Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sleeptraining is for Sissies (NOT!)

{sigh}. As some of you know, sleep has been a HUGE issue for us over the past few weeks.  It used to be that Staci would sleep 7:30ish to 3:30, wake up to nurse, and then right back down till 7:30ish.  it was wonderful.  there was no rocking, no swaying, no nursing every hour, it was divine.  During the day, she'd sleep 40-60 minutes out of every 2 hour period.  it was tiring because her cycle was so short, but she was sleeping and doing well at night so I was aprehensive to change anything.  Around 15 weeks old, she started waking more at night.  I attributed this to the '4 month sleep regression' and didn't do much about it, just continued to nurse and she would go right back down.  no biggie. 

Over the past few weeks, Staci has stopped sleeping during the day almost completely.  You might think this would make her nighttime sleep better.  Au Contraire.  As per usual for the past month or so, she has been insisting on being rocked to sleep.  It's so weird because we never did that in the past, but in order for her to fall asleep she had to be rocked.  It's not as if she was fussing and so I'm not even sure if CIO (cry it out) would have been an option.  She would just roll over and play with her paci or tag blanket, kick her legs and grunt at us 'till we flipped her over. (at which point she'd flip right on back over, and then be upset she was on her belly).  This would go on for 40ish minutes at which point I'd try to rock her because it was so evident how tired she was.  She'd go to sleep, I'd put her down, and 15 minutes later she'd wake up.  I attributed this to her being overtired, and gave in to rocking her every time for naps, just to get her to sleep.  This worked, for a while.  Gradually, over time, these naps became shorter and shorter, until we got to the point of the past couple of weeks and her notorious 15 minute naps.  I reached the end of my rope when she took a 6 minute nap, and was clearly SOOOO tired.  It's time for me to be a parent, and teach her how and when to sleep if she's not going to do it herself.

I do think there are a few developmental things going on here: (1) she has just learned how to sit up on her own and while still a little wobbly, can sustain it for quite some time; (2) the six month growth spurt; and (3) teething.  She has a lump on her lower left side, I think she may be sprouting her first tooth!  it's either that or a cyst (common in babies), we'll know for sure in a few days. Regardless of these reasons, she needs her sleep (and I need mine)!

I absolutely have to do something or I might start fantasizing about throwing my kid out the window.  It is incredibly frustrating to spend 15-30 minutes rocking her to have her awake less than 15 minutes later.  At this point I figure I have a couple of options. The Sears' method (attachment parenting--AP) or the CIO method/sleep training method (think babywise, the baby whisperer, etc etc).  BOTH sides suggest that a consistant naptime routine during the day will lead to better sleep at night.  I find myself most often on the 'attachment parenting' side of the coin, so for now I'm starting with AP, or the Sears' Method.  In the book written by Dr. Sears' (et al) The Baby Book, they suggest bringing the baby into bed with you.  Since I'm hopeful to have her take 2, 2 hour naps per day and possibly a short nap in the evening, I'm bringing her into bed with me for the first nap, and rocking her for the second.  Since I am not getting much sleep, that morning nap is a lifesaver for me. 

I started implementing this yesterday, and it went really well.  She slept for a little over 2 hours in the morning, while I slept a bit and then just watched her sleep, in awe.  For the afternoon nap, I rocked her to sleep and then set her in her crib.  She slept alone for about 20 minutes (as per her usual) and then I rocked her the rest of naptime, for which she slept in my arms.  Today, the morning nap went much the same way although I was able to sleep the whole time, which was amazing.  The afternoon nap was a bit shorter (90 minutes) , but we did get her down  around 6 for a 20 minute nap in her crib, so that adds up to almost 4 hours during the day.  This, compared to the 90 minutes of sleep she was getting per day (total) is absolutely tremendous and has made a HUGE difference in her mood.  My plan is to get her in this daytime routine and keep my fingers crossed it translates to better nighttime sleep.  Once she's sleeping better at night again, we can start transitioning her to her crib for naps.  For now, the most important thing to me is that she's getting the sleep she so desperately needs.  I enjoy sleeping next to her, and when I'm rocking her for the second nap I just started reading--something I haven't had time to do since she was born.  Since I love to read, this is a great 'mommy break' even though it's not really a break.

I wish I would have realized how harmful not sleeping during the day was to my precious baby girl!  In fact, studies have linked restless sleep patterns with ADHD later in life, as Mark Weissbluth discusses in Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.  (look at pgs 393-4)  I'm a bit nervous because her naps, after ~40 minutes, are extremely restless.  I have to be next to her or she will wake up.  For the afternoon nap, if I so much as turn the page too loudly in my book her eyes are WIDE open.  It has only been 2 days, so I'm hopeful that as she gets used to sleeping during these times and becomes more rested, she will eventually begin to have more restful sleep.

I will keep you all updated as we progress.  Wish us luck that I don't have to actually go into sleeptraining, because I'm quite certain I will do as much crying as she does if we end up needing to resort to CIO.  It just doesn't appeal to my style of parenting, but I do think daytime sleep is essential to her well-being so if we have to, we have to.  As of now, my fingers are crossed this gentler method works!   Other suggestions are welcomed! :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Baby led Weaning

In my excitement to start introducing solids a couple of weeks ago, I was researching recipes and how to get started on  There, I read that many moms were now starting to introduce solids using baby led weaning-or BLW-instead of purees.  This intrigued me and sparked a mass-raid of the internet and anything I could find involving BLW. 

Let me clarify.  I am not discussing weaning Staci from the breast just yet.  We are nowhere near ready for that!

There is a lot more to it, but the most basic explanation of BLW is that it is simply giving Staci suitable sized pieces of food, soft enough for her to gum at this point since she has no teeth.  It is not important for her to get many nutrients from solid food at this age, because breastmilk is the most calorie and nutrient dense food available.  It's imperitive that in the first year she receive the majority of her calories from breastmilk alone.  That being said, the motto of baby led weaning is 'If it's before one, it's just for fun'.  BLW mothers take mealtimes and view them as play time.  A time to try new things, explore, and learn to chew and swallow because frankly, food is yummy!

The whole point of introducing solids to a baby is so that they learn how to feed themselves, i.e. pick up food, bring it to their mouth, chew and swallow.  Clearly, a puree-weaned baby is simply learning to suck and swallow food from a spoon.  While they are experiencing lovely new tastes, they don't have the luxury of experiencing the new texture as well.  There is also the potential to overfeed that lies in spoonfeeding.  Often, moms may feel pressure to get that extra bite of food in to finish the jar or bowl of mush, even if the baby is not hungry. 

BLW babies, on the other hand, get to pick and choose what-and how much-goes into their mouths.  This encourages a healthy appetite to try new things.  Studies have shown that BLW babies are far less picky and much more willing to try new things than puree weaned babies are, as discussed in Gill Rapley's book, Baby-led weaning.  As many of you know, this is a HUGE reason for me to try this method of introducing solids.  My husband is one of the pickiest eaters I know, second only to his mother, who refuses to eat anything green unless that's the color of the icing on her store bought cookie-cake!  (Ann, you know I love you!)

Some of you may worry that she may choke.  This angle is also discussed in the book, and it's important to note that a baby's gag reflex is actually located further forward in their mouth than it is in an adult's.  Gagging is actually an important part of learning how to eat, because it teaches them how to move food around in their mouth to chew it, and helps them learn to take smaller pieces instead of cramming the entire chunk in all at once.  It is also pointed out that, in actuality, spoon feeding is more likely to be a potential choking hazard, simply because the baby is not in control of what goes into their mouth, how far, and how much. 

A great quick resource I found is this pamphlet, a quick overview of the book: If you are interested, there are quite a few videos on youtube of babies having their first meal BLW style, and it is really neat to watch! 

I can't wait to get started.  I am leaning towards introducting avacado first, simply because of all it's health benefits and (bonus!) ease of preparation.  All I would have to do is slice it! And of course eat the other half. :) Stay tuned for updates as Staci learns to eat like a big girl!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Modeling debut and a visit with the grandmas

About time for an update, huh?  Anastasia's six month birthday is just around the corner, and Max and I are having a blast watching our teeny tiny baby turn into a chubber with personality!  Today was the Bellies and Babies Expo at the Convention center downtown.  Staci was a model in the fashion show!  here are a couple of pictures of her outfit:

and then she had to show us her model face:

If only we were allowed to keep the outfit as a reward!  After the show, Max and I visited with Grandma Ann for a little while and Staci showed off her new trick.

sitting up!

Then we went to Half Price Books and scored a couple more Dr. Seuss books.  Max and I both love those and they seem so well written when compared to many other kid's books.  Reading at this age is really just for the benefit of hearing the language, so it helps Max and I when it's something we enjoy!  We rounded off the day with a trip to see Grandma Ellen at Kirk Furniture.  It was really fun to meet everyone and see the store, and Staci was a hit!

It's so amazing to see my baby girl grow and learn new things.  I definitely miss the newborn stage, but I love the stage she is in right now, as well.  We will be starting solids this week since she is now able to feed herself. Baby led weaning--or BLW--is probably where we will start since we waited until 6 months. More on that in my 'baby led weaning' post!  in the meantime, check the side bar for a video of Staci enjoying her Jumpster :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

bye-bye 6mo, hello 9mo!

I can't believe my baby girl is already getting into 9 month clothing!  It seems all brands run differently, but she was beginning to look like a stuffed sausage so it's time to get out the 'new' (well, new to me) clothes.  I must admit, it's really fun to go through the bins of clothes and find all the cute stuff!  I have only bought one or 2 new things in this size.  Everything else has been from Craig's List or consignment sales.

The part I struggle with is how to arrange the clothes in drawers.  with the 3-6mo stuff, I put all the onesies in one drawer, pants in another, jumpers in another and all the sleepers together.  This time I'm going to try something a little different.  I've gone through and made outfits out of everything and will put them in drawers so my husband can dress his daughter and *not* have her look like Punky Brewster.  Seriously.  Yesterday, she came downstairs in rainbow striped leggings and a longsleeved striped onesie.  But the onesie wasn't rainbow striped more of a pastel.  it was attrocious!

With this transition to new clothing, I start to wonder how big she really is getting.  We don't own a baby scale or a grown-up scale, so I have no way of knowing.  We weighed her 2 weeks ago at the reunion and she was 15lbs5oz (fully dressed) but I am guessing she is over 16lbs by now.  It just seems within the last 2 weeks she has grown and every time I pick her up she feels like a ton of bricks!

Our next appointment with the doctor is still a few weeks away, so I'm very much looking forward to seeing how much she's grown.  We will also be starting solids soon!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

'After' pics

Some pictures from the reunion were posted on facebook by Stephanie, so I 'stole' them, and here they are!!

The 'after' picture, in order of babies born from right to left
All the daddies

Ava and Eliam, so cute!
Landon and Staci, playin' footsie! Dana, our class instructor, is holding Landon
Thanks Stephanie for posting pictures!! :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bradley class reunion!

I have been waiting to write this blog until Cassey, another member of the class who happens to be a professional photographer, posted the pictures she took so I could link some of them here.  It's been a week and a half now, and if I don't blog about it I will forget everything!  So, here goes:

I guess I should start by explaining that Max and I attended a natural birthing class (the Bradley Method, perhaps better known as Husband Coached Childbirth) for a few months prior to Anastasia's birth.  It was very important to me to at least try to have a natural labor and delivery and I knew I would need to be prepared in order to reach this goal--seeing as I'm a total wimp!  I firmly believe that if anyone is interested in having a natural birth, this is absolutely the way to go.  There are other methods out there, but this one has been around the longest and has the highest studied success rate.  Also, for any soon to be mom, I highly recommend at least reading the book "Childbirth the Bradley Way".  If you plan to have an epidural or pain medication, just ignore what it says about these things.  Honestly, no one really talks about labor and delivery, so I had no idea what to expect.  This book taught me pretty much everything I needed to know!

I digress...

A couple of Saturday evenings ago Max, Staci and I all loaded into the car and met at Amy's house for a potluck reunion. It was so much fun to see everyone and their babies!  especially since the last time I'd seen some of the girls, we all looked like this:

It is so much fun to look back and see all the cute preggos, and to now have met the OH so ADORABLE babies!  We are lined up in order of EDD's (estimated due dates) from the right.  Meagan, Cassey, myself, Amy, Stephanie, and Becky.  We all had our babies pretty much in this order, though Cassey and I managed to beat Meagan.  Although I think I only beat Meagan by a day or so. :)   There was also another mama who happened to have her baby in January, only a few classes in!  Her name is Kara, and she and her hubby and baby boy did join us for the reunion. 
So, as soon as Cassey makes those photos available, I will post the 'after' shots. :)
Perhaps the most fun part of the reunion was rehashing some birth stories (I am addicted to these now) and discussing topics with other like-minded mamas.  Things such as breastfeeding, cloth diapering, eating organically, and living green aren't things you can always talk to just anyone about because of prejudices and frankly, closed-mindedness. 
Anastasia of course had to insert herself into the conversation by >LOUDLY< blowing raspberries in all directions.  It was SO adorable, if I do say so myself!  We ended up having to duck out early due to Staci's inability to fall asleep anywhere but her own room, but all in all it was a very fun evening!  It was so wonderful to see Dana, our instructor, again after having learned information very dear to our hearts from her!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Turning 27 at the Indy Zoo!

Today is a landmark day.  I turn 27 today.  I'm not sure what it is about 27 that is so much older than 26, but I've officially moved into my 'upper' 20's.  I am making it a personal rule to soak in every last moment of my 20's, and enjoy them to the fullest. In honor of this, a good friend from my natural birthing class, Becky, took us to the zoo today!  We had a blast!  We started off at the dolphin show. (check the video banner at the right for a short, like 2 second vid of the dolphins flipping!!)
After, we took a short break to nurse the babes and do some diaper changes.  We made our way through, stopping tor some fun pics along the way.
My favorite part of the day was probably getting up close and personal with this elephant!  I love elephants, I just think they are amazing creatures!  We got to see this one cross his legs, touch his nose (to his nose, LOL) shake his head, and then we got to 'pet' her!  I had never been that close to an elephant before.  very cool!
Thanks Becky for a wonderful birthday out and a fun trip to the zoo!
Max came home and treated me to dinner out (we NEVER go out to eat, I could probably count on one hand how many times we've been to a sit down resteraunt this year) and then to a DQ treat.  I'd turn 27 every day if I got to have days like this!