Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sleep Training...that worked for both of us.

I'm against sleep training....sort of.

My kid doesn't sleep through the night. Well, he's done it twice in nearly 9 months.  But for the past three months, since teething started up, he's been waking up every two hours through the night.  For months I would get up with my little boy, settle into the rocking chair and nurse and soothe him back to sleep.  I would do this a few times a night.  Many people thought I was nuts, and I repeatedly heard the advice to sleep train him and it would all be over.  I couldn't do it.  I couldn't fathom the idea of putting my boy to bed walking away and letting him cry himself to sleep.  After chatting with many moms, and reading many websites about sleep training, the least traumatizing method seemed to be to put them down and let them cry, but go back periodically to soothe.  I thought about this but decided that my boy was too stubborn and it would never work.   That was until two nights ago.

It was midnight, I had just been nursing my wee lad, when I couldn't get him to go back to sleep.  He would fall asleep in my arms just to wake when I put him down in his crib.  This routine had been going on for months and I finally reached the breaking point.  I looked at my rocking chair, the place of so many awful nights of sleep and I couldn't bring myself to go back there.   I had finally reached a point where listening to him cry was easier than sleeping sitting upright.

So, we began some gentle sleep training.

Dear hubby went and got us both some ear plugs, and I went to hug and kiss my boy.  I told him that I loved him, but it was time to sleep.  I walked away...for two minutes.
After the two minutes, I went back in.  I hugged and kissed my boy.  I told him that I loved him, but it was time to sleep.  I walked away....for four minutes.

Lather, rinse, repeat..I walked away for six minutes....8 minutes...10 minutes.  

By this time, he was sweaty and upset, but losing steam.  Some time during the 10 minutes away it worked and he fell asleep.  Four hours later he was up for snack and went back to sleep just fine.  Sweet!   An hour later at 5am he was ready to start the day, but I wasn't.   Thus began round two of lather, rinse, repeat.  This time during his second stint at 10 minute away he fell asleep.

I'll admit, I was worried.  It took longer the second time to go back to sleep.  Was this not going to work?

So, last night we tried again.  8oz. bottle at 8, and went to sleep no problem.  Breastmilk snack at 11, put him down and the fun began.    Lather, rinse repeat.

I hugged and kissed my boy.  I told him that I loved him, but it was time to sleep.  I walked away...for two minutes....four minutes....then all of a sudden it was two hours later!  What?!  He put himself to sleep in 4 minutes.  Ok, it was only for two hours, but that worked, so maybe it will work again.   Two minutes....four minutes....

Suddenly it was 6am, my hubby was getting ready for work, and the little man continued to sleep for two more hours.  I even had an hour of mommy time to write this blog.

It took collectively less than an hour of crying over two nights, for me to have the best sleep i've had in three months.

It might not work for every baby, but it certainly worked for mine.

The best part?   His Applecheeks cloth diaper didn't leak a drop!  Stay tuned for my review of Applecheeks as an overnight cloth diaper.  Thanks to Dawn from Storks and Berries for recommending the diaper!

New Mama Thinks...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Why do I use cloth?

I love my cloth diapers!  I have no problems doing cloth diaper laundry two or three times a week.

Why?  It's really very simple.

It's better for the environment...better for my son's bottom, better for my wallet (most of the time), and really, they're just super cute!

I have used many different brands; Bum Genius, Fuzzibunz, Sweet Pea, Kushies, Kawaii, Motherease, Applecheeks, Rumparooz, Blueberry and Little Prints.  I will be posting a review of each type of cloth diaper, so check back often!

New Mama Thinks..

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Teething Baby Part 1 - Amber Teething Necklace

So, my kid doesn't sleep and it's taken many bleary eyed, middle of the night google searches to come up with the conclusion that his restlessness is all related to his teething.  He's drooling, chewing, cranky, restless, and doesn't want to eat (which is a whole other blog post).  So, what do I do?   Aside from just getting used to waking up every two hours through the night, and the occasional acetaminophen when he really seems to be in pain, I've resorted to two more natural options that seem questionable in their effectiveness, but if they work, fantastic!

First up is the Amber Teething Necklace.

Wearing an amber teething necklace is a traditional European remedy for teething symptoms.  The story goes that the Baltic Amber that the beads are made of, contains succinic acid that is released when the amber warmed is by the child's skin.  Succinic acid, it is said, contains healing properties that acts as an anti-inflamatory and provides pain relief. It is helps to calm a restless baby.  Necklaces are said to be effective enough that they are made in adult sizes to help combat a variety of your own aches and pains.

I purchased my boy's necklace from Marianne, at Bush Babies Baby Boutique in North Bay, when I was putting in an order, and couldn't help but keep adding to it (see my future post about Sweet Pea cloth diapers).  Marianne chose a beautiful cognac coloured necklace (see picture above) for my little boy when I was having trouble deciding which one I liked best.  It looks great on him (see left), and I get lots of compliments, even though most people think it's just an accessory.

Does it work?  I can't be 100% certain since the babe hasn't told me just how it feels to wear the necklace, and even though my baby is still restless at night (I don't have him wearing it then), he is perfectly happy during the day.  He most definitely drools less when he is wearing the necklace, and his first two teeth came in with little pomp and circumstance.  

The bottom line?   Considering that it does seem to have some effect, and is super cute, I recommend giving it a try!

New Mama thinks...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Baby it's getting cold outside -- Baby Leg Warmers!

After a fantastic summer with beautiful weather, I'm about ready for cooler days, warm sweaters and huge mugs of hot drinks!  My only concern?  How do you dress an 8 month old for really cool mornings and evenings with warmer afternoons without making the poor kid too bulky?  Layering is always a good idea, and simple to do on top, but what about those little legs?

I came across baby leg warmers completely by accident when I was looking on Kijiji at the baby stuff.  Someone was selling their daughter's used Baby Legs leg warmers.  Ok, so the purple one was probably a little too girlie for my son, but for the price, I couldn't resist trying them (they were only $5 a pair).  I have been in love with them ever since!

They fit from ankle to thigh with room to grow and make it really easy to do a diaper change without freezing his little legs off.  Worn under pants, they provide an extra layer of warmth that can easily be pulled off, without removing the pants if the weather warms up.  They're also great at providing some protection from the ground for his little knees.  I am no longer worried about my little guy showing too much ankle this winter, since I know his leg warmers has got him covered!  Live in a warm climate? No worries!  Baby Legs protect your child's knees while you let her crawl around in just a diaper!

Baby Legs is just one of many brands of baby leg warmers.  The monkey leg warmers seen above were crafted by Jennifer at Sew Crafty Baby.  They are similar in length to the Baby Legs, but have a more substantial bottom cuff, and seem to be more stretchy.  I get a lot of complements on these!!

All in all, I think baby leg warmers are an absolute necessity for colder climates, and a really cute accessory for warmer ones!  Check out Etsy or Hyena Cart for some WAHM leg warmers, or go to the bigger stores for more name brands!

New Mama Thinks...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Umbrella Stroller -- The search, the find, the review...

So, I love my full size stroller, but I really wanted something lightweight that wouldn't take up my entire trunk.

I looked at umbrella strollers for months before I chose the Guzzie + Guss 104. I took a gamble on it since I really couldn't find any reviews of it at the time, and I had to drive over an hour to even have a look at it since it isn't sold in my town, but it had so many features that I love I just needed to see it.  It really is a full-featured stroller in a compact size.

Features:  5 point harness, great weight range for the child (max weight 53 lbs.), very lightweight (13.5 lbs), handle height is comfortable for my 6'2" husband, AMAZING canopy with a peak-a-boo window (the picture above is only the first extension, it opens further), rain cover, decent size basket for an umbrella stroller, folds up pretty small for a full featured stroller (there it is in my front hall closet), it has both a shoulder strap and a carry handle, and it reclines flat with many possible positions in between. 
It drives like a dream on hard surfaces, but is pretty bumpy on grass. Definitely not an off-roading stroller.

The only things I don't love about it, the recline takes two hands and you need to bend right over to do it (I'm used to my fully size stroller's easy one-handed recline), and the brake pedal is made of a plastic that feels a little lightweight, and while it hasn't been a problem, I still worry about it breaking.

It's quite costly for a second stroller at $200 +, but so long as it survives to give my next kid a ride, it will be completely worth the price.

Bonus: It's Canadian!

New Mama Thinks...

Sleep when the baby sleeps?

Sleep is a hot commodity.  Getting reading for my baby's arrival I knew I wouldn't be getting the 8 hours a night that I was used to.  I knew I wouldn't be sleeping in, or staying in bed in the morning to enjoy a book and a cup of tea.  I knew that I wouldn't be sleeping though the night.  Ok, so pregnancy did a good job of preparing me for that by getting me up every few hours to use the bathroom.  Baby arrived and the disturbed nights got worse.  That's ok!  I was prepared for this!  Sleep when the baby sleeps...that's what everyone told me.  Sleep when the baby it!

This worked out great for the first week while my husband was home from work.  He cooked, he cleaned, he shopped, he bounced (the baby).  I figure I can do this!  I can get my sleep!  I don't need to have dark circles under my eyes!   Then hubby went back to work....

Sleep when the baby sleeps... ok, I can ignore the dishes.   Sleep when the baby sleeps... do we really need milk?  Sleep when the baby sleeps... I don't need to check my e-mail.   Sleep when the baby sleeps... I don't need a shower.  Whoa...wait a minute.  How long can I go between showers?  When was my last shower? 

Sleep when the baby sleeps is wonderful advice once in a while when you're so burnt out that you can't think straight.  Unfortunately, if you always sleep when the baby sleeps nothing will ever get done!   

Some real advice?  Sleep when you really need it,  clean when the house is gross, and be sure to take a little time for you every day.   Have a shower, drink a cup of coffee, read a magazine.  You will always be tired, and the hour of sleep you'd get when the baby naps will only refresh you so much. I feel like a better mommy when I take that hour for myself.  You really do get used to not sleeping so much!

That's what this New Mama Thinks..

Welcome to New Mama Thinks

This blog is my space to share everything that I wish someone had told me when I became a new mom to my son in Feb 2010.  It will include random thoughts, reviews of products I use and money-saving ideas.  Want to know what I think about something??  Ask!  I'm always happy to share what this New Mama Thinks!

New Mama Nicola