Posts Tagged ‘sleep’

Bedtime struggles, the adult with kids version

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in FOR MOMS, Parenting

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How many of you here are a work from home mom?
What about major hobby at home mom (yes, I just came up with that term)?

Or those who work outside of home and have to catch up on home stuff after bedtime?

What I am trying to ask is, how many of you, when it’s past bedtime and the kids are asleep, actually get up to go do something meaningful?

And I don’t mean to say that binge watching 16 episodes of Game of Thrones isn’t meaningful… Ok I do mean to say that. We all need some down time, so I get it. I used to be a binge show watcher. Before Lexi, before I had 3685208605 things to fit into 24 hours.

So if you have a hobby that you go to after kids are asleep, or a job/project/business that you work on, how do you manage the mental argument going on in your head?

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This is how my evenings usually go, let me know if you can relate or what different struggles you go through:

Step 1:

Put kid to bed. Luckily, bedtime is a breeze now. That is if you don’t count Lexi trying to play just ONE MORE GAME OF LEGOS (she loves making up stories with the sets she builds from scratch, that often involve witches and potions and, of course, her favorite, KITTENS). After I manage to peel her off her sets, she instantly announces she is hungry (oh the hungry/thirsty game).

Because I vowed not to be a parent who just assumes that they know better what their child’s body wants or needs at any given time (which started with child led breastfeeding, weaning to solid foods, weaning off milk, potty training and sleeping through the night without training), I take her to the kitchen and give her a healthy option for a snack. Unless she had just eaten. I know she often does get hungry before bed, and often it’s a ploy to get more time. Since I cannot be the judge of which is which, I give her the benefit of a doubt and offer a snack. Sometimes, she readily eats it because she was hungry. Other times, she pretends to want it and continues playing without touching her food, which of course earns her a walk upstairs to brush her teeth.

Step 2:

So I thought step one would include the whole putting to bed process now but I feel like teeth brushing is a completely separate step. Teeth brushing is non negotiable. You can cry, scream, complain, sign songs, run away from me. Your teeth are getting brushed before you go to bed. Period.

When I am feeling lazy, I insist she brushes her own teeth. But most of the time, I allow my “little for only a few more years” girl to lay in the bed spread eagle, clearly exhausted from the day and have the “buggies brushed from her teeth” by her mommy. She still whines, but who cares. (post on products for bedtime is here, insert link when published)

Then we do one of two things. If I’m mean like a mean mommy that night and can see that Lexi can handle the mile long walk from the bed where we brush her teeth to the sink, I will tell her to go do “rinse and spit”.  Otherwise I do it the “daddy” way (who is a softy and would literally rinse for her if he could. Not saying it’s a bad thing, just not always necessary, but I’m glad my little girl gets the special treatment from her dad, because mom is way too efficiency oriented to handle that). The daddy way is where he brings two cups to bedside with him, brushes her teeth, then has her drink from one and spit into another. Sigh. I guess we can let daddies spoil their little girls as long as there is also someone to set it all straight afterwards. haha

So then, we lay down. She lays on my shoulder wrapped completely around me and I turn on her favorite song of the moment. Right now it’s “Me Muero De Amor” by Natalia Oreiro (a song I adored as a child). It takes her about 1-3 minutes to fall asleep on a school night. Before she fully falls asleep, she rolls off of me and drifts off to snoozeland.

And yes for those curious, she has weaned, herself, completely naturally. With maybe a tiny push from me. More like a talk or a few about the time when it is going to be over. (Anyone want a post about the whole process?)

So here we go, bedtime in 2 steps. I wasn’t being sarcastic when I said it is a breeze now. I really mean it. To me, some bedtime toothbrushing struggle and “hungry” calls is a far cry away from the hours it would take me to wind her down from all the excitement and get her drowsy enough with breastfeeding that she would actually fall asleep. And now breastfeeding is no longer needed either. It’s amazing!

(wow this post is getting long)

So here is the step I sat down to write about that I want your experience on.

Step 3: The Mind over Body struggle.

So when you have finally heard the slow deep breathing of your child and realize it’s FREEEEEEEEEDOM, what do you do?

Because I go through an internal argument that goes something like this:
-Ok, she is asleep, I need to get up and get stuff done

-Oh but the bed…It’s so comfy, these cool sheets, and it’s so dark that it’s impossible to keep your eyes open. And I am half asleep now.

-yeah, but you are always complaining about not having enough time to do everything. Take these precious minutes and go get shit done.

-but if I get up and start working, it’s going to be another late night. I am not going to get up for just an hour. (Lexi goes to sleep at 10 pm). It has to be 3-4 hours to make it worth it and then I will be exhausted in the morning (I need to touch on this point later, because it is possible to wake up completely refreshed after even 4 hrs of sleep with a few simple steps). I’ll just get up early and get some things done in the morning.

-bwahahahaha who are you kidding?

Fine, I will just check my email on the phone right now and then get up.

10 minutes later, still in bed, email and messages checked, everyone texted good night, Elena’s body has won “Fuck it! I’m too tired. I am going to sleep!”

Then once in a while during an early bedtime or if she falls asleep in the car, I am able to stay up and work without the whole “in bed in the dark” struggle and it’s awesome and I stay up till 3 am and get a ton crossed off my to list and even a little bit for my own pleasure (Like editing). But I just hate the struggle. I want to be lazy, I want to just sleep, I want to sleep 9 hours a night. Or 12 preferably.

This happens every night. Even as I am sitting here typing this at only 12:13 am, I am literally imagining how good it would feel to lay down in bed. I swear it is partially to the mattress and bed that I have now (read about it here), or maybe it has more to do with my increased work out routine… But omg I just can’t wait to put my head down and snuggle up to Lexi, my warm ball of cuddles.

So that’s my dilemma every night and every night a different side wins. I am out of control, they just do what they want. Stupid brain and body. One needs productivity and satisfaction, another wants rest and recovery.

On that note, I have talked myself into going to bed now. And while I am sleeping, those who are up right now, let me know your bedtime mental, physical and kid struggles!

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Modswads or how I {almost} solved the napping problem

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Best for Baby, PRODUCTS

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Continuing the swaddling saga ( read the first part here)

I will not go into how Alexis just doesn’t like to sleep. I’ve written enough about it here and here and here and here and I am planning on a big post talking about the situation and solutions and what worked and what didn’t, just in case there is someone else struggling who has tried everything and have come to the conclusion that their baby just doesn’t sleep well. I’ve gone through every suggestion and tip in every book that doesn’t advocate a CIO method and almost every person, who gave unsolicited or solicited advice. At this point, we are at a somewhat reasonable “managed stage of sleep”. By that I mean, I can deal with it, and she gets her recommended amount of day time sleep.

I have to say though until certain things were implemented, we really really struggled with naps. She’d only sleep in our arms being rocked, she’d wake up every 5-10 minutes after being put down, she’d hate being swaddled, but yet her arms would always wake her up.  We were lost. We didn’t know what ELSE to do to keep her asleep.

When she was awake, she would struggle and scream if we’d put her in a swaddle until we released her, but then once she was  asleep, she would wake up the second we would try to put her in a swaddle. The challenge was that you needed to turn her around a few times to properly swaddle her. So when it was day time and she wasn’t as sleepy as she is at night, it was a suicide mission. So we let her go unswaddled. She’d spread her arms and sleep for 10 minutes before waking herself up by itching her nose or bringing her hands to her mouth.

Then one day, as a last ditch effort, I bought a Modswad from Zulily. Modswad is the luxury brand spin-off of Woombie. I had looked at the Woombie before and it always seemed to me that Alexis would hate it, seeing how she hates being bound. What made me consider Modswad is that it’s made out of bamboo and I know from experience how soft and stretchy bamboo is (plus I was obessessed with bamboo at that time). So I figured she would have her hands swaddled, but it will have enough “give” for her to move them around without being able to bring them to her face and wake herself up. Plus the whole zipper thing seemed much easier than a traditional swaddle.

{Note: I wrote in this post about how bamboo is made with a lot of chemicals, which was a huge concern for me. Luckily, there is a new process that uses non-toxic chemicals and is much more eco-friendly that Modswad is using. So I breathed a sigh of relief when I found that out, because it would really pain me to give up our Modswads}

At the same time I was talking to Karen, the owner of both Modswad and Woombie about trying out her new line and writing the review. She sent me a few items to try including a swaddle that was smaller than the recommended size, citing the fact that some babies need less give in the fabric. Alexis seemed to do just fine with the Medium size, but that’s a good tip to remember if your baby is really wiggly.

I was seriously so excited to receive the Modswads. I had put all my left-over hope into this “miracle” swaddle that would solve all my problems. Of course, it didn’t solve all my problems or Alexis’ nap problems, but man, did it make it sooo much easier!

The day I received it, Alexis was giving me the run for my money when it came to naps. I quickly threw in a load of baby clothes along with the swaddle and a few hours later it was ready for testing and I was ready for Alexis to finally sleep longer than 10 minutes.

I put her in, zipped up half way, we went around the room doing our nap routine, I rocked her to sleep. When she was good and asleep, I transferred her to our bed and carefully folded her arms in and zipped the modswad. All without waking her up. Then I turned on the monitor and tiptoed out of the room.

I won’t bore you with details but she slept for 2 hours. For the FIRST FREAKING TIME since she had been born, my baby girl napped for 2 hours on her own. I was shocked, elated, hopeful and scared that it was a fluke.

Fast forward to now, the swaddle definitely doesn’t magically make non-sleeping babies sleep, but it at least helps them sleep a whole lot better. Miracle Blanket became way too stiff once Alexis grew a bit and became more aware, muslin swaddles didn’t stand a chance a few weeks in, not swaddling would wake her up, so this was a perfect middle ground between swaddling and not letting her movements wake her up and not making her feel too restricted since she can move her hands underneath the swaddle.

For babies who like to be swaddled tighter or have a strong Moro reflex, getting a smaller size Modswad would work perfectly. I never tried the woombie but I would imagine that cotton isn’t as stretchy and pleasant to the skin as bamboo is.

Now in her non-swaddling phase, she currently sleeps in her Modswad sleeper. When one day she goes back to waking herself up with her arms again, I’ll switch back to the swaddle. If she suddenly struggles, I’ll unzip it but leave the legs in – love the versatility.

So that’s pretty much where we are at right now. Most of the time, she manages to take a 30-40 minute nap without waking up, at which point I rock her back to sleep to finish it up. Her diminished reflux is also to thank, but time and time again I would watch her try to scratch her nose or move her arm in a swaddle and quiet back down to sleep because her arms are safely inside, which would never happen before the Modswad, so THANK YOU!

Besides the swaddles and sleepers, they have really cool ventilated sacks for hot weather and merino wool sleepers and swaddles for cold weather, so it’s definitely worth checking out.

BUY IT:

Modswad.com $34-40

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Disclosure: I was NOT compensated for this post. Modswad sent me a sample to try out. All opinions are my own.

{How to feel better about frequent baby night wakings}

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

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{Written on 5/25/2012}


If you hate getting up a few times a night to soothe/feed your baby, take heart in this: someone has it worse (and also the obvious: your baby NEEDS YOU). The night log below is surely going to make you count your lucky stars. And this post will serve me as a reminder to keep things in perspective!

{Play suit by Polarn O Pyret}

Just when I thought we were doing better with night sleep, the 4 months wakeful hit. I remember saying that we had hit the wakeful period at 2.5 months because she went from 1-2 wakings to 4-5 and someone commented “Just wait till 4 months, it’ll be like having a newborn” They were right. She soon started waking up EVERY HOUR. But it was nothing we weren’t used to. So I managed that just fine.

And then it hit: TEETHING. For the past 3 days I’m pretty sure my little girl has been teething based on all her symptoms (pulling on ear, chewing everything in sight, grabs our knuckles and rubs them on her gums side to side, drooling like a mad woman, chin rash from drool, refuses boob until really hungry, bites, all the usuals). She’s miserable at night, she’s miserable during the day. All we can do is manage her pain/symptoms and give her as much love as possible, even in light of her new night “schedule”. But then again maybe I am wrong. I don’t see any teeth or swollen gums, but I hear it takes a while to see those. I’ll give it a few more nights to find out, but so far we’re going under the assumption it’s her gums.
Update: she seems to have calmed down a bit and doesn’t appear in pain. Nights are still iffy (4-5 wakings) but that’s normal for 4 months regression. So still exhibiting symptoms of teething but she’s not in so much discomfort. And I’m loving having this log to show her when she’s ready to have her own babies (to scare her off haha)

It was the worst night from the “number of wakings” standpoint since Lexi’s birth. And it will serve me as a reminder for when Alexis goes back to waking up a mere 2-3 times a night that I should be happy, that it could be worse, that IT WILL PASS and most importantly that what will matter years from now is HOW WELL and lovingly we handled it (because any sleep deprived parent can tell you – it’s easy to build up resentment on little sleep)

So Self, come back to this post often, every time you feel like Lexi should be sleeping, every time you get upset she isn’t.

And everyone else, feel free to bookmark/pin this if you feel it will help you keep things in perspective.

{This is written purely for entertainment purposes. I’m not looking for sleep advice. It is simply a stage we have to go through and keep Alexis as comfy as possible.
I WOULD, however, love to hear about your first teething experience- age, what helped, how it manifested, how long it lasted, how you knew she/he was teething, etc…
Teething isn’t something a lot is written about, as it’s individual so I’d appreciate any insight. }

Have fun reading the log! This is how it has been for the past 3 days give or take a few wakes.
*Crying in this case means constant whimpering. We try to never give her the need to outright cry.

{This is taken from my nighttime log as part of Pantley sleep system}

Nighttime routine:
Bath, massage, say good night to items in room, read 2 books, swing in the swing a bit, rock a bit.
7:19 Asleep in bed ( we co-sleep)
7:49 Up nursing (this is normal. She treats anything before 10pm as a nap and wakes up every 40 minutes)
7:55 Removed nipple, falling asleep…
In and out of sleep, rooting, with and without nipple
8:13 Awake, rocking.
Put down in bed
8:25 Awake, won’t nurse, rocking
8:33 Asleep
10:23 up, crying. I nurse.
10:32 asleep
Fidgety
Calmed her down a few times by putting my hand on her belly
10:45 Up crying, rocking
10:50 asleep
11:00 crying/whining, rocking
11:11 Asleep
12:00 Up crying, nursing
12:10 asleep
12:16 Up fully awake, change, rock for 29 min until asleep
12:45 put her down
12:50 awake crying, rocking
1:05 asleep
1:10 Up again, whimpering for 5 min, rocking, nursing
1:30 still rocking
1:50 down, asleep
1:55 awake crying, changed again, tried rocking, tried putting in a swing, let her chew on a chilled teether, rocking again
3:00 Finally asleep
3:30 Up crying, nursing
3:31 asleep
5:38 up crying, rocking
5:45 asleep
6:37 fully awake for the day, won’t got to sleep, won’t nurse, smile central.

Total snooze time for mommy and daddy: 4 hours 40 minutes with a million interruptions.

Now she spent all morning whimpering on and off (more on than off) unless she’s chewing on something or being bounced and thrown up in the air at which point she is as happy as a clam as long as it continues.

So what’s keeping me going even though I am running on 4 hours of sleep today and less than 6 each night for the last 2 days?

This little face! How could you not!?

{a little preview of her 3-6 months video. I know I still have to do the 0-3 months one too}

Comment: Tell me about your child’s first teething experience.

“Did you think it was going to be easy?”

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY

{cute organic cupcake onesie is by My O Baby}


The first week was rough. Not normal newborn rough or “adjusting to lack of sleep” rough but “what is going on” rough.
Alexis started off as what you expect a day old baby to be- alert, crying at times, breast feeding around the clock. Once my milk came in on day 2, she spaced out her feedings to every 1.5-2 hours.
Everything was going right as I expected and have been told.
Then around day 5, something changed- she started waking up every half an hour and the only thing that would console her was my boob.
In my mind I’ve gone through every possible scenario from “I don’t have enough milk” (slippery slope) to growth spurts.
For those 2 days we literally had zero sleep. When people say “oh I’ve had no sleep because of my newborn baby” rarely do they mean literally no sleep. Generally newborns wake up every 2-4 hours to feed, that in between time IS sleep.
When I say zero sleep I mean I was able to close my eyes for 0-30 minutes each night for two nights.
It seemed like this is what it’s going to be like for weeks.

We asked around and were told that no, getting no sleep at all isn’t normal.

I love when people say “Well what did you expect? That it was going to be easy”?
Oh darling, you can’t compare a baby that gives you an hour or two at a time to sleep to a baby that wakes up every time you put her down. And no, giving her formula so that she was sleeping longer stretches at night isn’t even remotely an option.

I kept thinking something must be wrong (she’s in pain) and trust me that’s the worst feeling.

Our pedi suggested we keep her awake for longer feedings- that way she’ll go longer stretches without waking up to feed.

The next night Alexis had a huge screaming fit- like “I’m in pain” fit. I’d calm her down, put her in the cosleeper and a few minutes later she’d wake up screaming. Again only boob would console her. We had to call the doctor at 1:30 am because we simply didn’t know what was wrong.

After talking with her we agreed that it’s most likely reflux. She has been gagging and making chocking sounds every time we’d put her down regardless how many times we burped her.
The poor girl was suffering from acid burning her throat.
We broke down and gave her gripe water. It had completely sent me into a break down. I had been resolved not to have her take anything but breastmilk cuz anything else would change the flora of her intestines potentially exposing it to infections. But when it came to my baby girl hurting I just had to try any form of relief.
After another visit to our pedi, we decided that those longer bigger feedings might have made her reflux so bad she was actually in pain.

So we were trying everything and anything: 30-45 degree elevated beds, more frequent smaller feedings, prescription of Zantac in our back pocket that we gave a thought and instantly dismissed as an option at this moment, all possibly offensive foods banned from mommy’s ration.
One night after discovering that no swing or elevated bed does it, I spent the whole night holding her against my chest in a recliner- because that’s the only way she’d sleep.

 


{cute organic cupcake onesie is by My O Baby}

I was starting to get myself mentally ready for a baby that just doesn’t sleep at night. “We can do it for a few months while she matures… Whatever it takes to keep her comfortable, we thought. We’d take shifts holding her, I’d wake up to nurse whenever she wants.”

Then something happened. One night when she was screaming and fussing, we soothed her, put her to sleep and lay her down next to us in bed.
That was the first time since being home that she slept soundly for 2 hours, woke up to feed and slept another stretch and like that till the morning. No gagging, no crying, no reflux, no spit up.
Now don’t tell me babies aren’t supposed to sleep with their parents/mother, because since that day we’ve had 0 issues. She sleeps 2-3 hour stretches, she has zero reflux. As soon as her Moro reflex wakes her up, she instantly settles down by feeling me next to her.
And the amazing thing is she’s a different baby during the day- alert, quiet, happy. She won’t go down for a nap on her own- she has to be in our arms or next to us, but she’s rested. Day time is a different story, since she feeds every 30 minutes, but she’s happy, a happy little girl and that means we’re happy.

It’s funny how while considering ourselves AP parents, we still blindly followed the no bed sharing advice. We have a co sleeper set up , a full nursery but the only way our girl is happy AND healthy is if she’s in our arms.
Obviously the stress of being away from us was what caused the spit up problem to worsen, the lack of uninterrupted sleep caused her screaming fits. It was a cycle she was too immature to be able to get out of on her own. And I felt like it took us 2 days too long to figure it out. (update: lol people, I don’t think bedsharing “cured” reflux.  She had minor reflux that  was possibly made worse by stress of being away from mommy’s body which is what most newborns need in the first weeks)

My personal new mom lesson number 1:

Blindly follow what your baby needs in the very beginning. Screw the “well wishers”, the unsubstantiated cry it out methods, the second guessing yourself that comes oh-so-easily. Only your baby knows what it wants, and if it wants constant contact, then that’s what it gets, especially in its 4th trimester.

Talking to friends and reading blogs, sleeping with your baby is a pretty common occurrence early on. I’m not sure how long it lasts (maybe till they are able to sleep in a deeper state), but it’s very obvious that some (most?) babies need close contact to thrive. I’d like for her to sleep in the co-sleeper at some point and then in her crib, but we’ll see how it goes.

So I’m incredibly happy we figured it out and now our little girl is getting 150% of what she needs and we are getting what I’d call normal sleep: waking up every 2-3 hours to feed/change with occasional hour long stretches.

Coming up: Breastfeeding and its challenges post, 1 week postpartum and Alexis update, 2 weeks postpartum and Alexis update, just random thoughts on our changed lives, final nursery reveal (that we don’t even use lol), breastfeeding products that I’ve been using. I only get to write posts right now while nursing Alexis. I pull out my iphone and type away. She nurses every 30 minutes during the day so I get plenty of time to type, but the challenge is adding photos, since I can’t work on my laptop right now. So you might see a week of no posts and then a cluster of them another week.
And yes, of course the Birth Story- that’s kind of a given! :)

Also something came up workwise that only I can do, which really sucks because right now I can’t get away for longer than 30 minutes – I have to breastfeed. I really hope it can be postponed due to me just having had a baby or I am pretty much screwed. I love how everything always comes in at the same time. I can’t even get a handle on my life with a newborn when I have to deal with something urgent, important  and a bit upsetting. Bleh! :(

Oh and also, I’ll probably won’t be proof reading most of these posts due to lack of time, so ignore all typos and such, please. Thanks :)

Self Portrait

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Daily, PHOTO

I used to be a huge self portrait “artist”. Each day/week I’d come up with another fun idea for a self-portrait. Hell, my whole flickr account is one massive self portrait ( I promise I am not in love with myself, i just find it much easier to bring ideas to life when i don’t have to make anyone pose for me. And photographing inanimate objects…. eh! not my cup of tea).

Now that being said, I have to disappoint everyone with a pretty lame SP. BUT… I have an excuse. And a good one.
My spoiled by warmth body cannot handle the horrible temperatures of globalwarming Florida. It has been in the low 60s! 60s!!!!
That is good 20 degrees below my comfort zone. Northerners! No snickering!
So to illustrate what I have been doing this whole week, I am posting this picture.
I have been FREEZING, SLEEPING, WEARING THERMAL PJS, FUZZY STRIPED SOCKIES ( don’t you love them? ) and hugging my husband to death ( for warmth. No other reason).
Even my favorite Travis ( one of the black kitties) kept crawling under the blanket every night with me and tucking his wet cold nose in my arm ( that part I do love).

So here we go. That is me every morning  for the past week.

Please don’t fogrget to VOTE daily!

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