What I’ve Learned About Baby Sleep

It’s no secret.  I have a challenging sleeper of a baby.  Technically she’s a toddler now!  I have read and re-read books about baby sleep.  I have paid for a consultation at www.babysleepsite.com (which was the best money I ever spent).  I have thrown my hands in the air, crying and listening to Georgie cry on the monitor, and yelled “I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!”.  That feeling is the most frustrating feeling in all the world.  You want to do what’s best for your baby and you know that a nap is what’s best for them at this moment!  So here are some things that I have learned:

1. There are sleep regressions.  You need to familiarize yourself when and how they are going to happen.  There is one at 4 months where baby sleep patterns reorganize and start changing.  Just when you think your tiny baby is starting to sleep better, rest assured at 4 months it is all gonna go haywire.  If you know and expect this in advance, it won’t be so frustrating.  There is another sleep regression at 8 months or so.  This one is caused by the brain processing more than it can handle.  It’s processing speech patterns, crawling, walking, standing and a ton of other stuff.  When you set your little 8 month old (sometimes this regression can happen a little later) down in her crib to sleep for the night, she wakes up about 9 times a night and can’t seem to get back to sleep!  This lasted about a month for us.  it’s the equivalent of something BIG happening the the next day and you are so excited you can’t sleep.  You just can’t turn your brain off.  Well your little one WANTS to sleep but she can’t turn her brain off.  There is also an 11 month nap regression from what I’ve heard, although we didn’t experience it.

2. Day sleep is different from night sleep.  This is simple but really important to keep in mind.   If you find yourself saying “She sleeps so good at night, WHY won’t she nap!?” this is why.  Their brains act different, their body responds differently to it, it’s just… different.  What helped us (besides The Baby Sleep Site) was to put up not only room darkening shades but also room darkening curtains over them.  We also use white noise in her room.  It really helps tune out the city noises and when they are little it REALLY calms them.

3. Some babies aren’t going to just lay down and go to sleep.  That’s right, you may have to do sleep training.  We actually did two different kinds of sleep training.  We co-slept for the first 6 months of Georgie’s life.  Toward the end of those 6 months she was starting to nurse almost every hour to get back to sleep and sometimes she would just wake up and smack my face and it was getting tough to function during the day… for BOTH of us.  So on the suggestion of our pediatrician we tried the cry it out method.  It worked quicker than we ever thought it would and within a month Georgie was sleeping in her own room comfortably.  For naps, it was a completely different situation.  I had tried sooooo many things that I was just breaking down every day when she wouldn’t sleep.   I finally decided to get some help at The Baby Sleep Site and it was amazing.  My sleep consultant recommend the chair method for training Georgie to nap.  See, the problem was that I was rocking her or nursing her or bouncing her to sleep and even though she could get herself to sleep at night, she didn’t relate it to her day sleep so she didn’t know how to go TO sleep and stay asleep.  It took about 10 patient days of nap training before she started going down on her own. I want to encourage you all to seek help if you are feeling like a failure at baby sleep.  It’s amazing finally figuring out what to do when you thought you thought of everything.

4. Mommy guilt is overwhelming when it comes to Cry It Out.  I mentioned above that we did cry it out for night time sleep.  It worked so easily and quickly.  The issue that we dealt with after the fact was my guilt and depression.  I felt incredible guilt and anxiety every night for about 2 months.  I felt guilty for putting her down and making her sleep alone.  I felt sad that I had made her cry to sleep.  I developed a depression over not having her in the bed with me anymore.  I missed her terribly.  I would go up to bed and lay down with the monitor where she used to sleep and I hugged it and cried myself to sleep for weeks and weeks.  I was torn up.  It was a tough period for me.  Once I started seeing a change in the daytime where we were both getting enough sleep and functioning well during the day, I started getting over the sadness and the loneliness.  Thinking back on that time makes my heart break a little bit.  We just weren’t meant to be along term co-sleeping family.  I enjoy my night sleep now.

5. Baby sleep changes constantly.  It does!  Our current situation is a good example.  A few weeks ago I put Georgie down for her morning nap, which was always after 2.5 hours of awake time.  Well, it took her 20 mins of cooing and playing in the bed before she settled down to nap.  This kept occurring for every nap, with the cooing/play time actually increasing!  After a few re-reads of baby sleep info, I realized she was wanting more awake time!  This means she is slowly going toward one nap a day instead of two.  I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of that.  So I decided to give her 20 extra mins of awake time in the morning and 15 extra in the afternoon.  I also shortened her morning nap to 1 hour so she wouldn’t be going down for her 2nd nap too late in the day.  I will add an extra 20 mins about every month until she can stay awake 5 hours without needing a nap.  Then she’ll go down for one nap at 1pm.  How wild is that!?  I feel like if I hadn’t read about all of this I’d be a frazzled mess not knowing what was going on.  I feel like that’s where some people with difficult sleepers go wrong.  They don’t look at enough info to be informed about what is coming ahead and because of that they may make hurried decisions that make the problem worse.

I am proud to say that Georgie is an incredible sleeper now.  She naps well and is sleeping through the night, most nights.  She still wakes for a “Momma Check” a few nights a week and I don’t mind letting her know I’m there if she needs me.

Stop Singing That to Our Daughter!!!!

There was a song.  It came out when I was in college.  It was NASTAY, disgusting even… and EVERYONE sang it (and I went to a christian college!).  I’m not gonna name the song, but it was by Akinyele.  That should be enough for you to know instantly or google (mom don’t google it).  I bring this up because my friend @arielclark tweeted about this song today and it made me think this would be something good to blog about after such a long silence.

Ever since Georgie was a little, I’ve sung to her like any good mother would do.  It’s fun to come up with stupid songs about mundane things like what she’s eating for lunch or what’s hiding in her diaper.  I’ve sung Every Little Thing She Does is Magic to her since week one when I could not, for the life of me, remember any lullabies and resulted to the music catalog in my mind.  Among “Ba Ba Black Sheep” and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” (both the same melodies BTW) it is now a sleepy time staple.  It’s the song I pull out when nothing else is calming her down for sleep.  It is, indeed, like magic.

So what’s with Akinyele?  Well, I find myself singing this terrible, nastay, disgusting song to her while she’s eating.  I have NO control over it.  It pops in my mind and after 5 minutes of singing it silly with dumb dance  moves in the kitchen, I realize what I’m singing to my daughter.    If I don’t realize it… my husband does yells at me to STOP SINGING THAT TO OUR DAUGHTER!

Another more prevalent song I sing to her is Rick James’ Superfreak.  That one’s been popping in my head now for months.  It irritates Matt to no end.  Again he tells me in not so nice terms to stop signing that to her.  I don’t blame him.  I don’t WANT to sing that song to her, but it’s just there, in all it’s funky, freaky glory.  I try to change the words…  “She’s a very pretty girl… the one that wants to hug her momma” but somehow I still revert back to the nasty lyrics.  She doesn’t seem to mind in fact she giggles a lot when I sing it. I know she doesn’t know what i’m singing to her but it’s just funny/annoying that these horrible songs come to me! Maybe I shouldn’t sweat it.  Heck maybe the next time she’s fussy and not wanting to settle for a nap, I should just bust out some Baby Got Back and see if that works.

Georgie at 9.5 months

3 Ways for Parents with New Babies to Save Money (and the Environment!)

I was talking with my husband, Matt, this morning about how good we’ve been about saving money. It dawned on me that we were saving us a lot of heartache as well by starting out right with Georgie. We do three things that keep us from running out to the store daily/weekly/monthly that every parent with a small child can do. These ways of saving are also good on the environment as well!

Cloth Diapering

We decided long before we went to the delivery room that we were going to use cloth diapers with G. My friend Lindsay had started with her little one, Vada, and had a lot of good suggestions. Since then I’ve learned my own things about cloth diapering and my favorite brands.

At first glance, it might seem that cloth diapering is expensive and… it is. But in the long run it’s a LOT cheaper than disposable diapering. Do the math and you’ll see that “sposies” are the real expensive choice. One pocket cloth diaper is around $15-$18. You’ll need around 20 per child so you’re not running to the washing machine in hopes that you can wash and dry a load before she uses that last one in the drawer (and that is NOT possible). When Georgie was really little and the cloth ones didn’t fit her well, we bought sposies and they ran about $10 a pack (for brand name pampers). We bought those about twice a week. Going on that trend, it would cost us $1040 for one year of use. Our cloth diapers cost us $360 and they grow with our baby until she’s 35 pounds. That’s pretty amazing, hunh? We bought one cloth diaper from diapers.com every month (while I was pregnant) and we also registered for them on target.com. We didn’t have a complete set by the time we had her, but I was glad for that because I was able to buy another brand and I found I liked those even more!

We mostly use the Bum Genius 3.0.   I prefer the 5 Fuzzi Bunz I purchased after G was born.  They fit her better and are so much quicker going on.  the Bum Gs are Velcro and the Fuzzis are snaps.  When one is soiled, all we do is separate the shell from the liner and put them in the diaper pail (we use a trash can).  There’s no need to rinse them or keep them wet or anything like that (like the old days).  When washing, you wash them once on a cold cycle with 1/4 the recommended detergent, and then the same with a hot cycle with an extra rinse.  Yes, I know that’s a lot of washing, but it’s always an extra small load so it’s a small amount of water being used.  We love the choice we made to cloth diaper for oh so many reasons.

WASHABLE WIPES

Lindsay also clued me in to this awesome product called Baby Bits Wipes Solution.  You just drop one all natural large bit in with 2 cups of water in a wipes warmer and it makes an all natural wipes solution.  I made my own wipes from cotton flannel and I also received some not-so-pretty washrags as a shower gift so they were recruited to wipes duty as well.  I just dip the cloth in the solution, clean Georgie up and then throw it in with the dirty diapers for a wash.  It’s that simple and those Bits last a LONG time. I  still haven’t had to buy any after 3 months and there’s over half a pack left.  It’s amazingly economical and the bits smell lovely as well! They are great on diaper rash and you don’t have to decide whether you can get out to the store soon or use just one of your two packaged wipes left on that massive poopie diaper.

BREASTFEEDING

This is a “no duh”, but I just can’t believe how much money we’re saving by not using formula.  It’s astounding how much that stuff costs and how quickly babies and eat through it.  I’m happy to say that we haven’t even made a dent in the free formula given to us before the baby was here.  If you’re on the fence about breastfeeding, let this one go in your plus category.  If you ever need advice or someone to talk to about making the decision to breastfeed, by all means please leave me a comment and we’ll talk.  It’s an amazing thing and so economical!

We’re not perfect.  We do use disposable baby wipes when we go out.  Matt bought an economy box with like 4 packs of wipes and we still have 3 left after 2 months, so using the homemade wipes is really handy.  We do keep a pack of pampers on hand for emergencies.  I had to use one yesterday because I forgot to bring the diapers up from the basement and her current diaper was already off.  As for the breastfeeding, I had to use formula a bit in the beginning because I was having a massive gall bladder attack the first week Georgie was home, but since then she’s really had none of it which I’m totally proud to say.

***A big thanks to Lindsay S for helping me out in the beginning!

Georgie Luvs

GEORGIE LUVS her 2 month old birthday present.  I do admit I got her something for her 1 month and 2 month birthdays but I’m resolved not to buy her something for every month birthday.  Ok, maybe I’ll get her something for her 6 month birthday. 😉

Anyway, she loves her Tiny Love Classic Developmental Mobile.  I did some research on what mobiles were actually good mobiles and time after time this one popped up.  It’s colorful and gaudy, but boy does it work!  She studies that thing, giggles at it and moves her body a lot.  I actually call it “exercise time” when I lay her down to look at it.  Georgie highly recommends it.  Just see the video below!

Aren’t babies so cute in pants!

GEORGIE LUVS her stuffed TY Classic Shadow Cat.  I went to a bookstore to find a good book for a 2 year old’s birthday party and ran across these stuffed cats.  Georgie was being such a good girl and i asked her if I should get the orange one or the black and white one.  When I showed her Shadow, now renamed “Mr. Meowgi”, she cooed and started moving.  So the 2 year old got the orange one and G got the black and white one. I’m hoping it will become her “lovey”toy.  We play with it every day and she just adores how soft it feels on her face.  Here we are playing with it just this morning.

Both of these would be great for any 2 month old if you’re looking for things to entertain your baby or a baby shower gift that’s not on the registry.

So Happy Together

I’ve thought about starting a blog about our baby, Georgiana, since the day she was born.  I couldn’t figure out what angle I should use and that made me shy away from it.  A few weeks ago we decided i was going to leave my job and stay home with G and to start school in the Radiography program.  Now that i have time to write, I’m making myself do it.  My Momma urges me to write often and i always seem to put it off, so now I’m listening to her.

Matt and I were friends long before we were together.  There was one point in our friendship where we actually thought about being roommates.  I was dating another guy, but I had such a big crush on him, i was afraid to actually go through with it for fear of cheating.  I once had a dream that we were indeed roommates and i was picking up after him.  About 5 years later when we had actually moved in together i was picking up his pants and that dream came rushing back to me.  That’s when i knew what we had was going to last.

We got married in 2003 at the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel in… Las Vegas.  We were wed by a middle aged Elvis with a VERY waxed body.  It was so much fun and the least stressful wedding one could have.  We spent a whole week in the desert sightseeing, gambling and enjoying being married.

That same year we bought our first home, which we still live in.  Our search was pretty short.  We viewed several homes that just didn’t seem right for us and when our Realtor brought us to the house on Kennedy Street, we stepped foot on the porch and knew it was our house.    We’ve done a lot of  renovations to the house in the past years and really made it our home.

Which brings us to the next step in our lives Georgiana Rose.  A few years ago we changed our “NO KIDS” poilicy to… enh, well maybe.  we talked about it every once in awhile but we couldn’t make a decision.  We must have subconsciously decided yes because we stopped using caution.  Then September of last year i found myself crying and staring at a positive pregnancy test.

My pregnancy was difficult.  The last trimester, I was sick to my stomach often.  I found out later that i was having gall bladder issues.  In retrospect I know that it was truly worth it to have this beautiful little girl that this blog is now dedicated to.  We love her so much.