Posted in Infant, Newborn

Baby Schedule Made E.A.S.Y.

I’ve never thought of myself as the type that would want to enforce a schedule for her baby.  I mean, I’m a pretty easy-going go-with-the-flow kind of gal.  When I first came home with my son and started reading feverishly on the web any tidbit of information that could help me out with understanding how to adjust to my new life with a newborn, I was amazed at the sheer quantity of information there was.  Of course, on different subjects, different people have different points of view.  One such subject concerned sleep.  Some say that it’s important to initiate a well-organized routine as soon as possible.  Others believe in living your life around the routine your baby sets.  And, of course, there’s everything in between.

At first, I let my newborn lead my life.  He slept when he was tired.  He ate when he was hungry.  Period.  But, as time went by and he got older (ok, so he’s just past seven weeks old, but he’s already changed a lot), I started to wonder whether I should try to ease him into a schedule.  I realized that I needed some more predictability in my life, especially since my boyfriend was back to work.  I also figured that my baby would probably be comforted by more predictability.  So I read and read and read about sleep and came across one baby whisperer’s take on putting a baby on a schedule.  She calls it E.A.S.Y.

E.A.S.Y. is an acronym (duh!) for Eat, Activity, Sleep, Your time.  It is devilishly simple to remember and to implement.  It is based on a baby’s need to sleep, play and eat and on a parent’s need to have some time of their own.  The method takes into account the baby’s age and so is adapted to consider that a four week old, for instance, will not only need to eat more often than a five month old but will also need more daily nap time hours than a five month old.

With regards to my son, he typically eats every three hours (except when he is going through a growth spurt) so I use a three-hour rotating schedule.  Here is an example:

(E) 7:00 – Wake, nurse, burp

(A) 7:30 – Diaper change / change out of pyjamas and into clothing / various activities such as tummy time or playing with his foot piano.

(S) 8:30 – Whisper to him that he is tired and that it is nap time, go into room, wrap him up in his blankets, rock him, put him into his crib sleepy but not sleeping (ideally).

(Y) As soon as he is asleep – My time (nap and/or shower and/or do some chores…)

(E) 10:00 – Wake up, nurse, burp…

Please note that the hours that I jotted down are only there as examples.  I do not wake him at 7am so that we can start the schedule at exactly that hour.  Also, though I prefer to put him down for naps after active play so that he doesn’t associate nursing with sleep and NEED to nurse to fall asleep in the long run, I don’t force him to stay awake if he can’t keep his eyes open after being nursed, burped and changed.  Furthermore, if, for instance, he ate at 7 and by 9 he looks hungry, I don’t force him to wait an hour before nursing just because he is “supposed” to eat every three hours nor do I force him to nap if he clearly isn’t tired.  I use this schedule in a flexible way based on his cues.  However, it does have some predictability to it.

Honestly *knock on wood*, with regards to naps, it has been going rather well now that I’ve started using this method with my son.  I was actually surprised that he was able to fall asleep after active play rather than after nursing so quickly (just last week I would still put him down after he nursed).  I’ve been able to get him to take about four 1 to 2 hour naps per day for the past three days and so I think that he understands the daytime routine.

I am now gradually implementing the nighttime routine which would look something like this:

(E) 19:00 – Wake, nurse, burp

(A) 19:30 – Bath (with daddy!), change into pyjamas

(S) 20:00 – Whisper to him that it is time for sleep, mom and dad give him a kiss goodnight and either one of us brings him to his room, wraps him up into his blanket, turns on the white noise, sings a lullaby and attempts to rocks him to sleep.

Now this part of the routine isn’t integrated yet.  My son isn’t used to taking his bath every night and so, I think, hasn’t associated the bath with bedtime.  Furthermore, I think he just doesn’t like the dark (this despite the fact that there are two nightlights in his room) because he will generally start to fuss as soon as the lights in his room are turned off.  If within about a quarter-hour, my little one still isn’t sleeping, well, I get out of the rocking chair, get him out of his blankets, , turn off the white noise and bring him back into the living room with his father and I to wait for his next “I’m sleepy” cue (the eye rubbing and yawning usually gives it away).  I’ll keep you posted on how are nights are doing in a couple of weeks.

Of course, not everyone would agree with this method.  I mean, there are several parenting experts out there and thus several ways of seeing child-rearing.  I’m a fan of reading on different methods and then picking and choosing from each one what works best for me.  I am a firm believer that there are as many methods as there are children in the world as no two individuals are alike and so no single copy-pasted method can work for two children.

On the note of different opinions, there is one subject that I haven’t made up my mind on yet: waking a baby to feed.  Though I do wake him during the day to make sure he eats every three hours max, I am inclined to let him sleep at night…up to a certain point.  Last night, I awoke at half past midnight.  My mommy brain knew that my son hadn’t eaten for a little over three hours.  Now, usually, when this happens, I will get out of bed and get my son out of his crib to feed him (waking him in the process).  Last night, however, I forced myself back to sleep (after getting up, going into my son’s room to make sure he actually still had his eyes closed and he was still breathing).  I woke up two hours later, my mommy brain worried because my wonderful son hadn’t eaten in a little over five hours.  This time, I did get out of bed to nurse him even though he was still sleeping peacefully.  I guess I still think my son is much to little, at seven weeks young, to be going so long without eating.

I wonder though, what would you have done?

Posted in Parenting

The Breast is Mightier than the Bottle

Or so they say.

Personally, I breastfeed and I love it.  My breasts don’t hurt, I have more than enough milk, I love the proximity with my baby.  But when the people around me learned that I was pregnant, one of the first questions they asked was “are you going to breastfeed”.  I didn’t think much of it at first and always answered “if I can, I’d like to”.  I mean, for me, it was a no-brainer: it’s practical (no bottles to warm up or carry along when I’m out and about with the baby), cheap (I was shocked when I found out how much formula costs) and good for the baby’s health.  However, there was always an exit door in my answer, always the “if”.

You see, my mother tried to breastfeed.  She really did, really wanted to.  But she didn’t have enough milk for me (or for my little sister, for that matter).  She eventually switched to bottle feeding, after my 1 month appointment, when she learned that I hadn’t gained any weight.  After that, not only did I gain weight, but I also stopped crying so much.

Both my boyfriend and I had kept an open mind about feeding.  I told him that I wanted to try nursing, but not at any cost.  I did not want to put any pressure on myself.  I wasn’t going to start supplementing with a feeding tube whilst I hoped for my milk to come in.  I wasn’t going to cut down my rest and sleep hours even more than they would be because my child was perpetually hungry.  My boyfriend, of course, fully supported my decision.  I think he was even relieved by it; he wouldn’t have to worry about me potentially getting depressed by the thought that I am a failure as a mother because I can’t breastfeed.

I’m happy I made up my mind about this matter quickly, that I decided that I wouldn’t put any pressure on myself, because there was a whole lot of outside pressure.

It’s actually rather troubling, that one of the first questions you are asked by the people around you and the random people you meet is if you are going to breastfeed.  I mean, what do they care?  They are certainly not the ones that are going to be getting up during the night.  They are certainly not the ones whose body is going to change to adapt to its new function.  And they sure as heck are not the ones who will be drinking the milk!  So what do they care?

I was bottle-fed, so were my sister and brother as well as my boyfriend and his sister.  We are all very well adapted to the world and healthy.  Drinking formula sure doesn’t seem to have had a negative impact.  Of course, some might argue that we can’t know how breast milk could have effected us, but who cares!

Though I find it fine to inform a new or expecting mother on the benefits of nursing versus bottle-feeding, it is ultimately the mother’s decision.  Once her decision is made, I believe that no one has the right to put extra pressure on her or judge her.

Would love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

My son, right after a nursing session.
My son, right after a nursing session.
Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review #1: Feeding Your Baby the Healthiest Foods

When she came over to visit, my aunt talked to me about a book by Louise Lambert Lagacé, a Quebec dietician with many years of experience in the matter.  After doing a quick Google search, I jotted down the title and went to take a peek at my local bookstore.  After a quick glance, I decided to buy it.

I found its presentation to be alluring and its contents varied and well organized.  Lagacé’s book contains information on the ideal diet for a woman to be following pre, peri and post pregnancy.  It also includes menu suggestions for the breastfeeding woman, taking inyo account that some will ultimately be cutting out dairy and some will be vegetarian or even vegan – though she does strongly suggest that the vegan moms consult a dietician.

Among other subjects, the author dedicates a section to the benefits of breastfeeding and moves on to giving cues that identify when a baby is ready for solids as well as giving advice on which solids to introduce first.  Finally, a great number of baby food recipes are presented at the end of the book.

Despite all of the positive points that the book has, I will allow myself to offer some constructive criticism on two points.  Firstly, the English edition of the book dates back nearly ten years (2003) and so would not include the updated information found in the French edition (which is the one I bought) that was published in 2010.  Secondly, though the book covers breastfeeding very well, it almost passes under silence bottle-feeding even if there is a whole chapter about woman who can’t breastfeed.  In this chapter, the author seems to consider the reasons woman give to not breastfeed to be poor excuses and she basically shoots down each “excuse” one after the other.  On a personal note, though I do breastfeed, I find that there is too great a social pressure on woman nowadays to do so.  Ultimately, I think that though it is important to know the benefits of nursing versus bottle feeding, it is a mother’s choice in the end and her decision should not be judged.

All in all though, I highly recommend this book to all women who are either trying to conceive, pregnant or have given birth recently (think of it as a way to fill some of your sleepless nights!).