Friday, December 28, 2012

The Night Time Nurser

From discussing baby nap sleeping to baby night sleeping.

The naps are getting better guys, SO much better.

MOST days he manages a 1-2 hour nap followed by half hour naps for the rest of the day.

But I'll take it because I believe he'll gradually continue to take longer naps and squeeze a few short ones out of the need to rush, as long as I see it improving I'm fine to let it happen on it's own.

Now...on to nighttime sleeping.

Here's my situation:

We co-sleep.  I loved co-sleeping when it helped us get more sleep and we both stayed in bed all night without getting up.  Even if he fed often it wasn't that disruptive.  BUT something has changed recently and more often than not nighttime feedings are followed by a screaming baby who requires a burping, which means...I have to get up out of bed.

If I have to get up out of bed for nighttime nursing then the baby might as well be in his own bed.  The ONLY benefit to baby sharing the bed is never getting up in the middle of the night.

Ok, there's the suppressed fertility as well, but I'm not looking for (or holding out hope for) baby to sleep over 5 hours...if I can get a night with more than one 3-hour stretch I would call it a success.

So not only are night nursing sessions not working anymore but Baby Jett also likes to feed EVERY HOUR from about 4-5am onward until he either spits up because he's been eating so much or it's time to get up for the day sometime between 8-9am.  No amount of shushing and patting from me will convince him that he wants anything other than MORE MILK MOM!  If he doesn't get it we get more crying!

We used to survive the night with NO CRYING whatsoever which was part of why I loved co-sleeping so much.  But NOW THERE'S LOTS OF CRYING.

Something isn't working anymore.

One thing I've learned as a mom, if something isn't working and you are resenting it...CHANGE IT!

So something has to change.

While here in Oregon where we have no crib Dom has started taking baby downstairs to sleep with him on the couch from about 6-7am onward because BABY DOESN'T NEED TO EAT EVERY HOUR and what do you know, when baby isn't next to me he sleeps just fine and doesn't wake up to eat.

So, NEW GOAL for 2013 is get baby to sleep in his crib for at least part of the night.

Here's where I need some help...

I've tried to start this several times.  I want to put the baby down in his own bed to start the night and then bring him into bed with me after his first nighttime feeding, keep him there through the 2nd feeding and then stick him back in his own bed again after the 2nd feeding with the hope that if he's not next to mama he won't keep waking up thinking he's hungry because 2 feedings at night should be plenty.  And OMG what if we had 3 hours between each feeding?!  Or dare I dream for more?!

But BABY WILL NOT STAY DOWN at the beginning of the night until mama is in bed with him.  I've tried moving his bedtime earlier and I've tried moving his bedtime later trying to figure out if he just wasn't ready for bed yet or if he was overtired etc etc.  But no matter when I try to put him down he will continue to wake up every 15-30 minutes until I finally give up and take him to bed with me and lay down next to him.  Often it doesn't even require anything more than that, no extra nursing or cuddling there's just something about mama being in the bed with him that finally settles him.

I both love and hate this at the same time.

I love the silent still sleeping baby next to me when I go to sleep.  

I hate that I don't have any evening time to myself, or with my husband, because he needs constant attention until I go to bed.  I am starting to resent this part thus...time to change it.

To add insult to injury he's also not improving the night time feeds.

Last night I don't think I even had a 2 hour stretch.


So, somebody help me!

How do I get my baby to fall asleep and stay asleep NOT in bed with me?!?!?!

We have a bedtime routine that starts after his last cat nap of the day.  We take a bath, we put jammies on, we have a little play time to get any extra energy out, we read a book or two, we nurse and then we wait for signs of tiredness, yawns, rubbing eyes or fussiness and then we put him down.

What we get is a baby who thinks this is just another nap and we're back in the bedroom trying to get him back to sleep after half an hour.

Things we've tried to get him to stay asleep:

Daddy putting baby to bed.
Mama nursing him to sleep in the big bed and then sneaking away.
No swaddling.
Belly sleeping both in crib and in the big bed.
Bedtime anywhere between 7 and 10pm.

I need help.  What do you guys do to get your baby to fall asleep at night?  And how do you get them to STAY ASLEEP???

I should add, Baby Jett is right around the 4 month sleep regression age if you adjust his age from his early arrival.  He also has just learned how to roll from his back to his belly.  I know that 4 months sucks for baby sleeping and I know that new skills can disrupt sleep, PERHAPS that is all this is and next week he will go back to normal nighttime sleeping or maybe next week he will go down in his crib.  Either way I'd love baby sleep solutions anyway!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Very Very Late 4 Month Update

I didn't do these monthly Baby Jett things...and now I regret it.

I'm not gonna call it postpartum depression because as far as I understand it that comes from the hormones right after you give birth right?  But that whole dairy/colic fiasco really fucked with me and I had absolutely no desire to document and remember things about my baby for a 6 week span I didn't write any of it down...which now makes me sad.  

But I'll try to make up for it now.

And I did take the piccies!

I'm retarded and forgot to take the 4 month photo at home (we're in Oregon for the month of December) on the pretty on me.

So, here we are at 4 months Baby Jett:
  • Is somewhere in the 15-16 lb range (Dr. apppt Jan. 4 for his real weight) but we bumped up his BumGenius diapers to the medium size which is supposed to happen at 16 lbs, so he must be close to that.  He's still pretty tall and skinny though, so most of his clothes are now 6 month because of the length and are generally a bit baggy around the middle!
  • Rolls from belly to back, though most of the time he blatantly refuses, but he CAN do it when he chooses.
  • Love mirrors, if you stick him in front of a mirror he just smiles and smiles and smiles at himself.
  • Does amazing on playmats for good chunks of time.  He spends his hour of awake time in the morning happily amusing himself on his playmat.
  • Still nurses around the clock, rarely going for longer than 2-3 hours but some days is so distracted  WITH LIFE that he goes 4 hours or so without nursing...on those days he feeds ALL NIGHT LONG.
  • Can grab with both hands and will stick anything he can get his hands on into his mouth.
  • Loves looking at food!  He doesn't actually watch us eat, but loves looking at the food on the plate.
  • Is a smiley happy baby most of the time and has THE BEST LAUGH I've ever heard come out of a baby.  No bias at all.
  • Only cries when he needs something.  Food, diaper change, different position, burp, nap etc.
  • Is generally a craptastic sleeper.  Naps are slowly improving but nighttime is a crap shoot.  Sometimes we get longer stretches but some nights LIKE LAST NIGHT baby is feeding every hour or much for unlocking baby sleep secrets!  He will sleep on his own for naps but at nighttime he just wants to cuddle up to mommy and wakes up the second I try to sneak away from him!
  • Loves the TV.  I don't sit him down in front of it and let the TV babysit him, but if it's on and I'm sitting on the couch and he's smiling away at the TV in my arms I don't force him away from it...he especially likes Sofia Vergara.
  • Will go to anybody, no stranger danger yet, but wants mommy when he's super tired and cranky.
  • After a bit of a rocky stretch, he is turning into an awesome baby =)
First snow!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Because All I Can Talk About is Baby Sleep

Well kids...It finally happened.

My baby slept through the night.

Don't get too excited...sadly I'm talking the "technical" sleeping through the night, not what most of us consider through the night.

That's right folks...he slept for 5 WHOLE a row.

I woke up at 2am and thought my boob was going to explode.

It was amazing.

I lay there torn between desperately wanting some relief for my boob and wanting to wait and see how long the kid would sleep if I left him alone.

Luckily it was obviously my mommy radar that woke me up because about 2 minutes after I awoke the kid started squirming for some food!

As exciting as this all is, it's unfortunate that I did not get the same 5 hours of sleep as he went to bed at 9pm and I went to bed at 10pm, but I'll take the 4 hours!  

Can you believe I haven't slept longer than 4 hours in a row in the 4.5 months that Baby Jett has been alive?

And can you believe that was the first time that my boobs have EVER gone 5 hours without feeding the baby?

This 5 hours thing was awesome for more than the fact that it's a milestone of "sleeping through the night", I also seem to have unlocked some baby sleep secrets that actually worked!

I've discussed Baby Jett's odd half hour napping and how he takes like 7 million naps a day because he only naps for a half hour and he wants to nap an hour and a half after he awoke from his last half hour nap.  I've also discussed my frustration with trying to get him down for the night, in that he seems to think 7:30 is just time for another nap and he won't REALLY go down for the night until 9-10pm.

Well, yesterday I did a little experiment.  

I kept him up after he woke up for the day for a full hour and a half, whereas usually he's down an hour after he gets up.  Then I kept him up for 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours between each nap, which drastically reduced our naps from 6 down to only 4.  And finally I didn't put him down for bed until 9:00 which was 2 hours after his last nap ended at 7:00pm.


Not only did he take an hour and a half nap for his first nap of the day (followed by some 30-40 minutes naps) but he also SLEPT FOR 5 HOURS immediately after I put him down for the night.  Had it not been so cold I COULD HAVE PUT HIM TO SLEEP IN HIS CRIB and he would have slept for the 5 hours...I know this because my husband is gone and there's lots of room in the bed and I wasn't touching the baby for that 5 hours!!!

Please...everyone hold the applause for Jesica finally getting her baby to sleep without snuggling into her boob...I know the rest of you figured this out when your babies were like 6 weeks old and I feel like I'm late to the baby sleeping party but I have to repeat it again tonight before it's real!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Boobs Revisited

I'd like to revisit the status of my boobs.

When last I left you here these babies were producing...and spraying....milk like there was no tomorrow.

And they were big.  Full D's.  That was big for me folks, I know some of you have like HH's or some other crazy letter with your new mama boobs, but D's were big for me!

Everyone told me that things would calm down and settle somewhere around the 12 week mark.

Well 12 weeks came and went and we were STILL making enough milk for me to provide for my own baby, pump 5 oz bottles even after a feeding and also donate to several women in my midwife group who didn't produce enough milk.  

I was convinced it was all a bunch of crap and that I was just going to make tons of milk forever.  I was going to be like the Mother Teresa of Nursing and just continue to donate milk to women with low supply everywhere.

And then FINALLY somewhere around Week 16, 4 months in to this whole breastfeeding thing, the boobs got the message that I didn't give birth to triplets and relaxed.

It was such a subtle change that I wouldn't have noticed it except for the fact that my brand new bras suddenly didn't fit.

I found these really pretty nursing bras whist in London and bought them in D's.  I tried them on, amusingly spraying everywhere all over the dressing room while trying them on and they fit beautifully.

Two weeks later after we'd returned home my beautiful new bras suddenly didn't fit anymore.

Sad face.

So, here we are 4 months of nursing and my boobs have shrunk back to their pre-pregnancy size of 34C and they are now just kind of always full of a certain amount of milk.  Engorgement is rare and deflation is rare, they are just sort of always semi-full , so much so that I have a lot of trouble remembering which boob baby last fed on.  Before it was easy because one boob was huge and the other was not, now they always feel the same!

Annoyingly, pumping now only gets me 3-4 oz. and that's every drop and takes half an hour.  I used to be able to pump 5 oz. in 20 minutes and that was with me choosing to stop the pump because pumping is tedious and boring, not because my boob was done giving milk.  

In hindsight I should have built up more of a freezer stock in those first 4 months...but they would of been tainted with nevermind!  Advice to new mamas though, build up your freezer stock before your milk regulates!

I already miss my D cups.

So there you have it, oversupply or not, things DO eventually regulate in the milk department!!!  How long did it take some of you other new mamas???  Longer than the 3 months they promised?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Baby Continues to Change it Up

The baby is always one step ahead of me.


Just when I think I have everything figured out, he changes it up.

As we discussed here, he was only napping for half hour at a time, after trying everything and I mean EVERYTHING including letting him sleep on me again...he still woke up after half hour...I decided he was just going to be a half hour napper and that I would have to accept that and work around it.  I wasn't going to continue to stress about how much he was sleeping, all it was doing was making me crazy and definitely NOT making him sleep more.

Our "schedule" went something like this:

7-8am - Baby up so everybody gets up

8am-9am - Almost exactly one hour later - Baby down for a half hour nap

Then the day proceeded from there with baby needing a nap no more than 2 hours after the last time he got up.

This resulted in 5 half hour naps in the day (sometimes 6 if bedtime at 7-7:30 resulted in a half hour nap on the boob and baby not really going down for the night until 9pm) and me feeling like all I did everyday was put the baby down for a nap over and over and over again.

But whatever, if that's what he wanted to do then FINE I was adjusting and working with his schedule he made up, tedious though it may be.

And then out of nowhere...he started to take one 1-hour nap a day.  Which still meant he had about 5 naps everyday and that he was a cranky beast by the time 7pm, his "bedtime", rolled around because lots of half hour naps does not a happy baby make. 

And then, AND THEN, this morning he took a glorious long nap, we're at 1 hour and 45 minutes...and he's still asleep.

WTF Baby?

I mean, I'm thankful for the extra time to myself, but guess what I've done?  

Absolutely nothing.  Because I kept thinking he's going to wake up?!  

For the first half hour I just sat in front of the computer with my coffee, enjoying my half hour to myself.  After we hit half hour I sat anxiously by the baby monitor waiting for him to wake up.  Because normally that's all I have!

When he made it to 45 minutes I went and did the dishes and then went back to watch the baby monitor some more, CERTAIN that he would wake up at the one hour mark.

When he made it to an hour and 15 minutes I thought for sure I didn't have enough time for a shower now as he'd already been asleep so long but thought I'd just skip the shower and get dressed and put makeup on and get ready for the day.

When he made it to an hour and a half I kicked myself for not taking the damn shower.

And now, now we're at just over one hour and 45 minutes and here's what I'm doing...I'm writing this damn post...and baby is still asleep.

This makes me super anxious as I'm like "what's wrong with the baby?!"  But normal babies sleep for 2 hour naps don't they?

I can only hope that this is the new normal and not just a crazy growth spurt or some other out of the ordinary reason for baby to be napping so well.

Everyone cross their fingers for me!!!