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Sleep Training January 30, 2011
Okay. So. We were still working on the EASY program that the Baby Whisperer prescribed, but Eriana doesn’t fall asleep or stay asleep unless she is being held or snuggled. This is not really working for us. Co-sleeping is one thing, but we are holding her while we sleep, while she sleeps, taking turns snuggling her, which I find dangerous, and trying to do housework (or, in Jim’s case actual work) while holding a child. That doesn’t work when Jim needs to get stuff done or I need to cook dinner.
I have read “The Happiest Baby on the Block” and understand the fourth trimester theory. But I have to go back to work, Jim has to be able to work while Eriana sleeps during the day, my mom won’t be able to hold her nonstop on her day with Eriana, and my sister has 2 kids of her own, so there’s no holding her nonstop on her day, either.
We want more than anything for our little girl to feel loved and to trust us, but we also want to help her to be independent. I have read from several sources that sleep training can begin as early as 6 weeks. E will be 6 weeks on Wednesday. We decided starting at the beginning of the week would be best, so starting three days earlier than when she’s 6 weeks old wouldn’t be a big deal.
So this afternoon we started the training as outlined in Sleeping Through the Night by Jodi A. Mindell. It’s a Cry It Out (CIO) plan with more consolation than CIO gives (not like the Furberizing in “Meet the Fockers”). The book and all the reviews I read say that it works within 3-4 days for most babies and kids. You put a drowsy baby down to sleep, and if she cries you wait 5 minutes and then go in to console her. Once her need is met she goes back down. Again, if she cries you wait 5 minutes. The next time is 10 minutes, and 10 minutes every visit after. It’s a patience game. I’m pretty sure I cried as much as Eriana this afternoon.
I know some of you are reading this and judging me and I want you to know that I don’t care. Eriana is our baby. We get to decide what we think is best for her. I’ve done a lot of research and this is what Jim and I decided to try after other things have failed and we talked a lot about the options. All of Eriana’s needs are met. She doesn’t generally cry that often. She smiles. We read to her, talk to her, sing to her. She has the best of everything we can afford. She is so loved. But we want her to be able to fall asleep on her own, stay asleep when she’s in her bed/pack-n-play/bassinet, and put herself back to sleep when she wakes up.
This sucks, it’s hard, I want to pick her up and snuggle her constantly when she screams. She’s so pitiful and adorable and I just want to shower her with kisses and hug her until she falls asleep and then hold her while she snores.
Below is a closing shot of just how stinking cute she is. We think she’s finally up to the 8 lb minimum for her cloth diapers, so we started using them this week. She looks like a tiny sumo wrestler. And she doesn’t usually cry like that when she has her diaper changed. But she’s cute when she cries, nonetheless!
Wherein I concede… January 26, 2011
… our daughter may look more like me than I had previously thought. Behold the evidence:
And also? Wow, has photography improved since 1982! AND baby clothes! 🙂
EASY? Eh. January 21, 2011
So I got to the sleep (S) chapter in Secrets of the Baby Whisperer and today we started the process of following it more closely, including putting her down to sleep in her own crib and only going in to calm/reassure her when she cries. She’s actually doing okay with it. Last night Jim was up, holding her while she slept, until 4am. Then he put her down in the bassinet and she laid there long enough for him to brush his teeth and get in bed before she awoke and I took over. I calmed her and then held her while she and I slept, nursed her at 7 and then fell back asleep. Then she was up at 9 and was making too much noise so we went to the living room and she slept on me until 11 (she ate again and had several diaper changes in there somewhere; don’t worry!). So to say that we were both quite tired of holding her by that point would be an understatement.
She and I left the house and went to weigh her (more on that below) and then to Wal-Mart to pick up the Itzbeen timer that I had ordered and had delivered to one of our local stores. I had to feed her (from a bottle) while we were at Wal-Mart, then she fell back asleep and we went home. She slept long enough for us to eat lunch, then we went gung ho on the S part of the EASY plan.
Oh my. This is difficult! For the last 4 weeks we’ve been holding her almost nonstop while she’s awake or asleep. I’ve gotten very little snuggle time today, and despite the 7 nonstop hours this morning, it’s KILLING me! I miss my kid! I don’t hope for her to cry, because she needs sleep! But I really love to hold and snuggle and cuddle and kiss her. I’m hoping we can accomplish this routine and then be able to incorporate snuggle time back into our schedule!
I took E to be weighed today and she was a solid 7 lbs, 11 oz! That means she gained about 7 ounces in 9 days! Hooray! She’s gaining weight! She’s still little, but she seems to be thriving. She’s a happy baby, we take care of her, she eats, and she’s okay.
This is a picture I took yesterday of her in a sweet little velour sleeper some friends in Japan sent. Very Asian with the Hello Kitty! And it’s size 0-1 month. It would get mighty expensive, but it’s genius! Our sweet little one.
4 Weeks January 19, 2011
My little girl is 4 weeks old. I know, I was warned it would go by quickly, and I’m not sad that it is, because I’m really looking forward to a more interactive and understanding baby. But yes, the time is flying.
This little girl is incredible. I just look at her with awe and am so excited I get to be her mama. She’s very snuggly, which has led to her STILL not falling asleep on her own the majority of the time, and wanting to be held while she sleeps at least half the time. She has been sleeping for long stretches in her bassinet or pack-n-play, but she has to be pretty drowsy or asleep when she’s put down, and even then sometimes we can’t fool her.
She amazes us with her ability to sit quietly in a bouncy seat or swing for long periods without crying or fussing. She’s very tolerant of the dogs sniffing or licking her (even though we try to keep the dog snot and spit to a minimum). She cries when she has her diaper changed or gets a bath, but is easily consoled afterward. She’s still in disposable diapers because she isn’t big enough for her cloth diapers yet. We’re really looking forward to not buying diapers anymore!
She lets me put a hat or headband on her and only cries when it falls in her eyes (even Marcy’s newborn headbands are still a bit too big for our little bit). She can wear newborn-sized clothes, or very few of her 0-3 month-sized clothes (usually as a top layer over a newborn onesie). Some of the 0-3 clothes are the right length but swallow her around the waist and her skinny little legs. She’s great in public, and has become a Target-shopping pro, and has gone out to eat at Hideaway (a pizza place), Chick-fil-A, Pei Wei and Coach’s (a sports bar restaurant), all while sleeping the whole time.
She’s still having eating issues, but I think she’s getting enough. She thinks she’s hungrier than she is, which has resulted in some spit-up trouble, but she’s also really gassy, so that might play a part. This girl could enter a burping or farting contest with a grown man and be a contender! She eats really slowly, which makes it hard for my body to keep up with her schedule. Usually every 2-3 feedings is bottle-fed breast milk, because by the time I pump after her LONG eating sessions it’s only an hour or so before she wants to eat again. But usually she’ll nurse for the majority of her feedings, unless she’s too sleepy and I have to pump, then she wakes up and I’m unable to feed her. That happens at least once a day. I try to pump at least 3 times a day, which has given us enough milk to store up at least a day ahead. She suckles most of the day, so we have to watch the clock to see if she’s hungry or just needs a pacifier. She will sometimes suck on her hand or thumb, but I think her fingers are too little to be satisfying, so she sticks to the paci most of the time. We try hard, though, to not let her fall asleep with it because we don’t want to be the parents that go every 2 minutes to replace a paci in her mouth.
She is fussy late at night, but tends to be a pretty good, fairly easy baby the rest of the time. We’re learning how to be her parents while she learns how to be alive, so it’s all trial and error for all of us. Mostly we just love her and tell her a million times a day. She also gets showered with kisses all the time and seems to like us pretty well.
All in all, though difficult and exhausting, we are so happy to be parents. And we love this little girl more than we had imagined was possible. She’s wonderful!
Thanks and Clarification January 14, 2011
Thanks to everyone for your comments and e-mails about my last post. I’m eternally grateful for your support and encouragement!
For clarification purposes: I was never frustrated with Eriana! I was frustrated that I couldn’t give her what she needed, when she needed it. She was hungry, I had milk, but I couldn’t get her to wake up to eat. It was heartbreaking! And exhausting! And then when she finally got hungry enough to REALLY wake up, I had pumped because I was in pain, and she had to wait for her bottle. Oh, so disheartening for this mama who just wants to help her baby be happy and healthy! So no frustration with my sweet girl at all! Just with the situation and my inability to control any part of it.
I know some of you think I was overreacting, and I probably was. I’m okay with that! I’m hormonal, emotional, and exhausted – it’s an overreacting hotbed! But I think I’ve got things figured out that will be best for Eriana.
When she’s really really awake she’ll nurse just fine. When she’s not, it’s next to impossible for her to nurse. She will, however, take a bottle when sleepy. (I don’t feed her when she’s fast asleep, even though she’ll suckle when she is; I realize that’s dangerous and she could choke. But I will offer her a bottle when she’s on the edge of sleep, paying close attention to whether or not she’s swallowing, making sure she’s not too asleep to eat.) Since she’s underweight AND has trouble eating, I’m not willing to just let it go when she hasn’t eaten. I also have to go back to work in the middle of February, so she needed to learn how to drink from a bottle anyway, AND since I was supplementing with formula she was nursing and eating from a bottle and there was no nipple confusion. (We also give her a pacifier and she’s still fine with me and bottle nipples despite.)
Despite my frustration yesterday morning, I have still been nursing her when she’s awake enough, but pumping whatever’s leftover afterward. When she’s too tired, or if I try to nurse and she falls asleep, or if my milk hasn’t let down again yet (since I pump after she eats, sometimes she gets hungry before I’m ready to feed her), she gets a bottle of breast milk. I’m hoping this system will continue to work for us. It’s generally what will prepare us for me going back to work, so I’m hoping it will work out.
We are using the Secrets of the Baby Whisperer system of routine, and even though we started late (only just this week), Little Girl is still impressionable enough to try to get it down and she’s doing well so far. This system revolves around the word EASY (Eat, Activity, Sleep, You-time) and there isn’t a schedule, per se, but a routine that goes in the order of the word EASY. So she eats, she has activity time (which right now consists of diaper changes, us reading to her, bath time, lying awake in the pack-n-play or bouncy seat, etc.), we lie her down and she puts herself to sleep (she’s great at this, but wakes up about an hour in and wants to be held for the rest of her nap), and then when she’s asleep we get time to do other things! We’re not on a strict schedule or trying to get her to do something odd or in random times that don’t work for a newborn, Eriana learns what to expect as the day progresses, it goes in a general manner as an older child’s day, and can be changed up as she gets older and naps less, sleeps longer at night, etc. This worked out great for us in the last couple of days, and I hope it only gets better. I really like this system, and it makes sense for our family.
Anyway, thanks again for all of your encouragement, advice, love and support. I have great friends! (Wow, this turned into a long post! :))