywhere close to 8:00. So we got up at 9:30am and she ate at 9:45am. Then she went down for a nap around 10:30am. She cried just about 5 minutes and then fell asleep. She woke up after an hour and I had to hold her to get her back to sleep because she was clearly still really tired, just couldn't soothe herself back to sleep. It's funny, I guess you just get used to your own child, or maybe all children are just clear about some things - but if she's done with her nap and she's slept enough, I can tell because she's totally alert and looking around at everything and all that. If she hasn't slept enough, she is still sleepy and groggy and just immediately wants to lay her head on my shoulder if I pick her up.

Anyway, she went back down and didn't wake up until 12:45, so she ate at 1:00pm. This put us on a pretty good schedule because she was asleep during my doctor appointment. She ate again at 4:00pm and then at 7:00pm. But today for her 4:00pm feeding, she seriously slept through the whole thing. And then I couldn't really get her to wake up after it either. She ended up sleeping on my shoulder. So she woke up around 6:00pm. BUT, tonight she didn't have a fussy period from 6:00pm to 7:00pm! I don't know why not. She ate at 7:00pm, bath at 7:30pm, bedtime routine & bed at 8:00pm. She's been asleep since 8:25pm.

Good day! And my 6 week visit went well! Everything is good!

Nap Training Day 2

I'm not going to post about Sleep Training anymore, because she's got it! She's been going to sleep within 5-10 minutes of putting her down at 8:00pm since the 3rd night of sleep training! Even with my nap training, she's still been doing really well! We stopped doing the 10:30pm feeding because we were having a hard time waking her up and she was actually going less time between feedings after that. So we are back to feeding her at 7:00pm, then she gets up - usually around 12:00am and then 2 more times. But last night, she woke up at 11:45pm, then 2:45am, then 6:45am. So that's awesome, but after that 6:45am feeding, there was no chance of her getting up at 8:00am. So today has been off a little bit. But I'll talk about that later. I want to talk about yesterday - Day 2 of nap training!!

Yesterday was the best day so far in the entire 6 weeks of having her!! Here's how our schedule went:

8:00am - woke up & nursed, then changed diaper, got ready for the day
9:00am - put down for a nap after she yawned a lot - we did the naptime routine
9:10am - she was asleep after doing kinda whine-cries for about 10 minutes
During this Nap #1, she woke up after about 40 minutes. I went in and ended up having to pick her up and kinda rock her to get her really sleepy again. Then I put her back in the crib - still awake - and sat there for a minute until she fell back asleep. She ended up taking a nap for a total of an hour & a half!
11:00am - woke up, changed diaper & nursed
12:00pm - put down for a nap after she yawned a lot - we did the naptime routine
12:06pm - she was asleep after crying a little, but not as much as the first time
This time, for Nap #2, she woke up after 40 minutes and SOOTHED HERSELF BACK TO SLEEP! She whined & did a few tired cries, but she was back to sleep within 5 minutes! I was freaking out! She ended up sleeping for an hour & a half again! Yay!!
1:30pm - woke up, changed diaper
2:00pm - nursed - I waited 30 minutes since she woke up early and I was trying to do a 3 hour schedule. If she does this again, I'm going to just wait 15 minutes and try to do a 2 hr 45 min schedule
2:30pm - put her down for a nap after she yawned a lot - only 30 minutes from the time she started nursing because she had woken up at 1:30pm
2:38pm - she was asleep after just a few minutes of crying tiredly
During this Nap #3, she woke up after like 30-40 minutes and soothed herself back to sleep again!! So now I know she's definitely capable of doing it!!
4:00pm - woke up
4:30pm - nursed
5:00pm - put down for nap. This one was the bad one. She fussed more at this one and I had to go comfort her and pat her and hold her a little. She ended up falling asleep around 5:15-5:20. She only slept for a total of 45 minutes or so. I had to go in her room in the middle of this nap and soothe her because when she woke up after like 20 minutes, she didn't soothe herself.
6:15pm - woke up
7:00pm - nursed
8:00pm - bedtime!

Great day!!!! I know she can soothe herself & she slept pretty good and every nap was in her crib!! Very exciting!!!!!! I even got to take 2 naps - one for 20 minutes and the other for an hour!! OMG!!! Big deal!

Today is a little different...I'll post about it later tonight.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Nap Training Day 1

Nap training was not so awesome today. She does great going down for the nap. For her first nap, I did a shortened version of her bedtime routine and then put her down for her nap. She cried for 20 minutes and then fell asleep for about 20 minutes and woke up crying. We let her cry a little and went in to calm her and kiss her and everything, but we couldn't get her calmed down. So I picked her up and held her for a while and let her sleep on me for a minute. I ended up putting her back in the crib asleep and she slept for another 40 minutes total - including the time I held her. Normally this nap lasts 2 - 2.5 hours, so it only being 1 hour worried me.

With the second nap, she went down & cried only 10 minutes before falling asleep - I think that was thanks to the fact that the last nap was short. But after 40 minutes - one sleep cycle - she woke up crying again. This time I let her cry for about 5 minutes and then Lewis went in to calm her. She wasn't crying very hard before he went in, just kinda whimpering and crying a little. After he went in there, she started screaming! So I went in and picked her up and brought her downstairs.

For the last nap of the day, I just held her and let her sleep because Lewis' parents were coming over and I knew she needed to sleep. I figured I would just start again tomorrow. The nap training is definitely harder than the sleep training and it may seem too soon to do it, but she just won't sleep anywhere unless I'm holding her right now. So I really needed to get her sleeping in her crib for naps so that I don't have to hold her. She will nap from 5 1/2 to 6 hours during the day right now and she sleeps between 9 and 9 1/2 hours at night (waking for feedings). So if I was holding her for all her naps - which I was last week - I was literally just sitting on the couch for 6 hours total during the day! That is NOT fun. I love cuddling, but 6 hours sitting on the couch not being able to really move a lot is just not good for anybody.

Any suggestions for the nap stuff? Tomorrow my plan is to keep putting her down for her naps in her crib every time like I tried to do today. She doesn't seem to have trouble falling asleep in there. The problem is when she wakes early from her naps. I saw stuff about this in several of my books that I posted about before, but what if I can't calm her down? And what if she won't go back to sleep unless I hold her but I know for a fact that she's still tired because she's fussy and yawning? Help, please!

The only good news is that nothing from today seemed to affect her nighttime stuff. She did cry just a few minutes more today (10 minutes) before going to sleep, but that's it. She is still doing great at soothing herself to sleep at her 8:00pm bedtime!

I'm a Mom

"What took me by surprise is the way I feel when her face lights up when I walk into a room because I am her world and she is mine. Being a mother is like taking your heart out of your chest and watching it walk around."
-- Author Unknown

Isis' Baby Milestones - 6 weeks!

I feel like a week ago, she wasn't doing much of anything and within the past 7 days, she's become a different baby! It's crazy!! First of all - biggest news was the smiling!! It tends to happen most often when you are changing her diaper. She definitely loves being naked!

She also has more control of her head when she lifts it up during tummy time or when she's on your shoulder! (The picture above is just tummy time. I couldn't get a good shot of her lifting her head.) She's getting a little less wobbly, but we've still got a little ways to go. She will also now follow things or people with her eyes if they move around. She will hold your eye contact for longer. She's always made eye contact, but then she would kinda look at your hairline or around the edge of your head rather than right in your eyes. Now she will just stare at your for a minute straight in your eyes.

She mimics our facial expressions sometimes. You usually have to do it several times before she'll mimic it, but she will! I tried to catch her doing it with Lewis this morning, but I couldn't catch it in time. She's a lot more interactive, too. I also believe that some of this is because she's getting more sleep and therefore is more alert when she's awake. I've just noticed a huge difference since starting the sleep training! It's kind-of a "which came first - chicken or egg" situation - was she just ready to meet these milestones and therefore was ready for sleep training or is the extra sleep helping her reach more milestones? I don't really care which way it is, it's a good deal all the way around! And then the thing she did this morning which was brand new was she started looking at her hand!! It would be up by her face and she would just stare at it and then move it away and then bring it back and stare at it again. She only did it a couple times for a few seconds, but that was a big deal for us!!

So yay! I think she's right where she needs to be!

Sleep Training Night 5

She's definitely got the sleep training stuff down. Last night we did the routine, put her down at 8:00pm, she kinda whimper-cried for 5-7 minutes and then fell asleep. We woke her at 10:30pm to eat, then she woke up at 2:00am and 5:30am. We all got up for the day at 8:30am. Not too shabby. I'm hoping after a few weeks of this, she starts stretching those night feedings. Right now we're at about a 3 1/2 hour schedule.

Big news today is we started the nap training stuff. Meaning that we are doing a shorter version of the bedtime routine for her naps, then putting her down sleepy but awake in her crib in her room. She had been falling asleep for her naps while I held her because it was literally the only way I could get her to sleep. But that was NOT my favorite! Not because I don't love the cuddling - I totally do - but because then she didn't sleep as soundly and she would wake up if I ever moved or anything. But I figured that was better than not taking a nap at all, so I'd been doing it. Not anymore. We started today putting her in her crib. It's been ok...I'll post about it later. The day isn't over yet! But I'm definitely making sure to cuddle in her wake times because we both love it a lot!!

But I have to say that so far my experience with scheduling has made both Isis & her parents much happier & less stressed & better rested! So things are good! We're just working out the details now!

Sleep Training Night #1
Sleep Training Night #2
Sleep Training Night #3
Sleep Training Night #4

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Cam & Lew - we're weird...

We were just talking about this and I thought I'd post because I think it's interesting. It's so funny how every couple tends to just mesh in different ways. I think it's neat to see how different couples have their different style. Lewis and I apparently have a weird style. People always comment on how we deal with holidays with each other. Let me explain...

We were just talking about Valentine's Day. I said something off-hand about how I would think it was really weird if Lewis bought me a Valentine's Day card or gift. It's just not necessary. I've always thought that. We usually tend to stay in on Valentine's Day and just make dinner or something because we don't want to deal with the restaurants where everyone is going out. Actually, I think there have been several years that we have forgotten that it even was Valentine' Day.

Then the weirdest thing that people always comment on is the fact that we don't buy each other birthday or Christmas gifts. Why would we? We share a bank account and if there is something we really want, we talk to each other and buy it - birthday, holiday or not. So it just seems weird to buy each other gifts for those reasons. For Christmas each year, we usually buy something big for the house. Like one year we bought a new tv because we needed it. Stuff like that. But we don't get each other specific gifts. We do tend to buy little things for each other to be sweet like randomly at different times. For example, Lewis will go to Wal-Mart to pick up milk or something and he'll come back with some Sour Patch Kids because he knows I love them. Honestly that means a lot more to me than a birthday or Christmas gift because it means he was thinking about me and thought of something I'd like while he was out.

I dunno...this post isn't really related to parenting. We were just talking about it and Lewis was like, "I guess we're weird..." I tend to think we're weird for way more reasons than that. haha I'm sure this will come into play in our parenting at some point.

Quotes & Dear Baby

This is Everly Veda from Dear Baby - and I WANT that headband!!

Thanks to a recommendation from my friend Megan, I have found a new blog that I'm completely obsessed with. Dear Baby is written by a new mom from San Francisco! Her daughter, Everly Veda, was born 2 days after Isis! I feel like in some ways she is the mirror of me in San Francisco - except way cooler & more eloquent. She used a midwife & had a natural labor like I did. She is using cloth diapers like I am! She & her husband both have tattoos like me & Lewis! She is just so cute & her little girl reminds me of Isis, too! I am excited about following her blog as Isis gets older. It's like a little friend across the country! She also posts great quotes sometimes...

"The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new."

"Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition; but to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express."
-Joseph Addison

iPhone Photo Editing

I'm not sure if anyone will have any suggestions for this, but I end up taking the majority of my pictures of Isis with my iPhone because it's just always right there! So I would love to get a nicer kind of photo editing app! Any suggestions? Right now I use Polarize and Mill Colour, but they're both free and the paid apps do tend to be better for stuff like that.

Sleep Training Night 4

As I said yesterday, she cried 5 minutes & then went straight to sleep again last night! That was pretty fabulous! We woke her up at 10:30pm to feed one last time before we went to bed. She woke up to eat at 2:15am and then at 4:00am and then woke up for the morning at 8:00am. The 2:15am to 4:00am was unusual. She usually goes at the very least 3 hours between waking up at night. We couldn't figure out why she woke up that early, but she was crying a bunch and clearly it wasn't just a little night wakening. She wanted something. So I went in there and decided to try to feed her after trying to calm her down for a little. After I had been feeding her for about 1 minute, she had the most massive poop! So clearly she woke up because of that. She usually gets a little fussy right before a big poop. (Understandably - not always the best feeling for adults either! LOL) But then she slept until 8:00am, so that was good!

I'm still very pleased with our sleep training progress so far!! Feeding her at 10:30pm was great last night, too because then me & Lewis were able to sleep from 11:00pm to 2:15am! 3 hours or more at a time right now is awesome! I know several people's babies are sleeping 5 or 6 hours at a stretch at this point, but Isis is just not at that point yet, so 3 hours is awesome! But her going down at 8:00pm without much fussing makes a huge difference! I can tell even during the day that she's learning to self-soothe. For one thing, she can play a little longer on her play mat thing. She could go for like 5 or 10 minutes, but yesterday she was in there for 20 minutes & loved it! So that makes things a lot easier! It also gives me & Lewis at least 2 hours at night to ourselves which is precious time! I look forward to those 2 hours now so much!!

I decided not to start nap training today because it's girls day out, so me & Isis & Diana & her girls are going out & I can't really nap train when she's napping out in her carseat and stuff. So I will begin tomorrow. Hopefully it goes well and doesn't mess up our night stuff. Again, I'll keep posting updates!!

Sleep Training Night #1
Sleep Training Night #2
Sleep Training Night #3
Sleep Training Night #5

Friday, February 12, 2010

Nightly fussy time?

I've read that there is sometimes a 6-week fussy period. Several days ago, Isis started having hers. Everyday from 6:00pm - 7:00pm, she gets really fussy! It's almost like clockwork. Exact same time everyday. She will only calm down if she is constantly entertained. Like we have to get up and walk her around the house looking at everything and then she'll stay calm. This sounds not so bad, except it's right when we are usually sitting down to eat dinner. Did this happen to anyone else? When does it pass?

Baby Slings - I need help!!

Who uses a baby sling? I need help figuring out how to use one!! Can you use it if she doesn't really have head control yet? Because I tried kinda laying her in there and she hated it. I may have done it wrong though. I'm trying to find pictures, but I kinda need someone to walk me through how to do this. LOL. I have several of the slings that are the ring slings like the first 2 pictures above. Who can help me??

Sleep Training Night 3

Thursday night was by far the best!! I fed her at 7:00pm and we did the bedtime routine after that. She was in the bed at 8:00pm and get this...she cried for 5 minutes & fell asleep on her own!!! She stayed completely asleep!! She woke up at 10:00pm and cried for a few minutes, but it was more like a whimper kind-of cry and she went back to sleep after several minutes, so we didn't go in and get her. She ended up waking up to eat at 11:15pm, then 3:00am and 6:00am.

Last night raised several other questions for me. First of all, she ate at 6:00am and she is totally one of those babies that wakes up with the sun. We don't have curtains for her room yet, so it's bright in there in the morning. There are these off-white kind of blinds, but no curtains. So if she wakes up to eat any time after 5:00am, it's getting light outside when we put her back down to sleep. Therefore she was pretty fussy and slept very lightly from about 6:30am to about 8:00am. She woke up for good at 8:00am - I think it's partly because of the light outside and partly because they started cutting the trees off the powerlines behind our house at about 7:30am, so she went in and out of sleep for a while after that. So anyway, I fed her at 8:30am because I had fed her at 6:00am. Waking up at 8:00am is what she has done all the other nights of sleep training so far, but she had eaten at 6:00am, so I wanted to keep her on an every 3 hour feeding schedule during the day if I could.

So first I didn't know if I should be worried about a consistent waketime in the morning or not. I knew she wouldn't be sleeping through the night at all right now, I was more doing the sleep training to help her learn to soothe herself - which she totally is! I wasn't as interested in getting her to sleep from 8:00pm to 8:00am. So 8:00pm to whenever she gets up for good in the morning is fine with me, although I don't think it has to be 6:00am. We also had trouble last night with her getting congested. Since new babies are primarily nose breathers, they breathe in dust and different things from the air at night and throughout the day and they can be congested - at least that's what I've been told. The doctor said she wasn't sick. But she had a hard time at the 3:00am feeding and we had to use the saline drops & aspirator and she HATES that. It was not fun having to do that in the middle of the night. I usually do it first thing in the morning.

Those were the different things that happened last night, but operation bedtime self-soothing seems to be working & that was the main concern!! She's still doing good falling back to sleep on her own in the middle of the night, too after feeding - except if she wakes up to eat at 6:00am or after. Grrrr. If she wakes up at 5:00am, we're good to go - she'll go right back to sleep and wake up at 8:00am.

I talked to my friend Laurel today and she gave me fabulous advice on scheduling & sleep training and different things like that! I asked her all kinds of mom questions not just related to my sleep training. I feel SO much better after talking to her! After our conversation, we are going to make 1 big change in our night-time routine. We are still going to feed her at 7:00pm, then do the bedtime routine and put her down at 8:00pm - BUT we are now going to wake her up at 10:30pm to eat one last time before we go to bed. Then we'll start letting her go as long as she wants to go between feedings at night after that. The goal would be for her to eventually go from 10:30pm to like 6 or 7 am. That would be awesome!

So I'll keep posting after our new changes. We are starting tonight with the 10:30pm feeding. Oh and just FYI, it's currently Night 4 as I write this and she cried again for 5 minutes & then went to sleep!! Looks like she may really have this figured out!! I'll post more tomorrow! I'm also starting nap training tomorrow after encouragement from Laurel. I'll let you know how that goes as well!!

Sleep Training Night #1
Sleep Training Night #2
Sleep Training Night#4
Sleep Training Night #5

Thursday, February 11, 2010

iPhone Apps for Mom & Dad!!

I have found that there are several iPhone apps that I can't live without now!! The first and most important one is called Total Baby and we use it to track her feeding, diaper changes, baths & sleep times. It was like $4.99, but it has been so worth it!! Now when we go to the doctor, I can tell him specifically how she's doing - which may seem over the top to some people, but it really helps me keep my head on straight. Without organization, I go insane.

I also can't do without Facebook because I'm constantly uploading pictures & messaging my friends who are moms with different questions! Keeping in touch has never seemed so important!! It's also really fun to play around on Facebook at 2am when you're up feeding the baby.

Other middle-of-the-night entertaining apps are Words With Friends (do you have a username?? let's play!) and Echofon where I'm checking Twitter all the time. I also play Solebon Solitaire and update/check my Tumblr stuff.

The main app that I rarely used before that I use now with every middle-of-the-night diaper change is the Flashlight app!! Oh how helpful when you want to keep it dark to signal to the baby that it's nighttime, but you need to see that little bottom to clean it off!

I've also been using the Notes app way more to keep track of her schedule and my schedule and things like that. And I've started using my Polarize and Mill Colour apps to edit my lovely pictures of Isis!

What apps are you using??

Sleep Training Night 2

Night 1 was Tuesday night. I fed Isis at 7:00pm. Then around 7:40 we gave her a bath & then did our bedtime routine. We put her down in the crib at 8:00pm. She had yawned a couple of times during the routine, so we knew she was sleepy, but she was awake when she went in the crib. That night, she didn't start crying immediately. She started a few minutes later and kinda cried off & on for a little while. We went in to comfort her and kiss her and pat her belly about every 5-10 minutes depending on how upset she was. We only had to go in twice in an hour because she wasn't that upset. She kept getting quiet for long periods and made her little cooing noises, so we knew she was already starting to soothe herself. She ended up falling asleep right before 9:00. Her total amount of crying time was about 30 minutes. That night, she woke up to eat at 10:40pm, 2:00am, 5:00am and then around 7:45am - when we got up for the day. I did a morning routine with her at the 7:45am time.

Night 2 was last night, Wednesday night. I fed her at 7:00pm. Then around 7:40 we gave her a bath & then did our bedtime routine. We put her down in the crib at 8:00pm. This time she got fussy & cried a little while we did the routine, but she calmed down as we did the song. We are singing You are my Sunshine every night as a part of our bedtime routine. When we put her in the crib, she wasn't crying, but she started crying as soon as we left the room. We did the same thing as the night before, going in every 5-10 minutes to calm her and kiss her and everything. Both times we went in (we only had to do it twice again in an hour) she calmed down completely for at least 10 minutes. This time she went to sleep a little after 9:00pm, but she only cried for a total of 23 minutes in the entire hour. The rest of the time she was either completely silent or did her little cooing noises. The biggest difference about night 2 was that she didn't wake up until 12:30am!! She went from 7:00pm to 12:30am without a feeding! She had still eaten enough during the day and even at the 12:30 feeding, she ate less than what she does in her daytime feedings. She always eats less at night. So she woke at 12:30am, then at 4:00am and then at 8:00am for the day! I did her morning routine with her at 8 and we were up!

I'm very happy with how things are going so far!! I'm still seeing how it goes over the next week because I've heard it gets worse before it gets better, but at least she seems to be learning to soothe herself! I plan on doing nap training with her in 2 weeks. That way we will have a good 2 weeks of the bedtime routine. Then I'll do a mini-version of the routine for naps. Plus I'm hoping to get the curtains for her room by that time so that I can darken her room a little. But yay!! Things are good so far!!

Sleep Training Night #1
Sleep Training Night #3
Sleep Training Night #4
Sleep Training Night #5

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

General Info & Baby Sleep Books

Before reading my thoughts, please keep in mind that I don't tend to follow the attachment parenting views and I am a fan of scheduling & sleep training babies. I know that everyone has different opinions about how best to raise their babies, so I just wanted to throw that out there that my opinions on these books comes from the above general viewpoints. Feel free to disagree!

On Becoming Baby Wise by Gary Ezzo, M.A. and Robert Bucknam, M.D.
I read this book while I was pregnant & then I read a lot of it again right at the beginning of Isis being home. I had planned on just really sticking with this, but found that the only thing I could really put into practice was the every 2 1/2 to 3 hour feeding routine & then eat, wake, sleep pattern. While I still think it's a great method if you can do it, I found myself basically flying by the seat of my pants right at the beginning and my main problems were that I couldn't get Isis to go to sleep. She would fight it so much and the book didn't really offer any solutions for the problems I was having. I had a several day old baby wanting to stay awake for like 4-5 hours at a time & then being super fussy & not sleeping well when she did go to sleep. My problem had more to do with sleep than with a routine.

Twelve Hours Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old by Suzy Giordano
My friend Kristin recommended this book to me! It's such a quick, easy read! Another one of the books talks about it and describes it as being "baby boot camp" - which it totally is when I think about it! It's a several step process that you begin at a specific time. It has to do with spreading the feedings to every 4 hours and then eliminating night-time feedings slowly by increasing the amount the baby eats during the day and then decreasing the amount eaten at night by an ounce or two every three nights. Then it finishes with establishing a bedtime routine and then establishing 2 naps during the day. The baby ends up sleeping 15 hours a day by 12 weeks old - 12 hours at night and then two naps during the day. Because of the methods of her plan, she says not to begin the plan until the baby is at least 9 pounds and is taking in at least 24 oz of formula or breastmilk. I really like this plan and took a few tidbits from it, but my main issue with it was that she recommends that you pump and feed the baby from a bottle while doing the training so that you can make sure she's getting enough food, but I didn't want to do that. So I'm doing a variation of it that won't be so stressful on me or Isis.

Baby 411 by Denise Fields and Ari Brown, M.D.
This book isn't just for sleep, but for all baby info! I found it very helpful in all areas! It's something I will keep referring to throughout her first year. In terms of sleep, they have 10 commandments for sleep including these 5: teach baby to fall asleep on their own, be consistent - establish a routine, always sleep in the same place for daytime and nighttime, nap time and bedtime should be about the same time everyday, always follow your sleep ritual. There is a whole chapter on sleep as well as chapters on discipline, illness, nutrition, development & first aid.

The Lull-A-Baby Sleep Plan by Cathryn Tobin, M.D.
This plan follows the same general guides as having a bedtime ritual, put the baby down sleepy but awake, etc. Their specific lulling plan has to do with sitting by the baby's bed and talking quietly to lull them to sleep. The problem I had with this was that you have to do it every time in the middle of the night and everything. It does talk a lot about the Window of Opportunity (WOO) that you have for sleep training your child. They say the WOO begins to open at 6-8 weeks, is wide open at 8-16 weeks, begins to close at 16-28 weeks and is shut at 9 months and older. So she says if you begin your sleep training within the WOO that you'll have the greatest opportunity for success. She also gives you several things to look for developmentally to tell if your baby is ready for training. This is how Lewis and I determined that Isis was probably ready.

Sleeping Through the Night by Jodi A. Mindell, Ph.D.
I still haven't completely finished this book, but I really like it so far & I'm about 3/4 of the way through it. Jodi Mindell is the associate director of the Sleep Disorders Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, so the way she writes focuses on the science of sleep and has lots of information & research. She focuses on a "Basic Bedtime Method" with 4 steps. This is the method that we most closely follow in our sleep training. Step 1 is setting a consistent bedtime. Step 2 is establish a bedtime routine. Step 3 is setting up the bedroom environment. Step 4 is putting the baby down awake. The thing I really like about her book is that she touches on other topics that are involved in sleep training, such as advice for single parents, advice for adult sleep problems, etc.

Any other books you would recommend?

Sleep Training

So we started sleep training with Isis yesterday. She's almost 6 weeks old and some people may have strong opinions against sleep training an almost 6 week old baby, but I've been reading & reading about it & Lewis & I both felt that she was ready. She'd been doing a few things lately that made us feel like she was ready and she had also been having a hard time going to sleep and staying asleep which led to her being overtired & fussy all the time. So we decided it was time to help her out. We started sleep training last night, but I started doing some different stuff with her naps on Monday & the difference in just the last 2 days has been CRAZY!

First of all, I thought I should share the books I've been reading. I'm going to share thoughts on them in my next post. I'm also going to share the order I read them in.

On Becoming Baby Wise by Gary Ezzo & Robert Bucknam, M.D.
Twelve Hours Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old by Suzy Giordano
Baby 411 by Denise Fields & Ari Brown, M.D.
The Lull-A-Baby Sleep Plan by Cathryn Tobin, M.D.
Sleeping Through the Night by Jodi A. Mindell, Ph.D.

These books all have different specific opinions, but some have very similar general positions. They generally agree that once a baby is at least 6 weeks old, it's okay to start sleep training to a certain degree. They all have a limited-crying sort of plan. I am not a big fan of the total cry-it-out method, especially at this age. But I do think that a certain amount of crying is okay when you know the baby is fed, diaper changed, warm, hugged & kissed, etc. And especially if - like we've been having with Isis - you know for a fact they are tired and they are just flat out fighting it! Now, maybe it's because she's my baby, but I think she's just really smart! Because she always wants to be looking around & checking everything out! If there is something that could possibly be going on, she wants to see it! She's been so alert since the day we brought her home! Maybe all babies are like that, but I tend to believe that mine is special - don't we all??

So anyway, we decided to start the sleep training. And by sleep training I mean this: we decided on a specific bedtime and waketime, we started a bedtime routine and we put her down in her crib sleepy but awake. We hadn't done a specific bedtime and waketime yet because I'd just been going for more of a routine rather than a schedule. I was feeding her every 2 1/2 - 3 hours and just letting the specific times of that fall where they may. And we hadn't started a specific bedtime routine partly just because we just didn't & partly because I wanted it to include a bath, but I didn't know if I should be giving her a bath everyday or not. Some people say to do it and some people say not to because it can dry their skin out. But we decided to just do the bath because she seems to really enjoy it and it seems to relax her. Then putting her down sleepy, but awake is the big thing. I'd sort-of unintentionally gotten into the habit of nursing her to sleep. I didn't really notice I had done it because I was getting up at night, nursing her & putting her back down, but then all of a sudden she started falling asleep right after she nursed during the day too and I couldn't get her to wake up. So this is our routine now:

8:00am - wake up & nurse
I've still got her eating every 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours during the day just depending on if she seems super hungry or when she naps, but I make sure it works out so that I feed her...
7:00pm - final daytime feeding
7:40pm - bath & bedtime routine
8:00pm - bedtime

It's gone okay so far. Last night it took her about 50 minutes to fall asleep, but she cried for about 35 minutes of that. We went in & patted her & kissed her & comforted her for 1 minute every 5-10 minutes, depending on the intensity of her crying. She did great! None of her cries were frantic or distressed sounding, just really tired kind of sounding. And then when she woke up in the middle of the night for feedings, she did great too without us having to do anything! I'd been nursing her to sleep in the middle of the night like I told you, but last night I made sure to put her in bed sleepy but awake even in the middle of the night and she didn't every cry, just coo-ed and made sweet baby noises before falling asleep ON HER OWN! Now, I don't know what was different about the middle of the night, but that was pretty awesome!

Tonight, we put her down at 8:00. She still isn't asleep and it's 9:00, but she's been completely silent or making sweet baby noises (what we call her coos and stuff) for at least 20 minutes of the past hour. We've only had to check on her twice and both times it completely calmed her down for at least 10 minutes. Tonight she got fussier when we did our bedtime routine because I think she knew that bedtime was coming - again, smart baby! And some of her cries have been a little louder tonight, but she's had a lot more time calm & quiet & I can tell she's learning to self-soothe.

Anyway, maybe you disagree with sleep training at this age, but I'm so happy with how she's doing! And she slept SO much better today during the day for her naps! And when she was awake, she was happy & not fussy unless something was actually wrong like she was hungry or needed a diaper change!! My fussy, tired Isis has gone to a well-rested & happy Isis in less than 2 days! We don't have the self-soothing down yet, but I can definitely tell a difference! I've read that this can go up & down a little, but that generally after a week the baby has learned what's going on. I'll keep you updated.

What were your experiences with sleep training or sleep routines with your baby??

Sleep Training Night #2
Sleep Training Night #3
Sleep Training Night #4
Sleep Training Night #5

Monday, February 1, 2010

Cute Dad!

So I had posted that I love Cam Gigandet & his dad style!! Now Lewis is a dad & I can post about him!!

Staying at Home - Cameron Style

I never saw myself as a stay-at-home mom. I have always had much respect for those moms that chose to do that, it just wasn't me. Now, after 4 weeks of being at home, I have even MORE respect for those moms. It's really hard for me! Part of it is the fact that I get bored. She's sleeping quite a bit right now, so I'll have an hour or so at a time where I'm just sitting at home trying to find things to do. There are only so many fun things on TV at 2pm on a Tuesday. Thank goodness for DVR & movie channels! Except I think I've watched What Happens in Vegas on HBO like 5 times in the last 2 weeks. I've gotten really good at keeping everything clean & organized & making sure the laundry is always done and all that jazz. And I've had some wonderful visitors over the past couple of weeks! I've also ventured out a little, but there aren't too many places I want to go because it's cold & flu season & Isis is still so new! But we're working on it.

It's also hard because there isn't too much I can do with her right now. Any suggestions for that? She doesn't really interact yet. I maintain a running commentary of my day for her. I'm always telling her what I'm doing and what's going on. So I try to talk as much as I can. And then I hold her & we stretch & do massage & I make faces, etc. But she hasn't smiled yet. I can tell that she's really learning & taking everything in, but the lack of interaction is rough. It's like doing all this stuff for someone who doesn't show any reciprocation. haha I know we're talking about a baby, but still! That definitely makes it hard! You have to agree! But at 4 weeks now, we're getting closer to some milestones! We do tummy time everyday and she's getting better at holding her head up. Still not too steady, but she can do it for a while! She also holds her head up when you hold her at your shoulder. I think it's really cute! She always turns & looks at me! She's a cutie!! I'm still waiting for a smile! I think that'll be so fun!

Already she's gaining weight so fast & growing so much! I can tell this whole first year is just going to fly by! The past 4 weeks have gone by in a flash - which is awesome because those first 2 weeks felt like a YEAR, so to look back and think the first month really seems like a day is such a relief! Maybe I will have more kids!! haha J/K we still want 3.

My friend Maria stopped by yesterday to bring Isis some adorable things she had made for her & she mentioned that she liked reading this blog because it's "real." I don't really have a problem talking about the things that are hard for me about motherhood so far. It's hard for everyone, how would it not be? It's a complete transition from freedom to doing everything around a baby. And you have to do everything for her. That's hard! But I absolutely love being a mom & I'm so happy that Isis is in our family now. So don't mistake my discussion of the ins & outs of my parenting experience with me complaining or being unhappy. That's so far from the truth!Things are great & they get better every week, but it's still really hard!

The one thing I haven't been able to bring myself to do yet is work out!! I really need to! Although I'm down to just 4 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight. But still everything is different with my body - like my pants are still too tight and stuff. Things just don't fit the same. I need to walk or do pilates or something, but I just can't find the motivation yet. I need to really work on that.

Anyway, we're 4 weeks in & things are going good! Hope they just continue to get better!

Cloth Diapering in Action!

We all know that I was very excited about cloth diapers when I was pregnant! We used disposables for the first 2 weeks until her umbilical cord stump fell off because I was afraid the cloth diapers would tear off the stump before it was ready. After 2 weeks (and $40) in disposable diapers, we were very excited about using cloth! It took a couple of days for us & Isis to get used to the cloth diapers, but now, we all are very happy!! It's definitely not for everybody. We are having to use our diaper sprayer to spray off the poo everytime, but we don't actually ever touch the poo. And once I'm putting the diapers into the washing machine, there isn't even any poo on them! So it's not any messier than the disposables were.

If you were on the fence about it, I highly recommend the cloth diapers! And our GroBaby diapers are the absolute best!! We love how they work - with the velcro rather than buttons & they fit great! Even when she was just like 7 1/2 pounds! We don't always have to change the outer shell, so that helps! And we'll have to change it even less once she's out of this stage where she poops after every feeding. The only thing I've really noticed that makes a big difference is her little butt is huge in the cloth diapers! She can wear 3 month clothes already just because her butt is big! Although it could also have something to do with the fact that she's gone from 6 lbs 12 oz when she was born to 11 lbs in 4 weeks!! Goodness my girl is eating!!

So there ya go, cloth diapers are working well for the Clarks! Yay for GroBaby!

Oh, P.S. I did try some regular fitted cloth diapers with a Thirsties diaper cover & I absolutely hated that! So I guess I like GroBaby diapers specifically, not just cloth diapers in general.
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