Monday, April 28, 2008

Cry it Out (CIO): Owen vs. Sleep part III

You may not know this but I am a believer in the CIO (cry it out) method of getting Owen to sleep. We'll see if I can put it into practice. HA HA. It all sounds easier said than done. Since Owen was fussy during the early weeks and cried even when you held him and rocked him, it's easier to put him down and let him cry because it seems he'll cry one way or another.

When he is screeching, I find it much harder to let him screech vs. the waa waa type of cry but I've been reading this blog, Chronicles of a Babywise Mom for inspiration. Basically, this mom encourages you to start with CIO and just keep on keeping on. Let me tell you friends, I am serious about my sleep but I'm not sure I can be as vigilant as she is; however, I cannot continue sleeping with 2 hour interruptions in 6 months. I just can't. I think I will melt like the witch in the Wizard of Oz.

In my 8 weeks of experience, Owen does have a magic window as discussed by the Sleep Lady if I miss this window it become infinitely HARDER for him to nap or go to bed at night. So you have to keep a watch on the clock: he is now able to have awake time for 1.5 hours, an improvement, for sure. For all you mom's struggling out there I'll post his *rough* schedule -- it was hard for me to get a routine down but I think of it like this, all the other errands I'd love to be out doing will happen when he has more awake time. For now sleep is more important for a growing baby. Right now, I'm his mommy and that's the first priority, everything else takes a back seat.

Owen sleeps on his tummy. He sleeps way better this way. I do worry about SIDS but frankly I slept on my tummy so did Matt and so did you, reader. This stuff about sleeping on the back is great IF your baby will sleep on his back, but Owen won't. If you are going to attempt this you should know what my pediatrician and midwife told me:

1) no loose blankets
2) baby must have GREAT and strong head control and be able to pick his head up and move it easily to the other side and vice versa
3) room should be warm but not too warm
4) have a firm mattress with tight fitting sheet
5) make this decision knowing that the stats show 60% less SIDS while sleeping on back.
6) baby should be 10 pounds (rough guideline)

Typical schedule

10PM down for bed-- up every 2-3 hours to nurse for 10-20 minutes but right back to sleep. Hoping to reduce this to one nursing interruption by 12 weeks but for now he seems hungry and goes right back to sleep, so it works for me.

5AM: inevitable grunting and awakening -- usually I try to let him "work this out on his own" but occasionally he needs to be propped up a tad (boppy). I THINK he's experiencing his bowels beginning to move after a nights rest.
6AM awake and talking, I nurse him if I didn't at the 5AM grunt session
7:15-7:30 - down for a one hour nap (Owen determined this nap session, he just likes to sleep for a quick hour here)
8:30 awake, I talk to him, he talks back, a good time for bouncy chair or Baby Bjorn and I nurse him after 2 hours from his last feeding.
10-10:30AM nap time -- put him down for a nap and let him cry if he doesn't like it. I don't pick him up unless it's screeching. Repeat until he sleeps.
Noon: usually he wakes up after 2 hours, nurse 20 minutes
12:30: awake time
2:00PM put him down for a nap (again, I let him cry -- it lasts no longer than 10 minutes and is typically the ahhh whaaa type, personally I think he's talking to me)
4PM awake, nurse him
4:30: awake time
6PM: nap time (this one is tough because at night he's fussier and resists more) I plan to be firm about letting him cry through this session in the future.
8PM awake - nurse,
8:30: play, massage, bath time, change clothes, swaddle, sing to him. We are in the process of establishing a firm night time routine so we can eventually hand this over to a babysitter and get out for an evening. At 3-4 months I will move his bed time closer to 7PM, as most babies apparently begin to sleep 12 hours (HAHA, I laugh at this notion)
10PM: nurse and a put to bed in his crib in the other room (formally bassinet)

Notes: if he wakes up early from his nap, I let him cry for a while, but if he's gotten 45 minutes of sleep, I let him stay in his crib on his back if he'll be content (sometimes) otherwise, it's up to play until next feeding time or at least 2 hours from last nursing. I've read that every 45 minutes babies experience "active" sleep where they come out of a deep sleep and drift into a short period of light sleep where they are liable to make some noises, cry and shift around. Don't touch them for 5 minutes during this time... see if they put themselves back to sleep or alternatively go in and pat, pat, pat their back until they quiet down.

Any advice, or comments are welcome here : )

Friday, April 25, 2008

Book Review: Secrets of the Baby Whisperer

Book Review!
So I read from cover to cover, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with your Baby by Tracy Hogg. I loved this book. I wish I had read it the week before I delivered Owen. She has great advice about being in the hospital and coming home with your baby as well as preparing for having a nanny, organizing the baby room, etc.

It also has similar scheduling advice as Babywise but presented in a much more loving and gentle way. A few pieces of advice that I took away from this book
1) treat your baby with Respect, talk to them, tell them what you are doing to them (ie: changing their diaper). They are little people and they should be treated as such
2) Babies have different cries if you are patient enough to listen to them and figure them out. When they cry, don't just stick a breast in their face to calm them, listen to what they are telling you and then respond accordingly. This has helped me tremendously, even though Owen doesn't "comfort" nurse.
3) Get a loose schedule going of eat, awake, sleep and most importantly YOU Time. Hogg calls this the E.A.S.Y. program. What I do is feed Owen every 3 hours and in between he gets sleep time and play time.

I am a self-help junkie, YES YES I know but I am like this with my business, I was like this with the dog and well, I'm like this with our relationship. It's funny, I guess but usually I get some good advice along the way. Here's an Owen video to tide you over. Oh and we went for a hike today with my Mom...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

When Mommy's Mommy is here

My Mom is here for a week, and it's been great and she's only been here two days. I've already learned so much from her. She is a wiz with kids and babies and reminded me of my baby manners. I forgot that they just want to play with you.

1) Babies love to hear you talk to them. Talk to them all the time when they are awake
2) Get closer-- babies have bad eye sight but they can focus at closer distances. Little Owen loves it when I get really close and talk right to him.
3) When they are crying, pay attention and begin to identify different cries and what they mean.
4) Sing to them -- oh boy does my Mom have some great songs for Owen and he loves them. I've been singing the Sound of Music and South Pacific to him... because I know all the old musical tunes by heart.

This visit with my Mom reminded me that we've lost touch with our families as a society. It used to be that your Mom, sister, neighbor and grandmother came over and helped you with baby. They made you dinner, cleaned your house and let you nap...and they lived just a phone call away. Now we have lactation consultations, bouncy chairs, swings and car seats. As a result, we all spend less time around babies and have lost the art of "babytalk." I think we even forgot how to put the baby on the floor on a blanket and let them be entertained by your voice. It's kinda funny when you think about it, all the products and gizmos on the market now to "help" the modern Mom. Luckily my family has come in waves, one week Matt's Mom, next week my Dad and now my Mom is here. It's been nice to have the help and lucky for me, my sister Kate lives around the corner. Good friends are the new "family" for most new Moms...

TiĆ” Kate
The look on Matt's face is priceless (Owen is crying)
typical morning: laptop, Owen in Moby wrap chatting with sis..
too bad I cut off her neck...
TUMMY TIME: look at that great head control!
(I love that my Mom is wearing my old Grateful Dead t-shirt, it make her look like a hippie Mom)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Owen and Mommy

Some great shots Dawn Kish took at her house after a dog walk with Cam, Matt, Owen, D.Kish, Monday, Kaibee and Slick. Oh I forgot to mention in the last post about Dawn that she also helped me transport my crib from Phoenix to here... SHE ROCKS!!

Baby won't take a Bottle

So Owen is a funny little guy. He takes the bottle sometimes (by this I mean 4 times in his life so far) and other times rejects it in a major way (by 'other' times I mean approximately 12-16 rejections). Obviously, as a wedding photographer, I will have to go back to work eventually for ALL DAY. I think it's a good thing that this is inevitable because hopefully it will make him a more flexible baby. We try at least once a day to give him the bottle. I've read up on this, of course, and it seems there are many suggestions including these that I've tried

1) have Dad feed him while Mom is outside house
2) have Mom feed him with shirt up
3) wait until baby is really hungry to try
4) use Avent nipple or try different brands of nipples and bottles
5) use soft cups (laps up like a kitten) * haven't tried
6) do a feeding when baby is calm and relaxed
7) have an experienced bottle feeder feed baby
8) feed baby in a calm familiar environment (ie: favorite nursing chair)
9) make sure to try bottle feeds at various times of day

All in all, I wish I had started with this on week 3 or so because Owen had such a great latch and zero nursing problems. It probably would've been helpful to get him switch hitting early on. The Sears book said not to worry, get him to take a bottle once 2 weeks before going back to work and he'll adjust when Mom's away. What about peace of mind, Sears? Then in the Sleep Lady book it says give baby a bottle every day even if you plan on breastfeeding all the time just in case you have to leave baby for some emergency like surgery (makes sense to me). In another book it says to start as early as 2-3 weeks or you'll have problems because they come to prefer one or the other.

We'll see how it goes this weekend, I'll keep you posted.

I have a short 3 hour work engagement this Saturday from 11-2PM so we'll see how it goes. I don't REALLY go back to full days until June and even then it's only once a week.

Any help/comments in this department would be appreciated. I've already consulted with my pediatrician, midwives, La Leche League

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Owen and Daddy & the sleep chronicles

cute little series of Owen

Oh oh Oh! Owen is 7 weeks now and finally doing better and fussing less, I can almost taste a 5 hour sleep stretch! Yum yum! He's napping better and seems to be happier and has more awake time. I've made the transition to having him nap in his crib a few times during the day (with some success) and well, frankly I can't wait for him to sleep in his crib all night by himself. I mean, it's cute when he sleeps with me but I just don't want to sacrifice my "husband" time at night plus he wakes up at 5:30AM every morning despite a 4AM nursing (could be the daylight) only to grunt for an hour while he prepares himself for his morning 6AMpoop. Obviously this wakes me up but if he was in the other room he could just grunt away! I am starting to see his biorhythms fall into place, which is exciting because it means MORE SLEEP for me. I have to admit, since I take one nap with him during the day, I'm not THAT sleep deprived. I actually feel okay. I don't feel like I just got 12 hours of uninterrupted dreamy sleep, but I also am not exhausted, so life is way better than expected. EVERYONE and their brother will tell you "get ready to be sleep deprived" AND "sleep when the baby sleeps." My advice for new mothers? Buy a food warming lamp because it seems I can never get a hot meal in, but alas, I'll eat anything at any temperature as long as I didn't have to cook it. THANK GOD Matt is a great cook and proficient at laundry duty. He's been critical! Also I don't think I could've made it through the labor or this first 7 weeks without my friend Dawn who just launched her new website so check that out. Dawn has made me lunch, brought me lunch, made us dinner, taken my dog for countless walks, listened to my boring baby stories and overall been a great friend.

Friday, April 18, 2008

gDiapers : environmentally friendly diapers

Okay so on my personal quest to find the best diaper solution for my child... I've tried a lot (even Pampers the first week-- even though they are OUT of the question). My favorite solution so far is gDiapers. Why? Well most Americans are spending lots of CASH o-la on disposable diapers, why not invest in a few 'little g' diaper covers and call it a day? PLUS... you are doing great things for our environment. These diapers are flushable and ACTUALLY compost-able. I really like them, they are cute, they seem to fit Owen comfortably and they work well. Right now I just have a starter kit but am planning to have a bigger supply when he sizes up to medium.

Check out this amazing segment on Good Morning America about
Americans' huge human footprint (gDiapers included in the tips to
reduce one's footprint!) Elizabeth Vargas, from "20/20" and "National
Geographic", shows the impact of 18 billion disposable diapers with
fantastic visuals here:

Watch the story Friday on "20/20" at 10 p.m. ET. You can also see the
premiere of the "Human Footprint" on the National Geographic Channel
Sunday, April 13th. And if you have any free time after the bub's go
to bed, you must visit their interactive site to view the data and
awesome animation. Very impressive and definitely thought provoking.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Owen and his Grandparents

My Dad was here visiting for a week and prior to that Sarah, Matt's Mom was here for a week. Bill, Matt's Dad was also here for a night visiting. All grandparents love to hold Owen when he's sleeping.
Grandpa Clark!
Gran's hands
me talking to my son in his cute stripe outfit
vovo Mike

Friday, April 11, 2008

To Colic or not to Colic? Sleep Lady Has Solution

So I had a choice: come to terms with the fact that my child had colic and isn't the 'dream' baby I desire or "fix it" and deem him free of the dreaded term and guilty of something else. If you know me, I like to experiment with everything and Owen is the ultimate little test tube (in a good way) and I was determined to solve this fussy problem. I should mention that Matt and I are sleep junkies and we are fairly resolute that our child will be a sleeper.

Week 4: I determined he didn't have a dairy sensitivity by quitting dairy for 2 weeks and then reintroducing it without any problems. Darn... it's not dairy so why does he cry so much? Yes, yes, I know all babies cry, but my little Owen seems to WAIL at just about anything (including fun stuff like breastfeeding) and it takes special tactics to get him to stop. In other words, this seasoned babysitter and my own father (thrice a grandparent) cannot calm him by 'normal' tactics. It takes a bit more energy including the "milkshake" (see post about Dr. Karp), the bathroom fan, singing, jiggling and just the right pat on the back. Oh, you say, my child is just like this, maybe, MAYBE but my instincts tell me something else is wrong.

Week 5: As a self-help junkie, I begin reading a book Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Baby by Marc Weissbluth (quick review: too many percentages and 'research talk' for this visual learner--get to the point and tell me how to get my kid to sleep, Dr. Weissbluth). I did learned one important lesson: babies and kids need more sleep than our modern society likes to admit and DO NOT let them get overtired or overstimulated. My little guy needs between 15-18 hours PER DAY (including nights) and can only be awake for about one hour (including breastfeeding). I also dove into the book Good Night Sleep Tight by Kim West, the Sleep Lady (thanks for the tip, Karla, my sister-in-law). Both have been great resources but the West book is my favorite. I HIGHLY recommend this book to all parents as she has a "plan" to follow from the newborn stage to 5 years so you can GENTLY have your baby sleeping like a baby. West also offers phone consultations including Q&A packages that include follow up coaching phone calls for those of you with sleep problems. Her fees can be as affordable as $20.00 (recorded version) or as much as $450.00 (8 call package) I'm sure most families with bad sleep problems would pay $450 to get some sleep.

Get to the point, Cameron... I ascertained that despite my best efforts Owen wasn't sleeping enough but it wasn't for lack of trying. The little dude just fights his naps and sleep opportunities at every encounter. This results in an overtired, hard-to-console baby but not a colicky baby. You spend all this effort getting him to sleep and next thing you know he's coming up on his next hungry cycle.

I also consulted the Sears Baby Book, which, of course, mentions that some babies just need to be held all the time and comforted constantly and that we Americans try to schedule too much into our lives instead of paying attention to what's important: our child's sleep. Sears prescribes 3 hours or more of sling time and co-sleeping. Much to my chagrin, Owen and I have been doing a fair amount of sleeping next to one another at night but I have been reluctantly to initiate this full time because I do not want to co-sleep with my child for the next 5 years (if you do, more power to you). I'm okay with this first three to four months if it's what Owen NEEDS but not after it's just what he WANTS. West calls this conundrum "reactive co-sleeping" or co-sleeping when it's not your choice to do so (side note, I really like how West doesn't BASH co-sleeping but rather supports your choice be it bassinet, crib or bed). West also talks about sleep crutches or negative associations with sleep: nursing, rocking, binkies, bottles, etc.

The real key is to teach your child the SKILL of falling asleep on his own, which according to West, is every parent's responsibility. Big hint: put your child down drowsy but awake-- this is the goal.

Both Weissbluth and West agree for the first 3 months (more or less) allow your baby to sleep she requires in whatever format she wants ie: swings, slings, co-sleeping, car rides, white noise, nursing (to a point). So combining the best advice of all the experts, I decided to sleep with him full time at night, nursing him when he wakes, and put him in his beloved Moby Wrap or sleep next to him in our bed during the day for naps.

Week 5/6: Owen sleeps from 10-2AM with a brief nursing interlude at midnight! He proceeded to sleep for 2 hours after each time he woke up and then the next day slept great including a 2 hour and 45 minute nap in the afternoon. This occurred for the next night and day as well and again on the third night. What a different baby! What a different Mommy! With more sleep he wakes up happier, more alert and is more likely to sleep (seems obvious but 17 hours of sleep is a challenge). He is also more attached to me at the moment... eh hum, which is to be expected. Weissbluth was right, sleep begets sleep. Crying begets crying.

Conclusion: I've concluded that Owen doesn't have colic, he's just a sleepyhead who fights the thing he needs most. A paradox indeed. He cannot be awake for more than about 1 hour at a time (including his nursing) during the day-- even if he looks so cute and playful--it's ancient baby secret-- he's really tired. If he skips his nap or only sleeps less than an hour, I start over beginning with nursing and allowing him to be up for an hour and then put him down, usually for 2 hours. Yesterday we slept 3 hours in the afternoon together. I plan on making a gentle transition to the crib with a sweet but consistent Sleep Lady strategy. All experts agree sleep scheduling or sleep training should not happen before 3-4 months. Babies simply are not mature enough to "cry it out" or figure out their circadian rhythms. To find out more, read the Sleep Lady book. Have I mentioned the SLEEP LADY?? I think you get the idea.