Progress Report

I know it’s just been a few days, but overall the sleep training is going well.  I think this is going to be a slow process and the biggest thing for me is to remember is to stay patient.

 Yesterday it took Henry about 30 minutes to fall asleep for every nap.  I’d put him down wide awake, wrapped tightly in his blanket with his pacifier and he’d fuss basically as soon as I put him down.  If he started to really cry (not that fake cry that he does to get attention) then I go and pick him up and calm him back down and then repeat the process.  It would usually takes about 4-5 repeats for him to get it.
Today, for his morning nap I decided not to swaddle him (it’s probably time that we stop doing that anyway).  I put him in his crib, gave him his pacifier, his lovey and put his blanket over him and he fussed for a bit.  I only had to pick him up twice to soothe him, and within 20 minutes he was asleep on his own!!
So, even within 3 days, things are getting way better.  Night time still remains more difficult than nap time, but last night, J only got up 3 times to replace his pacifier instead of the usual 6-1000.
I think the slow and steady approach is definitely the way to go for Henry, and also for J and me.  Anything that we can do to get our point across and not have to listen to him scream and cry is definitely worth it in my opinion (not only is it agonizing, but it causes us to feel so much guilt!), and I really don’t mind that it’s probably going to take 2 weeks or longer to get this to be a well oiled machine.
It’s getting better, and as long as it keeps getting better, I can be patient.

Sleep Training

J and I decided a couple days ago that we were going to start sleep training Henry.  For the past….forever, J and I (mostly J) get up at least 8 times a night, sometimes more to replace Henry’s pacifier and/or put him back to sleep.  Getting Henry to go to sleep in the past had not been a problem, but since he’s stopped nursing to sleep it’s become a little trickier.

I’d been reading like mad to see how we wanted to go about doing this.  I know that there is a lot of controversy over “cry it out” and the “Ferber” method, and my intention is not to discuss what is “right” or what’s “wrong,” only what works and doesn’t work for Henry.

On Tuesday night I put Henry down for the night at 7:30.  Henry went down ok, not great, but ok.  At 9:12 he woke up crying.  So, J and I went into his room to pick him up and comfort him and see if we could get him to go back to sleep without using the pacifier.

If I could go back in time and smack my past self, I would.

Henry cried/screamed for over an hour while we held and rocked him.  After an hour, Js and my nerves were pretty frazzled, so we put him in this crib and walked away, and we were going to watch the clock and check on him every 5 to 10 minutes to let him know that we were near by and that he was ok.  He screamed for those 5 minutes that he was alone.  When we went to check on him, he screamed harder, and when we left again, again the screaming intensified.  Because things got worse when we were there, we left him alone to try and soothe himself and to fall asleep and he continued to scream non-stop for 30 minutes before he was able to calm down enough to go back to sleep.

That experience was terrible.  J and I wanted it to end as soon as it began, but for whatever reason decided to keep going (probably from all the books and personal experiences that I’d read that it had worked for other people).  Anyway, exhausted from just listening to Henry scream, J and I went to sleep as soon as Henry did.  And two hours later Henry woke up screaming again.  I don’t know how long he cried for, but I don’t think it was too long because J and just couldn’t take it anymore.  We gave him his pacifier and brought him into bed with us, and we still feel guilty on how we handled that night.

J and I have decided that the “cry it out” and the “Ferber” method just aren’t for us or Henry.  If he had calmed down after 10 minutes I could have stuck to it, but having listened to him scream for an hour and a half and then have it start to repeat itself two hours later, I just couldn’t do it anymore.  My resolve just isn’t that strong.

So, now we’re trying something new.  We’re SLOWLY working on being able to put Henry down for bed and naps when he’s still awake.  Last night, I nursed him, cuddled him, swaddled him and put him in his crib when he was still awake, but sleepy.  He would fuss for a bit and then that would turn into cries.  And, every time he cried I’d pick him up and cuddle him and when he started to relax and be tired again, I’d put him back down.  It took about 30 minutes, but eventually he stopped fussing and went to sleep.  I’m doing the same thing for naps.

My goal is that he’ll be able to go to sleep on his own for bedtime and naptime.   And, I’m really really really really really hoping that it will one day start to carry over to when he wakes up in the middle of the night that he’ll then be able to put himself back to sleep.  Right now naps are going way better than bedtime.  Henry takes about 2-3 naps a day (he’s on his second right now, and has been down for an hour and a half).  I’ll be sure to report how we’re doing in a few days and again in a few weeks.

How did you sleep train your baby?

But Mom, I’m not sleepy!

Month 5

Dear Henry –

I’m so sorry that your 5 month letter is late.  Your turned 5 months old over the Thanksgiving holiday and things got away from me with family being in town.
This past month your personality has really started to shine through.  You are such a happy baby!  You’re becoming more independent, content to play on your own for longer and longer stretches, but you do look up every now and then to make sure that someone is close by to catch all the smiles that you’re sending out.  You’re laughing more and more often, usually when someone is making crazy faces or sounds at you.  It is still the sweetest sound that I’ve ever heard.  Your laugh equates to pure joy.  You’ve also started to say “mamamamama” which makes me extatic and I’m hopeful that your first word is going to be “mama,” because you still haven’t said “dada” yet.
This past long weekend made me realize that I could easily spend every day holding and playing with you.  And that’s exactly what we did through the holiday.  You were held basically for four whole days.  I know that your dad and I absolutely love those cuddle days.  We played with you, held you while you napped and you chilled with us while we watched movies (although it did take us about 4 hours to watch Spider Man).
On Friday, you helped put up your first Chrismukkah tree.  I love watching you as you take in the decorated tree.  You stare at it intently, just absorbing it and I think trying to understand it.  It’s going to be fun celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas with you with this year (and every year).  I’m really looking forward to showing you how to open presents!

We’re helping you put up your first Chismukkah ornament!

This past month also marked your first major cold.  You had a fever for only one day (thankfully), but you were coughing and so congested for over a week and that it broke your dad’s and my heart.  It felt like you were sick for forever, but you seem to have finally kicked it.  You still have a little snot come out every now and then, but overall, you’re MUCH better.
At 5 months old you LOVE:
  • Playing – in your jumperoo, exersaucer, with toys or with someone.
  • Eating our faces.  You’ve started leaning your open mouth again our cheecks, forehead, noses or chins and will either sit like that for a minute (we think it’s your version of a kiss) or you’ll start to gnaw on us.  When you gnaw, we call you a zombie baby (the nickname is starting to stick).
  • Playing airplane
  • Talking.  You are always quite content to either listen to someone talk to you or to have a “conversation” with them, and sometime you just love to see how loud you can be.  You’ve got a good set of lungs on you kid.
  • Tummy time.  This one has finally made the love list!  you will sit and play and reach for toys in front of you for about 5 to 15 minutes before you decide to roll yourself over to do something else.  You’re also learning to roll from your back to your tummy.  You haven’t done it yet, but it’s gonna be soon!  You’ll get all the way on your side and then you’ll fall back to your back.
At 5 months old you HATE:
  • When I take a toy away from you.  For instance, yesterday it was nap time, so I took my phone away from you and you just melted right then and there (it didn’t help that you were tired and in need of a nap at the time).
  • Eating.  Ok, you might not hate this one, but it seems to annoy you lately.  In your mind there’s just too much to do to be stuck at mom’s boob for 20 minutes.  Lately, I’m lucky if I can get you to concentrate for 5 minutes to eat.  And because you eat so badly during the day, you’ve started waking up in the middle of the night to eat and you haven’t done that since before you were 6 weeks old (thanks for that).
….I think that’s it for the hates.  You’re usually a really happy, smiley and content little man.
I love you so much.  You’re becoming a little boy more and more each day.  It makes me sad to think that one day you won’t be my baby anymore (although you know that a part of you will always be my baby).  You’re so special and I’m so thankful for you.  You light up my life, and your dad’s life.
We love you with all of our heart,
-Mom

Stick to Your ROUTINE!

We have a lot of relatives in town for the Thanksgiving holiday, and last night we went over to my in-laws to see everyone.  Originally we weren’t going to go because everyone wasn’t meeting until 6:30, and that’s when we usually start to put Henry down.  But, we ended up being guilted into coming over.  So, with baby in tow we went to my in-laws and everyone (about 15 people) oohed and ahhed over Henry, and who wouldn’t?  This kiddo is seriously cute.

But, 6:45 came and I started saying how I needed to start putting Henry down for bed.  Everyone, including J, kept telling me that he’s so awake, and alert, we’ll just push his bedtime back tonight.  And with so many people telling me to chill out, I backed down.  7:00 came and I started saying that Henry really needed to go to bed now, and again I was brushed off.  At 7:15 I’d had enough of not being listened to, and took Henry and told everyone that he was going to bed (my mother-in-law seemed kinda ticked off at this).

So, J and I took Henry upstairs to nurse him and get him ready for bed.  And do you know what happened?  He was too wired to eat!  I couldn’t get him to pay attention to me long enough for him to latch on.  All totaled I only got him to eat for about 10 minutes and he usually eats for 45 at night before he goes to bed.  I finally gave up, and stuck his pacifier in his mouth and J swaddled him up and we walked and rocked him for over an hour and he still would not fall asleep.

At our wits end, we decided to pack everything up and head home.  So, we took Henry downstairs to load him up in his car seat and as soon as we hit the main floor everyone was huddled around him, waking him up even more and wanting to hold him before we loaded him up.  I was getting seriously pissed off at that point.  My mother-in-law was making comments that because he was awake we should just keep him up and stay longer.  I ended up snapping at her “and are you going to be the one to put him back to sleep when he wakes up every 2 hours tonight?”

We packed up and Henry slept the whole car ride home.  But woke up crying when we took him out of his car seat to change him and put him in PJs (we forgot to bring a pair with us).  And I nursed/rocked Henry for half an hour before he went to sleep.

He did sleep OK throughout the night.  He woke up a lot as the night went on (about 6 times), but J being the trooper that he is got up and put him back to sleep every time (he also had today off of work and I didn’t).  But aside from sleeping OK throughout the night, Henry has been seriously cranky, crabby and has just wanted to scream his little head off at work today.

This is why I say to keep to your routine.  So that you don’t end up wanting to pull your hair out (what’s left of it….postpartum hair loss is a bitch), bang your head against your desk, or cry right along with your baby.  Or, all of the above….

… Spontaneity?

How do you have time to be spontaneous when you have a baby?  J and I used to like to go out to dinner or go to the local wine bar and just hang out.  We’d get home from work and be in the mood for a drink (or two or three) and we’d just head out the door without a second thought.  Now that’s no longer an option.  Henry has to start getting ready for bed no later than 6:30 or it throws his whole schedule off.  And when you don’t get home until 5:45, it doesn’t really leave much wiggle room for anything.

Because of being tied to this routine it feels like J and I have been stuck in a rut lately.  We have the same schedule that we follow everyday, and admittedly I get really tired of it.  J seems to handle it better than I do, but since he’s a wee bit OCD, he does better with set schedules.  We have been going out on the weekends lately and J’s parents are loving the sleep overs that they get with Henry, but it’s a lot of work to drive him to their house and drive back out there in the morning to get him.  It’s about a 45 minute drive one way, so to go and get him in the morning sucks up over an hour and a half of time, plus an enormous amount of gas each week.

I guess I just haven’t figured out how to have a life during the week AND be a good parent at the same time.

Has anyone figured out how to do both?

J rocking Henry to sleep for the night

Cough Cough

Taking care of a baby while sick, is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

From about Monday, I’ve had a dry cough.  Since I have allergies, I just assumed it was fall allergies.  I was wrong.  On Wednesday my cough turned wet, and I had a low grade fever.  Because I was in denial, I went to work on Wednesday and I just felt worse and worse as the day went on.  Since J had a gig Wednesday evening, I put Henry to bed, and once he was down I quickly ate dinner and went to bed myself.  I was out by 8:30.

I woke up Thursday and felt like I had been run over by a train.  Needless to say that I decided to stay home from work.  But I realized that there was no way that I could take care of a baby and stay home, so J had to stay home too so I could rest/sleep/be a sick zombie and he could watch Henry and keep him occupied.

It worked pretty well, although I didn’t take into account that I’d need to be up and functioning every 2-3 hours so  that I could feed Henry.  And because I had a fever and I didn’t want to get Henry or J sick, I tried to pump for most of the feedings starting Thursday night – when I started to feel my worst.  So, that cut into my rest because that took about 40 minutes at a time (I have a hard time pumping).  On top of all of that, it’s hard to get enough sleep when you keep looking at the clock and thinking that your time is quickly running out before you have to get up again.

On Friday, Henry decided that he didn’t want to eat from me.  He’d take a bottle just fine, but cried whenever I brought him to the breast.  This freaked me out, because I was afraid that he was starting another nursing strike, or that this meant that he was getting sick.  This is a bit embarrassing, but it turns out that he didn’t like the way I smelled.  I don’t know about you, but when I’m really sick – and I mean really sick, it doesn’t cross my mind to shower.  All I do is drink fluids and sleep.  So, all of Thursday I didn’t shower (and hadn’t had one since Wednesday morning), so come Friday afternoon, Henry apparently couldn’t take the stink.  So, all you sick breastfeeding moms out there, make sure you shower otherwise your baby might not like cuddling up against you.

I do have to say that J was amazing.  He did so great taking care of me and Henry.  I could not have done all of that on my own.  If it wasn’t for him, I’d still be really sick huddled under the covers and probably curled into a ball crying.

I’m still sick – this stupid cough, running nose and fever just won’t go away, but I’m a whole lot better than I was, and hopefully I’ll be 100% soon.

And now here’s your cute picture:

Oy Vey

I was at the office yesterday, leaving for the day.  I had Henry in his car seat, Ali the dog, the diaper bag, the boppy and my lunch box.  You can imagine that I looked like a pack mule.

I was headed out of the building with all of that when Ali decided that she wasn’t going to go past the front door.  With everything that I had in hand, I left Ali at the door and went to put Henry and everything else in the car.  Did I mention that it was also starting to rain?  Well, it was.  As soon as Henry is hooked up into the car seat base, of course he starts screaming.  I hurriedly try to stuff his pacifier in his mouth, but of course he’s too upset to hold onto it and so he starts to cry harder.

I then remember that the dog is sitting by the front door the building.  So, I run to go and get her and take her by the collar, and she won’t budge.  I’m dragging and pulling her to the car – trying to get everyone in the car so I can console a crying baby before we make a 40 minute drive home.

I get to the car and let go of the dog (stupid I know) to open the door.  And of course as soon as my hand is off of her collar she runs back to the fucking building!  So, with Henry still screaming, I run back after her, and this time I can’t get drag her to the car, so I have to pick up a 50 lb dog and carry her across the parking lot and stuff her in the car!

By this time Henry is beyond being consoled.  I should probably note that he hates his car seat.  Not so much the being in it, but for some reason EVERY time that it’s hooked up to the base, he starts to cry.  I try to reassure him that he’s ok, and that he’s not alone and that he’s merely overreacting.  It doesn’t work.  I eventually get him to calm down enough to take his pacifier.  But as soon as I close the back door and get into the driver seat, he’s crying again.

At this point, I just drive – because we need to get home so he can see J and then get ready for bed.  Thankfully he goes to sleep after we drive a couple of miles.

Oy vey…..Mother and dog owner of the year….