Sleep Deprivation

Ok so I haven’t been sleep deprived in a while. But I have several friends with newborns that are feeling the exhaustion. I am a big believer that sleep, or lack of sleep rather, affects us so much more than we realize! Casper (they have a really unique mattress design and you can read more about their approach to sleep here) has been sharing their tips for getting a better sleep with everyone. When I read this, not only did it resonate with me, but with how our children sleep too! So here are some tips:

  1. Establish a nighttime routine: I started this around 5 weeks with our kids. It’s kinda hard to start too early because they’re still mixed up with their timing and they eat so often! We would do a bath to signal that it was time to relax, swaddle them, and give them a bottle in their room with lights out. We’d put them in their crib, sleepy but awake, so they would learn to self-sooth. More on our sleep training process here)

2. Satisfy hunger: a lot of times babies are simply hungry! But it’s a bit harder to tell how much a baby eats if you’re a nursing mom. I would start pumping as early as possible so I could always give our kids a bottle before bed. In the beginning, before I knew better, Turner would fall asleep while nursing and I assumed he was full. WRONG. He would wake up shortly after, screaming for food! Concentrate on giving Baby a full feeding before bed. And if you can’t pump, keep baby awake long enough to ensure a full feeding.

3. Temperature must be right: If Baby is too hot or too cold, obviously she won’t sleep! In the winter I use this fleece sleep sack, and in the warmer months I use this cotton sleep sack. Now that Gracie’s a little older, we just do her Aden & Anais sleep sack.

4. Sound Machine: This is a lifesaver! We’ve used this sound machine for both kids. Turner still uses his! The great thing about it is, not only does it help them sleep more soundly, but it helps to cover up any noise we might make after they’re in bed. Stew and I actually sleep with a fan and bring one everywhere we go because I can’t sleep without background noise. It would make sense that it’s the same for our little ones!

These were super helpful to me. I hope they are for you too! It made me re-think my own nighttime routine. I’ve always been so focused on my kids’ sleep that I often overlook my own “wind down time”. Let me know which of these you use for yourselves or your kids!

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3 Month Milestones and Baby Wise Schedule

I can’t believe Gracie is 3 months old!!! We were just reminiscing about the day she was born. Such sweet memories! I loved looking back on Turner’s milestones, so I wanted to do the same for Gracie. It’s so easy to forget what they do in the beginning! So here we go!

At 3 months she is…

    • Batting at toys
    • Cooing
    • Smiling
    • Drooling a ton
    • Almost rolling over
    • Sleeping until 6:30am
    • Doing major ab workouts (see video)

Work it out from Emily on Vimeo.

As far as our schedule goes, we follow the Baby Wise syle. HERE is my “sleep training” post from when Turner was a baby 3 years ago. And HERE is my most recent “sleep training” post from when Gracie was born. I don’t even think of it as sleep training, because it sounds so harsh. I really just got in the habit of putting Gracie down when I knew she was sleepy right from the beginning. It evolved into a 3 hour “wake, feed, change” cycle as you’ll read in my post linked above. Now our days are pretty predictable, give or take 30 minutes! So this is what our schedule looks like:

      • 6:30am Feed, Change, Play (read, play gym, tummy time, snuggle). I always pump after this feeding because it’s the most convenient time of the day and I have the most milk.
      • 8am nap
      • 10am Feed, Change, Play
      • 11am nap
      • 1pm Feed, Change, Play
      • 2pm nap
      • 4pm Feed, Change, Play
      • 7 bath time with Gracie and Turner
      • 7:30 Feed and down for the night
      • 10pm Dream Feed (I don’t wake her. Stew gives her a 3 oz pumped bottle. If I nursed her, she would sleep and not get a good feeding).

Sometimes our morning wake up time varies. For instance, if she wakes up before 6, I’ll feed her again around 7:30 and then get back on schedule for the 10:00 feeding. Lately she’s been sleeping until 6:30, so that morning chunk of time is a bit longer than the rest of the day. We just take each day as it comes!

A lot of questions that have come up are answered HERE. One that especially comes to mind is “Does she actually sleep for two hours?” And the answer is NO. She takes a few minutes to fall asleep. And if she wakes up early, we just play until it’s time for her next feeding. She’s usually quite happy when I get her from a nap, so she doesn’t mind doing a little squeaky talk with Momma!

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Sleep Training Round 2

I have had so many questions and comments about sleep training! Probably because the worst feeling on this planet is walking around sleep deprived. I’ll preface this by saying I’m NOT an expert. I just do what works for me! If you’re against sleep training, don’t do it!

HERE is my original sleep training post from when Turner was a baby. He was pretty hard in the beginning. He nursed every 45 minutes to an hour ’round the clock! I would sleep for 20 minute increments at night and seriously wanted to die. By 4pm I would get major anxiety, dreading the night ahead. That’s when my friend let me borrow Preparation for Parenting, by Gary Ezzo when Turner was 2 weeks old. My world changed!

Sleep training sounds so harsh. I prefer to think of it as “putting my baby down for a nap” because 1. she’s tired 2. since she’s tired, she’s gonna cry whether she’s with me, upstairs or downstairs, so I might as well put her in her room where it’s calm 3. I have a toddler who’s quite boisterous and 4. I can’t possibly hold her and get anything done. That doesn’t mean I love her any less or spend less time kissing and hugging her!

Now that I got that off my chest, this post is more in depth as far as my process of “sleep training”. I started from the beginning with Gracie, who is now 6 weeks old. Let me explain. The first week of her life, I focused on giving her a FULL feeding. Something I didn’t know to do with Turner. I assumed when he fell asleep that he was done. Hence the constant feeding! A hungry baby is not going to take a nap! This time, I make sure Gracie’s good and awake and keep her awake throughout the feeding. She nurses for about 20 to 30 minutes (every baby is different).

Once she’s finished eating, I change her diaper (she usually goes while eating) and have our “wake time”. We do things like snuggle, sing, tummy time, and hang out in her play gym. The total time from the start of her feeding until her nap is only about 1 hour.

At that point, I swaddle her and put her in her Rock N Play (in her nursery), awake, but sleepy. I turn her sound machine on and walk out. Now, each baby has a different crying pattern too. I’ve learned Gracie’s. She doesn’t cry right away (and sometimes not at all). If/when she starts crying, she’ll cry for a few minutes and then stop. Then she starts again. If 15 minutes goes by and she’s whaling, I look at her in the monitor. If I see that her eyes are closed, I ask myself if I’m going to wake her more if I go in and disturb her process. If it’s to the point where she needs soothing, I’ll go in and rock her Rock N Play and put a hand on her until she calms down. I usually only have to do that once, if at all! You be the judge of that with your own baby!

Now, afternoons/nights are a bit different. Gracie is on a 3 hour wake/feed/change cycle through the day, but she has that afternoon cranky time like most babies. Our nights are exactly the opposite of what the Baby Wise style of training says to do. But, with Turner, it worked itself out by 2 to 3 months.

We give her and Turner a bath together at 7. We soothe her until she falls asleep (usually by rocking or with a paci), but that nap only lasts for a short time and she’s awake again by about 8 or 8:30. At that point, we bring her downstairs with us while we watch TV. I nurse her and she falls asleep on me. She stays with us until we go to bed around 10. We don’t wake her up. Stew gives her a bottle for her “dream feed” at 10 and puts her down in her Rock N Play in her room and turns on the sound machine. At that point she’s out for the night until I feed her at 5am.

Since she was born, she was sleeping 4-5 hour stretches at night. The past 2 weeks, she’s been giving us 6 to 7 hours at night. So, after that in depth explanation, here is what our schedule looks like at 6 weeks! Keep in mind, these times are more of a guide. Sometimes it’s 2 1/2 hours, sometimes 3 1/2. But it’s pretty accurate for our day-to-day.

Schedule at 6 weeks:

  • 7:00am Wake/Feed/Change
  • 7:30am Wake Time
  • 8:00am Nap
  • 10:00am Wake/Feed/Change
  • 10:30am Wake Time
  • 11:00am Nap
  • 1:00pm Wake/Feed/Change
  • 1:30pm Wake Time
  • 2:00pm Nap
  • 4:00pm Wake/Feed/Change
  • 5:00pm catnap (this doesn’t last as long as the others)
  • 6:00pm Feed
  • 7:00pm Bath
  • 8:00pm catnap (this doesn’t last as long as the others)
  • 8:30pm Feed/Change (this is when she falls asleep on us downstairs)
  • 10:00pm “Dream Feed” Bottle (don’t wake her up for this feeding)
  • 4:30/5am Feed/Back to bed

Some Questions/Comments Answered:

  1. What to do if Baby wakes up before the next cycle?
    1. If she’s content, let her hang out until it’s time to feed. Put her in her play gym, swing, or snuggle.
    2. If you can’t soothe her, feed her and start over with the next cycle. Eventually it evens out.
  2. What if my baby doesn’t stop crying?
    1. This is when I go in and put a hand on her and rock her Rock N Play (definitely worth the investment). That way I don’t have to pick her up and disrupt her. She stops crying and usually her eyes start slowly blinking. This tells me she’s tired. I walk out. If your baby doesn’t stop, just repeat that process every few minutes until you feel comfortable stretching the time out between “rocks”. She will eventually self-soothe.
  3. What about changing diapers in the middle of the night?
    1. This is the only time I change her first (if she smells like Number Two). I don’t want to change her after I feed her, because I want her sleepy in the middle of the night.
  4. What if Baby wakes up after 45 minutes during nap time?
    1. When Gracie does this, I go in and rock her Rock N Play and she usually falls back to sleep. I don’t let her wake up too much and cry it out because I don’t want her to get all worked up.
    2. Also, ask yourself:
      1. Is she hot, cold, or did she poop?
      2. Maybe Baby is actually hungry. How was her feeding before the nap?
  5. When do we go out?
    1. I usually plan our outings during “nap time”. So I’ll feed her, change her and hit the road. She sleeps in her car seat or the Boba Wrap.
  6.  Don’t talk to Baby or turn the lights on in the middle of the night. Nights are business ONLY!
  7. Let your spouse/family/friends help! When Mom does it, baby automatically wants to eat. If someone else does it, eating isn’t always the first option!
  8. Don’t be scared of your baby crying. Babies cry! Make sure she’s fed, warm enough, and dry.
  9. Finally, this is temporary! There’s no set list of steps. This is what worked for me this time! Every baby is different. Enjoy the cries, snuggles, and insanity, because it goes so fast!

 

 

 

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Sleep Training/Schedule

Definitely read the post below. But HERE is my most recent sleep training post since I’ve had my daughter. It’s much more detailed!

I just talked to a friend of mine about sleep training. Our conversation prompted this post. It’s definitely NOT easy! In fact, it’s probably used as a form of torture in some countries! I started sleep training around 5 weeks. Some would argue that it’s too soon, but I say it’s never to soon to get on a schedule! Honestly, when you’re in that phase of parenting, I feel like anything that can comfort you and give you hope is worth a shot!

I started reading Preparation for Parenting by Gary Ezzo (author of On Becoming Baby Wise) when Turner was about 2 weeks old. It gave me comfort that SOME DAY my baby would sleep! I talked to two women who read this book and implemented the sleep routine at an early age too. Their advice was, “babies cry! It’s their way of expressing themselves” and my nurse’s advice was “If you’ve fed him, changed him, he’s not cold or hot, them put him down and let him cry for 15 minutes. He won’t hurt himself. You’ll go crazy if you don’t!”

Needless to say, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do! I would let him cry for MAYBE 5 minutes at first. I’d pick him up, he’d stop crying, I’d put him down and he’d start again. I basically did this during his whole “nap time” for a few weeks. I would let him go a few more minutes each week. Eventually, his crying went from lasting the whole nap (with me picking up and putting down) to lasting 15 minutes and then passing out, to lasting 5 minutes and passing out. He got to the point where I would put him down and he would just fall asleep without making a sound!

People can’t believe how “content” Turner is! The girls that watch him at my gym say how he’s content when he’s by himself and plays on his own. My in laws can’t believe it either! They are amazed at how calm he is. Now, he was not always that way! When he was first born, he was eating every hour to hour and a half. Stew and I were sleeping in 30 minute increments. I really didn’t think I’d survive. I had to use a pacifier to stretch out his feedings (also my nurse’s advice). It took a few weeks for the pacifier/sleep training to set in. But it is the BEST thing I’ve ever done. Turner started sleeping through the night (8:00pm to 7:00 am) around 10 weeks. I attribute it to the sleep training. He will wake up and fall right back to sleep on his own and he is such a happy baby!IMG_0070

Here is a sample of our daily schedule now at 5 months as a work at home/breastfeeding mom…

7:00 am Turner wakes up (in his own room and crib) talking to himself. I change him and then feed him in my bed.IMG_0913
7:30 He sits in his Boppy next to me in bed while I pump and drink coffee :o)
8:30-10:30 He naps while Mommy gets some work done. If he wakes up early, he likes to do tummy time and roll around in his play gymIMG_0587IMG_1103
10:30 Change Turner, breastfeed, give Turner his veggies (which I make with the Baby Bullet and completely recommend–this week is zucchini)!photo
11:00-12:00 Turner hangs out in the office with Mommy working and listening to music.
12:00-2:00 Turner naps while Mommy works
2:00-3:30 Change Turner, breastfeed, take a walk/play, get some work done.
3:30-5:00 Turner plays in his bouncy seat while Mommy works.
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5:00-6:00 Change Turner, breastfeed, second helping of veggies. Turner sits in his high-chair while Mommy makes dinner.
6:00-7:00 Daddy comes home and plays with Turner. Mommy and Daddy eat while Turner sits at the table in his high-chair.
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7:00-7:30 Bath time
IMG_0101
7:30-Mommy and Daddy read Turner a book, sing him some songs and give him his night time bottle (5 oz. pumped)
8:00 Mommy and Daddy watch TV and eat ice cream. Currently our favorite shows are Flashpoint and The Voice (even though there are new coaches). Mommy pumps before bed. IMG_1100

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