The time has come for…

…sleep training. Boo.

I hate sleep training!! Hate, hate, hate. And hate is a strong word, I know.

But, it is necessary and I know the benefits far outweigh the time it takes to sleep train, for both baby and mommy.

I sleep trained Little Bug at 3 months. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep train Sweet Pea until she was over her tummy troubles because when I sleep train my babies I do it completely 100% confident that there are no other issues going on except…they just need to learn to put themselves to sleep and stay asleep.

The time is approaching fast. I knew I would just feel when it was time.

And it is time. Almost.

Sweet Pea is a good sleeper. She really is. She still sleeps completely swaddled in her rock and play sleeper with her paci plastered to her face by a receiving blanket that holds it in or within reach should she need it. This system has worked fabulous for months now, but I knew it wouldn’t last forever. I really disliked that I let her need the paci to fall asleep, but that is just the way it was with Sweet Pea because of all her tummy troubles at the beginning. The paci brought her comfort and I was willing to do whatever it took to bring her comfort, even though I knew getting hooked on the paci would make for some sleep problems later.

I knew when, by trial and error, I was able to confidently say that her interrupted sleep is due to needing the paci replaced in her mouth mid-sleep, that would be the sign that I needed to sleep train her – once tummy troubles were a thing of the past, of course.

Good news!! Tummy troubles are basically a thing of the past. Woo-hoo!! But now it is time to sleep train. Boo.

This is what is happening: Typically naps are fine and only short or interrupted when she is needing to extend her wake time or overtired (which I try to avoid at all costs). Easy fix there. Just extend wake time by 15ish minutes and make sure she doesn’t stay up too long and get overstimulated.

The problem has shown itself in the wee hours of the morning. Sweet Pea goes to sleep (with paci), it falls out eventually and she is okay with that. She even takes the dreamfeed and then goes right back to bed, with no paci in her mouth.

Then anywhere from around 5-6:30 (ish) in the morning, she wakes. Now, you might be thinking…Well, she is just ready to get up!! Babies just wake up early like that! Nope. Sorry. That isn’t it! Because as soon as I hear her in the monitor I jump out of bed and go give her the paci and she promptly falls back to sleep for about another hour. If she wakes again before 8am, I give her the paci again. The past week, like clockwork, she has woken at 6:30am for the paci and 7:30am and then gone back to sleep. (Sometimes at 7:30am I don’t think she ever really goes fully back to sleep. She just lays there, with the paci in her mouth, until I get her at 8am.)

Right now, I am in the middle of “Operation Figure Out Why Sweet Pea is Waking Early”. Which means I am, by trial and error, seeing if tweaking things will change anything in her sleep pattern to help her not wake early and sleep completely through the night 8pm to 8am.

So far, I have tried this:

  • An earlier bedtime. Contrary to popular belief, a baby that goes to bed too late will wake up too early. Put baby to bed early and they will end up sleeping later. I know. It doesn’t make sense. But these little human beings come out of the womb not making sense, right?! And it is our job as parents to help them “make sense” of their world. Which is why I love Babywise. It helps parents learn how to teach their baby to “make sense” of their world, starting with sleeping and eating. Because, you know, that is all babies basically do straight from the womb! But all that is besides the point I am making here!So, I moved her bedtime up half an hour from 8:30pm to 8pm. That didn’t do the trick. She was still waking early.
  • I shortened her 3rd nap from 1.5 hours to 1 hour 15 minutes, then to just 1 hour. That didn’t do the trick. She was still waking early.
  • We dropped the dreamfeed. Yes, we did!!! (Yay!!!) I know in her 6 month post I said that she wasn’t showing signs of being ready to drop this, but literally days later Dave said she wasn’t eating a full feed and it seemed like he was bothering her when he would get her to feed her. As if she just wanted to sleep and not eat! Also, she wasn’t eager for her daytime feeds, so we thought that maybe she just doesn’t need 30 oz. of formula in a day!We dropped the dreamfeed cold turkey on February 7th. I thought maybe this feed was interrupting her sleep pattern, but she continued to wake early after the dreamfeed was dropped.

These are the only other tricks I have up my sleeve:

  • Incase she is waking early because of hunger because she no longer is eating at 11:30pm, I added an ounce to two of her daytime feeds to give her extra calories during the day. February 9th was the first day she got two 7oz bottles and two 6oz bottles. I am pretty confident that she is not waking out of hunger, but before I can sleep train I have to rule out hunger as the issue.
  • The only other thing I have left to tweak is bedtime. Perhaps she needs to be awake a longer stretch between her 3rd nap and bedtime?? So I will try a 8:15pm and then an 8:30pm bedtime once I have ruled out hunger. I know that not all babies are 12 hour sleepers. Little Bug wasn’t as an infant and is not as a 2 year old. She is an 11 – 11.5 hour sleeper. Perhaps Sweet Pea is, too. I would actually prefer a later bedtime (8:30ish) because it is hard to get home for bedtime routine with 8pm bedtimes!
  • Change morning waketime to 7:30am. That’s called compromise! I’d like an 8am waketime, but she may just not be able to make it to 8am, and that is fine.

And here is what happened last night (which makes me believe even further that this is a bad habit that just needs to be broken): She woke at 5am two nights ago and last night it was 3am! It did occur to me that she might be hungry (although I really didn’t think so). I went in her bedroom, she was searching for her paci with her mouth (eyes closed) and as soon as I put it in, she settled back to sleep. I figured if she was hungry that paci wouldn’t suffice for long, but she slept until 7:30. That looks like a habit to me.

If none of these things are the answer, I am left with: Sweet Pea is waking in the wee hours of the morning out of habit, needing her paci. She has clearly shown me she still wants to sleep. And that will bring us to…sleep training.

I knew the time would come. I know the younger baby is, the easier it is for baby to sleep train. And I know that many times with parenting the hard option really is the best overall for everyone. I know sleep is so important for proper growth and development for babies. I know Sweet Pea’s sleep “problem” really isn’t that bad!! It could be much, much worse and I want to nip this in the bud before it escalates to become a huge problem of constant wake ups throughout naps and/or nighttime sleep due to needing the paci to stay asleep.

And, as a doctor friend of mine recently told me when I flat out asked her if letting a baby cry it out damages their brain and the attachment they feel to their parents, she said and I quote, Yeah, babies will choose the hard way (waking up a lot) unless we inform them that it behooves them to learn a different way…then they’re grateful! I’ve never seen any evidence of trauma to your brain. And it generally works so QUICKLY…and my theory is, if he [reference to her son] wakes up smiling and happy to see me the next morning, clearly he still loves me and is doing ok!

But, ugh!

I (still) hate sleep training!

But I did it once and I can do it again (probably soon, now that I have just about eliminated other reasons why she could be waking).

The Great CIO Debate

I am certainly not opening this post up for a debate, however, I did want to post a link from a blog that I read because to anyone who may read my blog and may find themselves in the place of sleep deprivation due to a baby (or babies!) who do not sleep through the night, I hope what this person wrote will bring you encouragement!

Meet Holly!

After a fertility treatment she found out she was expecting TRIPLET girls!

They just celebrated their first birthday on December 23rd.

The girls are doing FABULOUS, except that they were NOT sleeping through the night. Holly was getting up sometimes FIFTEEN times a night to go in and give bottles to the girls!

Talk about exhausting.

She was against CIO, at first. She had read the research about how CIO can “damage the parent/child relationship”.

But then she talked to a trusted friend who explained that giving your child the gift of sleep DOES NOT harm them!

Holly realized her girls were playing her. They didn’t need those bottles. It was habit. A bad habit that was making babies and mommy not get the sleep they needed every night!

Holly realized sometimes as moms we’ve got to do something that isn’t “pleasant”.

I LOVE her post about her experience with letting her girls CIO to learn to sleep through the night.

She explicitly explains her thought process:what she tried to get the girls to sleep that didn’t work, the issues in her own mind that were holding her back from teaching her girls to sleep, what motivated her to let her girls CIO, how she did it (she explains step by step) and the final results, which are astounding!!

These were her final words on her post:

I must say, I was completely and utterly in disbelief, totally against doing anything that might, by research accounts, "harm my baby" but let me tell you, I HAVE MY LIFE BACK and my children are NOT harmed the least bit! This is the most wonderful gift I have been given! I can’t tell you how lucky I feel and how IT PROVES that I was the one HOLDING THEM BACK. I swore I would never do that and I was the one making this happen, not them. I feel bad for that. They wanted to sleep through the night, and I wasn’t giving them the tools to be able to do so.

Here is the link to Holly’s CIO post.

As far as my blog, feel free to leave your positive experiences with CIO. Negativity on the CIO Debate is not welcome here. There are many other places for you to go and say your two cents on the matter. This is just not the place!

This post is simply meant to encourage anyone who may be on the fence about doing CIO. CIO is certainly not for every family. You have to do what is best for yours.

I hope Holly’s post will help you see that you will not “damage your child for life” if CIO is done simply to teach your baby/toddler to fall asleep and stay asleep.

CIO can be done responsibly and Holly’s story is a wonderful example!!

Coming out of the Closet

Before you think I am about to reveal some well-kept secret, I’m not!

Don’t really have any secrets right now.

But…

Sweet Pea has come out of the closet!!

The first night she was home I could hardly sleep because of her constant noises through the night. The next night I put her in our vented, walk-in master bedroom closet and that is where she has slept every night since.

She starts out in her bedroom, but then once Dave feeds her at 11:30 he moves her to our closet where she sleeps the remainder of the night.

I had every intention that Sweet Pea was going to be moved to her own bedroom WAY earlier than Little Bug was!

Well, that didn’t happen. Sweet Pea actually didn’t move until a month later than I moved her sister!

It just didn’t feel “right” until we got home from spending a few days at my parents’ house this past week.

So, Tuesday night I told Dave that I had set the monitor up and he could just leave Sweet Pea in her bedroom after he fed her at 11:30.

I didn’t sleep well at all that night, but Sweet Pea certainly did!

It took me forever to go to sleep and then I didn’t sleep deep because I am always afraid I won’t hear them when they are in their bedrooms (even though I know I will).

So, no more closet-sleepers in this house.

Next up will be moving her to her actual crib instead of the inclined sleeper she has been in since birth. It doesn’t feel “right” yet to move her out of it, so I will just wait until I feel it is time.

Little Bug to a T and Buckets of Tears

The following sums up Little Bug to a T.

We were having some trouble with Independent Play recently. Little Bug was opening her closet and pulling out every.single.toy. in there and opening her drawers and pulling out sheets and clothing.

It was a HUGE mess that was taking over half an hour to clean up! When Sweet Pea came along I didn’t have half an hour to clean all that up.

She was also climbing over the gate in her door way during her playtime. She was making up every excuse known to man of why she needed to climb the gate. I was having to put her back in her room multiple times.

So now every day before her IP time I tell her, “Little Bug, no opening closets and drawers and no climbing the gate. Do play with your toys and do choose to be happy!”

That solved the problem.

A few weeks ago I found a play kitchen on Craigslist and it is now in Little Bug’s room. It is a pretty big one and she has enjoyed playing with it since we brought it home.

Well, today I hear her say, “Mommy, I knocked over my kitchen!” (Again, if you know Little Bug, she is just trying everything she can to get me to come to her room. She waits to poop every day during IP so I have to come change her diaper. I am not even kidding.)

So, I come running to her room and sure enough, there is her huge kitchen leaning on it’s side. I asked her why she knocked it over.

And then, Little Bug proclaims, “But Mommy, I didn’t open my closet, I didn’t open my drawers and I didn’t climb the gate!!”

That right there folks, is the epitome of my Little Bug.

That is all very true, Little Bug. Thanks.

Always pushing the limits, that child is.

And here is another example. But this, I love. Because my child experienced a natural consequence and, in my opinion, having your child experience a natural consequences is the best way to teach them a lesson on obedience.

Let me set the stage: It’s naptime. We are sitting in the rocking chair in the living room reading some books before going to bed.

Little Bug sees her beloved Frosty the Snowman sitting on the kitchen counter.

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She wants to hold it while we read. I told her that was fine as long as she did not play the song while we are reading. I told her if she chose to push the button we would have to put him back on the counter.

She goes to get Frosty and we settle in for a book. In the middle of a sentence, the song begins to play.

I just think, But of course, she just HAD to make him sing.

So I stop reading and get up with Frosty in my hand and go put him back on the counter.

Let the waters fall. Little Bug was completely and utterly heartbroken.

But I want my Frosty, Mommy.

To which I said, “Well, Little Bug, I told you if you make him sing we will have to put him up. You chose to not obey Mommy and you pushed the button, so the consequence to your disobedience is that you can no longer hold Frosty right now.”

But I want my Frosty, Mommy. I really want him.

I can see how it would be so easy to give in and give her another chance after seeing her broken little heart and her big blue eyes gushing tears of sorrow.

I thought for a millisecond about giving her another chance. But, no.

She went to bed crying for her beloved Frosty.

In this life, we have boundaries and limits and if we chose to cross those boundaries and limits, there are consequences.

She might as well learn this lesson over a stuffed singing Frosty the Snowman than over some other situation down the road when she is older that might actually for real break her heart or harm her in some way.

Parenting is so much more complicated than I ever thought it was going to be.

We always say to Little Bug, “What are we going to do with you, Little Bug??”

And she replies, “Love me forever.”

Yes we will. We will love this girl forever, testing-the-limits and all. After all, everything I do as her mother is grounded in my love for her. I hope she understands that one day.

Phase 3: Extended Day (16-24 weeks)

By the end of stage 2 (extended night phase) the average baby is sleeping 11 hours straight at night and averaging 5-7 feedings per day.

As I am writing this, Sweet Pea is 14.5 weeks old. (She is now almost 18 weeks old! Yes, this has been in my drafts for quite a while!) I’ve known all along that Sweet Pea is not going to make these milestones when Babywise says the average baby will achieve these things because of her tummy troubles. And that is perfectly okay, because we just keep plugging along making progress on “Sweet Pea time”. As I say every time I write one of these posts, this is just a guideline (or average) and each baby will do things in their own time.

At 14 weeks, Sweet Pea has achieved this:

  • She has gone from 8 feeds per 24 hours, down to 6 feeds per 24 hours. (8am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm, 8:15/8:30pm, 11:30pm)
  • She is sleeping a consecutive 7-8 hour block with no feeds during the night. (She dropped the 4/5am feed during week 13.) ***Unfortunately, at the time I am writing this, Sweet Pea is no longer doing this. She is back to waking at 3-4am (ish) and through trial and error I have determined that Sweet Pea does not need this feed anymore. And now I am trying to figure out how to get her brain trained to sleep though this time without doing CIO.
  • She is taking 4 naps per day that range in length of 1-2 hours.
  • Bedtime is consistently 8:30-9:00pm.

At 18 weeks, Sweet Pea has achieved this:

  • About a week ago, Little Bug started extending her nights a wee bit. (Woo hoo!!!) She is still not sleeping straight through 11:30-8am like I would like, but she is now making it pretty consistently to the 6am hour each morning, which is improvement. I give her the paci and she goes to waketime. Not bad.
  • The only thing I haven’t tried to get her to sleep through the night is making bedtime earlier. I do know that young infants tend to do better with earlier bedtimes. It is just so hard to consistently be at home at 7pm to start the bedtime routine for an 8pm bedtime! I am thinking that once Sweet Pea drops the 4th nap (which will probably be this month or next) it will then become necessary to have an 8pm bedtime.

That’s pretty good progress for a baby that has “issues”. Smile 

Next up for Sweet Pea will be dropping the “dreamfeed” (11:30pm) and sleeping a consecutive 11ish hours with no feedings! Honestly, at 14 weeks old, I don’t see this happening anytime soon, but you never know! (At 18 weeks I still don’t see her dropping the dreamfeed anytime soon. Little Bug was around 5 months when she dropped the dreamfeed and started sleeping 11 hours straight every night.)

So, here is what the average Babywise baby does during Phase 3: The Extended Day phase.

Feeding:

  • Sometime between 16-24 weeks solids are introduced! I do not introduce solids until 6 months as my pediatrician suggests.
  • Continue with 4-6 liquid feedings per 24 hours.
  • Once solids are introduced, three feedings will have liquids plus solids.
  • By 24 weeks baby’s main mealtimes line up with the rest of the family’s: breakfast, lunch and dinner with a 4th, 5th, and for some a 6th liquid feeding

Sleeping:

  • Baby moves to 10-12 hours of consecutive nighttime sleep with no feedings (Woo hoo, but will we ever get there??!! Smile Yes, we will. Eventually!)
  • Three naps of 1.5 to 2 hours in length (some may only take 45 minute nap in the evening)

While Sweet Pea is certainly not “average”, she is doing remarkably well and we are making great progress in developing healthy eating and sleeping habits from the start.

Contrary to what many may think is the end goal, getting baby to sleep through the night is NOT the end goal when it comes to Babywise!!

Is that surprising??

Developing healthy eating and sleeping habits in baby during their first year is just the good, solid foundation Babywise parents desire to lay for their baby!

Having these basic needs (eating and sleeping) in order only lays the foundation for baby to experience optimal growth in the other areas of life: emotional growth, obedience, cognitive growth, social development, etc.…

I feel even despite her stomach problems, I’ve been able to stabilize Sweet Pea’s little world and get her off on the right track with healthy eating and sleeping habits.

Thank you, Babywise!

Sleep Issues: Advice please

Here is what is going on:

Sweet Pea had stopped (on her own) waking for a feed around 4am each night. Then, she started waking again. I assumed it was a growth spurt so, of course, I fed her. But then, she continued to wake up.

It became obvious that she was not really waking from hunger because she would not take the feed well. Or, she would eat well but then the next day she had a hard time eating all day long. As in, she would take almost her entire wake time to eat! (Wake time is a little less than a hour.) Even stretching her feeding intervals didn’t help her have more of an appetite to eat. That also was not due to tummy troubles because there was no spit up or discomfort.

This is what happened to make me know she did NOT need that feed. At 4am she woke and took 5 ounces. She has NEVER taken 5 ounces in her life. I am always fearful of giving her larger amounts of formula, afraid that it will hurt her tummy. But, she took the 5 ounces perfectly okay, without spitting up or being uncomfortable at all.

But then, the next day, she took FOREVER to eat most every feed. That told me that I need to help her metabolism realize that she needs to eat during the DAY and not the night.

So, two nights ago I decided I would not feed if she woke up. She woke at almost 6am the first time I decided not to give the 4am feed!! I just gave her the paci and she made it to wake up time.

Then, last night she woke up at 4:15. I gave her the paci. She woke again around 6 and then again at a little after 7. Every time she woke I jumped up and gave her the paci.

I am still at my parents’ house and my mom said she would come get Sweet Pea in the morning for her first feed so I could sleep in.

When I woke up this morning, I came downstairs and the first thing my mom said was that Sweet Pea seemed so tired this morning. She asked me if she had slept well and I said that she had not slept well (deep sleep) since 4am because she kept waking needing the paci.

Let me stop here and say that if I felt Sweet Pea needed that 4am feed, I would absolutely give it to her. The only reason this has become a “problem” is because Sweet Pea is showing signs of not needing that feed anymore, she is certainly in the age range to not need that feed (although that is not a determining factor for dropping it since every baby’s needs are different), and she is showing paci dependency during the 4am to 8am hours.

The fact that she wants to suck on the paci from 4 to 8am and wakes if it falls out does not tell me that is hungry. That tells me her brain is not trained to just sleep through that period of time (4-8am) and she needs help learning to sleep through that time. If she truly was hungry and needing food, I believe she would not be satisfied with that paci and wouldn’t go back to sleep with it, only to wake up again when it falls out.

If you’ve read my blog before, you know I am not opposed to doing CIO. I did that with Little Bug at 3 months old and have had relatively NO sleep issues with her her entire life.

I intend to do CIO with Sweet Pea too BUT several things must be in line for me to be able to do CIO responsibly and confidently.

When I sleep train Sweet Pea I want to be confident that she is no longer experiencing tummy troubles.

For the record, I am confident these restless hours of sleep for Sweet Pea (4-8am) are NOT from tummy troubles.

From my experience with CIO, I believe CIO is most effective when you can be 100% sure there is no other reason baby is crying except for the fact that they just need to learn to put themselves to sleep and stay asleep!

I am probably being ultra conservative on this, but that is the only way I can be 100% confident about doing CIO and expect awesome results.

At the same time, I have got to figure something out for the mean time.

Being awake/half asleep (for both of us) from 4-8am is going to get old fast. I can’t function on that kind of sleep and the fact that my mom noticed Sweet Pea seemed tired means my baby is not getting acceptable sleep. I know the value of uninterrupted sleep and I want to give that gift to Sweet Pea, too, as soon as possible.

I know there are other sleep training methods out there that do not involve crying and that is where you come in!!

What sleep training method could I use with Sweet Pea during the 4-8am hours that does NOT involve her crying??

Challenging Week

Monday afternoon Little Bug felt like she was on fire. I took her temp and it was 104.4! So I called the doctor immediately and the nurse told me to give her motrin and call back if her temp continued to spike after being on motrin.

Over the next two days she continued to get a high fever, I’d give her motrin and the fever would come down only to spike again once the motrin wore off.

With Thanksgiving this week and since her temp was still getting to 105 last night (without motrin), I took her in first time this morning.

Everything was clear – except a tiny bit of redness in her throat. She has had no other symptoms except the high fevers.

The checked her for strep and that was negative. Her urine sample (that was fun trying to get) showed she is a little dehydrated.

So, now we are to give the fever 3-5 days and if she is still having high fevers on Friday, I have to take her in for blood work.

Today is day 3 of fevers so hopefully today or tomorrow this fever will break and blood work won’t be necessary.

It’s a good thing we are staying the week at my parents’ house since all the family is here for Thanksgiving or else I probably would have gone insane (I kinda have anyways) without extra help this week.

Sweet Pea isn’t sleeping too well at night. I am still trying to pin point the problem so we can find a solution.

I’ve narrowed it down to two possible problems: not eating enough formula during the day so she is needing a feed during the night and/or a paci dependency that is interfering with continuous sleep.

I’m thinking it is probably more of an issue with needing to eat more during the day so she can go longer at night between feedings. However, the problem here is that because of her stomach issues, she can’t really consume a lot of formula at one feed. She is still eating 3 to 3.5 ounces each feed, so yesterday we decided to try getting her to eat 3.5 ounces every feed. She did well and didn’t spit up at all yesterday!

But then she was still up at 3am, my mom gave her the paci (My mom took her last night to give me a break. Yes, my mom is awesome.) but then she was up again at 4am, so she fed her at 3 and she went back to sleep after that until 7:50. Not bad.

The only reason she hesitated to feed her at 3am is because we aren’t sure if she really needs to eat when she wakes up because she wakes every night but some nights she eats like she is really hungry and then other nights she sips and I have to keep nudging her to continue eating.

So, tonight I am just going to feed her right away first time she wakes up and we will go from there. If she could just get to where she was eating six 4 ounce bottles (24 ounces/day), I think she would finally be able to drop that 4am (ish) feed.

So hopefully in a matter of just a little more time, she will get there. I am soooooo ready to be sleeping through the night again. Those couple of weeks here and there that she has dropped that 4am (ish) feed made such a huge difference in my overall ability to handle both girls during the day.

Sleep is so vital for us – no matter our age – which is why I work so hard at the very beginning to establish good sleeping (and eating) patterns in my children.

I’m very tired this week with both girls getting up in the night, but I am very thankful to have my family’s help and support. And I am very thankful that sleepless nights are not my norm and will eventually be a season of my life that have passed hopefully by the end of this year or the very beginning of next year!

Phase 2: Extended Night (9-15 weeks)

The first phase (the stabilization phase) is when baby’s metabolism stabilizes and baby develops a good pattern of eating, being awake and then taking a nap. In other words, the stabilization phase is all about baby’s eating and sleeping patterns stabilizing.

This certainly happened for Sweet Pea, in spite of all her tummy troubles! She is on a very consistent eating and sleeping routine and has been since about 4 weeks of age! That is a night and day difference from Little Bug’s first few weeks of life when I was not doing BW with her.

The next phase of Babywise, from weeks 9-15, is the Extended Night phase.

It must be noted that Babywise gives these guidelines and they are meant as guidelines and not absolutes!

Obviously, every baby is different and every baby reaches these milestones at their own pace. Some follow these guidelines to a T, while others do not. Should those whose babies don’t follow the guidelines to a T just not do Babywise? That is for Mom to decide, however, Little Bug did not follow the guidelines to a T. She had her own little time schedule and that was perfectly fine! With Sweet Pea’s tummy troubles I am counting on her not following the guidelines as stated in the book, but, she will eventually get there if we keep working towards these milestones.

And, as I’ve said before, I LOVE having guidelines to follow. So, this is what Babywise says happens from weeks 9 to 15 during the Extended Night phase.

Feeding:

  • Between 9-15 weeks baby transitions from 7-8 feedings down to 5-7 feedings per 24 hours. (At the end of the 13th week baby can average 5-7 feedings per 24 hours, but never less than 4 feeds.)
  • During weeks 12-15 baby might be ready for a combo 3-4 hour schedule.
  • Most babies drop the dream feed during this phase (late night feed between 10-11pm).

Sleep:

  • Baby gradually moves to 9-10 hours of continuous sleep if breastfed (see page 121 of Babywise book for info on supply as baby extends nighttime sleep – I don’t breastfeed so I am not going to write this info here.) and 11 hours of continuous sleep if bottle fed.
  • Naps are 1.5 hours in length.
  • Bedtime adjusts closer to the early evening feeding. (For Sweet Pea that would be after the 8pm feed.)

As with anything parenting related, you have to take it and mold it to your own baby’s individual needs.

I am not sure that Sweet Pea will be able to drop many feeds during this phase. It is all dependent on how her stomach is doing. Right now as I write this (on the day Sweet Pea is 8 weeks old…on the day I am posting this she is 10 weeks old), Sweet Pea needs less formula more frequently. Eventually, she won’t need to eat small amounts more frequently and she will be able to extend her feeding times. I will just have to follow her lead and make these steps when Sweet Pea shows me she is ready.

Because Sweet Pea needs to eat smaller amounts more frequently, I would not be surprised if we do not totally extend nighttime sleep to 11 hours during this phase. Hopefully she will drop that early morning feed (around 5am) during this phase, but I see her still needing the dream feed until she increases her daytime intake of formula.

So, during this phase my goals for Sweet Pea are to maintain the eat/wake/sleep cycle and possibly drop the early morning feed. I would also like to see Sweet Pea’s bedtime become close to Little Bug’s bedtime (8:30-9pm).

I am so thankful for Babywise. I love having my babies on predictable schedules and I do realize scheduling is not for everyone! I couldn’t imagine managing the needs of a 2 year old and 2 month old by myself without the aid of a schedule!

As chaotic as these 2 months have been I know without a shadow of a doubt BW is helping tremendously in making life not be as chaotic as it could be, given the circumstances. On days when Sweet Pea’s tummy troubles are minimal, our days flow beautifully because both girls are on a very predictable, but yet flexible, schedule.

Q&A: Independent Playtime, uninterrupted sleep

My question for you is about independent at time. My almost 2.5 yr old and almost 1 yr old seem incapable of playing independently. How do you start it? What were your techniques? What rules did you instill? How should I go about doing for a 1 yr old and. 2.5 year old? How should I do it different for each of them?

At just over a year old, Little Bug was incapable of playing independently, too and this was when I knew I needed to help her learn this valuable skill.

I started Independent Playtime with Little Bug at the age of 14 months. I put her in her room with several toys laid out on the floor for her to play with, put the gate up on her bedroom door, set the timer for only 5 minutes and told her, “Have fun playing in your room with your toys!! Mommy will be back when the timer goes off!”

She cried the entire 5 minutes the first time. You just have to stick with it and be consistent.

Here are my top 5 tips for successful Independent Playtime.

1. The timer is KEY! Set the timer and say you will be back when the timer goes off and then come back as soon as that timer beeps! Eventually she will learn that it is not her crying that brings Mama back, it is the timer going off.

2. Each day I would increase the timer by 2 minutes. We slowly but surely worked our way up to 30 minutes. Then, once she did 30 minutes well we extended to 45 minutes and then 60 minutes. (Here is a link for the appropriate IP times by age.)

3. Rotate the toys that the baby/child plays with to keep things interesting. I rotate toys about every other month.

4. Stick with it and be consistent. It is hard work to get your baby/child doing IP when you start implementing it during the toddler years. But, if you stick with it, your children will learn that it is a fun time!

5. Pick a time of day to do IP that you know you will be home. This was it can be a consistent part of your baby/child’s routine. We do IP right after breakfast for one hour.

Your 2.5 year old can do IP in his/her bedroom. Your one year old, depending on maturity level, might would benefit doing IP in the playpen (pac n play) for a few months until he/she is older. If you feel he/she is ready for IP in the bedroom, then start there. I think Babywise recommends using the playpen for IP until somewhere between 18-24 months when you transition them to Independent Playtime in their bedroom.

I honestly don’t know what I would do without IP, especially since Sweet Pea’s birth! IP allows our mornings to just run smoother in every way possible. While Little Bug is doing IP, I have one hour to: get dressed, spend time with the Lord, get Sweet Pea to sleep for a nap and, on certain days, I use half that time to do some household chores around the house (although since Sweet Pea’s birth I haven’t actually been able to get back to doing chores during IP). IP just helps us start our mornings right! It is amazing what I can get done in just one hour’s time when my little one is doing her Independent Playtime.

Babywise Mom wrote about the developmental benefits of having your baby/child do Independent Playtime here.

To see an index of all her “Independent Playtime” blog posts, click here.

 

When following Babywise, what do you do if the baby wakes up before the normal 2.5 to 3 hour feeding time in the middle of the night. When my little guy was a newborn, and all the way up to about 16 weeks, he would wake up every 45 minutes to 1.5 hours. I finally just let him cry and that worked but I was wondering what BW would say? Go in? Rock? Feed?

Babywise would suggest sleep training for a situation like this once you are 100% sure that baby is not waking from hunger, dirty diaper, cold, hot, pain, etc. If you are 100% confident that baby is waking out of habit and just needs to learn to put himself to sleep and stay asleep, sleep training is the answer! (Again, not for everyone. You have to be comfortable with letting baby cry.)

I reached this point with Little Bug. She was 15 weeks old and she would wake after 40ish minutes of napping. She needed to learn to fall asleep and stay asleep. A baby’s transitions from deep to light sleep every 30-45ish minutes and many babies will wake at this point of sleep instead of transitioning themselves to deep sleep. Because of everything I read about how important uninterrupted sleep is to a baby, I desired to give my child that gift.

One day, at 3 months old, I laid Little Bug down for a nap and sure enough, like clockwork she was awake (but not ready to be awake) at the 45 minute mark. I let her cry it out. For an hour. The longest hour of my parenting career! Smile But, you know what? Each nap from then on out the crying decreased dramatically. Within a week (yes, just one week), she was taking uninterrupted naps of 1.5 to 2 hours in length. That week of crying was so worth my daughter learning the skill of putting herself to sleep and staying asleep. I have created healthy sleeping habits in my daughter that she will carry with her as she continues to grow and develop.

And think about it this way. Do you feel your best when you go to bed only to be woken up by the dog puking 3 hours after you have fallen asleep and then the baby needing to eat about 2 hours after you’ve cleaned up the puke? (Yes, that night recently happened for me. I was a tad groggy the next morning and dysfunctional.) Clearly, I am in a phase of life right now where I am getting very interrupted sleep and I don’t feel like I felt before Sweet Pea’s birth when sleep was uninterrupted! We all need sleep and when we are well rested we tend to cope with what life brings much better. This is simply my opinion, but I feel many parents underestimate the importance of sleep for their baby/children.

To you, I say “way to go” in giving your son the gift of sleep when he just needed his Mommy to teach him the skill of uninterrupted sleep!

Babywise from Birth

Even with all the challenges, I have been able to implement Babywise from birth with Sweet Pea.

And I feel this has made all the difference in the world.

I know there is a lot of controversy out there about Babywise, but I feel the controversy comes from a misunderstanding of the Babywise principles. Contrary to what those against Babywise believe, Babywise is NOT a program that starves babies and leaves them crying in their cribs for hours on end!

My blog is certainly not a Babywise discussion board (and never will be!) but I do want to keep track of everything I am doing with Sweet Pea.

So, what is Babywise?

It is a lifesaver! Smile

I did not start BW from birth with Little Bug and just from my experience of doing BW from birth with Sweet Pea for her first 6 weeks of life, I know that I would not have felt nearly the amount of stress I felt as a first time mother had I had the guidance of BW to follow!

BW (to me) just makes total sense! I was talking about BW with a friend. A coworker of hers asked, “So, you just let your baby cry?”. (Typical stereotypical assumption about BW.) My friend responded by saying, “No, Babywise isn’t about just letting your baby cry! It’s about meeting your baby’s every need before they even have to cry!”

That is so true and has proven to be my experience in doing Babywise with my girls. I’ll be the first to say that Babywise is NOT for everyone! As with everything concerning parenting, you have to do what you feel is right for you and your baby! Babywise works for us!!

So, what am I doing with Sweet Pea?

Babywise is broken into four phases. The first phase is the “Stabilization Phase” and it lasts from birth to 8 weeks.

It is just what the name describes—a period of time where you work to stabilize baby’s eating and sleeping habits. It is the foundation laid that creates good, healthy eating and sleeping habits in your baby.

Here is what I am doing with Sweet Pea from birth to 8 weeks:

  • 2.5 to 3 hour feeding schedule: It is important to feed Sweet Pea every 2.5 to 3 hr. during the day. (We do 8am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm, 8pm, 11pm) This is especially important from weeks 2-4 to establish her body’s metabolism. Sticking to this feeding schedule during the first 4 weeks helps her organize her sleep. This means, at 3 hours if Sweet Pea is sleeping, I wake her up to feed! I cannot tell you how many times I let Little Bug sleep 4-5 hours straight during the day! Then, what do you think she wanted to do at night? Eat! Because she hadn’t gotten those calories she needed during the day. Rookie mistake that I will not make this time around!
  • An exception to this feeding system is growth spurts!! If she is in a growth spurt, she eats whenever she is hungry and the feeding schedule goes out the window until the growth spurt passes. (This happened for her during week 2.)
  • After the 11pm feed, we let Sweet Pea wake on her own to feed. During weeks 2-4, she typically woke in the 2-4am hours and then anywhere from 6-8am. At 6 weeks old, she is typically eating at 11pm and then waking to eat usually in the 3 to 4 am hours. Then she usually wakes again around 7-8am.
  • Sweet Pea’s first feed of the day is 8am. It is important to have Sweet Pea’s first feed be at 8am or within a 30 minute window of that feeding time. Making Sweet Pea’s first feed of the day be consistent daily will help Sweet Pea organize her feed/wake/sleep cycle during the day. The 30 minute window means her first feed can be anywhere from 7:30 to 8:00am.
  • So what happens if Sweet Pea wakes before 8am?? If it is in the "window" I try to hold her off (with paci, holding, etc.) until 8am. If she is screaming for food and it is earlier than 7:30am, I go ahead and feed her but just do not give her a full feed so that she will be hungry at 8am. If it is in the 7am hour I give an ounce or so and see if it will hold her over. If it is in the 6am hour I give her 2ish ounces. If it is anytime before 5am, I give her a full-feed because by 8am, she will be ready to have another full feed. If a half-feed isn’t cutting it for her, of course, I give her a full feed and we just adjust the eating schedule throughout the day until we are back on track.
  • Daytime: With Sweet Pea’s withdrawals, I did not try and force her to have awake time between day time feeds until I could tell she is was ready for this. Around week 3, we started working on wake time between feeds. Taking her out of the swaddle and making the room light but not too bright helped her realize it is daytime and not sleep time and she needed to be awake some throughout the day. Between weeks 3-5ish, I didn’t want to pull out any baby activities for her that might be too over stimulating (because of the drug exposure). So we kept her wake time activities to: siting in bouncy seat, holding her and singing/talking to her, siting in swing (not swinging), laying in crib with mobile on, looking at black and white images that came in the mail with formula (I do want her brain stimulated to some degree asap and as much as possible!!). At 6 weeks I pulled out some baby toys for Sweet Pea but have still not pulled out the playmate. I still feel like that is too stimulating for her at this time.
  • Nighttime feeds: It is very important to keep the nighttime feeds strictly business so that Sweet Pea learns that nighttime is for sleeping, not playing! We do this by not talking to her, feeding her, holding her upright for how ever long she needs and then putting her right back to bed. It helps to change diaper before feed, reswaddle and then feed. Of course in the early weeks she sometimes pooped after a feed and then I still had to change her diaper after feeding. But as a general rule, I try to do the diaper change before the feed so she settles back to sleep while eating.

There are always exceptions to the above guidelines I am following.

For example, I wrote up there that I wake Sweet Pea after 3 hours to eat, even if she is sleeping. If Sweet Pea has had an awful spell or has been extra sensitive to withdrawal symptoms and did not get a good rest in between feeds, I will let Sweet Pea sleep beyond the 3 hour mark so that she can get some rest.

Reflux/gastrointestinal issues, withdrawals and hospital stays have certainly created some challenges to doing BW, but we just do the best we can. I am actually very pleased with how things are going in spite of all these challenges.

After a very chaotic start to life, BW has given me the ability to give Sweet Pea some stability starting at her first few weeks of life. Order and stability go a long way with babies. She is on the right track to developing a healthy, consistent, predictable, eat/wake/sleep cycle!

We are now in the second half of the stabilization period — weeks 5 to 8.

During week 5, BW says that some babies are ready to eat every 2.5 to 3.5 hours.

I’ve kept Sweet Pea on the 3-hour feeding schedule, so far, because with her tummy issues I think eating less more frequently is better for her.

When I notice that she is not eating well every 3 hours, I will extend some feeds to 3.5 hours to give her more time between the feed so she will be more hungry and ready to consume a full feed.

At 6 weeks old, she is still eating very well every 3 hours (3 ounces).

I am SO thankful I have this knowledge the second time around!!