Posted in Parenting

Sleeping Arrangements

Ahhh, peacefully sleeping.

Ever since we brought Charles home roughly 16 months ago, we’ve had to make several changes to our/his sleeping arrangements.  I thought I’d break down what changed when for future reference (y’know, so I don’t wonder how we managed when Peanut comes along 😉 ).

The newborn phase

Since a newborn’s circadian rhythm isn’t programmed the way ours is (from my understanding, that happens around 4 months) they have no conception of the difference between day and night.  Knowing this, we decided to establish a visible difference between naps and nighttime sleep from the getgo.  During the day, the little guy slept in his moses basket wherever his father and I were hanging out.  During nights, though we considered many options (co-sleeping, having a cot in our room…), we decided to get him used to sleeping in his own crib in his own room.  Since his room is right next to ours, we just kept both bedroom doors opened and we could hear him very quickly when he awoke for a feed in the middle of the night (or, rather I woke up very quickly – often my partner didn’t even hear him).

We swaddled him for the first week or two before stopping because he just seemed to hate it.

P1000770
1 week old and snoozing away in the living room.

Eventually, when the little guy started too get big for his basket, we moved him to a baby park bed for his daytime naps.  We also started to swaddle again when he was about 6 weeks old and his moro reflex (startle reflex) started to kick in.

2 months old.  The swaddle is officially back.
2 months old. The swaddle is officially back.

The infant phase

At around the age of 4 months, we felt that Charles was ready to do his naps in his own room and so that’s where he went.  We were still swaddling (as he was still aaaages away from being able to roll) and we had started using the pacifier sparingly to help him settle down for naps when he was overtired.  Except the “sparingly” part eventually led to “frequently” and so we began our road down pacifier hell.

Weaning off the pacifier and the swaddle

By the time Charles was nearly 6 months old, I was way past the mombie phase because I had to keep on replugging the darned pacifier all night long.  I was also getting frustrated with my little Houdini’s ability to break out of every single swaddle, no matter how tight or how creative and so, after trying a gentle method  of pacifier removal (Pantley’s gentle removal), I decided to embark on the sleep training wagon get rid or both the paci and the swaddle cold turkey with the baby whisperer’s PU/PD method.  It was hard, but it ended up paying off.  Oh and this is when we invested in a lovey and when we started using a white noise machine for his sleep.

Of course, the little guy was very happy with his newfound liberty…

…and he got himself into a whole bunch of weird positions…

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Looks…um…comfortable…

6 months to 16 months

…so we ended up setting his mattress to the lowest setting and we decided to invest in some sleep sacks.

Isn't a sleeping baby the cutest thing!
Isn’t a sleeping baby the cutest thing!

It took a while, but eventually, Charles started to really “get” what a lovey was meant to be used for.  When he was about 12 months old, he would grab on to his lovey when it was story time and keep hold of it when I set him in his bed.  A couple of months later, he would recognize it by name and go get it when we asked him where his friend the ghost (that’s what his lovey is called ’round here) was.  Then, at about 15 months, he started to go and grab it by himself as soon as he was out of the tub and in his pyjamas.

16 months onwards

A couple of weeks ago, after months of pretty smooth sailing when it came to putting him down for naps and bedtime, Charles started to get into a fit when it was time for bed.  Thinking that he had developed a fear of the dark, we started to turn on the little nightlight that comes with his white noise machine.  Then, one night, out of the blue, he reached out for one of his blankies.  I’d never let him sleep with one before because I’m a scaredy cat when it comes to sleep and the possibility that he might suffocate himself (he also doesn’t have any bumpers on his bed or any stuffed animals with him), but I figured that if he was old enough to ask for it, he was old enough to sleep with it (of course, there’s also the fact that he is super mobile now).  He was very happy and now grabs both his lovey and blankie once he’s in his sleepsack and ready for bed.  For the record, this is the shop where I bought the sleepsack from (seen below with a dinosaur print).  I’m not affiliated with the Etsy shop owner in any way, I was just so in love with the product (I mean, it has feet holes which means that my son can walk around in it and easily move around once he’s down for sleep!) that I decided to give it a shout out here.

Blankie: check, lovey: check, sleep sack: check.  Ready for his bedtime story!
Blankie: check, lovey: check, sleep sack: check. Ready for his bedtime story!

Another change in preparation

In preparation for Peanut’s arrival, Charles will be going through another sleeping arrangement change.  We have decided that the baby will be moving into the nursery that Little Dude is sleeping in right now and that the little guy will be moving to a “big boy room”.  We’ll be moving him to a floor bed so that he’ll be able to get in and out on his own and he’ll be allowed to bring stuffed animals to bed with him if he wants to.  I’m really excited (and, let’s face it, anxious) to see how the transition will go.  I will definitely be keeping you guys posted when we go through the move this summer.

What do the sleeping arrangements look like in your household?

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Posted in Infant, Parenting

What Do You Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed?

Because that’s how I’m feeling right now.

I don’t know how to go about writing this.  I don’t want this post to seem like I’m wallowing in self-pity, but something needs to come out and this is one of the only ways I know how.

I just got off the phone with my partner who announced that he’d be home around 7.  I wasn’t even able to finish the conversation in a civilized manner; I hung up quickly and burst into tears.  I don’t remember ever being so emotional, but these past few days (or weeks, or months – honestly, I don’t know) have been trying.

I feel as though I can’t catch a break.  When my son was a newborn, I was nursing for hours at a time, then he hit a growth spurt, then we started having problems with gas, after that we entered the “wonderful” world of wonder weeks.  Then came sleep deprivation due to prop dependency (where I was getting up 10+ times a night for a month just to put the pacifier back in) followed by sleep training, a tendonitis for me, teething, a growth spurt/wonder week combo and now, teething again.

I feel like all I do all day is try to function.  My son has taken to screaming at different moments; I never know when it’s going to happen.  Sometimes it’ll be for naps, or at bedtime or when he wakes up in the middle of the night.  Other times it’ll be when I sit him down on the floor or when I change his diaper.  It’s maddening because it just goes on and on and on.  And then, I have people around me asking me how are things.  All I can say is “good” (that *is* the correct answer, right?).  What do you want me to say?  I have no idea what an easy baby and what a difficult baby are like.

I’ve never had so many headaches in my life.  I’ve never cried so much in so few days.  My home is a mess – even by my standards – and I feel so alone – and feel guilty about it.

I’m lucky enough to be on paid maternity leave, I gave birth in November and am only going back to work in August.  My partner tries to help with a lot of things, but I think he’s feeling a little overwhelmed with how to manage work (he’s been having to put in extra hours), house chores, and this little human that’s taking up so much room in our lives.  I go out because otherwise I’d go crazy, but while I’m going out, I’m not taking care of the house and I’m not resting.  I love my son to death and I wouldn’t go back to my pre-baby life; he brings too much joy in my life.  But sometimes, like right now, I just feel like I’m losing it.

How do you stay at home moms/dads do it?  How do you working moms/dads do it?  How do you single parents do it?  Please tell me that I am not the only one.

I never thought that becoming would be easy.  But I also never thought that 6 months in, I would become an emotional mess at times.

There.  I said it.  I feel somewhat better.  I think.

Posted in Parenting

The Secret To Baby Sleep!

Reblogged from http://starcrossedkayla.tumblr.com

I went on amazon and bought all the top books on baby sleep and development. I read through them all, as well as several blogs and sleep websites. I gathered lots of advice.

You shouldn’t sleep train at all, before a year, before 6 months, or before 4 months, but if you wait too late, your baby will never be able to sleep without you. College-aged children never need to be nursed, rocked, helped to sleep, so don’t worry about any bad habits. Nursing, rocking, singing, swaddling, etc to sleep are all bad habits and should be stopped immediately. White noise will help them fall asleep. White noise, heartbeart sounds, etc, don’t work. Naps should only be taken in the bed, never in a swing, carseat, stroller, or when worn. Letting them sleep in the carseat or swing will damage their skulls. If your baby has trouble falling asleep in the bed, put them in a swing, carseat, stroller, or wear them.

Put the baby in a nursery, bed in your room, in your bed. Cosleeping is the best way to get sleep, except that it can kill your baby, so never, ever do it. If your baby doesn’t die, you will need to bedshare until college.

Use the same cues as night: cut lights, keep the house quiet and still. Differentiate naps from nightly sleep by leaving the lights on and making a regular amount of noise. Keep the room warm, but not too warm. Swaddle the baby tightly, but not too tightly. Put them on their back to sleep, but don’t let them be on their backs too long or they will be developmentally delayed. Give them a pacifier to reduce SIDS. Be careful about pacifiers because they can cause nursing problems and stop your baby from sleeping soundly. If your baby sleeps too soundly, they’ll die of SIDS.

Don’t let your baby sleep too long, except when they’ve been napping too much, then you should wake them. Never wake a sleeping baby. Any baby problem can be solved by putting them to bed earlier, even if they are waking up too early. If your baby wakes up too early, put them to bed later or cut out a nap. Don’t let them nap after 5 pm. Sleep begets sleep, so try to get your child to sleep as much as possible. Put the baby to bed awake but drowsy. Don’t wake the baby if it fell asleep while nursing.

You should start a routine and keep track of everything. Not just when they sleep and how long, but how long it has been between sleep, how many naps they’ve had per day, and what you were doing before they slept. Have a set time per day that you put them to bed. Don’t watch the clock. Put them on a schedule. Scheduling will make your life impossible because they will constantly be thrown off of it and you will become a prisoner in your home.

Using CIO will make them think they’ve been abandoned and will be eaten by a lion shortly. It also causes brain damage. Not getting enough sleep will cause behavior and mental problems, so be sure to put them to sleep by any means necessary, especially CIO, which is the most effective form. Extinction CIO is cruel beyond belief and the only thing that truly works because parents are a distraction. The Sleep Lady Shuffle and Ferber method are really CIO in disguise or Controlled Crying and so much better than Extinction. All three of these will prevent your child from ever bonding with you in a healthy way. Bedsharing and gentler forms of settling will cause your child to become too dependent on you.

Topping the baby off before bed will help prevent night wakings. When babies wake at night, it isn’t because they are hungry. If the baby wants to nurse to sleep, press on the baby’s chin to close its mouth. Don’t stop the baby from nursing when asleep because that doesn’t cause a bad habit. Be wary of night feeds. If you respond too quickly with food or comfort, your baby is manipulating you. Babies can’t manipulate. Babies older than six months can manipulate.
Sleep when the baby sleeps. Clean when the baby cleans. Don’t worry. Stress causes your baby stress and a stressed baby won’t sleep.

Well, that clears things up!  Not that we have any problems with sleep around here… *whistles innocently*.

Posted in Infant, Parenting

Ditching the Paci and Swaddle: “Cold Turkey” Style!

It is time.

Today is the day.

Batten down the hatches!

Today, we get rid of the pacifier AND the swaddle. (Today, being three days ago when I started writing this post, by the way)

Bear with me folks.  This ain’t for the faint of heart.

Think I’m crazy?  Stick with me as I make my case.

Exhibit A : The Pacifier

It may well look inoffensive and all with its small size and cute patterns, but in our household this little thing has become the weapon of all weapons in my son’s fight against sleep (mine, not his).  You see, around here, these nipple replacements have become what are known as ‘props’.

In the world of parenting, a prop is defined as an action or object that a baby is dependent upon to fall asleep AND cannot control.  For instance, for a baby who can only fall asleep in his swing, the swing would be a prop because he doesn’t know how to fall asleep any other way and he is unable to control the swing.  In the case of my son, the pacifier had become a prop because though he needed to comfort suck in order to fall asleep, the only way he was able to do that was with a pacifier.  And since he was unable to put the pacifier back in when it fell out or he pulled it out accidentally, it had become a prop as either his father or myself (or any other caregiver for that matter) had to stick the thing (back) in.

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while know of my initial internal battle with regards to introducing the pacifier.  Then, once it became a problem, you were able to read about my use of Pantley’s gentle removal as described in her book The No-Cry Sleep Solution.  To be fair, the no-cry method actually did work in reducing night wakings (NW) due to my son waking up without the pacifier in his mouth and he went from 15 NW to 3 in a manner of days.  However, he still needed someone to initially stick the pacifier in and then stay with him to pull it out before he fell asleep and so, he still wasn’t learning to fall asleep on his own.  There was also the fact that we had only managed to use the gentle removal for bedtime sleep because using it for naps cut into his daytime sleep too much.

In sum, the paci had to go.  But this little thing was not my only problem.

Exhibit B: The Swaddle

Swaddling is an art that every parent should learn.  In the weeks following birth, swaddling really helps in providing a feeling of security in a newborn by allowing them to feel the snugness they felt in the womb as well as containing their limbs when the moro reflex (also known as the startle reflex) kicks in while they sleep.  Now swaddling really saved us when Charles was about 6 weeks old.  But as time went by, it too became a prop.  When he outgrew his receiving blankets, I bought a “swaddle me” blanket (and was in awe over the awesomeness of the velcro).  When he outgrew that, I started using a bedsheet and experimented with various swaddling techniques.  The problem is that as time went by, he managed to break out of every swaddle, no matter how tight.  I would change my way of swaddling and he would do great for a couple of days – until he worked out how to break out of the new method.  And so, not only was I getting up at night (and going in during early wakings from naps) to replug the pacifier, I was also having to reswaddle.  This is generally a surefire sign that it is time to wean off the swaddle.

Then, my son started to figure out that he could probably roll – both ways.  Though he’s not quite there yet, I know it’s just a matter of time.  Once a baby is able to roll from back to tummy, it becomes dangerous to swaddle, because they could end up on their tummy and not be able to clear their face from the mattress.  Not good!  Just the thought of this happening got me worked up enough to not allow me to sleep peacefully because I started becoming worried that he would figure out how to roll when he was sleeping.  (Perhaps I shouldn’t have worried, but I did and since I already have problems with insomnia, I figured I would remove one of the aspects that could cause my hyperactive brain to go into overdrive).

And so, the swaddle had to go.

Oh but wait a minute!  I bet you’re wondering why I didn’t just ditch the swaddle but keep the pacifier, right?  I mean, it sounds so cruel to get rid of both at the same time AND do it cold turkey (I know, I know, I should change my blog to “meanie mommy” right?).  But you see, what you don’t know is that when my son is not swaddled, or when my son is partially swaddled (because we actually DID try to wean from the swaddle progressively) he grabs on to the ring of his pacifier and pulls it out of his mouth and then throws it because he’s unable to stick it back in.  Those of you who know what it’s like to frantically search for the pacifier that was thrown on the ground in a pitch dark room in the middle of the night while trying to calm down your screaming baby know why the pacifier had to go as well.

Am I sounding defensive?  Perhaps I am.  But I know that despite the fact that I took away my son’s two comfort items-that-had-become-props and have done it cold turkey I am still a good mom.  My son is not a “poor baby” because mommy took his pacifier away.  My son is developmentally ready to learn the skills necessary to help him SELF-soothe.  ‘Tis the first step in his independence which, ultimately is the goal of each parent, right?  Allowing their children to develop the skills to become independent.

The method

So, do you want to know how I’m going about this cold turkey weaning?  Of course you do!  I’m using Tracy Hogg’s Pick Up Put Down (PUPD) method as described in her last book The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems.  Below is an “in the nutshell” description of the method for a baby in the 4-6 month age range.

Step 1: You put your baby down without his props after a proper wind-down routine.

Step 2: When he starts to cry, you try to soothe him from his crib by speaking to him in a calm and reassuring manner and by using any other appropriate method (I usually rub his tummy or tap on his thigh).

Step 3: If and when his cry becomes distressed, you pick him up and hold him upright as though you were burping him.  You don’t jiggle around, just stand there and continue to reassure him with words and touch (for instance, rubbing his back).

Step 4: You put your baby back down in his crib:

-As soon as he calms down, or;

-After 2-3 minutes, or;

-If he fights you (arches his back, burrows his head…).

Rinse and repeat until your baby is asleep.

Tips:

– It’s important to try to soothe from the crib first.  Eventually, you’ll want to get yourself out of sight and reassure only with your voice.
– If your baby starts to cry on the way back down to his crib, you still put him all the way down on in his crib and try to soothe from there before picking him back up.
– If your baby still isn’t asleep after 40 minutes, take him out of the room for a change of scenery for 5-10 minutes and try again for another 40 minutes after that.
– Start with the first nap of the day so that you baby will have had some practice before bedtime.
– GET SOME SUPPORT!  I made sure my partner was on board with me before starting this.  We are doing it together.  Support is crucial.  To give you an idea, just imagine how hard it is going to be, how loudly your baby is going to cry, how long it will take before your baby finally falls asleep the first few times and tell yourself it is going to be worse than what you can imagine.  To be honest, I could NOT have done this without support from both my partner and the wonderful ladies from the PUPD board at the baby whisperer website.
– Know that there will be a regression at about 8 days when your baby will try for one last time (can last a couple of days) to go back to the old ways.

Progress (the word we all want to hear)!

We are on day 4 right now.  The first time we tried this method, it took 1.5h of continued crying, soothing and PUPD before my son fell asleep out of sheer exhaustion and he only slept for 25 minutes.  This morning, he was down for his nap in about 10 minutes and I only had to soothe him with my voice.  I was also able to extend his nap (after a diaper/bed sheet/pyjama change because he was very wet after I failed to put the thing on properly) for the first time in four days!

Key points

A couple of key points that stuck out for me while reading Hogg’s book.  This (and progress, and support) is what is allowing me to keep on going:

  • Start as you mean to go – don’t start this method if you’re not 100% committed to seeing it through.  Give it about 2 weeks.  You don’t want to go back to your old ways after starting this on account of it being too hard.  It’s not fair to put your baby through so much crying (even despite the fact that you’re there to reassure him) for nothing.

I rest my case.

Related posts

The Battle For Sleepytime: Nights 4 & 5: Oh How Life Has Changed

Sleep Training: Brooklyn Piglet

Posted in Infant, Parenting

The Irritating Pacifier

19:40 – Baby’s asleep

21:00 – Mommy goes to bed

21:00 – Baby wakes up, mommy puts pacifier back in

22:40 – Baby wakes up, mommy puts pacifier back in

23:00, 23:20, 23:45, 2:00, 3:35, 4:10, 5:10, 6:15 – Baby wakes up, mommy puts pacifier back in.

This is getting really old really fast…

…especially given that it started at the tail end of my son’s 3 month growth spurt and has gotten progressively worse over time.  We’re talking weeks of profound sleep-deprivation here folks, not days, weeks!  I’m not sure my body even knows how to sleep anymore.  Seriously, I am waaaaaaay past the mombie state right now.

Sooooo, I decided that I was going to wean my son off the stupid thing of it.

There are many ways to do this, but I decided that in order to save my sanity and eardrums, I would first try the Pantley’s Gentle Removal as explained in her book: The No-Cry Sleep Solution.

Basically, the method goes something like this:

1.  You let your pacifier (or breast, or bottle) addict suck until s/he gets drowsy and the sucking slows.

2.  You put your finger in the corner of your little one’s (LO) mouth to break the seal and remove the pacifier.

3.  You place a finger under LOs chin to gently keep it close or apply pressure on his/her chin, just under the mouth.  (She says to keep rocking or swaying gently, but I will be shhshing my son / rubbing his belly in his crib because we have weaned him off of being rocked to sleep).  If you have some key words, say them (mine are: “it’s ok, you’re ok, it’s just sleep time, mommy loves you”  I repeat them as though I was reciting a mantra until he either calms down or fusses).

4.  If LO fusses, put the pacifier back in, count in your head from 10-60 sec and try again (depends on how long it takes for LO to calm down and for the sucking to start slowing again).

5.  Keep repeating until LO falls asleep without the pacifier.

The author suggests trying this out at bedtime first and then do naps because if you tackle all sleeping situations at the same time, your baby will become miserable from lack of sleep especially when naps are difficult as it the case in my household.

She goes on to write that it can take around 5 times for your baby to successfully fall asleep but doesn’t say over how many days it can take for this method to work.  I figured, though, that with the majorly stubborn baby that I have on my hands (I think he has his mother’s and father’s stubbornness combined!) that it would take waaaaay more than 5 times per shot.

I was sceptical.  Very sceptical.  I mean, this kiddo needs his pacifier to fall asleep.  I was certain I’d spend the whole night just removing and replacing it.  But, since I had a choice between not sleeping and not sleeping but potentially weaning my son off his “suce” as we call it at home, I figured I’d go for option #2.

Here’s what happened on the first night of using the gentle removal (GR) method:

– 19:00 put down frantically crying little bundle of joy in his crib and swaddle him up.

– 19:20 asleep after 3 GR!

– 23:00 night waking #1, alseep after a night feed and 4 GR

– 00:50 night waking #2, asleep after 3 GR

– 01:10 night waking #3, asleep after 1 GR

– 01:25 night waking #4, asleep after 2 GR

– 03:05 night waking #5, asleep after 1 GR

– 04:30 night waking #6, asleep after night feed and 3 GR

– 06:00 night waking #7, asleep after 1 GR

– 06:30 night waking #8, asleep after 1 GR

– 07:00 up for the day!

Well, the night was by no means perfect, but it was a definite improvement over the previous night with 8 night wakings instead of 10.  Plus, his longest sleep stretch was 3h40min as opposed to 2h15min.

Small improvements, you may say, but improvements nonetheless.

In any event, the results were encouraging and I opted to try for a second night in a row.  And you know what?  I think there might just be light at the end of the tunnel because my little dude was down by 19:40, awoke at 22:00 (upon which time his father only had to remove the paci once before he fell back asleep), then again at 23:30 (3 GR) and a last time at 02:30 (I nursed and then 3 GR)!

Holy crap, I think I may just live through motherhood!

Have any of you been “graced” with a baby who had a pacifier/bottle/breast (or other) dependency to fall asleep?  What did you do that helped?

Posted in Infant

Bawling Bedtime Brawl

I’m an insomniac.  I’ve been fighting to fall asleep ever since my early teens.  I’ve had some good periods, periods that have given me a shard of hope that I may have finally gotten over the insomnia.  But it was not to be.  In the days following the arrival of my son, I was so sleep-deprived and exhausted that I had no issues falling asleep.  But it did not last.  Gone are the days where I could fall asleep quickly when I went to bed and fall back asleep without issue after a middle of the night nursing session despite my “non-snoring” boyfriend”s seamless imitation of some type of motor.

As for my son, well, he does not fight to fall asleep.  No, he battles sleep.  He seems to do everything in his power to remain awake and, when my partner or I are finally able to help him fall asleep, it is only to have him wake up and fuss as soon as he hits the mattress of his crib.  I love the little bugger, but after two weeks of this, he is very quickly eroding any sanity and self-confidence I have left.

You might recall that I started my son on E.A.S.Y. when he turned seven weeks.  Simultaneously, I started swaddling him again.  I had a new baby, on that would give me three 90 minute naps and one 45 minute nap per day.  It was great!  He was in an awesome mood.  Both of our lives had become more predictable and I found it easier to manage motherhood with a three hour schedule.   Life was good.

And then, about two days before he turned three months old, all hell broke loose.  I’ve already posted on his three month growth spurt, so I won’t detail it again here.  Suffices to say, he didn’t sleep much.  I naively thought that when he would get back to normal when he finished his spurt; I had forgotten that my son made a point of changing things up each time I figured him out.  Well, now, he’s gone from being a great napper to being a crap-napper cat-napper. For the past week, I can consider that I’m having a good day when he naps for two hours total.

The E.A.S.Y. routine has worked so well that now he knows exactly when he’s going down for a nap or for bedtime.  As soon as he starts yawning and rubbing his eyes, I bring him to his room.  As soon as we are in his room, he starts crying his head off.  And we’re not talking about a small whimper cry.  Oh no!  We’re talking full-blown-red-faced-scream-myself-hoarse cry.  Of course, the same is true for bedtime.  He’ll go from fussy at the breast for his last nursing session, to calm and smiling while I undress him and his father runs his bath, to happy while he’s in the bath and then BAM as soon as his father takes him out of the tub, he starts screaming his head off.  Holy, am I glad to not be in an apartment building anymore; I’m sure the neighbors would call child services!

I don’t know what to think right now.  What I do know is that he seems to be going through a transition phase.  He is at a point where he cannot be swaddled anymore because he breaks out of it all the time.  He seems to want to learn to self-soothe because he is always spitting out his pacifier and sucking on his hands.  However, we need to put mitts on his hands when he goes to bed because otherwise he’ll scratch his face up pretty badly even though I trim and file down the darned things every other day.

What to do, what to do?

Posted in Infant, Newborn

The Almighty Pacifier

It’s funny how such a seemingly insignificant object can create a world of doubt in my head.  Seriously, I feel like the “Pro” team is playing a game of ping-pong against the “Con” team.  It goes something like this:

Pro – vs – Con : 0 – 0

+ Pro : Studies have linked the use of pacifiers with a reduced risk of SIDS.  –> 1 – 0

– Con: The continued use of pacifiers into toddlerhood increases the risk of recurrent ear infections and misaligned teeth.  –> 1 – 1

+ Pro: When it’s time to wean the baby away from his/her sucking habit, it’s easier with a pacifier than with his/her thumb.  (I remember my mom cutting off the nipples to all of my sister’s pacifiers to show her that they were broken.  I don’t think that cutting off a child’s thumb would be a good solution 😉 ).  –> 2 – 1

– Con: If the baby falls asleep consistently with the pacifier, it may take a lot more time for everyone to be sleeping through the night as if he/she wakes up to find that the pacifier is gone s/he’ll likely cry for it meaning that mommy or daddy will need to get out of bed over and over again to put the thing back in their baby’s mouth.  –> 2 – 2

+ Pro: A pacifier can satisfy a baby’s need to suck (giving mommy’s breasts a break!).  –> 3 – 2

– Con: If given as soon as the baby cries, the pacifier may steer a parent away from the real reason their child is crying (such as hunger).  –> 3 – 3

And the list goes on…

Though I’m still unsure whether I like them or not, I do use pacifiers.  But I use them on my own terms.  I’ll use it if:

  1. My son is inconsolable (usually because of gas) and I know he is neither hungry or soiled.
  2. My son has gotten to the point of being overtired and is otherwise unable to fall asleep (yup, I’ll have swaddled him, rocked him and turned on his white noise before giving it to him).
  3. When boyfriend and I are in the car and my son’s crying his head off.  I’ll go sit beside him in the back and stick in his pacifier because a hysterical baby is a risk for a car accident.

What about you?  Do you have a clear position on the use of a pacifier?

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Posted in Sleep (and lack thereof)

Sweet Dreams

I’ve got a curious little fella.  I mean, really curious.  From the time he wakes from his two-hour nightly sleep spurts to the time nighttime comes again, he usually refuses to fall asleep.  He yawns, his eyes become glazed over and his eyelids start to shut.  Sometimes, this means sleep, but other times, he refuses to let sleep claim him.  As soon as I think he will finally fall asleep, he forces his eyes open wide again and then, it’s almost impossible to get him to sleep.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love to see his eyes open, staring at my face, his hands grasping the strands of hair that are within arms reach.  I love to see the faces he makes, love to see his lips curl into a smile.  The problem is, when he stays awake for too long, he gets overstimulated, which in turn causes him to become overtired and an overtired newborn (well, my overtired newborn) is even harder to get to sleep!

In the days following our return from the hospital, my son would fall asleep consistently at the breast.  It was so simple: I would nurse, he would fall asleep, I would put him to bed, then put myself to bed.  However, this no longer works systematically.  So I’ve been reading and have tried different things to get my little one to sleep.

  1. Distinguishing night and day: Now I know that newborns don’t know the difference between day and night.  As far as I understand, this comprehension can’t come in until a baby is about six weeks of age.  However, I’ve implemented some things to help my son make the distinction more easily.  First, his day naps happen in his moses basket wherever my boyfriend or I are.  This means he sleeps in a bright place with usual household noises going on around him.  We do not whisper when we talk or tiptoe around, we go about our business.  This seems to reassure our little one as he knows that we are nearby.  When night comes, we move him to his crib.  His room is kept dark with only a nightlight bright enough to allow me to see him when he wakes during the night for a feeding or diaper change (or pyjama change when his father or I had trouble putting on his diaper properly…).  This *knock on wood* seems to be working so far.
  2. Swaddling: My mother-in-law swears by this method, but it hasn’t worked for me.  My son HATES, I mean REALLY HATES being swaddled.  He always screams out in anger and frustration when he loses the use of his arms because they are pinned down against him by a blanket.  I would say that the only time during which he actually agreed to be swaddled, was in the 24 hours following his exit from the womb.
  3. Burping him:  Oddly enough, this seems to be one of his preferred methods of falling asleep these days.  When we finish a feed, I put him over my shoulder and switch between lightly tapping and rubbing his back.  Generally, within about five to ten minutes he has not only burped but has fallen asleep against me.  Now, perhaps it is because he is in contact with his mother, perhaps it is because he is being held in an upright position, perhaps it is because it helps his stomach settle, I don’t know what the reason is, but I am very happy that this method works – most of the time!
  4. Singing/Rocking:  Pretty self-explanatory.  Sometimes it works, most times it doesn’t…
  5. Holding him: This usually helps a lot.  Sometimes, my son seems to only want to be held.  He needs this contact with his mother (and sometimes his father).  The only problem is that when he is sleeping in my arms, I can’t allow myself to fall asleep and usually when he is seeking contact, even if he does fall asleep in my arms, he will almost assuredly always wake up as soon as I put him in his moses or crib.
  6. Secret weapon: the pacifier: There are times during which nothing seems to work.  Sometimes, my little one only needs to suck.  I am becoming better at recognizing these moments – though I am by no means ever 100% right – and will offer him a pacifier to help him get to sleep.  I usually try out this method when I am zombie tired and need to sleep, even for 30 minutes.  However, I refuse to give him a pacifier to fall asleep in his crib at night and I usually use this tool as a last resort.
  7. Ultimate secret weapon: co-sleeping: When I learned I was pregnant I swore I would never co-sleep with my child.  The idea has always scared me to death.  There are waaay too many thing that could go wrong for my liking.  However, it has happened to me.  Though unintentional, my co-sleeping experience has opened my eyes to the fact that it can be a good idea.  Though I would definitely not do it every night, I think that it is something I may do again in the future when my son will be going through another growth spurt.  The way I see it, it is less dangerous to co-sleep when I haven’t slept in over 24 hours than to risk falling asleep nursing my son on the couch or in the rocking chair that is in his room.  Of course, though I know that this method is not recommended, I follow all safety guidelines that have been set for parents who choose to do this.  I sleep in the spare bedroom on the firm mattress bed with my son between myself and the wall.  I sleep in my pyjamas so that I don’t have to use a blanket; our mutual body heat keeps us warm.  Of course, I would NEVER even think of doing this if I had consumed even one glass of wine in the evening.

Sleep Tight