When aliens came to visit

I would probably consider myself a “Sleep Nazi”, meaning there is not much that I will allow my children to miss sleep over. If it is naptime, we are home so they can nap and if it is bedtime, we are home so they can go to bed on time.

While on vacation I allowed for some missed sleep for both girls here and there and oh.my.goodness. Saturday evening, we thought our kids had been abducted by aliens and replaced with two girls who were cranky, whining, and having a meltdown over seriously every.little.thing. It was NUTS! Absolutely NUTS!

In Sweet Pea’s defense, she hadn’t reached that stage…yet! Probably because I did guard her sleep a little more than Little Bug’s because she is still so young and an overtired baby is absolutely no fun.

But Little Bug? Wow. The kid was delirious by bedtime. The combination of waking up early (which she does EVERY SINGLE TIME we go on vacation) and some shorter naps and she was a complete mess on Saturday. It is simply amazing what a lack of sleep will do to a kid!!

I was beginning to see signs of being overtired in Sweet Pea, too. She was not sleeping as long for her naps, and she was waking up early in the morning – two sure signs of an overtired baby.

Saturday night we put both girls to bed before 8pm. Sweet Pea hit the sack at 7:25 and Little Bug at 7:55. I don’t think I have ever seen Little Bug so tired in her life! I laid her in bed, told her goodnight and she turned her head and said, “Okay, I’m going to go to sleep now.” No adjustments in her blanket needed. No “one more hug/kiss” needed. She just needed sleep and she knew it! I bet she was asleep before I even closed her door. Sweet Pea woke up at 7:35am and Little Bug woke up around 7:50am. So both girls FINALLY slept 12 hours and got a good night’s sleep.

Early bedtimes really are the best “cure” for being overtired. Often times the misconception is that if you put a baby (or child) to bed early, they will wake up early. And while both of my girls woke up about half an hour earlier than their normal wake up times, (since they both usually wake between 8 and 8:15am), they got 12 hours of sleep and that is what is important when a baby/child is overtired. They just need sleep because sleep begets sleep. And since babies tend to wake earlier if they stay up later, early bedtimes are the best solution to help a baby get out of being overtired because babies tend to sleep longer the earlier they go to bed.

Vacation only reiterated to me that my “Sleep Nazi” ways are not insane. Smile Sure it is very inconvenient at times to respect our kids’ need to sleep, but in the big picture, it truly is worth the sacrifices that must be made to have well rested children. Especially after dealing with those space aliens on Saturday night!

This is just my (humble) opinion but I think so many times it is just assumed that tantrums, whining and having meltdowns over everything is just “part of being a baby/toddler/preschooler”. I am certainly not saying that my children never throw fits or whine! (In fact, they do this when they are well-rested, but that is a matter of teaching and training a baby/child the correct ways to communicate what they want/need.) But what I am saying is that behavior is not the norm for my children and I do believe it is directly correlated with the fact that 95% of the time, they are well-rested. It is only when they are not well rested that I start to see an influx of these behaviors. Like I did on that Saturday night!

I would rather deal with sticking to nap schedules than having to deal with tantrums and whininess on a daily basis. Children do not have to behave like that – if they are well rested – and it is my belief that the majority of those types of behaviors can be eliminated if the baby/child is getting the sleep that they need every day. (At least it seems to work that way for my children.)

Once we got back from vacation we stayed home for two days straight. I put both girls down for early bedtimes and early naptimes to get them rested again.

And before you think we have no fun around here, we certainly do! There is a time for everything though, and when it is time to sleep, we will be home napping so the crazies stay away from my kiddos! Smile

Last week was exhausting!!

Full Swing

Summer is in full swing around here!

Uncle (my brother) is in town and Little Bug is one happy little girl about that. She wakes up every morning saying, “Are we going to see Uncle today?” The answer is usually, “Yes!”. Uncle has two more semesters in seminary and then we hope he will be back for good!

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Taking away milk time apparently got the message across that climbing out of her crib is unacceptable because, since that morning earlier this week, she hasn’t done it again.

I am actually less worried about the crib to bed transition now! I was mostly concerned with how I would get her to stay in her bed until I come get her in the morning, but we’ve pretty much established that rule this week so I don’t think it will be difficult to carry it over to the toddler bed when we make the transition at the end of this month.

I’ve decided to go for it (the transition) at the end of this month once things settle down a little bit.

Here is her little toddler bed. I think it is just adorable!

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Napping is another story. She is still playing for over an hour (but…in her crib!!) before finally going to sleep. For now, I will just continue with naptime consistently and hopefully she will start sleeping again because she obviously still needs a nap. She’s been going to bed at 8pm lately to help catch up on missed sleep from naptime.

Party planning is also in full swing as Little Bug’s Minnie Mouse party is this weekend! Some of the décor is currently sitting in my bathtub to keep it out of eager little hands’ reach.

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Did you know spray paint eats Styrofoam balls? I did not until yesterday when I sprayed one and it melted away to half it’s original size! Back to Michael’s I went for tempera paint which worked great.

Summer break for my blog will be the week of June 18th. No posting that week as I take a break from blogging.

We are in the middle of getting the hardwood floors done in the hallways. It looks awesome, even though it has been a HUGE ordeal getting the materials to be able to do the work. After numerous wrong orders, it is all finally in, and the installer should be coming soon to finish up the job. (The floors are all laid. We are just waiting on some trim and the transitions from carpet to wood.) I am so glad that nasty-could-not-keep-clean hallway carpet is out of this house!

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And…I’ll leave you with this. Sweet Pea, in the crawling position, but not crawling! I was trying to get her to go after that ball you can see there in the background.

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Hope you are off to a great summer and have some fun things planned!!

A Cup of Milk

Little Bug keeps me on my toes.

For the past few weeks she has started not going to sleep right away at naptime. Naptime is 2pm and after hearing her play in her crib for a while, I would go in her room at 2:15ish and tell her to go to sleep and she would.

Then things escalated from there. The past few days I’ve found myself going in there multiple times from 2-3ish, telling her to go to sleep and taking friends out of her bed if she doesn’t.

Then yesterday, she did the unimaginable – although I have learned to put nothing past this girl!

I put Little Bug down for a nap at my parents’ house and left for the Crisis Pregnancy Center.

At 3pm, after hearing strange sounds, my mom opened Little Bug’s door to find she had climbed out of her crib, turned the lights on, pulled numerous wipes out of the container and made a mess all over the room.

When I got back from the center, I talked to Little Bug about what she had done. We talked about sleep time rules: lay down, close eyes and go to sleep. Then, I talked to her about the danger of climbing out of her crib. (And yes, I realize it is time for a big girl bed. Thanks for your comments yesterday! We have lots of out of town family coming and going during the month of June so I want to wait until things calm down towards the end of June and then we are going for it.)

This morning, while warming Sweet Pea’s bottle, I noticed Little Bug’s light was on in her bedroom. I opened her door and found her sitting in the middle of her room, playing with a toy. She said, “I’m just playing with this.”

I calmly picked her up and told her, “You must stay in your bed until Mommy comes to get you.” I closed the door and left to go feed Sweet Pea and talk to Dave.

But first I prayed that God would give us wisdom on how to handle this because the issue had become more than just needing to adjust nap time or making sure she was good and worn out before laying down for a nap. (Little Bug still needs a nap. When she does not get one, by dinnertime, you can tell.)

A friend had suggested to me that I needed to take something away from her that would be a big deal to her. So I got to thinking. What could be taken away?

Dave and I started talking about this and I threw out the idea of “no TV”. Little Bug watches a 20-30 minute show while I feed Sweet Pea at noon. We didn’t really think that would be effective because the consequence wouldn’t be immediate upon waking up for the day.

Then I thought of “milk time” and as much as I hated to take this away from her, I knew that was the something that would speak to her the loudest that her disobedience is unacceptable.

I could already see the alligator tears that would be pouring from her eyes when she learned she had lost “milk time” and, I also felt like a mean Mommy.

But I knew it was the right thing to do to hopefully solve this issue.

When Sweet Pea was finished with her bottle, I left her in bed with her Daddy and walked to Little Bug’s room.

“Little Bug, what did you do this morning?”

“I climbed out of my crib.”

“Did you choose to obey Mommy?”

“No.”

The stinker was smiling through this whole conversation. It is one thing to do something wrong and then be sorry for it, but to smile and be proud of the wrong you have done? Help me raise this child, Lord, ‘cause this isn’t something I can do on my own strength!

I started talking about the story of Adam and Eve. I said, “Little Bug, did Adam and Eve obey God?”

She quickly said, “No they did not.”

I asked her, “What happened?”

“I don’t know.” Good answer, kid, since we have only talked about and read this story about a million times since your birth.

So I prompted her, “What did God tell them not to do?”

“Eat the apple.”

“And what did they do, Little Bug?”

“They ate the apple.”

“So did they obey or disobey God?”

“They disobeyed God.”

I then explained to Little Bug that Adam and Eve sinned when they chose to eat the apple and that sin always has consequences. Adam and Eve’s consequence was that they had to leave the garden.

Little Bug looked up at me and asked, “What is my consequence?” The smiling faded. She knew this wasn’t good. Finally.

And then I told her, “You chose to disobey Mommy. That is called sin when you disobey Mommy. Sin always has consequences. Your consequence is that you will not be able to have your milk time this morning.”

And then the buckets of tears fell right on cue as Little Bug realized her choice of disobedience cost her “milk time”.

It was in that moment that I realized something, too.

I felt horrible taking her milk time away but better for her to learn a lesson in sin and their consequences with climbing out of a crib and losing “milk time” at age three, than to learn with something like premarital sex and pregnancy at the age of 16.

Little Bug doesn’t need me to ensure her happiness and pleasures in this life. This morning she needed a mother that was willing to stand in the gap between learning to choose wisely in this life and being left to flounder around without clear boundaries and standards.

And, thank God, the only loss suffered this morning was a cup of milk.

I learned something invaluable too.

These are the moments God is giving me to mold and shape the heart of my little girl so that she will hopefully one day grow up and love our Lord and desire to do what is right and pure. I cannot allow myself to fall prey to the lies out there that would suggest my daughter’s happiness is more important than teaching her that sin has consequences.

No, it is my greatest responsibility and privilege to teach Little Bug, at the age of 3, that sin always has consequences. The choices we make have consequences and while our sins are forgiven because of Christ’s death on the cross, the consequences of our sin live with us forever.

Today was humbling for me because I feel so inadequate for this job of bringing this (stubborn, hard-headed) child up in the Lord! I must just press on and trust that God will continue the work He has already started in the life of this precious child.

And that she will learn these lessons well and only have to lose her cup of milk.

the night in which I forgot to turn the monitor on

Sweet Pea’s room is around the corner and down the hall from our bedroom. We sleep with a fan running so I have it in my mind that I have to have the monitor on with Sweet Pea because I am afraid I won’t hear her otherwise.

With Little Bug, I stopped using the monitor pretty soon after she moved into her bedroom because I was waking at every little sound she would make through the night and it just wasn’t necessary for me to hear that! I turned the monitor off, left her door cracked and if she ever cried in the night (which was rare), I could hear her, no problem.

Saturday night I was very tired because Sweet Pea had woken at 5am and been up for about an hour fussing and talking. So, when I went to bed (early for me) I totally forgot to turn the monitor on!

At 7:30am my eyes popped open and I couldn’t believe it was daylight outside. For weeks now, I’ve been awakened (by Sweet Pea) anywhere from 3-6am and it is still dark outside. I checked the time on my phone and then it hit me like a ton of bricks: Oh no!!! I forgot to turn the monitor on last night!!!

I jumped out of bed to double check the monitor and sure enough, it was off. So I bolted down the hallway towards Sweet Pea’s bedroom. I didn’t go in but I just stood there listening and much to my complete surprise, all was perfectly quiet…at 7:30am!!

I went back to bed with a quick stop to turn the monitor on. About 10 minutes later, I started to hear sweet little babble noises coming from the monitor.

I am pretty confident Sweet Pea slept from 8pm to 7:40ish!! When I went in to get her, I could tell she looked completely rested, she was all smiles and very alert. She didn’t look like she has looked several mornings this past week when she would wake and stay awake for about 1 to 1.5 hours before falling back to sleep for less than an hour before I would get her up at 8am to start the day.

The next night, I turned the monitor on but kept the volume very low. This solution is working so that I will be able to hear cries if I am needed but I won’t hear if she just wakes and talks for half an hour before going back to sleep.

CIO: What happened

I decided to go ahead and publish the notes I took on what happened as I let Sweet Pea cry it out mainly because of the bad reputation CIO gets. I want anyone who reads this (and might be totally against CIO) to see that it can be done responsibly.

Night 1 (February 10th):

Sweet Pea was in bed at 8pm, with one arm not swaddled so that she could find her thumb/fingers during the night if she wanted to use those to self-soothe. I gave her the paci and as I expected, because her arm was out of the swaddle, she was able to knock her paci out and she started fussing. (This is the main reason she is still swaddled at 6 months old!) I went back in and adjusted things a little bit and she went right to sleep, paci in mouth.

Sweet Pea woke at 5:45am. I heard her on the monitor and was walking to her room because, instead of giving her the paci, I was going to walk in and make sure she had access to her thumb/fingers and tell her it was okay and she needed to go back to sleep.

Just as I got to her bedroom door I had second thoughts about going in right away. I decided to not go in right away and wait for her to be really crying before I went in.

By 6:15am (30 minutes after she woke up) she was still minimally fussing, off and on. By 6:45ish she had started to let out some “hard” cries, but there was no intense crying that persisted for any length of time. I still had not entered her room because she never got really worked up.

Then, around 7am, the monitor was quiet. I have a video monitor, but it wasn’t pointed at Sweet Pea so I could not see what she was doing at all. I didn’t want to go in there until she was really worked up, so I was never able to point it at her to see her. But after 7am, I never heard her again, so I assume she did fall back to sleep, although I can’t be 100% certain.

I went in her bedroom at 8am to get her up and she was laying there, eyes open, both arms out of her swaddle. (Guess that is what she was working on from 5:45 to 7am!) And she was happy as a lark and greeted me with her usual big Sweet Pea smile.

Because it was a Saturday, the plan was Dave would get up with the girls and I would go back to bed. I told him to keep her stimulation to a very minimum and to watch closely for signs of being tired.

She stayed up till her normal naptime of 9:30am and then took her normal 2-hour nap. I was so afraid of her being overtired from being up so long before this nap, but because she was able to sleep well for this nap, it makes me think even further that she was able to go back to sleep on her own around 7am. (For nap she was completely swaddled and given the paci. My motto is “don’t fix something that isn’t broken” and, so far, there have been no nap issues with the paci, so I left things as they are for naps.)

Compared to Little Bug’s first CIO session, Sweet Pea’s was a breeze. But, that is my daughters for you: Little Bug=drama and Sweet Pea=no drama. Smile

Night 2 (February 11th):

As perfect timing would have it, I think Sweet Pea’s 6 month growth spurt is here or at least on the horizon because she woke from her 2nd nap early and crying, which has always been her sign that she is having a growth spurt. So, I got her and fed her and she was definitely hungry.

Then, I was thinking…Great! I can’t let her CIO if she is going through a growth spurt because if there is ever any doubt in my mind that my babies could be crying because of anything other than just needing to go to sleep and stay asleep, I don’t let them CIO.

I was stumped as to what to do because I also know consistency is KEY in doing CIO effectively.

And then I remembered that we could always do a dreamfeed! So, we gave her a dreamfeed at 11:30pm so that if she woke in the night I would still be able to let her CIO. However, I knew because of the growth spurt issue, I wouldn’t be able to let the crying go on for a long time because it could have been possible for her to need another feed before waketime because of the growth spurt. Not ideal circumstances for CIO, but because I had started, I wasn’t turning back and losing the progress she had already made.

Well, as it turns out, Sweet Pea didn’t make a peep until 7:30am! She woke up happy and talking.

11 hours of sleep. Night 2. Awesome.

Night 3 (February 12th):

Another uneventful night! She went to bed at 8pm. She woke up at 7am. It seems Sweet Pea might be an 11-hour sleeper, instead of 12.

We did give her another dreamfeed last night because it is apparent she is in a growth spurt.

Night 4 (February 13th):

Went to bed at 8:30pm and woke at 6:50am. Still gave the dreamfeed.

Night 5 (February 14th):

Went to bed at 8pm and woke at 7:15am, with an 11:30pm dreamfeed.

***

It is seriously amazing to me how CIO fixes things, just like that. And with Sweet Pea, I can hardly call what she did on that first night crying-it-out. It was more like fussing-it-out, but, it worked and my child did not get damaged in the process!!

All she got was sleep. Uninterrupted sleep, which is a priceless gift that I had the ability to give to my baby.

***

It’s the morning of February 17th and Sweet Pea woke at 5am. I let her CIO and she fussed-it-out and is asleep now. (And I am still awake, of course.) It’s not usual for babies to do this, apparently. They kinda spiral back and forth for a little bit after sleep training.

Also, Sweet Pea is needing some adjustments made to her daytime schedule, I think. I’m working to figure that out to hopefully help her sleep better through the night. Hopefully, by her 7 month update, we will have things worked out.

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.

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!