Be Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I’m thankful for so many things, but the top three that come to mind are family, friends and food!!

I hope you’re spending Thanksgiving with people you love and sharing some delicious food.  It’s just the three of us for Thanksgiving this year, but that doesn’t stop me from making enough food to feed an army…

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a 15lb turkey to cook!

 

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Tuesday tips: sleep and babies, part 2

Let me just start off by saying, remember folks- you’re raising a little human, not a robot.  Every person is different, and your little person is not going to sleep the same every. single. night.  no matter what you do.  Just like adults don’t sleep the same every night.  It helps to remember this, when you’re trying to figure out why baby is crying in the middle of the night, or waking up an hour earlier one morning, or having a hard time going to sleep.

Now, with that being said, I’m picking up where I left off last week

1.  Be consistent– this is probably the most important thing you can do as a parent in general.  Don’t send mixed messages!!  Here’s a good example for you, and I’m going to try to keep in real here (B is a decent sleeper but he still has his moments)

I made a rule very early on that if B were to wake before 6am, I would help him get back to sleep.  I did this because he goes to daycare during the day, and if he wakes before 6am and then has to go to school, he’s a mess.  He doesn’t nap well there (play play play all the time!  sleep is for babies!) so I wanted to make sure I maximized his sleep at night to help pad him for the day.  Obviously, if he were to wake at 5:55am then I would call it close enough- but mornings when he’s waking at 5:30am or earlier, I try to get him back down for awhile.  So I made up a routine:

  • Go in, keep the lights off (it helps the our baby monitor has a night light on it that I can turn on so I can see) and don’t say anything to him
  • Take him out of his crib – check for wet sheets
  • Change his diaper and clothes if necessary (he occasionally wakes up due to wetness)
  • Offer a bottle
  • Song- same as bedtime song
  • Into the crib

I make sure I’m very consistent when it comes to this- I don’t want to send mixed messages by going in and saying “good morning” but then trying to get him back to sleep.  Or doing the routine and then thinking “oh you’re not tired- ok time to get up!”  Once I make the decision to put him back in the crib for more sleep, I have to commit to that.

Not too long ago, I was not consistent and we had a meltdown.  I did not stick to the routine- I forgot to check the crib for wet sheets and they were WET.  I don’t know what happened, but he totally soaked through his diaper for some reason.  So I go to put him in the crib at the end of the routine, and realize that his sheets are soaked.  I obviously cannot put him in the crib- and he’s already half asleep- but I also cannot change the sheets one handed (this is when I wish I had 3 hands).  I had to set him on the floor to change his sheets- let me tell you, he was NOT ok with that.  I stripped those sheets as fast as I could!!  I repeated the end of our routine and then set him in the crib- and even he was tired, he let me know he was NOT pleased with this.  However, I needed to be consistent, so I left the room and gave him 10 minutes.  He was asleep by the end of 10 minutes- and slept over an hour and a half more.  (If he had still be fussing after 10 minutes I would have gone in and turned on the lights and said “good morning”)

Which brings me to my 2nd point:

2.  Wait 10-15 minutes before responding to baby. Back when B was brand new, I used to wake up at a mere change in his breathing- and try to attend to his needs prior to him waking up fully.  Which was great- except I was exhausted.

Then I tried giving him 10 minutes, just to see if he really needed me.  9 times out of 10?  He was back asleep in less than that.  We went from waking up 3-4 times a night to 1-2 times within a week.

The only times I break this rule is if he’s frantically crying OR sick.  Like the one time he managed to get his leg stuck in the crib slats- even though he had breathable bumpers on- I ran in there as fast as I could.

3.  Age appropriate wake times

When we had B, I had no idea how often he was supposed to sleep, or how many naps he should be taking in a day.  Looking back now, that poor kid must have been exhausted all. the. time.  You’d think I could have read a sleep book or two prior to having him, but apparently I was too much of a scatterbrained preggo lady to think of that.

After awhile, we got our routine down, and I was able to figure out how long he could be awake before needing a nap.  This changes as they grow older- in the beginning he needed 4 naps a day (especially since he went through a 30-45min nap phase) and now he’s down to 1 nap a day.

Watch your wake times (time between naps) and make sure they are age appropriate.  Also watch baby for clues that they are sleepy (B’s “tell” was rubbing his eyes, then it was tugging his left ear, and now we’re back to eye rubbing) and get them in bed prior to complete exhaustion (otherwise you risk an overtired baby who physically can’t nap).

4.  12 hour days, 12 hour nights

This is another big one-I go by the rule that B’s bed time is 12 hours from when he wakes for the day.  Say he woke up at 6:30am- that means bedtime is 6:30pm.  Now, not all little ones are going to need a full 12 hours of sleep at night- but they usually need at least 10, so aim for a 10-12 range.  And baby bed times are always earlier than adult bed times!

 

Like I said before- babies are not little robots.  And all babies sleep differently.  The best thing you can do is to not have crazy expectations, be consistent and start a routine.  Any changes you make are going to take a few days to become the new routine.  And there will be bumps in the road!

Sweet dreams!

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Goldieblox…and why I won’t be buying it (yet)

…aside from the fact that I have an almost one year old boy, who this toy isn’t marketed for. 

I’m assuming everyone reading that has heard of Goldieblox and/or seen the commercial (which totally rocks my socks, by the way)…if not, go watch it first!

I’ve known about this toy for quite awhile now- back before it was even an actual toy, when they were applying for funding on kickstarter.  When I first heard about it and read the premise behind it, I thought it sounded pretty cool!  I’m a scientist and I’m all about getting all kids interested in science-y things.

So when I saw the commercial and realized the toy actually existed for purchase, I headed over to my favorite online retailer to see about purchasing it for my niece, who is within their target age range.

Then I read the reviews (as well as some comments from friends on the commercial who had the toy), and a little more about the toy.  And looked at the price.  And decided against it.

I’m OK with the fact that it’s pink (although I was annoyed at first, especially since the video even says “pink is for girls, everything else is for boys”)  All this is their marketing strategy to catch the attention of girls who ARE into pink and princesses- and help them to realize that science and engineering can come in any form, even pink with ribbons.  Some people are questioning this tactic, but I don’t have a problem with it.

My sticking point is the fact that a lot of reviews say it’s not as well made as it could be and hard to put together.

My understanding is that there are more toys in the works- and one add on already exists.  I hope that the company will listen to the reviews and improve upon their product, but in the meantime, this isn’t an item that I’ll be purchasing as a gift this year.

 

 

I love…

These two goofy dogs, even when they beg…for Cheerios

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And a bonus- Ellie, in a puffer vest. She’s such a goof- she pretty much quit moving when I put it on her because it was weird. Although I might be equally as weird for dressing my dog in a puffer vest.

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Sneak peek

Knitting is an anti-climactic DIY project- it really doesn’t look like much until it’s finished, unfortunately.

However, I’m still going to give you a sneak peek at what I’m working on- I’m excited because, if this turns out the way I hope it will, it will be pretty cool, on many levels! I don’t want to say too much more for fear of jinxing myself, but maybe this sneak peek will give you a clue…

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Tuesday tips: Sleep and babies, part 1

I’m guessing it’s probably one of the most Googled phrases out there- “how do I get my baby to sleep?”

 

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You would think that they are born knowing how to sleep- wrong!!

All you parents out there know what I’m talking about.  And all you soon to be parents- you *think* you’ll be able to survive those sleepless nights, but just you wait.  Until they occur every night for weeks.  And suddenly you’ll do ANYTHING for a full nights sleep.

Baby sleep is tough- lots of things interfere with it.  When they are new, they wake up every 2-3 hours to eat, and often have night/day confusion.    After you get that sorted out, something reflux/gas can interfere with sleep.  Then comes teething, baby’s first sickness, the four month sleep regression, wonder weeks, growth spurts, learning new skills like crawling and walking- honestly, it’s amazing they sleep at all sometimes!!

There are many schools of thought on how to help your baby learn to sleep- and some people make their living teaching others how to get their baby to sleep.  Unfortunately, I have not cracked the “how to get every baby to sleep” code, but I would like to share some tips and tricks that I think are useful for EVERY baby and parent (and this is going to be a 2 part adventure because I am wordy).

1.  As soon as you can, establish a sleep routine- and make it brief.  Don’t turn it into an hour long ordeal.

  • Ours is: bottle, bath time, brush teeth, pj’s, short song and into the crib awake.
  • It is 30min tops (10-15min is bath time) and it’s the same thing EVERY day.  Sometimes I swear our house is like the movie Groundhog Day- even our animals follow a routine.  But it works- and everyone knows what to expect!

2. Get rid of any sleep props as soon as you can and put baby down AWAKE!

  • This is a sticky one, but it’s a big one, and something that REALLY helped us with night time wake ups.
  • This means stop nursing to sleep, a bottle to sleep, a pacifier to sleep, rocking to sleep, etc.
  • Don’t get me wrong- I am NOT saying don’t do these things at bed time (and by all means, do them when baby is new- anything to get them to sleep in the beginning).  If they work to get baby relaxed- do it!  Just don’t use them to put baby fully to sleep.
  • What happens is, they become dependent on these items for sleep.  Baby sleep is weird- they cycle in and out of a deep sleep every 30min.  When they go into their lighter sleep cycle, they can wake up (adults do this too, but it’s on a longer time frame) and if things aren’t the same as when they fell asleep (crib instead of mom/dad’s arms, not nursing, no pacifier, etc) they wake up, and cry.  And then you get the vicious cycle of mom/dad running in to replace the pacifier, or nurse, or rock until they fall asleep, etc.  This causes them to become dependent on this sleep prop every time they wake up (which can become every 1-2hrs at an extreme).
  • And sometimes, they just stop sleeping all together, because they are afraid of waking up to a different situation.  Think about it- you would too!  Say you fell asleep in your bed and woke up on your front porch.  You would stop sleeping too, right??
  • The longer you wait to start putting baby down awake, the harder it is to break their dependence on what helps them get to sleep- and the more they will cry about it when you try to break the habit.  We started putting B down relaxed but wide awake around 5mo of age- and he definitely fussed about it in the beginning, but only for a few minutes.

3.  Invest in a white noise machine.

  • Turn it up as loud as it will go, even if it sounds completely bizarre to you.
  • We have this one.  It is very loud, has 6 different sounds (we use the white noise sound), takes batteries AND plugs in, is lightweight and portable.  LOVE it.
  • T and I actually sleep with a white noise machine too- I find I fall asleep faster and sleep better with one!

4.  Swaddle- in the beginning (we swaddled until around 4.5 months old).

  • Even if baby fights it, they will sleep better for it (B fought the swaddle every. single. day).  The swaddle keeps those little arms (which have a mind of their own in the beginning!) from waking baby up
  • We didn’t swaddle at first (blame it on sleep deprivation) but the first night we did?  B slept 7 hours in a row!  Amazing.
  • We used these blankets first (along with the sleep sacks I made), and then when B got super strong, we used these sleep sacks.
  • However, once baby can roll from back to front, stop swaddling!!  OR, once baby is waking themselves up breaking out of the swaddle- cut it, cold turkey.  I recommend going from a swaddle to a wearable blanket if you can, to keep baby warm.
  • This could be considered a sleep prop- but it’s a necessary one at first.  Get rid of it when it stops working, and get rid of it quickly.  It may take a day or two to get back on track, but baby will adjust!

Stay tuned for part 2 next week!

Beware of cyberchondria (aka why new moms should stay away from Google)

Inspired by this prompt

Whenever I have a question about something, the first place I turn is to Google.  T likes to make fun of me for it sometimes, citing this commercial as an example.  All he has to do is say “bonjour” and I know that I may have gotten a little crazy in my “Google-ing”

Being a first time mommy, everything I have experienced with B thus far is new to me.  And whenever he has an odd looking rash or is acting off, I am often tempted to run to Google to tell me what is wrong.  I know other moms out there have all done this (especially when it’s 3am and you’re running on little sleep and you’re paranoid that something is wrong).

Well, don’t.

First, this can lead to cyberchondria and you don’t want to be any more paranoid than you already are as a new mom.

Second, trust your mommy instincts, because 9 times out of 10 they are right, even if you feel like you are just being paranoid.

Third, call your pediatrician.  If you have a question about something, don’t be afraid to leave a message with their nurse.  That’s their job and that’s what they are there for.  Also, a lot of hospitals have a pediatric nurse line that you can call after hours (I’ve made that phone call at 3am before when B had croup around 3 months old).

Whatever you do, don’t go Google-ing the symptoms, because there are a lot of scary pictures out there and bizarre diagnoses.  And, please, don’t go to online message boards when you are dealing with a potential health issue- I am a big fan of BabyCenter, but it drives me nuts when I see people posting serious medical questions on there before consulting their pediatricians- speculating moms online are just about as bad as the internets.

Bonjour.

Edited to add:  Jessica from Pig and Dac brought up some good alternatives to good ole Google in the comments, so I thought I would list them here.  Kellymom.com and askdrsears.com are both great resources for new parents.  Just remember they don’t take the place of your pediatrician!!