How I learned to deal with lack of time {Emotionally} -title changed :)

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby on. Posted in BABY, Daily, LIFE, New Mom Experience


I guess the post titled, “Time Management”, was misleading some people into thinking I’d write some tips, or about how I get things done, so I changed it to a more relevant name. Eventually I might write about what I actually do to manage time in detail, but for this post I wanted to describe the frustration of never having enough time and how I dealt with it from the emotional perspective.

I think the hardest change that motherhood brought for me has been time management. When you’re pregnant, people tell you that you won’t have time and you have a vague idea of what that means, but like with everything in life, you don’t truly understand until you’re there.

Some people have it easier, some people have it harder. If you’re a stay-at-home mom and your baby sleeps perfect 2 hour naps each time, then you probably find yourself with more time on your hands than you did when you were working. But that’s really rare. Most of us are in situations where juggling responsiblities, desires, hobbies and babies is a reality that we have to contend with. Everyone, obviously, deals with it differently. Every person is different in their needs and what issues they have with lack of time, as well as how much their baby allows them to do while asleep and awake, and finally what they are happy with and what the priorities are.

My problem has been that I am used to being very engaged with things I do, having a lot of hobbies, only feeling good when I am productive and get things done. On the other side, I do love to relax, take a bath, sit back with a book ( i love reading), swing in a hammock, listen to music. I didn’t have much problem giving the latter up, though I do miss a good read and a cup of tea once in a while. However, what really bit me in the ass with was not being able to be productive in the sense that I am used to.

I have always had a ton of hobbies and I have been very fast and productive at my job, as well. To switch to something that doesn’t have deadlines, rushes, unlimited work time, no interruptions, and more importantly for me thinking- it was hard. And the hardest thing was to never be able to rely on a certain amount of time that I could dedicate to one task.

I went from a 24 hour day where I could work and do things I wanted virtually at any time of the day and night to 3 naps a day that lasted anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. To me the uncertaintly was the most challenging. What complicated things further is that I refused to do anything but engage with Alexis during her awake time unless she was interested in playing on her own ( which she wasn’t until literally 2 weeks ago).

I would be rocking Lexi to sleep, thinking and planning in my head all the things I was going to do and GET DONE once she is asleep. When I’d get up to put her down and she would wake up, I’d think “Oh that’s alright, I’ll get it all done after I rock her some more”. When I would finally put her down for good, after 4-5 failed attempts, I’d rush to my computer with a massive list of things to do and, before I can even check my email, she’d wake up.

So needless to say, I’ve had very very frustrating days in the beginning. I have to admit I’d get VERY frustrated, because I wasn’t getting anything done and I didn’t think it was appropriate for me to do them when Lexi was up. She needed my attention and my love and my most important job, as a SAHM, was to give that attention to her. What didn’t help matters was that I didn’t have any time in the evenings when most babies go for the night around 6-7pm and sleep relatively well. {Lexi STILL goes to bed around 8-9pm, up for the day at 6am and wakes up often enough that it necessitates that we go to sleep with her so that we could get ANY decent amount of sleep.}

But the resentment kept building. The resentment of the situation where most every other baby “appeared” to have normal 1-2 hour naps and I would fight for 10-20 minutes of nap time. (Since then I’ve met a few moms whose babies need to be rocked to sleep and only nap for 20-30 minutes as well)

I was enjoying rocking Lexi to sleep and spending time with her while she slept, but I wasn’t enjoying not getting things done and feeling completely unproductive. I decided that I had to do something about it. Change the way I thought about the whole situation.

The worst part was not having my expectations met when it came to being “productive” for the day. When I’d expect to get a few things done, but be unable because Lexi would wake up the second I put her down or 5 minutes later. So I told myself to ALWAYS go into her nap time EXPECTING that the first 3 times I put her down, she will wake up right away. Then after that, when I managed to put her down with her still asleep, I would tell myself that I would ONLY be able to open my computer and check my email. Then if I got THAT done and she was still asleep, I’d tell myself that I WILL NOT have time to finish the next task I am about to do. And so on and so forth…

This made A WORLD of a difference in my levels of frustration. I wasn’t setting myself up for failure, I was setting myself up for constant pleasant surprises (” Oh she is still asleep and I can do one more thing?”). Of course, I had to keep reminding myself to think in this new way.

I lived like that managing my expectations for about 4 months and then her naps started evening out. Now I still keep it in the back of my mind that, most likely, I won’t be able to finish what I am doing, but now I get a pretty reliable 30-40 minutes with occasional days where she’ll be up constantly.

My husband and I had also agreed that, for my sanity, I needed 2 hours a day to work on things. So he’d take her for 2 hours when he could, while I would FRANTICALLY try and get stuff done (some work stuff, some accounting, some blogging, some family stuff). This is no longer necessary on most days, but it helped me get over the hump.

Now that she is over 6 months, she can play on her own for a bit. I still refuse to do any computer work while she’s awake, because it’s a slippery slope to ignoring your child for me. But now I have the opportunity to get a bit of cooking done, throw in a load, hang up some clothes, mail some returns. And her nap time is exclusively reserved for blogging, researching, ordering, emailing, editing photos and videos. I am still very organized during the nap times, because I can only rely on 40 minutes twice a day (or 40min x2 twice a day if I am lucky). I don’t eat, I don’t drink, I don’t take time to go to the bathroom (unless I can’t hold it)- I just work, work, work. And then when she wakes up, I catch up on all that eating, drinking, peeing business :)

I still spend about 1/3 of my day just rocking Lexi to sleep, because of how often she wakes up and how hard it is to put her down occasionally, but I have adjusted emotionally to not expect anything different.

My next goal is to find a way to work out and to do my hair/light make up/moisturize/take a consistent shower in the morning.  {edit: I do take showers when I have/want to. But I just always feel like there are more important things to do lol Like play with Lexi} Up until now that hasn’t been the priority, but now I feel things have mellowed out enough that I can start to figure out ways to get even more organized and get that done as well. I had stopped “taking care” of my skin and my hair for a month or so for lack of time, and I see a huge difference a month has made. I also need to tone up and Lexi still doesn’t like the stroller much, so we can’t go jogging with her yet.

{Lexi is at 3.5 months, wearing a Polarn O. Pyret onesie}

But I am HAPPY.

I am happy with the place I am at, emotionally, productively and physically. I am happy about the way things are ( with occasional bouts of frustration here and there). We’re in an equilibrium and life is just awesome right now. I love having a baby, I love having a 6 months old, specifically. I love Lexi, and our time together. I love to occasionally have time to blog. It took a little bit of adjustment, but once you figure out how to deal with the curveballs thrown by life and/or your non-sleeping baby, it’s all pretty darn good.

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Comments (139)

  • Tara

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    Love this post! This will be something I will definitely neeed to look at once the baby is born! We are hoping to financially make it work for me to be a SAHM, and I have this picture perfect idea, of how I will be… and I know it will probably never be that way… lol.

    Great post! I think this will help so many mothers and mothers to be!

    Reply

  • Bailey

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    I love this post. We’re currently TTC our first, but I will be a SAHM as well. I totally agree about the computer thing. When it is finally our time, I don’t plan on using the computer at all unless baby is asleep. I had a friend that would just sit on the computer for hours, with both her kids and just ignore them. She would play with them MAYBE two hours a day, TOPS! It made me so sad. Then I would see my cousin with her son, and she crawls around with him and gets down on the floor with him, that made me really happy, and she’s the kind of mom I strive to be.

    I think you’re doing a wonderful job with Lexi, you can tell how much you love her in every single one of your postings. :)

    I do have a suggestion for the shower problem though, now that Lexi is old enough. They have little seats that babies can sit in to take a bath, you could put her at the end of the shower with you, so she won’t get too wet, and then shower with her in there with you.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      The way out shower is set up with a big seat it won’t work. :( Lexi actually loves showers so I often shower with her, or just give her to daddy for a few minutes. The problem is more in the fact that I always feel like I don’t have time to waste on a shower and would rather spend time with Lexi. And I do get to shower when I need to, it’s more make up/skin care routine that I need to force myself to do.

      Reply

      • Laura

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        Hello! When you get around to posting about the products you use, can you also maybe review some face lotions and possibly even cover-up if you use it? I am on the pale side like you and also have gotten some freckles across my nose since having my son that are apparently permanent and I really need a cover-up or foundation that works for that type of complexion really well and isn’t filled with terrible chemicals etc. :) You seem to be able to find the best products haha.

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    • dena

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      Ummm….save your energy being ‘sad’ for your friend’s child. I’m sure they’re fine and kids don’t need constant attention at every waking moment. What works for you and your family is fine, but I seriously doubt your friend’s children are suffering from emotional and physical neglect just b/c she has time to spend on the computer. Everyone’s lives are different and everyone budgets time and prioritizes differently. Maybe her kids are really independent? Maybe she’s not on the computer as much as you assume she is? Maybe it’s none of your business and you shouldn’t waste time passing judgement? Especially considering you don’t have any children yet so you have no idea what your life is going to pan out to be like.

      It’s all fine and good if you want to be the kind of mom who crawls around on the floor with your kids…if that makes you happy then so be it. There is a balance, despite what you may think. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can spend time on the computer as well as engage your kids…and seriously, independent play isn’t the work of a lazy, apathetic parent. You’re teaching your children life skills then too.

      Reply

      • Alisac

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        Thank you for this. I’m a new mom and I truly hate the types of rude, condescending comments certain people who don’t have children seem to make with regularity. taking care of kids is hard hard work with NO letup. The last thing we moms need is someone like this person – who has no kids – passing judgement. If you want to take 2 – or 4 or 5 – hours to yourself DO IT. You deserve it!

        Reply

  • Lou

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    Hello there! Sounds like you’re getting into the swing of things, which is good. TBH having a baby scares me when I read your posts. :O

    I am just curious about one thing. Now, you say within 5 minutes of putting Lexi down she’s up again, before you have time to check your email. Is that really giving her enough time to even try to fall asleep? Or do you go in immediately when you hear a peep instead of just seeing if she is just getting comfy and adjusting herself to start a nice big nap. I know for me personally, it takes me a bit of time to fall asleep, so I can only assume the same goes for baby. Obviously if she’s wailing for an extended period of time that’s a different story. But the fact that you get her right away, she very well could be learning this behaviour from you. She’s thinking “I fuss, mom will come get me.” I would really like to hear your response and to shed some light :)

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      I wouldn’t be scared lol It’s wonderful. Most babies sleep just fine.

      As far as your question, some babies need to be parented to sleep, ie. rocked/nursed/snuggled. Alexis has always fallen asleep only while being rocked, though that is slowly changing as she grows. If I rock her to sleep, put her down, and she wakes up within 5 minutes and I let her lie there, she will play with her feet for a bit, look around, wake up fully and when she’s bored of being alone/playing with her feet, she’ll start calling for me. At that point, no amount of rocking will put her back to sleep. She is refreshed after 5 minutes of sleep. Or if she is still sleepy and starts crying because she hasn’t had enough sleep, but has woken up and doesn’t know how to soothe herself back to sleep ( she has never taken a paci and doesn’t use her thumb or a lovey to soothe herself yet). If I let her fuss/cry for a bit ( and I have tried it, sometimes just to see what happens, sometimes because I am in the opposite side of the house and can’t get to her right away, other times because i had left my monitor upstairs while making myself tea), she will quickly escalate which will wake her up completely, but now she’ll also be upset.

      Following the awesome advice in the sleep book by Pantley, I’ve been picking her up right as she wakes up after a cycle of sleep and rocking her back to sleep, ad that’s how we’ve been getting 1.5-2hrs of nap time at a time on good days.

      And yes, for the first year, what babies need is to know that “mom will come get me” when I call for her. It sets up for secure attachment and trust that shapes their future emotional lives.

      Reply

  • Melissa

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    Totally glad you’re happy and that’s what’s important but a time management post – I was kind of expecting you to detail how you manage to clean, cook, do some work, some blogging, and take care of the baby. Of course then I remembered that you have a housekeeper so you don’t have to do any of that stuff that a normal stay at home mom DOES have to do.

    Also, you aren’t able to shower in the morning? Why can’t you let Lexi play in a playpen or pack and play while you take a quick shower? When my son was younger, I’d have him in his favorite, the Rock & Play, then I’d bring in the pack and play, or let him lay on a blanket on the floor while I showered. You make it sound so hard, when it doesn’t have to be.

    I’m not telling you to ignore your child or anything like that, but come on, not being able to shower? Really? You run a blog that’s supposed to be about parenting and your baby, you research the hell out of everything and come off as an “expert” and this post was pretty much a whine about not having enough time to blog because you can’t put your baby down for a second.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      I love how you just assume that because things worked a certain way for you, they should work the same way for me. We have different babies.
      Lexi DOES NOT just lie on a blanket, she won’t just sit in a pnp. She’s always on the move. Nowadays, she will sit and play with toys but it’s not safe to leave her unattended, she’s fast.
      I do get to shower, I never said I didn’t, I just don’t devote time to it as often as I’d like to or have a the kind of shower routine I’d like (rather than just a quick shower)

      I’m sorry you didn’t get tips from this post but it’s my blog and I wanted to write about the emotional adjustment I had to make.
      I never claimed to be an expert. It takes a lot more than reading a bunch of books and doing research to be an expert. It’s just something you’re reading into.

      As far as a housekeeper, you make it sound like I should feel guilty about having one. I don’t care to clean and would probably ignore it over spending time with Lexi, had we not had one. There’s more to do around the house than just cleaning.

      I find it ridiculous that I have to clarify a simple post I write. You read my blog, you knew all that.

      And thanks for the comment that you saw the post as a whine. It’s really nice to know where you stand as a reader when I share something honest about what an adjustment it was and how made it work for myself.

      Reply

      • Matt's Wife

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        I don’t think you need to be hostile. Isn’t your whole blog predicated on the idea that you are recommending your ideas to others because they worked for you? If mothers who have been there with their own children are making recommendations to you based on their experience, how is that any different from what you are doing?

        Anyone telling you that you could do X instead of being constantly attached to Lexie isn’t trying to insult you, hurt you or hurt Lexie. They are trying to tell you that you that there is developmental potential for a child in those minutes they are on their own, and that they can benefit you at the same time.

        Advice is not necessarily criticism. And considering that you have frequently told people that you aren’t criticising what they are doing by saying what works for you, you should understand that.

        Reply

  • Elena C.

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    Wow, you have found the healthiest way to deal with this problem :)

    Reply

  • Joe

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    You have a job? I assumed your husband was the breadwinner for some reason.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      We are both self employed. Up until Lexi was born, we were both working together. When I got pregnant, we shifted responsibilities, so that I was doing the least stressful things. Once Lexi was born, I had to step back for a bit, but there are still certain things that I have to do for the businesses that Andrew doesn’t know how to or doesn’t have the time to learn or simply doesn’t like doing.
      So every few days I usually have to take a day to catch up on work while he becomes a SAHD for the day.
      Once Lexi doesn’t need to have breast milk during the day, we’ll go back to 50/50 on parenting and work.

      Reply

  • tarynkay

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    Have you tried just wearing her all day? Before my son learned how to nap, I used to just wear him all day in the Moby or Ergo (or whatever carrier you prefer.) I still do when he’s having a rough day, and now he’s big enough for the back carry so it’s much easier. He would nap in the carrier and I would go about my business- doing housework or whatever needed to be done. They even make shower slings you could try- he was fine in a bouncy seat on the floor while I showered, but maybe Lexi would like the shower sling?

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      The biggest issue wasn’t really the housework. I could manage to pick things up around the house, do laundry while carrying her which is what I did. But I had/have a lot of work to do on my computer and you can’t exactly do it wearing her lol

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      • Just me

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        Why not?

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        • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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          Because that would mean me putting what I WANT to do ahead of what my baby NEEDS to do which is be on the floor exploring, playing, experiencing life, developing, reading books,etc. That’s why.

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      • Bunny

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        I wore my kids while at the computer for a long long time. I also got a tablet once they were cheap enough, to do work that way, since #3 was super clingy forever and ever. Once he got to sleep, I’d put him down, but it was just easier walking the house with him strapped to me, tablet in hand.

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        • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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          I really don’t feel comfortable doing that. I don’t want to put the blog ahead of Lexi, and for actual “work” (for the business), I usually ask Andrew to watch her.
          Plus, there is no way she’d ever just sit still while I work, she needs to be moving, going, seeing things.

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      • tarynkay

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        Oh- I assumed that since you had mentioned doing stuff on your smart phone whilst breastfeeding, you would be okay with doing stuff on the computer once she falls asleep on you. I knew you had a housekeeper, too (which I totally do not fault you for, good for you for providing employment for someone!) I just said “housework” cause that’s what I have to do, but you know, whatever it is that you do other than computer stuff. Then do computer stuff once she falls asleep in the carrier? You could even set the computer up on a high counter if you find that you can’t sit down w/ her once she’s asleep. Anyhow, it’s just a suggestion, if it’s useful take it, if not, don’t.

        Reply

        • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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          Oh I see what you’re saying! She won’t sleep in a carrier though. If she fell asleep in a carrier I have nothing against working on a computer while she’s asleep. But doesn’t fall asleep anywhere but in my arms and then I transfer her to bed. That’s when I work on the computer.

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          • Jesi

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            I think the best course is to drop the whole ‘she won’t do this or that’. I was that way with my son. “He doesn’t like this”, or, “he doesn’t do that.”. Then, I just started doing things a certain way, and after about a week, he got used to them. Babies are the most adaptable and amazing things ever, and it is not detrimental to them to put them in a playpen for 10 minutes and do some things. I know that the media, and other ‘perfect’ moms will try and tell you it is. They will try and tell you that anytime you let your child cry, even after they’ve been fed, cleaned and have been paid attention to all day, and you just need five minutes, that you are ‘abusing’ them or ‘stunting their potential’. I dealt with and still do deal with loads of postpartum depression and anxiety due to these unrealistic standards that people expect mothers to come to. If things are exhausting you, even though you have some extra help from a housekeeper, you should really look at what you are doing and see if you can’t switch things up a bit. The baby will be fine. Mothers in America forget that if we are exhausted and stressed out even though we spend every moment with our child, it will not be very helpful for their development, because we won’t be ‘all there’. I dealt with months of exhaustion trying to reach some unrealistic version of myself as a mother. Best thing is to not plan too much on any ‘way’ of parenting and truly go with the flow. Good luck to you and I hope you feel better soon.

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          • HollyR

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            Hi Elena :) you know, when I read this comment, it reminded me of something I read before in a parenting book (so sorry I can’t remember which one), but anyways it said something about how if you are rocking a baby to sleep they often wake up when in a crib because they aren’t being rocked anymore and wonder when the rocking stopped… I wonder if (unless you already do this) if you stop rocking her right before she nods off, if she could still fall asleep? …who knows, just a suggestion :), also just wanna say, there are a whole lot of neagative comments on some of your posts :(, it seems some people never learned that if you dont have something nice to say, to just not say anything at all. It is one thing to politely voice your opinion, offer suggestions and tips etc, but a whole different thing to assume they know exactly the right way to do something, or that they know all the information…I am SOOOOOO amazed at the way you choose to parent Lexi (although , sometimes it makes me feel like im not doing enough, lol, which I know is my own issue), but really You and your husband take parenting so seriously, its really refreshing!!!

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          • HollyR

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            Hi Elena :) you know, when I read this comment, it reminded me of something I read before in a parenting book (so sorry I can’t remember which one), but anyways it said something about how if you are rocking a baby to sleep they often wake up when in a crib because they aren’t being rocked anymore and wonder when the rocking stopped… I wonder if (unless you already do this) if you stop rocking her right before she nods off, if she could still fall asleep? …who knows, just a suggestion :), also just wanna say, there are a whole lot of neagative comments on some of your posts :(, it seems some people never learned that if you dont have something nice to say, to just not say anything at all. It is one thing to politely voice your opinion, offer suggestions and tips etc, but a whole different thing to assume they know exactly the right way to do something, or that they know all the information…I am SOOOOOO amazed at the way you choose to parent Lexi (although , sometimes it makes me feel like im not doing enough, lol, which I know is my own issue), but really You and your husband take parenting so seriously, its really refreshing!!!

            Reply

          • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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            Yes you’re very right. When she is done with one sleep cycle she is awake and because she’s used to being rocked, she can’t get back to sleep. What you suggested is definitely a solution I’ve read about. You rock slower and slower and over time you are not even rocking.
            I definitely do that, but it’s not a quick solution. And often she just pops her eyes open as soon as I stop rocking unless she’s completely asleep.

            Reply

      • tarynkay

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        Oh- I assumed that since you had mentioned doing stuff on your smart phone whilst breastfeeding, you would be okay with doing stuff on the computer once she falls asleep on you. I knew you had a housekeeper, too (which I totally do not fault you for, good for you for providing employment for someone!) I just said “housework” cause that’s what I have to do, but you know, whatever it is that you do other than computer stuff. Then do computer stuff once she falls asleep in the carrier? You could even set the computer up on a high counter if you find that you can’t sit down w/ her once she’s asleep. Anyhow, it’s just a suggestion, if it’s useful take it, if not, don’t. I’m just thinking that if she is finding it so difficult to nap, she might do better with that just on you all day.

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  • Lauren

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    Curious, do you plan on having other children?

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    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      We are not sure yet. It will probably depend on what kind of toddler Lexi is going to be and whether we think we’re going to find enough time for the new baby. Hypothetically, we’d like to, but it has to make sense.

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      • Lauren

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        That’s a very fair answer. I have to say, and I understand that all children are different, but EVEY child needs some time alone to explore and learn. I understand wanting be with your child every moment; wanting to play and engage with them, but you also need time for you…. I’m not talking about anything overly exciting, but going to the bathroom and showering are kind of important. I think you might find things to be a little easier if you would give our daughter a little space to just be… Also, if you and your husband did decide to have more children it would be pretty much impossible to do this with them too…. I speak from some experience on this as I did EVERYTHING with my daughter, but boy oh boy did her little life change when she became a big sister…. To say it was an adjustment would be a HUGE unerstatement.

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        • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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          Oh I understand that about 2 kids and that’s why we would think carefully and discuss it before we do decide to have another one. We’d basically have to accept that with two kids, we wouldn’t be able to be as responsive as we are now and see if we are both ok with that.

          Re: leaving her alone… lol I don’t NOT leave her alone, because I don’t want to miss a minute. She now plays on her own ( recent development ) while I am in the kitchen or in the same room, but I don’t feel comfortable leaving her unattended because she’s mobile now. I never said I don’t go to the bathroom or shower. I take her with me to the bathroom if I have to or ask hubby to watch her while I shower. That’s not really an issue.

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          • Jesi

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            Elena, I don’t want to sound crazy, but if you try to ‘not miss a minute’ you WILL go crazy. Seriously. That is what happened to me. I lost myself in my child, and had nothing to give because I gave everything. You MUST have time to yourself, by yourself. I know it is hard, but even at least a couple of hours a week away from your child is really healthy for you and the baby. I’m not saying leave her alone for hours, but get some time to yourself, even if that means dropping some work as well. I had so many priorities when I was a new mother, and learned to really simplify myself and my life. It did wonders for my energy and mood.

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  • karen

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    Your baby is adorable. Cherish every moment.

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  • Jessica

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    I had to laugh a bit at this: “I went from a 24 hour day where I could work and do things I wanted virtually at any time of the day and night”… man, I haven’t had felt like that since I was unemployed for two months, ten years ago! Must be nice, lol! I’ve always worked 50+ hour work weeks (usually while in school as well) and I found that having a crazy busy work schedule in the medical field (where I often was on call and work overnight shifts) was really great experience to help transition into parenthood – I’d already had experience learning how to squeeze in exercise and time for myself in between work and chores and schoolwork, and learn how work while sleep deprived, etc. And being low maintenance helps, I’ve never had a “beauty routine.” :)

    I’ve actually found that I’m way more productive now that I’ve had a baby and continue to work full time. My girl isn’t a great napper either (usually 30 minutes to an hour, even now at 8.5 months) and since I work during the day she reverse cycles and nurses most of the night (I’m averaging 5-6 hours of sleep, which I don’t mind at all, since it gives us great bonding time). The biggest help for us is babywearing – we wear her for naps, which stretches them out from 20-30 minutes to an hour or so, I wear her while I go for walks, and these days, now that she’s super mobile, having a few fully-childproofed rooms really helps, she can play safely on the floor while I fold laundry, clean, pay bills, etc. That’s so cool that Lexi’s started crawling! I’m surprised that you haven’t done a post on it! Isn’t it amazing how FAST they can be once they really take off crawling? That’s why we had to do some serious babyproofing and put up tons of baby gates!

    I think for some people the transition is harder for others, personally I’ve found that having a baby made me really slow down and enjoy life a lot more, I moved to an easier 9-5 job (instead of on-call and nights) and now I really relish the rare chances I get to relax and work on my hobbies, more so than I ever did before. I imagine going from working part time from home the full time job of parenthood was tough! And man, can I say I’m so jealous you all have housekeeper! I could never justify putting that into our household budget!

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    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      LOL, Jessica! No, you misunderstood that sentence. I meant I could actually work whenever I needed to and wanted to. Since we are self-employed, we sort of set our own schedule, so before Lexi, I would just do what I had to 24/7. Be it work, or fun if we had something planned. There were difficult years when we had to work 9am-midnight just to get all the work done. Though, of course, being able to set your own hours is MUCH easier than HAVING to be at work and working 50+ hours. In the end, compared to now, we did lead a pretty leisurely lifestyle being self-employed and all. I just don’t like not having that feeling of accomplishing things, you know, back when I worked full time. I try to find small accomplishments in the stuff I do now. Like, yay, I finished all 6 loads of laundry today! hahaha! Or I wrote a blog post! But it’s still not the same as having the whole day to yourself to accomplish work task after work task. {and on the side note, I really don’t know how you do it, working full time and being an involved parent that you seem to be from your comments. It’s awesome!}

      Re: crawling, Oh no she isn’t full on crawling yet. But she’s doing this dangerous “maneuver” from sitting to crawling about once every 5 minutes or so. She scoots pretty well, so that’s dangerous enough. But the biggest thing is that when I sit her up and put a boppy behind her, she either flips back and then head dives over the boppy, or goes to reach a toy in front of her, folds in half, tilts to the side and then falls on her face. SO pretty much that spelled goodby to leaving her alone for a while now. Which sucks because she JUST started playing with toys on HER OWN. LOL

      Re: housekeeper, we really had no choice LOL Both me and hubby aren’t “cleaning people”, I love organizing, but not cleaning ( i just feel like it’s just a waste of time since it doesn’t accomplish anything), plus we are both pretty messy, so our house would turn into A NIGHTMARE if we didn’t have someone come in every few days to help us. And the way we justified the money spent on it is the time freed from not having to do some of the housework would mean Andrew could have more time to work and earn more money that we pay to the housekeeper and Lexi would have more time with both mommy and daddy. Plus housekeepers are a lot more affordable here in Florida, so we are happy with how it’s working out.

      Reply

  • Ginny

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    Will Lexie go to school or be homeschooled?

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    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      We are still deciding…. I loved going to school and the social aspect of it, so I’d hate for her to miss out on it. But at the same time, I love the idea of homeschooling. It will also depend on whether I go back to work when she’s not breasfed anymore or not. We still have many years to figure that out.

      Reply

  • Alex

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    Where is the yellow hanging chair from? If you have a link that would be even more helpful!

    Reply

  • Erin

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    She sounds way overtired. She’s definitely not getting enough sleep, which could be why it’s hard for her to fall asleep. At that age, my twins were getting 12 hours of sleep a night, plus 2-3 1+ hour naps. And I showered every day, put on makeup and got my things done.

    Reply

    • Sarah B.

      |

      I wonder if she’s overstimulated? It’s one of what I call the typical “First Baby Problems” (I’d love to make a meme about that…a take on the First World Problems meme, lol). The parents have all the time in the world for their baby, so they spend all their time focused on the child, which is great. However, for the majority of young children, this can be mentally EXHAUSTING for them. The more attention the child gets, the more they seem to need…until pretty soon the child can’t stand to be still or quite (normal, healthy things) for more than a minute or so. They’ve been conditioned to “need” constant stimulation…often quite by accident on the parent’s part. This leads to children whose bodies/minds won’t let them sleep/relax/be still for healthy amount of times, and who get fussy and upset when there is not constant attention/action going on.

      All that to say, from what I’ve read in this blog, it sounds like baby Alexis has a classic case of over stimulation in her day to day life. That doesn’t mean she’s unhealthy or that her parents are doing anything wrong…it just leads to a mixture of exhaustion and hyperactivity (can’t sit still for a few minutes and just “be”) for the baby, and exhaustion for the parents. Babies tend to get better about it as soon as they can crawl and take their energy out that way. Also, the problem corrects itself because their parents feel better about not entertaining them all the time, so the child gets a chance to focus on one thing for awhile (or just “be”). I bet that she’ll start sleeping better at that time as well!

      Reply

      • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

        |

        Sarah, it’s a good theory, however you’re going off the tiny sliver of our lives that you see here, as well as a lot of assumptions in the comments above.
        Both my husband and I are very much into baby-led parenting and reading the cues. From the very beginning, we only did what Alexis was asking for. She asks for attention- we give it, she turns away cuz she’s overstimulated, we back off. She wants to relax, we read her a book, she starts fussing- we stop, etc etc.

        I bet she will start sleeping better once she crawls, but it’ll most likely happen because of the exhaustion of the physical effort required, not stimulation, since she’ll be definitely “stimulating” herself even more by crawling to all new places. Now all she does is sits and plays with toys, goes for walks, pool, tries to get into a crawling position or reads books with us.

        Reply

        • Sarah B.

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          That’s the problem with blogs…everyone only gets to see a tiny part of your lives! I’m sure if I knew you personally I’d see things very differently. At least this is helpful in allowing you to realize what your blog makes you seem like! :) Sorry for assumptions, I realize they can be hurtful and frustrating…and that’s exactly why I don’t have a blog, lol!!! I know people wouldn’t see us for who we really are, and that would drive me crazy!

          Reply

          • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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            “I’m sure if I knew you personally I’d see things very differently”

            Very much so. If you think about it, why would I blog about the times when I don’t engage with Lexi and she plays on her own. You blog about presence of something , not absence.

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  • Julie

    |

    Elena, what are your thoughts on how long you’ll be rocking Lexi to sleep? I absolutely loved rocking and nursing my daughter to sleep and I think we found a nice balance to it. We did it sometimes, but not so often that she ‘needed’ it to fall asleep. To this day, I still have to remind myself that helping my daughter learn how/when to self-sooth is actually a gift. It’s such a thin line. What do you think?

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      For as long as she needs to, I guess. I occasionally put her down drowsy but not asleep to see if she’s ready to go to sleep on her own but she instantly starts looking around and wakes up. In the last week she’s fallen asleep while nursing without rocking twice which was great. I’ve read a ton of sleep books (AP type ones) and I have a few tricks up my sleeve now but they all say babies learn to self-soothe eventually and I’m willing to wait. As she gets older ill continue trying to help her fall asleep on her own.
      From what I can see, the rocking gets her drowsy and NOT looking around. As soon as it stops before she’s almost asleep, she opens her eyes and starts looking around. She’s a very visual little girl. :)

      Reply

      • HollyR

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        uh-oh, I posted a comment above reguarding this, before I read this comment, sorry :(

        Reply

  • mallory

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    I read blogs for a number of different reasons, but usually, if I keep coming back, it’s because I like what I am reading, and have a a sort of connection to the blogger. I really can not figure out why so many people keep checking this blog, if the only reason you do is to pass judgment and make passive aggressive remarks about the way Elena chooses to live her life and raise her child. You can criticize her for having a housekeeper (really? how is it your business how she or her husband spend THEIR money) , but what is to be said about a person who sits around trolling the internet posting rude comments to people. It is petty, and judgmental, and honestly, SCARY because most of you are mothers raising our next generation.

    Anyway, Elena, love your blog, just had to comment because these comments were making MY blood boil.

    Reply

    • MMS

      |

      While I agree some of the comments have been a bit thoughtless, particularly comments regarding having a housekeeper (which I would totally have if we could afford it…I also disdain cleaning and purchase any Groupon for cleaning services..lol), I think some of the moms are attempting to give advice from a place of experience. I have reared four children, and have a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Development (although the actual parenting taught me more than any degree could have) and you have to allow yourself time to shower, put on makeup, cook, connect with your spouse, etc. The connecting with your spouse piece is extremely important as this is often the first thing to go when a new baby enters the scene. I also think some of the commenters are trying to say that by 6 months old, a child should have a bit of self directed play and it is not necessary to hover every second. What particularly struck me about the article and comment responses such as “Lexie won’t stay in the pack and play, Lexie won’t sit still, etc. As a parent, you teach these behaviors. Perhaps you start with 2 minute intervals in the Pack n Play and then work up. You don’t have to leave them in there for an hour. If you need your child to be in a pack n’ play so you can tend to another task, you put them there, and if they cry, they will live. I have four survivors of some pack and play time and they are just fine. They thrived. They grew to understand I was the parent and I would sometimes make decisions based on their safety because I am the adult. Children really do need to learn they are not always the center of even their parent’s universe. It teaches empathy for others, and understanding of participating in community where you are not always going to be the center of everyone’s attention. Finally, I learned sleep begets sleep. When a child sleeps well during the day, establishes a bedtime routine of maybe a bath, book and bottle or breast, and then lie down, they sleep more fitfully and for longer periods of time. We can all give our advice ,however, if the author chooses to not take it, that is certainly her right. When we blog, we put our lives out there. Our readers make or break our blog, so interacting with them respectfully, even if you disagree seems to be a reasonable expectation. Bloggers have the opportunity to turn off their comments or to stop blogging if you really are not seeking feedback from your reading audience. Just my 2 cents!

      Reply

      • May

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        I completely agree with this poster! I especially agree that you could learn from experienced moms here – just pick and choose what will work for you. :)

        I also agree that parents teach skills like being able to sit in the Pack and Play while you shower. It’s not that Lexi can’t do it, it’s that she’s never learned. That’s your job, as a parent. It doesn’t make you less AP or responsive to her needs. I swear! You definitely are contributing to her “needing” to be held 24/7. I mean, that’s okay if you are comfortable with it. I was not AP with my first child, and SUPER militant AP with my second. And surprise, my AP kid “needed” to be held all the time or he would just wig out. He just wasn’t used to not being held or stimulated all the time, and he’d freak out if I tried to walk out of the room for a glass of water or whatever. He wouldn’t sleep in unfamiliar places, either..and like Lexi, he would take a long time to fall asleep sometimes. At the time, I thought it was just his personality. “He’s really smart! He needs to be stimulated! He needs interaction to keep his brain satisfied! He refuses to sit alone!” I thought he was just a different kind of baby, a smart, high-needs one. I realize in retrospect that it was about 90% our parenting, 10% his personality that made him that way. I mean, I’m still glad we were AP. We nursed for a couple of years, co-slept a long time, cloth diapered, baby-wore. It was really sweet in a lot of ways. But it also did affect how demanding he was…because he really just never had the opportunity to learn that he could be okay sitting alone for a couple minutes. I never gave him that chance. I never actively taught him that. My first child — like I said, I was not very AP with her. I never let her cry it out or anything, and I was very responsive, but I was a lot more laid-back. As a result, so was she. She slept better, she napped for hours, I could pee without her freaking out without me, etc. I really made things way harder on myself with my second kid. I think sometimes the AP “stimulate the baby! hold her all the time!” thing goes too far. We evolved to nurse and carry our infants, but in no traditional culture have people devoted their days to playing with and stimulating their babies all day. I think it can really be too much for them sometimes. Everybody needs mental downtime. Babies just don’t know it, and never have the opportunity to learn how restorative it is, if we don’t give them that chance.

        Anyway, that’s just my experience and I wanted to try to share it with you. I’m sure you’re gonna tell me how wrong I am, though! :) That’s okay too. I’m just saying, if you ever feel like you need more time to get things done…consider tweaking some things. You don’t have to let her scream, but she totally can get used to playing while you take a shower or whatever. And trust me, that is going to really come in handy over the next 18 years. My “AP kid” still has a very hard time playing for more than 10 minutes alone! He just has to be all over me all the time – and he’s 8! I’m glad he’s so attached, but it’s still pretty trying, and I wish I’d done a better job teaching him to be comfortable with a few minutes of quiet time.

        Reply

        • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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          Like I said before Lexi does play on her own now. Not because I “trained ” her but because she was ready to on her own. She gets very engaged with her toys and it’s great (except for she is a precrawler now and has to be looked after for safety reasons). Her naps lengthened… All on her own. I believe in letting babies take their time.

          Your story with your two kids is interesting but here was my first thought. What’s not to say that your son WAS a high needs baby? And the AP way was the only way you could have done it anyways? Maybe he was a more needy kid and you did a great thing by being responsive with him? And that’s why he’s still needy… Because he’s just a different kid than your first one. Something to think about…
          I truly believe that, aside from the parents that believe in hardcore baby training, we parent IN response to our kid’s temperament and needs. If the baby needs you all the time, you’re there. If he’s content playing on his own, you let him do it.

          I’m just saying there’s no way to know where nature stops and nurture starts and that’s coming from a big believer in both.

          Reply

          • May

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            Oh believe me, I’ve thought about that. Like, constantly. Ha ha ha. I just have the benefit of hindsight now, so I can see how our AP parenting change affected our children. Also, I have become a way more experienced mom and nanny, so it’s not hard to see this stuff now. You just learn. Babies really aren’t that different from one another. But their parents are. I definitely believe that nature has a hand in some things, but whether a baby can sit quietly for a few minutes and play is not one of those things. Once you’ve raised a few kids you start to be able to tell the difference.

            I don’t care for the word “train,” and I have never trained my kids to do anything. I’ve always been responsive to them no matter what. But I do realize now that I was inadvertently teaching my “AP kid” to be overly expectant that I’d be there stimulating him (I would count holding and nursing as stimulation as well) 23 hours a day. At least. And honestly, it really affected him. I’m an AP caregiver now and I while I do believe in responsiveness and would never EVER let kids CIO, I have found that there’s a balance that can be had between “OMG, I can’t take go poop cause she ‘can’t’ be left for two minutes!” and “I’m just gonna train him to cry it out.” There IS a balance there, there’s an in-between. It just takes some willingness to teach and learn – both from the adults, and the babies. :) Like I said, if you’re cool doing what you’re doing, great! Just be prepared that she’s probably not going to do any different if she never learns any different. That affects kids for the long haul. I think there is a reluctance in the AP community to tell new AP moms that, cause we just SO BADLY want moms to be AP, be responsive, breastfeed, not let their babies scream. But in private, many of us can admit this stuff to each other. You can still be super AP and teach her how to chill out a little. JMO – and I’m only telling you this because it’s way easier to implement this stuff now than when she’s 2. :)

            Reply

          • Sarah B.

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            May, I agree. We are “teaching/training” our children even when we believe we are not. By stimulating a child constantly (holding, rocking, nursing, playing), we ARE teaching them something, whether we think we are or not. We are training them a certain way. There is no neutral “just let them be themselves” ground here…everything we do affects them in some way or another.

            I hold my youngest all the time, but I do recognize that when she gets fussy or upset at me leaving for a minute, that it is something that I have somewhat “trained” into her, even by accident. I don’t see anything wrong with it, and it’s the way I parent my children, and I do accept responsibility on that front. :) I am a HUGE believer in children being a part of everyday life, however, and think that it’s very important for their development for them to be able to observe (at their own pace, without needing to be involved/stimulated) everything that happens in life around them. To me, this means carrying her while I do day-to-day things such as cleaning, laundry, eating, etc. She gets to watch everything from a safe area where she can choose whether to be engaged or not (carrier against my chest). She gets to watch as I prepare food and eat (not hot foods!!), gets to hear me use big words when talking to adults, gets to see the hustle and bustle of the store as I shop for groceries.

            Elena, you should try putting on your makeup while Alexis watches from her carrier! My babies thought it was the greatest thing in the world to see all the bottles, watch themselves in the mirror, and stare in fascination as I did something as simple as brush my teeth. It does make putting on mascara a bit tough though (due to baby movement)…but it’s a fun challenge. :)

            Reply

          • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

            |

            Now see, that’s a good idea. I never thought about putting make up on with her in a carrier. Thank you!
            It’s not that I don’t have time to do these things. I just don’t want to spend time on them when time is so precious (and sometimes I’m too lazy). So my point was I need to get into a routine where I do do these things.

            Reply

    • Jesi

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      Mallory,

      Most of the women here are not ‘passing judgement’ on Elena, they are mostly trying to help her with examples of their lives and children (and most of them have had children and have more children than Elena herself) to help her out. In regards to the posts about her housekeeper, you need to keep in mind how it might irk another mother who deals with a child (or children) and has no money for a housekeeper, has all of the responsibilities, etc. to hear a woman who they see has it quite easily, especially in this economy. I do not vilify Elena for having a housekeeper, if I had the money I’d love one, but a blog about parenting works best when parents can have an actual discussion, and sometimes this discussion brings in feelings of readers. It’s very petty and judgmental for you to say these mothers are ‘scary’. I didn’t see one ‘rude’ comment on this post so far as I saw a few women who have more experience trying to help, and a few practically saying, ‘Wow. I wish I had it as easy as you. Don’t let it get to you too much!”.

      Reply

  • Kiki

    |

    OMG! You are describing my daughter! She was the miraculous baby who never slept. I used to see my friends’ babies sleeping 10-12 hours at night and taking multiple naps and I wondered what the hell was wrong with my baby. I eventually realized she had her own personality and needs and it wasn’t helpful to compare her to other babies. Just go with your gut and do what you think is good for your baby. My “baby” is now 17 and soon to be going to college 500 miles away. The time goes by soooo quickly.

    Reply

  • Ashley M. [at] (never home)maker

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    I can very much relate to this post. Actually, Ada has been fighting naps like crazy for the past two weeks. Stephen has been home during the summer (lucky, I know) . . . but he’s going back to work in a little over a week. I’m freaking out about not being able to get my work done. Or much of anything else. Sigh. I thought it would be hard, but not this difficult.

    Reply

  • Emily

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    Elena, I have to agree with the previous poster that said you need to drop the “my baby does not/will not” do this routine. Babies are SO ADAPTABLE. She is like this because you are letting her be this way. I know you turn your nose up at sleep training, but the truth is, no one WANTS to do it, they do it because this is not a healthy way to live. Your baby is overtired and needy and continuing to let her be that way will not be good for your mental health or her brain development.

    At this age (and six months is when I started sleep training) it will not take more that two days using the Ferber method for longer naps and better sleep for Lexie. Please do this for your child. What will two days hurt? I guarantee you will be astounded at the results as long as you stick to it.

    You sound so stressed and I honestly feel for you. This is not easy. But you have to consider the part you play in this madness. Sometimes you have to be the mother, you know?

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Emily, I appreciate your concern, really do! But CIO type of sleep training is just not an option. There are gentler ways that I’ve been doing that have been paying off.

      I am not stressed, not anymore. That’s what I wrote about in the last paragraph. I love it all actually.

      I am happy to let her take her time to learn things. She’s not tired during the day, she’s full of energy and smiles every waking minute, even at 6 am (unfortunately lol)

      It’s all good, I have nothing to complain about. Contrary to what people believe, this was not written to complain at all.

      Reply

      • Lauren

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        I just have to say, there are other sleep options inbetween CIO and basically rocking your child to sleep every night….. I personally don’t think CIO is healthy for a child, but I don’t think rocking and/or nursing them to sleep is doing then any favors either.

        Reply

        • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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          It’s what works. Beats never sleeping :)

          Having sleep crutches doesn’t do anything to the child, just to the parent. But as long as the parent is willing….

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          • Lauren

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            I strongly suggest you read the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.

            Reply

        • Sarah B.

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          What’s wrong with rocking/nursing to sleep? I nursed both my children to sleep every night, and my oldest is 2 and has always been a fine sleeper. Yes, it took effort on my part to get her to sleep (nursing, laying beside her), but I enjoyed it and it was good bonding time. Even with 2 children I’m still able to do it, and people say how “easy” my children are! My 2 year old takes great naps on her own now, and my infant sleeps really well in the carrier when I’m walking around/standing and swaying/etc. Works for me!

          Reply

          • MMS

            |

            It seems many posters got the feeling I did when reading this. Perhaps you do not feel stressed, Elena, however as I read this post, I felt stress for you. Whether or not you feel you are stressed, it is heavily conveyed in your writing. As writers, our writing is our art and our outlet and it will often show many things we have not even internalized or acknowledged ourselves. Much like a painter may seem happy, but a viewer of his/her work might detect sadness or hurt just by something in the painting they can’t quite put their finger on. To me, your blog has an air of someone stressed and trying to convince herself she is not because if you tried another way, it would be admitting some of your initial thoughts about how you may parent did not work for you. There is nothing wrong with that. I had strong ideas about how I would parent and about 90% of those ideas went out the window in the first 6 months. I really do not believe all of the women posting here are just nosy women trying to tell you what to do. I think the reason so many feel compelled to comment and offer advice is we have been parents, we understand some of the things you are describing and we want to help. If your writing was not conveying this emotion, people would likely just say, well good for you and have a great day!

            Reply

          • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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            The majority of the post was about the first 4 months. The ending was about how things are now that Alexis is 6 months and I’ve adjusted my attitude and expectations.

            So what you think you’re detecting doesn’t apply to current events.

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    • Lara

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      A quick note on the sleep training and the brain development. It is actually the opposite way around. Methods like this are famous for putting tremendous amounts of stress on a child’s stress response system. However, because these are merely physiological effects that cannot be seen, it can easily go unnoticed. While normal, small doses of stress are actually good (essential even) for human development, there is a general consensus that too much stress in early childhood can be extremely damaging to a young person’s brain development.

      These methods exist to make our lives more manageable, and fit into creating a lifestyle pattern that suits us. They also work, but that does not mean it is best for the child. It is important to realize that this is merely a cultural thing. A ‘Fish don’t know they’re in water’ kind of thing. We are so surrounded by these deeply ingrained ideas of what constitutes a healthy child (healthy sleep), what children should and should not do, and by people who think like us, that it’s impossible to see that what we think are universal truths are just our local culture.

      Instead of saying that children are adaptable, I would prefer to use the word vulnerable.

      Reply

  • Betsy's momma

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    You have really shared some really valuable information in your blog. I had never heard of BLW before and I see some value in organ clothing. I don’t fault you for having a housekeeper. Time is money and your time is valuable.
    However I wish you wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss other’s advice. While it may not be exactly what you would do, you can certainly pick out certain tips that may make your life a little easier. Real world experience is much more valuable than anything you can get in a book. Try to open your mind up a bit. While you have pointed out numerous times, Each baby is unique and has unique needs. you aren’t going to find your answers in a few books.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      I actually don’t dismiss advice, but most of the time it’s either something I’ve already heard about and isn’t smth I am willing to do or a lot of times stuff I’ve already tried and it doesn’t work.
      No one knows Alexis as well as I do. When I say she “Won’t do this or that”, that’s because I’ve tried multiple times and it’s just not something she does.

      I’ve gotten some really great advice from comments that you can’t read in any book and for that I am grateful. But when I say “It’s not something that works”, I say that from experience, not because I think i know better.

      Reply

      • May

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        I think people are just trying to express, that sometime perseverance is needed with little ones. Remember when Lexi had some nursing problems at the very beginning? What if you tried to nurse her a few times, and then you were like, “This just isn’t something Lexi does. You guys don’t know her. She doesn’t like it.” (I know you’d never say that, cause nursing is important to you, it’s just an example.) We are just trying to explain that if you keep doing like you’re doing, it’s gonna be a long tough road. That is okay if you are willing to do it for years. But don’t say it’s because she doesn’t/can’t do that stuff. Babies do what their mamas and daddies teach them. :) If you want to be able to take a shower or go grab something from another room, show her how it works. Expect that she will be unhappy at first, because it’s not what she’s been taught before. But it’s totally doable. IMO that’s kind of what parenting is about.

        Reply

        • SarahK

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          This is such a great comment. I was thinking the same thing. Very few little ones come into the world great nursers. But as mothers we teach them to nurse because they need food to thrive. It’s the same with sleep. Very few little ones come into the world great sleepers. But as mothers we must TEACH our babies to sleep because they need sleep to thrive. Getting good sleep–and that means not waking every 40 minutes, not needing constant motion to sleep, and the ability to wake and fall back asleep without parent intervention–is absolutely necessary for our babies brain and body development. It’s just as necessary as eating. Just as necessary as playing. A mother who does not undertake the hard work of teaching her baby to get good sleep is doing that baby a grave disservice.

          Reply

  • Kelley

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    I’m so glad that you are happy!

    It is so frustrating to have so much to do and then they won’t nap, but I’m so happy you are such a good mama and spend so much time with Lexi. The good news is that with time it gets easier and easier.

    Reply

  • Amanda

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    Love the new title ;) you all will figure out a sleep method that works for you in good time. My 5 month old is still no where close to sleeping through the night and I often find myself getting so frustrated with it. I’m glad to hear you have felt and tackled the same feelings. I just feel like I’m the only one going through this crap at 1,3,& 5 am you know? We had the same nap problem so u switched it up a bit and it has worked wonders. I gave up almost two weeks of my life and would rock humor hold him or snuggle next to him for every nap for two weeks. Putting him back to sleep every time he started to stir until he had been asleep at least 1.5 hrs. Then at the end of the 2 weeks I put him down for a nap hoping his body would just be used to sleeping during those times and he could do it on his own now. It worked and every few days a still hold him for 1 nap just to reinforce it ( and to snuggle). I just made sure I didn’t do the same thing for every nap that way he didn’t need anything other than me to sleep and the last few days I distanced myself and just watched him sleep and would just lay a hand on him if he needed it. Such a boring 2 weeks but def worth it. I wish you all the luck in the world girl!

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Haha you obviously read the Pantley book! :)

      I do the exact same thing for naps. Rock her back to sleep till she’s had 1.5 hrs. I’ve been doing it consistently for 2 months now but she still wakes up though. I think the problem is she is so visual and active, As soon as she wakes up after the first cycle, she wants to be up. Even blackout blinds don’t help.
      I also can’t really change things for do for naps cuz rocking is the only thing that works. She fell asleep while lying down and nursing twice last week so I hope I can add that to the arsenal.

      Glad to know you were using the same method and it worked for u!

      Reply

  • K

    |

    Naps can be rough. I had a long maternity leave and even though I was sad when I went back I was so excited that I didn’t have to worry about naps anymore. Of course after one week at daycare, they somehow taught my kid to nap like a pro and now on the weekends we get 2-4 hour naps! I think he just needed to learn that it was possible for someone else to put him down for a nap.

    As far as sleep in general, all kids learn how to self soothe eventually. I mean you don’t hear about kids going off to college still needing to be rocked to sleep. We never techncially did CIO but one night after being up for 3 hours in the middle of the night I had to put DS in his crib for a minute and walk away to collect myself. He cried for about 5 minutes and then fell asleep. Every since then he has gone down awake. I guess again he just needed to realize he could do it? I felt so guilty during those 5 minutes, but in the end I think it worked out for the best for all of us.

    As far as the stroller, my son hated it as well. Eventually I got so tired of being cooped up in the house I just pushed through him fussying/crying in the stroller and we went on walks every day (sometimes twice a day). After about a week he started to love the stroller. He faces me in the stroller so I would sing to him and talk to him and make silly faces so he knew I was still there and loving him. Now he loves the stroll.

    Oh, and finally don’t feel guilty about letting her play independently. It is very important for development.

    Reply

    • Bonnie

      |

      This is what happened with us. My husband and I both work during the day and then he goes to school at night so it was just be and the baby in the evenings. We bedshared because we had to get sleep one way or another. After about a year it was just not working and I was so frustrated with never, ever having any time to myself. So, out of frustration I put her in her crib and walked out of the room one night. I wasn’t even sure what my plans was but I knew I needed a minute. Literally 2 minutes later she fell asleep! I remember saying, “WTF! Are you kidding me?!?!?!” We moved her crib into her room shortly thereafter and she’s been going down drowsy but awake ever since. She hardly, if ever cries now. I feel like we waiting until she was ready (the bed sharing wasn’t working for anyone at that point) but I really wish I hadn’t been so terrified of letting her cry for even a few minutes. Might have saved me some frustration and resentment.

      Reply

      • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

        |

        I personally think this was the key “I feel like we waiting until she was ready”

        I regularly put her down in crib, or drowsy but awake to see how she’d do and will continue doing that. When she is ready to fall asleep on her own, she will.

        Reply

        • Bonnie

          |

          I completely agree! I think it was a relatively easy transition for us because she was ready. But it would be nice if you acknowledged that you have it a lot easier than some parents (you have the luxury of staying home, your mom lived with you for the first couple months, husband works from home, housekeeper, etc). Like I said, I work, my husband works and goes to school, I have to clean, cook, and do laundry for us without help and I still manage to put my daughter’s needs first and be an involved parent. I used to have to put her in our Boba in order to just carry all our crap in from the car in the evenings let alone get anything else done around the house because she would scream bloody murder if I sat her down for even a minute. I think that’s why people got so frustrated with the original title.

          Reply

          • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

            |

            The two have nothing to do with each other. I’ve said it on many occasions how I have no clue how single moms do it. I wasn’t writing about “poor me, my baby doesn’t sleep”. I was writing about my experience. That’s all.

            Reply

  • Rachel M

    |

    Hi Elena, I think you are a loving, devoted mother. I am very AP (our 2 year sleeps in our family bed and still nurses), but there are some things you do that come off as difficult or questionable to many of your readers. I understand not wanting to miss a minute with her, but this is a very appropriate time to allow Lexi to do some independent play while you do “X”. She will benefit by thinking on her own without interacting with you and as she gets older, you’ll both get used to it. It is not cute or fun to have a toddler who demands you listen to their every whim.

    You may not actually be in her face all day constantly, but the way you portray it on here is why everyone is left scratching their heads wondering why it seems so much harder for you.

    Some tips from me:
    - set up your computer/laptop so that you can stand up while using it. I design websites and used to wear my son while he napped and I worked. Keep her busy and try pushing forward her nap. Short naps typically mean they aren’t tired- not that she just doesn’t need to sleep as long. There is no prescribed amount of sleep or bedtimes. My son has always been the type who doesn’t sleep as much. He has always gone to bed anywhere from 9-10pm and wakes up at 8ish. Now that she is on the move, play games so that she learns to come to you. It will make her feel empowered and proud tht she knows what to do when she needs you! This is great for when they play while you cook/email/etc. also, please take a little time to do basic things like a shower. You say you want to shower more, then you say you don’t. Very confusing and the thought gives people the “icky” factor. I personally feel renewed by a shower and while I probably miss one once a week, you made it seem like you go days??

    I’m sorry if this comment comes across as rude or mean, I don’t intend to sound that way. I just sort of miss the way you used to blog. You seemed sure of yourself and blissful. Now, it feels like you’re struggling (1/3 of the day rocking a non-sleepy baby, for example) while telling yourself you’re happy. Not that you aren’t happy, just that you’re too stubborn to prioritize yourself sometimes since you are SO devoted. I know how that can be because that WAS me and I finally admitted tht I don’t need to spend everysecond as the perfect mom who throws all of her energy into the baby.

    Maybe many of us readers are wrong, it just come across as you complaining, then saying “but I love it!”

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Oh Man, Rachel, it seems all you read was comments and their assumptions rather than my actual post.
      I will say this for the last time as a response to a comment:
      As of two weeks ago Lexi started playing independently. She’ll sit and play on her own for good 10-30 minutes. I didn’t push her into independent play, she got there on her own. She’s happy to entertain herself with a toy whenever I need to. (unless she’s feeling particularly needy one day usually going through a growth spurt)
      I shower and I have time to shower, but I always feel like there are more important things to do.

      These are facts that most seem to misinterpret.

      What you and most commenters don’t get is that the first part of the post was about Lexi’s first 4 months, the second (with the I’m happy part) was about how it is now.

      I’m not going to push her into doing anything she isn’t doing because I know that in time she will, on her own.

      Reply

  • Lorraine

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    Hey Hun! Boy do you get some evil comments sometimes! Just wanted to go back to your and Andrew working from home.. If you don’t mind saying, what do you both do? What is your company? Will has the opportunity for us to move out there with his work but I have no idea what I would do when I am ready to go back to work. I wouldn’t have to but I would like to do something.

    Also would love it if you did a post on your Wedding day one day :)

    xx

    Reply

    • Meg

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      I second the comment made by Lorraine!! If you don’t mind telling us a little more, I would love to know what you and Andrew do for a living. I also have been looking for a wedding day post, and can’t seem to find very much about your wedding. I would love to hear more about the special day!

      Reply

      • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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        No wedding day post because it was 9 years ago and the blog was only started 2 years ago.

        As far as what we do, it’s nothing special at all, but this little bit I’d like to keep to myself, just because everything else is out there, there’s gotta be something more or less private ;)

        Reply

    • Meg

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      I would also like to say, I am so sorry to see your blog filled with negative comments so often. Truth be told, I don’t totally disagree with some of the suggestions, as I think your parenting/pregnancy strategies are a little extreme in some cases. However, you are perfectly within your right to parent your child however you feel is best. You aren’t doing anything to harm her, and just because other mothers use different strategies with their children, does not mean you should be expected to do the same. At no time are we all going to agree that one way of parenting is better than all of the others. It’s just not going to happen. Good for you for caring for your child, and giving her the attention and love she needs and deserves.

      Reply

      • Joe

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        Where are you seeing all of these “negative comments”? Please don’t mistake advice (from experienced parents, mind you) for negativity. Elena chooses which comments are posted. I’m pretty certain that she finds some value in differing opinions or she wouldn’t bother putting the comments through.

        Reply

  • Erica @ Expatria, Baby

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    It sounds like our girls are really similar. Mine wouldn’t sleep for longer than 20 min, and I usually had to invest a good hour to get her to go down. Once, on a flight to North America from Asia, she stayed awake. For 36 hours. Ouch. Anyway, it sounds like you’ve worked out your time management pretty well. And having a positive attitude about the reality of your situation is key (something that took me WAY longer to achieve).
    But as for skincare / showering / haircare…let’s just say that I got pretty good at applying mascara one-handed. Ha. Also, I used to take my girl into the shower with me when she could sit up. We had a wet room ( a very Japanese feature of bathrooms with a non-tile foor, so non-slip) and she could sit on the floor and play with toys while I showered right next to her. SHe loved it. I got clean, and so did she!!

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      How is she sleeping now? Everyone I know who had babies similar to Alexis said that eventually they outgrew the whole rocking/nursing to sleep, and went on to become perfect sleepers.

      Reply

      • Kim

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        For what it’s worth, my 15 mo old was exactly the same way as a baby and we fell into the default of doing anything to get her to sleep. Swings, rocking, nursing to sleep,etc. She has not yet outgrown this. She still wakes up at least 3 times a night and as a result I haven’t been able to sleep in any more than 3 hour chunks for over a year. I am mentally and physically exhausted all the time. I couldn’t sleep train because I felt too guilty and selfish to even try but now I wish I had earlier. It’s so much harder to try as they get more stubborn and can call out for you by name. I loved being needed but the novelty wore off and now I am just tired and cranky all the time.

        She also can still not handle any independent play and has severe separation anxiety. I am sure a small amount of that is her personality but a larger part was our own doing.

        My husband and I were 100% pro AP, against CIO methods and now we are realizing that we either did it very wrong or it just served to make everything much more difficult then it needed to be.

        If your friends kids grew out of the sleep crutches on their own they are lucky. It is not the norm.

        Reply

    • Sarah

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      I would put my daughter in the bumbo seat while I showered and put her in the shower with me so that I could shower. I would usually try and shower when she napped and hurry and get ready. I always felt AWFUL when I would get out of the shower and she’d be screaming. It is okay though to let them cry sometimes. I know for my situation my daughter would startle and cry and she’d find her hand or her toy and suck on it and fall back to sleep. I wouldn’t always go rescue her. Once she’d quiet I would always check on her to make sure she was okay and asleep. I was the paranoid SID parent. I had a family friend who lost their newborn to SIDs. I don’t know if you have one in the rooms that you have Lex sleeping but they make it a quiet door opener. http://www.brideganmusings.blogspot.com/2012/04/dads-addition.html

      Reply

  • Corinne

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    What are your thoughts on a jumperoo or an exersaucer that has some bounce to it? I have one for Celia and it not only has toys for her to reach and okay with, music and lights, but it also gets some of her energy out since she has to bounce or turn herself to get to other toys. She’s still not a great napper (for me and hubby) but she loves it and I’ve only read wonderful things about the exersaucer we got. (when I say not a good napper for us, she’ll sleep for our sitter for 45min-2 hours some days, and 2x 2 hour naps for my step mom! Don’t know what they do different… I’d love it if she slept like that for us!)

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      I think exersaucers are fine for a short period of time. I’ve read some negative things about them in some books that argue that it’s just another placeholder for babies and doesn’t allow them to develop on their own on the floor as well puts them on their feet before the time is right. But I think for a short time it’s fun for them and it allows us to cook a quick meal. I have this one exersaucer I really love but I often find others over stimulating (we had a different one before and it was just too much). In the end we all know that free undirected play and parent to child interactions can’t be replaced by anything.

      Reply

      • K

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        I will say I largely agree with you on exersaucers/jumperoos, and never let our son in his for more than 15 minutes at a time. However, it was a God send when I really needed to shower (i dragged it into the bathroom) or when I needed to start cooking dinner. I am sure you have already thought of those two options, but just wanted to through them out there.

        Reply

        • K

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          and i mean THROW them out there. Whoops!

          Reply

      • Rachel

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        Another thing I don’t like exersaucers for too long is the damage they could cause to legs of the babies. One of my friends would love the exersaucer for her boy because she could put him there and he could be happy until he would fell asleep. Well, his legs got bend (bowleg?). I might be wrong but I think those hours in the excersauser could contribute. He’s now three and her legs are better, but I still prefer bare floor and gates, or even a pack&play to contain babies

        Reply

        • Corinne

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          Oh yeah I don’t have my daughter in it for more than 20-30 min at a time. I think if she were in it for hours on end it could cause problems. But I don’t think 20-30 min is bad. Plus she gets bored with it after that long and we’re on to a different activity.

          Reply

      • Danielle Kowalski

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        I know you might be waiting to include it in a future product post, but I am curious which exersaucer you love. We are currently looking to purchase one, and I am overwhelmed with the options.

        Reply

        • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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          I’d love to give you reasons for why I love it, rather than you just trusting my opinion. But I don’t currently have time to do it. (you are right I will be writing a post).
          It’s Evenflo new line of Exersaucers, but Jam Session specifically. I almost went for the other safari ones, but I am SOOOO glad i ended up with jam session. It’s also my hubby’s favorite item too and he hated our previous exersaucer.

          Reply

  • SarahK

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    Hi Elena. I love how your blog and the comments provide a place for us moms to discuss the joys and challenges of parenting. This is so important! I have 2 children and my first sounds a lot like how you describe Alexis. He was constantly on the go, so curious, wanted to see and know everything! He is still like this and it’s exhausting but wonderful to parent him.

    I really struggled with getting my son to sleep. I was against CIO and never did it. A book I LOVE, and which unfortunately I didn’t get until my son was 9 months, was Health Sleep Habits Happy Child by Dr. Weisbluth. This is not a CIO book as some claim, but a very scientific look at sleep hygiene. Dr. Weisbluth made me realize that good sleep (as in long, deep sleep) is equally important to babies development as eating and playing. This seems like such a “duh” thing to say, but as a new mom I honestly didn’t think about things this way. Once my son started sleeping better, he became a much calmer, happy baby. If you haven’t read this book, I think you’d like it, especially as he talks about the science of sleep and scientific sleep studies, which are really interesting even if you don’t like/use his ideas for your baby.

    I also wanted to say that my son generally only slept for 30-45 minutes at a time in his first 9 months. At month 9 it was like something clicked–he was sleeping through the night and taking 2 regular naps a day! I’m sure that sleep bliss is coming for you too, and it will be all the sweeter after all the good work you did with Lexi in these first months!

    Reply

    • Stephanie

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      I totally agree about Weissbluth–I never did cio–but his ideas about overstimulation really helped us. Everything clicked for us about 6 months. We were rocking and nursing to sleep every night and it took at least an hour and she wouldn’t fall asleep until 9 pm. We moved her bedtime way up and then the naps fell into place. I’m sure it was partly developmental–but it seems like the earlier bedtime helped a lot. The whole sleep begets sleep concept. . . I knew she needed more sleep and i was desperate to get my evenings back–so that motivated me a lot.

      Reply

  • Corinne

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    Like, we’ll put Celia in the exersaucer while I fold laundry on the coffee table in the same room. I’ll talk to her and tell her what she’s touching and the color, etc. Still engaging but giving her some ‘alone’ playtime and myself time to get stuff done. AND it’s a safe place for her to play without worry that she’ll scoot over to something or she’ll be sitting and tip over. :]

    Reply

  • Tina

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    Elena, you are overstimulating your baby. Plain and simple. I did the same things you did with my first. I understand what it’s like to be there that first time, with every grunt and cry and WTF fully awake at 2am WHYYYY moment being a new hurdle. You want what is best for your daughter and you are doing your best, I understand that. But you really are shooting yourself in the foot with the helicopter mom routine. Give her some time on the floor by herself, don’t run to her the instant she starts crying, let her figure out how life works on her own for a little bit each day. I didn’t the first time and ended up with a kid who wouldn’t sleep more than an hour or two at night when he was a year old, who needed to be rocked to sleep each night, who would throw fits if he didn’t get what he wanted OMGRIGHTTHISSECOND because we had conditioned him to do those things. I eased up with my second and literally, he’s been sleeping through the night since about 3 months

    I’m not saying you throw your daughter into the bathtub and go to the mall for the afternoon, obviously. Or that you have her scream bloody murder for two hours straight. Just ease up a bit and I think you might be surprised at how she reacts.

    Reply

  • Sarah

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    I love the picture of you and miss Lex! Two gorgeous girls!

    It took me four months after having MaK to feel “normal,” I had a rough delivery and had many stitches I was still dealing with. I was very fortunate to have a child that slept great but I got hit with the PPD like a train wreck. It takes a while to figure out a routine that works for you and the little one. They need structure just as much as we do. You are doing great and is lucky to have such great parents who love her so much!

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Thanks Sarah! I didn’t get PPD (most likely from great support system in the first months) but it’s definitely an adjustment, especially from emotional standpoint. It also took me 4 months to figure out a routine that works. Now I am just adding to it as I move along.

      Reply

  • thefashionableteacher

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    Hmmm…I always slept when my babies slept. That way we could both get a nap in.
    I just feel as though it’s still important to make time for yourselves. My babies would sit in my lap if I needed to be on the computer. Also, I put mine in a bouncy seat on the floor while I either took a bath or a shower. I never denied myself basic hygiene. I also didn’t feel the need to play with my children every single minute that they were not sleeping. But we all have different parenting styles. I guess at least for me, I’m pretty laid back and don’t stress. Believe it or not, babies can pick up on that. I also worked a full-time job outside of the home.
    Of course, I was also of a different mindset when it came to babies. I rarely rocked mine to sleep because I wanted them to learn how to put themselves to sleep-bath, bottle (or breast), book, bed. My kids didn’t sleep in my bedroom and were in cribs by 3 weeks. I just got them into a routine that was best for my sons, me, and my family. My pediatrician told me that it usually takes 3-5 days to get a baby into a new routine. It just takes practice and patience. Babies are easily trainable, and it becomes easier as they get older. My boys are not 8 and 14, and I was amazed at how well they adapt to change especially when we moved from the South to the East Coast.
    Stay positive and do what works for your family and your peace of mind.

    Reply

  • TJ

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    I’m normally not a fan of matchy-matchy but I freaking LOVE your stripes! Those black and white outfits look great!

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Thank you :)))) They are navy and white/vanilla actually, which looks even better in real life. It’s from boob design.

      Reply

  • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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    Research of current studies on child raring, motherly instinct and personal preference.
    Unless a parent has DEALT with the kind of napping/sleeping pattern that Lexi has, they can’t understand nor advise on how to change it. I’ve read plenty of gentle solution sleep books that detail exactly what to do for one-cycle sleepers and those that need to be parented to sleep. Lexi’s sleep “habits” are relatively common and easily explained.

    Reply

    • RD

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      Our daughter NEVER outgrew the sleep/rocking cycle. We had to break it at six months. I read all of those gentle sleep solution books and they had no impact and were worthless to me. Our daughter was using us as a clutch and it all became a vicious cycle. After I read the Ferber book I felt GUILTY that we had robbed our daughter of so much sleep and a full nights sleep. We learned that her frequent waking was not normal and we had trained her to sleep that way. We ended up doing our own modified version of cry it out along with a night time routine. One of my proudest moments as a parent is that we gave our daughter the gift of sleep and taught her an important skill. We are a much more happy and rested family. She is 10 months old now and there is nothing better than hearing her wake up babbling in her crib. I cannot believe someone toldmyounthat they outgrow the rocking. I’m lucky I have a few girlfriends who also had this issue and supported me emotionally when we did the sleep training.

      We also read a lot of Montessori books on helping her with independent play. It’s important to help them build concentration. We use a lot of wooden toys and avoid all the plastic musical crap.

      Reply

      • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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        NEVER outgrew is not “we had to break it at 6 months”. At 6 months they are still babies. I am talking about mothers who rocked their babies till 8,9,10 months and more. Eventually, they do outgrow. I’ve never heard of an 18 year old who needed to be rocked to sleep lol

        On a side note, I love Montessori, and will definitely be implementing the strategies once she is a little bit older. Ditto on wooden and simple toys.

        Reply

        • RD

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          She’s not going to outgrow it – it’s going to get worse. I have a friend who did the rocking thing and they now have a 2 year old with major sleep problems because they didn’t teach the sleeping skill. I do not want that for my daughter.

          I’ve been in your shoes. I understand where you are at and I know it’s hard. It will happen when you are ready. And developmentally your baby can handle the sleep training. Poor thing needs it. And you need rest too!!!

          Reply

          • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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            I’m already seeing the gentle techniques paying off so hopefully we won’t have resort to CIO. Plus we both stay home, if anyone can handle sleepless nights, it’s us.
            As fas Alexis needing sleep, she’s happy, wide eyed and active and awake every single second that she’s up until it’s time for a nap so she’s definitely getting the amount of sleep she needs. :)

            Reply

          • Danielle Kowalski

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            @RD I rock my baby to sleep every night. Sometimes it takes a good hour or two of rocking and nursing and cuddling, but guess what – he sleeps through the night… At least 7 hours straight every night. And I have a friend ( who doesn’t have children) tell me all the time how detrimental this is going to be in the future. I am bonding with my baby and he sleeps through the night. I don’t see anything bad with how I put him to sleep. What it comes down to is, every baby on this earth is different. You have to do what’s best for your baby. Not what the books or your sister or your neighbor or the woman at the grocery store tell you.

            Reply

        • Adge

          |

          I’ve rocked my 7.5 month old to sleep at night just about every night of his life (most naps too). From about 3.5 months to 6.5 months he was an excellent nighttime sleeper. He’d do 10-11 hours straight. Occasionally he’d wake one or 2 times a night but he’d ALWAYS soothe himself back to sleep after a few minutes. During this time he was sleeping in his crib in a Magic Sleep Suit. At around 6.5 months I transitioned him to a Halo sleep sack. Ever since then he’s woken up 1-2 times a night and has not been able to go back to sleep without a bottle.

          I attribute the change to the sleep sack because nothing else is different as far as I can tell. I don’t want to go back to the magic sleep suit because I feel like that’s a step backwards. I feel like I was very lucky in those 3 or so months that I had a wonderful sleeper. But, like Lexi, DS is a completely different baby at 7.5 months than he was at 3.5 months so I feel like I need to just follow his cues. I’ve tried just patting his back and/or letting him fuss a bit (never cry though). He just wants his Mommy to rock him back to sleep. And that’s what he’ll get until he no longer wants it.

          Like you said, I won’t be rocking him when he’s 18, right? Right?!

          Reply

        • Bec

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          On the whole rocking to sleep… I read somewhere once (pre baby so foggy) that rocking / holding to sleep and then putting bub in the cot would be similar to us going to sleep in our beds (somewhere warm & snuggly) and suddenly finding ourselves asleep in the bath tub (a bit of a shock!). Instead bub should be put to bed once they’re almost asleep and patted or soothed until they’re asleep to help in that transition. Plus it sets up that expectation that “this is my bed and this is where I go to sleep”

          Reply

          • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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            Yes! I read this exact thing too.
            However when your baby doesn’t fall asleep drowsy (and many don’t) you do what you have to which includes rocking to sleep, nursing to sleep, etc

            Reply

  • Mackenzie

    |

    I get what Elena’s doing. I held and BF my son all the time to get him to sleep- and I really did love it. It was kind of tiring, but that’s just motherhood sometimes.
    And honestly? It DID work itself out. While he did nurse/nap on me much of his first year, he did start to want his own space and after a year or a little more he started to nap for 2 hours in his crib by himself. I was never one for CIO, but the first time he did cry out and I was in the shower, before I could get out, he was asleep and since then he STTN.
    I don’t blame you for not wanting to miss a moment, because the time does fly by.
    And I didn’t have any issues being on my phone/laptop while he was sleeping at the breast or on the boppy after nursing to sleep. Though I would stare at him nonstop for quite a while first :)

    Reply

  • Lauren

    |

    I read your blog somewhat sporadically, so my apologies if you’ve written about this somewhere before and I missed it. I’m wondering if there is something that Alexis associates with going to bed, which might help her stay asleep? I bought my son a merino wool sleepsack once we were out of the swaddling stage and he absolutely loves it. I never expected him to be so attached to it, but as soon as I slip it on him he instantly becomes calm and ready for bed. He’s 6.5 months and I nurse him before bed…sometimes he falls asleep in my arms, sometimes I put him in bed drowsy. Either way, it seems the sleepsack helps. Once I started putting him on it during naps he also started sleeping longer. I realize you’re in Florida and may think that a merino sleepsack sounds crazy, but I’m assuming your home is air conditioned. We live in the Southwest without air conditioning and have used the sack all summer…I just adjust what (if anything at all) I put on him underneath and also use a fan in his room when necessary. I’m thrilled he’s cozy and happy…just thought I’d share what works for us! :)

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Yes, we have a whole routine with sleep sacks, books, nursing etc.

      It definitely gets her ready for sleep but not enough to just go to sleep on her own.

      Reply

  • Simone

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    My daughter also has sleep issues, we bought her a baby hammock (the prices range from $65 – $500) several months ago, she is 8 months and has been using it since she was just shy of 6 months, this way we are able to “rock” her to sleep for naps. She also goes to bed at night in it and when she wakes up I take her into bed with me. (When she moves during sleep, it jiggles which helps get her back to sleep) You are a wonderful mother and dont let anyone suggest anything to you otherwise. Moms who have babies who sleep easily have no idea what its like to be dealing with a baby who has a hard time sleeping, you are right, its time consuming, its frustrating, its draining but there is hope that the effort we are putting in now will reward us later with a well adjusted individual. You are doing what’s best for you, your daughter and your husband. Other moms need to drop the judgement and be supportive. There is no right no wrong just what feels comfortable to you and your baby.

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    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Thank you! I have looked into hammocks but decided against them because she still wakes up every 40 minutes even if she’s in motion (swing, car, etc), so a hammock wouldn’t lull her back to sleep. But I’ve always thought it was a cool sleeping arrangement and I’m considering getting one if we have another baby some time down the line.

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      • Sarah B.

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        If you decide to get one, let us know how it works out! I wanted to get one for our new baby, but couldn’t find enough safety information (besides what was written by the company) to feel ok about it. They sure look neat though!!

        Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      I also love that moms whose babies naturally sleep/nap well think that it’s something they did to make it that way. (aside from those who actually had bad sleepers at first). They simply will never understand what it’s like going through ever trick known to man and still have a baby who sleeps the way she sleeps regardless of anything.

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      • Amy

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        I know what you mean, but I will say for us, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child made a HUGE difference. Literally the day I started following its suggestions (not CIO–as a pp mentioned, people often think he pushes that but he really just presents a lot of information and how to use it whether you bed-share, check and console, do exctinction; whatever) … but I started following its suggestions regarding nap scheduling and how to put babies down drowsy but awake and from that day on, my twin boys both went from scattered, totally inconsistent and unpredictable random naps throughout the day to a steady, consistent nap schedule. They started napping a good 1.5 hrs twice a day plus an early evening cat nap, and within a week or two that lengthened to 2-hr naps twice a day. So for us at least, HSHHC really did make a world of difference.

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        • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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          I read the book and am not the fan of the CIO recommendation but like you said its what you choose to take away from it.
          Lexi has been taking consistent naps from the beginning, that has never been a problem. She’s pretty much like clockwork unless we are out.
          The advice of putting her to bed drowsy just isn’t something that ever worked for her. If you put her down before she is asleep she is instantly either wide awake or crying with her eyes closed cuz she wants to sleep and since I’m not willing to let her cry, it’s never worked.

          It’s awesome that your babies would let you put them down while drowsy though!!!

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  • Deirdre

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    Thank you for writing this… I am like you… Endless hobbies, a three-pronged career and a lover of uninterrupted time to pursue it all. And like you since having my (now 5 month old daughter) my biggest frustration has been with my limited and constantly interrupted “me” time and “work” time. Thank you for reminding me that adjusting my expectations downward on the productivity side of things will only lead to more wonderful time with my daughter where I don’t feel stressed and frustrated. Sometimes we all need reminding : )

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  • Leigh M

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    This is not a comment regarding sleep training but I did want to share something that has been helping our baby sleep through the night. At about one month we started ‘dream feeding’ our baby at 11pm and he is able to sleep from 8pm to 7.30am. It was a suggestion I heard in my Mommy & Me group and decided to try it. If you aren’t familiar with it, basically you feed your baby when they are still asleep, no burping, no diaper changing and it ‘resets’ their clock so they’re full and less likely to wake up throughout the night. We feed our baby with a bottle but I know other mothers who successfully dream feed with breast. It’s kind of amazing, they will absolutely take it while totally asleep!

    And Elena, I have a suggestion for your blog…I realize that many people write comments here purely to be antagonistic BUT I’ve felt increasingly frustrated at your responses over the last few entries to comments from women I’d view to be giving reasonable, intelligent responses. I get how annoying it is to be told over and over what you ‘should’ be doing but I feel like you could deal with it in a less aggressive way. It’s wonderful that so many people care enough to share their experiences and even if they aren’t relevant to you, maybe they are to someone else. I feel like a comment inviting other people to talk about what they’ve been through in relation to an entry might help comments be less directed at you specifically. You’ve said before that you’d like to join a Mommy & Me group…well, it seems to me you’re already part of a pretty big one.

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    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      The whole night is one big dream feed for her lol JK. But in all honesty, she wakes up once an hour until about 10pm and ten every 2-3 hours. When I come to bed at 10, she always wakes up and has a feed anyways. For her, I believe it’s more of a comfort thing than being really hungry. Though if she happens to sleep for a longer stretch when I first put her down, I’ll try a dream feed. It’s an interesting concept.

      Re: comments, thanks for the feedback. I try to match the tone of the comment, but sometimes i do get frustrated ( I realize it’s hard to understand the tone over the internet, but I am never aggressive), not at the advice, but at the assumptions and misconceptions. Sometimes it seems like a commenter didn’t even read the post, but instead read the comments and assumed certain things. That’s all.

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  • Amanda

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    Re-reading his post, it totally resonates with me! My little guy is 6 weeks old… We bedshare as well, and he sleeps pretty good at night. Napping during the day is another story! Like Lexi, he only wants to sleep ON me.. As soon as I lay him down, he’s awake.. And I’m totally feeling like I get nothing accomplished.

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    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Yup, that’s the feeling! But the only thing that matters is that it’s what your baby needs :) So keep on keeping on :)

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  • Sarah

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    I just found your blog and LOVE It! Beautiful pictures and great content. I can relate with this post SOOO well. I had the exact same issue (and still struggle with it to this day sometimes) with not having a consistent predictable “break schedule.” I remember the moment that I ACCEPTED how things were and it was life changing. Great post, can’t wait to read more!

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Aaawww you’re so sweet! And so glad to hear that you experienced the same thing and came to the same conclusion! Babies can be hard, but I think the hardest part is not taking care of kiddos, but not having the time to yourself.

      Reply

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