Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sleep Training Day 1

Leah's fever has persisted all week. It's been around 100.4 or so in the eveneings and 99.2-99.6 during the morning/midday. But we decided if it was under 100 tonight that we would start sleep training anyway. Hopefully it wasn't cruel of us, but if we didn't start now then we'd risk not being done by the time Shafi's parents return from Atlanta, and we don't need 4 of us listening to her cry.

She napped from about 5:15 to 5:45 and then we played calmly for a little while. We started the bedtime routine around 6:20. I bathed with her, which she enjoys. And then we even had a pretty good post-bath drying. I wrapped her up in my robe with me and dried her face and hair - which is the part she hates. Then I got her calm before taking her out of the robe and lying her down on her towel on the bed. I sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Rock-a-Bye Baby while drying and lotioning her and she stayed calm. Then I did my favorite baby massage - getting her body and arms and legs first with the lotion and then using my hand to spell out I L U on her chest/belly while slowly and in a calm voice saying "I Love You". She fussed a little while I put a onesie on her and swaddled her, but as soon as I put her to the breast she calmed right down and ate. We had the room ready for sleep - lights off and white noise turned up.

I fed her from both sides and let her keep eating until she was done - about 20minutes. Then I burped her - she let out a huge burp and also a little spit up - and did some of our usual bouncing and shushing, but this time with the intent of stopping while she was drowsy but awake rather than waiting until she was in a dead sleep to put her down - about 10 minutes following the feeding. I put her down at 7:10, left the room, and left the door a couple inches open so that we could peek in. She was quiet for about a minute or so after I put her down and then she started crying.

She started with a fairly soft cry - soft for her anyway. I would call it her "please pick me up now" cry. After about 5 minutes it started to escalate and became fairly hysterical - she was having to stop and catch her breath periodically. I decided I would go peek at her every 10 minutes but without her knowing I was doing so - hopefully. We had agreed that the only reason we would go in would be if she got out of the swaddle (or if something was wrong of course), but I had been really careful in getting the swaddle on really well, so luckily it wasn't a problem.

Each time I looked at her she was still crying but lying pretty still. Then suddenly at about 7:35 the crying slowed to a whimper. And a few minutes later it had stopped altogether. I peeked in a couple more times in the next few minutes and while I couldn't tell if her eyes were open, she seemed to be awake but totally quiet. She was moving her head back and forth a little and moving her legs a little bit. When I check at 7:45 she wasn't moving but I heard a little smacking sound, which sometimes she makes when she sucks on her lip. Shafi went and checked on her at about 7:55 and she was sound asleep.

Being the crazy mother that I sometimes am, I did go in and check on her a few minutes later. I put my hand lightly on her chest to feel her breathing. And I put my forearm to her forehead to make sure she didn't feel too feverish. Everything seemed fine.

Shafi and I are incredibly relieved that night 1 of sleep training went so well. I had been betting she would go 90 minutes. He had said he thought even longer - maybe 2 hours. So I think with that mindset we were both pretty calm and dealt well with the almost 30 minutes of crying.

We'll see how well she sleeps tonight. I said that if she goes until at least 10 then I'll feed her as needed when she wakes in the night. I want to give it a few nights - until she goes down with no more than 5 minutes of crying - before trying to wean her down to 1 night feeding.

Then when Shafi's parents go to LA in a couple weeks I will complete any remaining sleep training - which could mean letting her cry in the morning too. The plan is that she should sleep 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. with a feeding in the middle. So if she wakes earlier then we'll need to leave her alone, even if she cries, so that she learns to at least lie in bed quietly if not sleeping until 7 in the morning. Theoretically her body clock will adjust to waking in the middle of the night for a feeding and then sleeping until 7.

And hopefully when she's getting enough night sleep she'll start taking better regular naps rather than having to nap every other hour like she does now. And also once we know she's capable of self soothing and putting herself to sleep at night then we'll follow a similar method of sleep training for naps - so we'll put her in the crib and she'll put herself to sleep. Then, as I wrote about a couple weeks ago, morning and midday naps should then last at least an hour. If she cries for an hour then it's a failed nap and we wait and try again for the next one. Or if she sleeps for less than an hour then we leave her alone until the hour is up. Just like we expect overnight, her body clock will adjust to sleeping longer for these naps and then taking a nap or two in the afternoon also.

So soon we ought to have a well rested baby on a schedule!

And for now she's a bit of a fussy not quite well rested baby who naps frequently - but she's so darn cute!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My feverish baby girl

I thought Leah felt a bit warm a couple days ago, but I didn't take her temperature. Then yesterday I thought she seemed really warm, so I did. Although it seems daunting to take a rectal temp, it actually doesn't seem to bother big deal to do it while changing her diaper. Turns out she did have a fever - 100.1. So I've read to call the doctor if it's 100.4 or higher, but I decided to call anyway. It was already almost 5 p.m., so they didn't call back until this morning, but they said I should bring her in.

This morning her temp was 99.8 at home and 99.2 a couple hours later at the doctor's office. The doctor said she's probably just fighting something off. Her throat and ears and everything seemed fine. I was a little worried because she had a few spells of waking up from a nap and crying inconsolably, but what really worried me was that she had periods of being incredibly calm. She's not a calm baby...ever. So when I went for a walk and she sat calmly in the stroller for about 30 minutes and then just fell asleep, I thought something was wrong. It was after the walk that I thought she was really warm and finally took her temperature. Today she was also very calm. But she also has periods of being very happy and cooing and such. She's been making a couple of new sounds - a sort of squeak and squeal. Both very cute...and very loud.

So whatever she has obviously isn't bothering her too much. Just seems to be making her tired. I've got a bit of a cold, so maybe she's fighting that off. Luckily she's not congested like I am, though.

Obviously I don't want her to be sick, and I feel terrible that she has a fever. But if she could have this calm temperament a bit more often I would be quite happy. We went to the Dumbo Mom's Group this afternoon and she just sat on my lap and looked around and played with a rattle very calmly and quietly for about an hour. And when we went walking she was pretty calm in the stroller. And at home she was willing to stay in the crib looking at the mobile for quite awhile. Maybe it's not all because of how she's feeling, maybe it's a bit of a change - she's growing up and calming down. A mom can hope!

At least she doesn't look sick:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hmmm...swaddle weaning is a no go

Rough night. We tried putting Leah down with the swaddle under her arms so she would be able to use her hands to self soothe. I was able to get her down that way, but she woke up 20 minutes later. Then we couldn't get her back down. I ended up feeding her and getting her down again...but only for a few minutes that time. We kept trying until about 10:00...having started at 7:15. Finally we swaddled her and she went to sleep without much fight.

But we did observe her in the few minutes she slept unswaddled and found that she moved her arms a lot. So maybe she's really not ready to be without the swaddle...still too much involuntary arm movement. We also realized that while she does suck on her hands when she's awake and happy, even when she's awake if she is fussy she does not use them to self soothe. So maybe we can still sleep train her while swaddled. We're going to try it out next week. And if it doesn't work in a few days we'll wait and talk to the pediatrician when we go on June 9.

After finally getting Leah to bed around 10 she slept until 2:20. But then after I fed her I had trouble getting her down. I was insistent that I was not going to feed her down again as obviously she didn't really need to eat. But after an hour of trying to get her down I finally gave in and fed her until she fell asleep at the breast and transferred her very carefully to the pack n play. Exhausting.

Good thing she's so darn cute.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sleep training, schedule, etc. - for real this time

I went to a Baby Bites luncheon today. A woman started this company to have weekly new mom luncheons with guest speakers. Today's topic was getting your baby to sleep. I thought it sounded worth $35 and a trip to the UWS. It was sort of worth it. The lunch was not so nice...a roll, a small plate of mixed greens, and a small bowl of penne with tomato sauce. And water to drink. I might have paid $5 for it. But I guess Baby Bites has to make some money, plus whatever they pay the speaker.

The speaker was interesting, but I was hoping for more time to ask questions. She only spoke and took questions for about 45 minutes. The lunch was 2 hours and 15 minutes, so it seems to me they could have had her for at least an hour and a half.

Here's what I instincts to try to get Leah on more of a schedule at 3 months were right. She said babies are able to be on a sleep schedule starting between 3 and 4 months. Some sleep training may be needed and she said she doesn't go in to specifics except one on one because people have such strong opinions about different ways to do it. But between 3 and 4 months babies should be able to go 12 hours at night with 1 feeding in the middle. They should put themselves to sleep and self soothe if they wake up at other times in the night.

We are on the right track with a bedtime routine and early bedtime (7:00 p.m.). Now we just need to get Leah to sleep from 7 to 7. Once we get the nights worked out then we should be able to schedule the days better...but she'll need to be better rested for that to work. She also suggested doing the full bedtime routine in the baby's room (following the bath that is). So tonight I'll try feeding her in her room instead of my room.

Also someone asked about swaddling. She says to stop that between 3 and 4 months. This one I'm not sure I agree with, as I've read elsewhere that babies will reject the swaddle on their own by 6 months or so and that's fine. But this woman said they need their hands free to help them self soothe. We've found that when Leah gets an arm free she wakes herself up, but maybe she just needs more practice. We'll have to test it out and see what happens.

The one thing I didn't get to ask was whether we should swaddle wean first or sleep train first. Swaddle weaning involves still swaddling but with arms out and then removing the swaddle altogether and using a sleep sack or sleeper.

The sleep schedule should then be something like:
Start bedtime routine about 6:30 p.m.
Bed about 7:00 p.m.
Feed about 1:00 a.m.
Wake about 7:00 am.
Nap about 1.5 hours later (8:30 a.m. or so) for at least an hour
Nap again about 2 to 2.5 hours later - approximately 12:00 p.m. for at least an hour
Cat nap about 2 to 2.5 hours later - approximately 3:30 p.m. for about half an hour
If needed may take 2 cat naps - but should be awake by 5:00 p.m. - this may mean waking her up by 5 or 5:15

So Shafi and I just discussed all of this and here's our tentative plan:
Tonight we're going to experiment with swaddling Leah with her arms out - but if we can't get her to sleep then we'll reswaddle and save the swaddle weaning for later.

Later this week we're going to experiment with putting her down drowsy but awake at bedtime and see if she'll put herself to sleep. We'll use a Ferber-type method of going in to comfort her every 5 minutes or so, but just a quick pat on the belly and "Mommy loves you. Go to sleep."

Then we'll wait until his parents are away (next Tuesday they're going to Atlanta for 10 days) and we'll work on getting her to sleep through the night with just 1 night feeding. That will mean following a similar Ferber-type method if she cries during the night.

Once we get that down we'll work on getting the nap schedule set up.

So hopefully by 4 months (June 7), we'll be all fixed up. Might take longer...but I'm being cautiously optimistic.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

If you've been waiting for a book of Leah's photos... is your chance. The photo book we gave to all the "mothers" for Mother's Day (grandma, great grandma, and dadima) is available for viewing online and you can even order your own copy.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Been a busy week!

Shafi's parents arrived last Sunday. They are great with Leah. My father in law plays with her and my mother in law also helps with diaper changes, getting her to sleep, etc. They even babysat for an afternoon so that I could go visit Jamie and her daughter Erica. Shafi and I are quite happy to have the extra help for the summer, although we all have to admit that four adults and a baby in an 1100 square foot 2 bedroom apartment is a bit tight!

We also had a busy weekend. Yesterday we had brunch with our friends Dan and Becca who were in town from Philadelphia for the day. Leah sat quietly in Shafi's lap for the whole meal. That's definitely a new thing for her...hopefully it continues. And then we went to our friends Pete & Julia's going away party on their roof deck. Leah was also incredibly well behaved there. She took a nap and ate and then hung out and let everyone come over and ooh and ahh over her. Today we went to a surprise baby shower for our friends Dan and Erin. Their son is due in mid-June. The shower was nice, but I think Leah had enough of being social yesterday. She was not so happy to be there.

And today is my first Mother's Day. Shafi brought home 2 dozen roses...1 for me and 1 for his mother. And he also gave me a gift card for a facial and massage at Bliss. I'm definitely looking forward to using that one.

This was at the party yesterday...Leah's first game of beer pong. ;)

And you can see that Leah was not in the best of moods even before we headed out to today's soiree.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Almost 3 months old...time to get Leah on a schedule?

I'm hoping to start putting Leah on a more regular schedule now that she's getting to the 3 month mark. I'd like to sleep train her at 4 in order to make that easier and faster (hopefully), it'd be good to have a set routine that she's used to.

We started today...and I'm hoping to continue it as much as possible. Obviously it will require some modification when there are events and such, but I think we'll be able to stay pretty close to it. At the moment Leah can only be awake for about an hour at a time in the morning and about 2 hours at a time in the afternoon without getting overtired. But as that changes we'll modify the schedule accordingly. In a couple of months it ought to be more of a morning nap, midday nap, afternoon nap - at the moment it's a lot more naps than that.

7:00 a.m. wake-up, then diaper change, then feeding, then play, then start getting down for a nap by about 7:45

8:00 a.m. morning nap - at the moment she only naps about 30 minutes, but I'd like to try to stretch that to about an hour - so I'll be trying some different techniques to get that going

9:00 a.m. wake-up, then diaper change, then feeding, then play, then start getting down for a nap by about 9:45

10:00 a.m. 2nd morning nap - hopefully an hour

11:00 a.m. wake-up, then diaper change, then feeding, then play, then start getting down for a nap by about 11:45

12:00 p.m. midday nap - she usually sleeps a couple hours midday

2:00 p.m. wake-up, then diaper change, then feeding, then play, then start getting down for a nap by about 3:45

4:00 p.m. afternoon nap - hopefully an hour

5:00 p.m. wake-up, then diaper change, then feeding, then play, then start getting ready for bedtime routine by about 6:00

6:15 p.m. bedtime routine - bath, then feeding, then massage and dress for sleep (including swaddle), then read a book, then put to sleep

7:00 p.m. bedtime

So the various daytime activities can be modified a bit when we go out for walks or to mom groups or shopping or whatever else. But the morning wake-up and bedtime need to be constant. And the bedtime routine needs to be constant so that she knows it's time to be down for the night. Hopefully in a month or so she will have at least gotten down to 1 night feeding if not giving it up altogether. And maybe by then she'll be putting herself to sleep on her own - but if not - I think we'll try Ferberizing.

Today I tried to follow this schedule. She naturally woke up at 7:00 this morning and we were pretty much on schedule for the morning, although sometimes I had trouble getting her to sleep and she certainly didn't nap for an hour at a time - more like 30 minutes. So for the remaining time I tried holding her and rocking her - still in her room with the lights off and the white noise on. And when she got tired of that and started to fuss I unswaddled her and put her in the crib with the mobile on.

Then when she went down at noon she slept until just after 3:00. I thought she would only sleep for 2 hours, but I'm definitely of the belief not to wake a sleeping baby unless you absolutely have to. So I guess she was making up for her morning naps being too short. Then after a diaper change and feeding we went out to babies-n-beer in boerum hill - about a 30 minute walk from here. She stayed awake the whole time, so she really didn't have an afternoon nap. But I guess since she had slept so long midday she didn't really seem to be overtired. She did nod off at the breast when I fed her around 5:00, but when I moved her into the stroller to head home she woke right up and stayed awake the whole way home. But the timing was good. We moved right into her new bedtime routine and it worked out perfectly. She fussed a little in the bath and a lot while I dried her off after. But then the feeding calmed her right down and she was calm for a little massage. Although once we got her dressed and swaddled she was not interested in sitting for a book - so Shafi put her to sleep. She was asleep by about 7:00 and Shafi held her until about 10 after to be sure she was in a deep sleep. It's now 7:45 and she's still sleeping soundly. I'm hoping she'll go until 1 a.m. so that she'll only need 1 night feeding, but we'll see.

Once we see how this routine goes for a few days if she's doing more than 1 night feeding I'll experiment with giving her a feeding just before I go to bed while trying to keep her as asleep as possible for it. But if she'll do 1 night feeding on her own then I won't mess with that.

I think one key thing is going to be to try to keep the routine on weekends too. I find that she's fussier early in the week and I think it's because the weekends mess her up. We'll see how it goes.