Posted in Ten Thought Tuesday

Ten Thought Tuesday: The Walking Edition

TTT

  1. The little guy spent his whole weekend with a permanent smile on his face…as he walked away.  Not that he’d walk for the camera…
  2. My drive to work this morning was absolutely beautiful.  I have a half-hour drive to work and most of it is on a road in the middle of fields.  There was a thick (read very thick) fog and because of the snow-covered fields on either side of the road, it felt like I was driving through the clouds in a fantasy land.
  3. Communication is an odd thing.  Between what you want to say, what you actually said, what you think you said, what your interlocutor heard and what s/he interpreted there is sometimes a world of difference.
  4. I would like to give something to my son’s sitter for Christmas because I’m am so happy with her in-home daycare and how happy my son is there, but I’m am at a loss as to what to give her as I don’t know her very well yet.  Any ideas?
  5. I’m currently doing a Masters-level course on effective education practices and it’s is really interesting.  I’ll probably be writing about it in more detail soonish.
  6. In less than a week, my son will have completely switched to formula.  I can’t put my finger on how I feel about this probably because I’m feeling waaaaay too many emotions at once LOL.
  7. My cluster for my dash is broken.  This means that my speedometer, my RPM meter and my gas meter aren’t working.  Soooo, I need to rely on the sound of my motor in relation to the position of my shifter (thank goodness I drive stick!) to determine my speed and my odometer to determine when I need to put gas in my car.  My mechanic told me he’d have time to fix it after the holidays…
  8. I’m really trying to figure out how I want to organize my professional life this year.  I already know that I don’t want to be teaching in a classroom and that I love teaching resource, but right now, I’m working part-time in one school, doing one evening of tutoring, another evening and half of Saturday teaching resource in a private clinic and tomorrow, I’m meeting with human resources at a private school because they’re looking for someone who can teach resource about 10 hours a week to grade 11 and 12 students!
  9. This weekend, I am making a dairy-free carob cake to celebrate my son’s birthday at my parents’.  I just need to find a recipe base I can modify 😀
  10. Started watching Dexter (I’ve only watched one episode so far) I’m not sure how I feel about it.  It’s weird yet interesting, disturbing yet refreshingly different.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Posted in Ten Thought Tuesday

Ten Thought Tuesday: November 26th

TTT

  1. Just got back from the 1 year vaccinations (Happy Birthday, now let me stick a needle or two or three or four in your arms!).  I took the 3 “normal” vaccines but declined the flu vaccine (I figured three needles were enough for today).  I’m unsure whether I should vaccinate the little guy against the flu or not.
  2. This weekend we will be going to an awesome kiddie indoor playground complete with things to climb, ball parks and a whole bunch of other interesting things.  I can’t wait to see Little Dude in action.
  3. Charles reacted to something at daycare this week.  So far, every time he’s had a reaction there he’d had chicken.  Since we know he’s not allergic to chicken, I can only assume it’s to a spice.  *Scratches head*
  4. Weaning is going well so far, the little guy will take a bottle in the evening no problem even if I’m the one to give it to him.
  5. Look out for an interesting guest post tomorrow!
  6. Swimming lessons are almost over.  In January, the little man will be starting a baby gymnastics class where he’ll be able to climb, learn to roll and do a range of other fun things!
  7. Finally found the bathplug yesterday.  Turns out, the little guy didn’t flush it down the toilet after all… (he just hid it in a cupboard…).
  8. I’m really happy because this weekend, I’ll have enough time to make a birthday cake for Charles.
  9. I’m finally feeling better and I think I might actually be able to work the WHOLE week for the first time since the beginning of November.
  10. Fall is definitely behind us (despite the fact that we haven’t got any snow yet).  But I still managed to snap some awesome shots of Charles in the ginormous looking leaf pile about two weeks ago.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Posted in Parenting

Getting Ready to Wean

I’m ready.

It’s not because I “want my body back”.

It’s not because the little guy will supposedly start STTN once he’s weaned.

It’s not because I’m eager to stop watching what I eat.

It’s not because others feel that I’ve already been at it for too long.

I simply feel like it is the right time.

At first, I had planned to go for six months and then wean.  However, at the 6 month mark, I was nowhere near ready.  Nursing was going great, it was practical and there was just no way I felt like it was a good idea to wean.

Then, I had planned to stop at 9 months, because I knew that I would be away for my son for 4 days.  Except, I couldn’t do it.  I pumped and pumped and pumped like mad to try to get enough milk out for him for when I was gone and felt comfort in the fact that I would be able to put him to my breast when I returned from my trip to New York.

After that, I started to wonder whether I should wean once I returned to work.  Pumping became real old, real fast and I wasn’t sure about the logistics of returning to work and continuing to nurse.  However, again, I was not ready.

But now, a few days shy of my son’s first birthday, I feel ready.  To be honest, I think he’s rather ready too.  I mean, for the past two months he has never once asked to be nursed.  I was always the one to initiate.  He’s down to nursing three times, when he wakes up, before his bath and during one of his night wakings (when he has more than one NW, he’s only nursed once).

I’m planning on doing this gradually, starting by taking away his evening nursing session (seeing as he’s already getting a bottle two nights per week while I work).  Then, after a week, I’m planning on taking away his night feeding.  For this, I’ll be requesting the help of my partner who’ll be getting up to calm the little man down if and when he wakes up.  Then, on the third week, I’m planning on removing the morning nursing session.

I don’t know how well this plan will work, or even if it is a good idea, but it feels as though it’ll be easier on my body and on him to wean him over the span of 3 weeks to a month.

I would love to have some insight from experienced mamas!  How did you approach weaning?

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers
 

Posted in Blogging

Ten Thought Tuesday

ttt

  1. Today, my son has officially survived his 11 first months of life.
  2. I was so excited yesterday when I received the email confirming that I was accepted into the Top Mommy Blog directory.  There are so many great blogs there.
  3. The little guy gets so excited when he plays with crayons at daycare.  When he realized that he was coloring his page yesterday, he let out a war cry and was so pleased with himself.
  4. I have a cold…and it sucks…
  5. In light of Valerie’s recent posts on weaning, I’ve started thinking about how and when to start my own weaning process with Little Dude.
  6. Now that I think about it, I would really love a guest post on weaning for Write for me Wednesdays.
  7. I finally managed to finish Splinter Cell: Blacklist, on to Red Dead Redemption.
  8. Halloween is coming up and I still don’t know what I’m dressing up as.
  9. Next week we are finally going to our appointment with the pediatric allergist for my son’s food allergies.
  10. I really need to finish the custom MOC LEGO post office for my partner; he’s participating in an exposition in a month.
Posted in Parenting

Dairy Elimination

A little under three weeks ago, I wrote about how I had eliminated dairy from my diet to see if it would have an impact on my son’s eczema after finding out that he was allergic to dairy when we started solids.  At first, I considered just weaning my son, but I have become very attached to breastfeeding and so I decided that taking milk products out of my diet was a small price to pay to provide my son with free milk that is adapted to his needs (even though I really, really love dairy, especially yogurt and cheese!).

To help me make sure my body got everything it needed despite removing a whole food group from my diet, I went to see a dietician who not only helped me figure out what I could and couldn’t eat, but also gave me some great tips on nutrition in general (especially with regards to snacks).  To read more about smart snacking, you should definitely go check out my guest post on Valerie’s blog over at atlantamomofthree!

It was difficult at first because I had to remind myself that I couldn’t eat certain things.  I have also gained a new respect for those of you who have food allergies.  Wow!  I’ve been reading every label to make sure there is no dairy and when I ate out, I always have to ask whether there is dairy in a certain food or not.

The first week or so was also rather discouraging as my son’s eczema didn’t seem to let up.  The creams we were prescribed worked great, but when we forgot to put some on my son, we would notice it quickly.  I started wondering if I would have to remove other foods from my diet (because he has had reactions to things other than dairy so far).  I knew that I had to wait a good two weeks to start seeing results, but we only really noticing a change a couple of days ago.  The thing with dairy is that it takes a loooong time for everything to get out of your system.  According to what I read, I need to wait a full three weeks for all traces of dairy to be out of my system then another two weeks for it to be out of my son’s system!  So far, so good though.  I think I really hit the nail on the head when I decided to remove dairy.  Too bad I didn’t know beforehand that this is what was likely causing his bad eczema…

Posted in Parenting

Nursing A Teething Baby

A couple of weeks ago, I encountered on of the many bumps that come along with breastfeeding: nursing my teething son.  Now, you see, I’d already gone down the road of having a teething baby at the breast, the difference is that last time around, my son hadn’t already cut teeth.  This means that while he was nursing (for comfort or for hunger) and gumming down quite hard, it didn’t really hurt.  This time around, though.  Oh.  My.  God.  Ouchies!  He would be happily nursing when all of a sudden…pain.  Two little daggers digging into my tender skin (and I had the teeth marks to prove it!).

I would break the seal forcing my son to unlatch and say “no, don’t bite mommy”.  Then, I would wait until my son realized what was going on (meaning, I would wait the few seconds it took him to get frustrated because he wasn’t attached to my breast anymore) and then let him latch on again.  I did this every time he bit me for three days.

To be honest, at the end of the three days, I was sore, afraid to nurse and pretty much ready to give up on breastfeeding because it didn’t seem like the message was getting through to my son.  Remembering, however, reading about someone else’s woes regarding her breastfeeding situation where someone suggested that it was never a good idea to decide to quit when you were feeling annoyed, I decided to see if there was something else I could do to help things along.  I figured that I would make up my mind when I felt rested and relaxed and could really think through the pros and cons.

I therefore turned to the wonderful ladies in the breastfeeding support group of Baby Center.  They offered many suggestions which I would like to share with you!

1.  Once you say “no” and latch your baby off, give him something to chew on for a couple of minutes.

2. Give her something to chew on 10-20 min before nursing.

3. Don’t act like you’re in pain because some babies find that funny.

4. Put him in his crib or on the floor when you gt him to unlatch and walk out of the room for 30 sec or so that way he doesn’t associate biting with getting extra attention and a fun reaction from mommy.

5. Be consistent with what you say and do when she bites, chances are she doesn’t even realize that she’s biting the first times.

6. Instead of breaking the seal yourself, bring his face close to your breast so that he unlatches himself.

I suspect that what works depends on your baby’s age and personality.

Ironically, since posting that thread, my son has stopped biting (and his top teeth have finally cut today!).

How did you handle nursing a teething baby?

Posted in Infant, Parenting

Breastfeeding With Teeth (His, Not Mine)

I’ve recently started to wonder when I’d start to wean my son off the breast.  You see, when I found out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to at least try to breastfeed.  I say “try” because I didn’t want to put any pressure on myself if it didn’t work out and didn’t want to feel like a failure if I ended up resorting to formula from the start.  As I’ve discussed previously, my desire to breastfeed wasn’t just based on the fact that research shows that it has many health benefits both for mom and baby, but also because I found it more practical and definitely less expensive.

I was thrilled when my milk came in and my son thrived (and is still thriving) on my milk.  It fills me with pride every day to see my “little chunkster”, as I call him, continue to grow and develop so well on “mommy milk”.

With my first goal of trying (and succeeding) to breastfeed met, I decided to set another goal.  I figured that I would exclusively breastfeed at least six months (the suggested minimal amount of time) and then start weaning right away.  However, as time went by, I realized that I really treasured the time I spent nursing my son (even if it wasn’t always easy), and so, I decided that I would continue past six months but would stop when he had teeth.  Well, now that he has teeth (very ouchy teeth, I should say) and is nearing the six month mark, I find myself needing to reevaluate my goal.

To be honest, I’m not ready to give up breastfeeding yet and, as the time for solids approaches, I’m feeling both the natural excitement at seeing my son reach another milestone and a sadness at the fact that I will no longer be his only source of nourishment.  Now don’t get me wrong, I know that milk will still be his primary source of nourishment until he is a year old “food before one is just for fun”, but still, he won’t be getting just milk…

It would seem that I am in need of a new goal…

Now you see, my official day back at work is on August 26th.  At that time, Little Dude will be just past the 9 month mark.  He’ll be staying with his dad for the last week of August and first week of September and then will start daycare.  What want to say is that I’ll keep breastfeeding until mid-August and then start introducing formula.  The fact of the matter is, I just don’t think that I will have the energy necessary to pump to make it to one year.  I think that I want to continue to nurse when it’s feeding time and I’m at home, but will give formula to the sitter and his father.

Sounds like a plan!

Except there’s something tugging at the back of my brain…

  • Me: “It’s a logical decision, I’m totally OK with it”.
  • My brain: “Are you sure?  I mean, you could pump”.
  • Me: “You’re right, but I don’t think I’ll have the energy to pump”.
  • My brain: “It’s just for three months, I’m sure you’ll find the energy”.
  • Me: “You don’t understand, my job is tough”.
  • My brain: “But you’ll only be working part-time.  Besides, breast milk is free and formula is expensive”.

Me: “I know, I know”.

*Bleh*, seems I haven’t made up my mind after all.

Oh well, *sigh* guess I’ll just have to take it one day at a time.

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?