Friday, June 20, 2008

We are swaddle-free!

Yes, that's right. A week or so ago Leah started doing this weird arching contorting thing in the crib when we put her down. And we were having more trouble getting her to sleep. So I figured it might be that she didn't want to be swaddled anymore.

We started Monday night sans-swaddle. She actually slept about 3 hours to begin with. Then she was up periodically - 2 hours later, 1.5 hours later, 3 hours went on. Since it was a new thing I was extra nice - I fed her back to sleep each time. But just for one night.

Tuesday night she was only up twice. Wednesday night she was only up once, but then she thought it was morning when she woke up at 5 a.m. But last night was her best night ever. I did have trouble getting her down. She went into the crib at 7 and played quietly until 7:15 - then she cried until 8. I checked on her every 10 minutes or so, and at 8 her crying got sort of muffled so I went in - she had rolled over. At that point I decided to feed her to sleep and she was down about 8:15. I didn't hear from her again until 6:00 this morning! Yep - almost 10 hours. I fed her at 6 and put her back down. She cried until 6:45 and then she flipped onto her tummy and went back to sleep - until 9:15 a.m.!

Tonight she fell asleep while nursing and was in the crib about 7:15. Let's hope that she does at well tonight as last night!

Second night sans-swaddle:

Third night sans-swaddle:

This morning on her tummy:

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A milestone today - rolling over from back to front!

Yep, this morning Leah rolled over from her back to her front. Very exciting milestone. I was feeling bad that we hadn't been doing enough tummy time, but looks like she's developing just fine. Of course once she got onto her tummy she was only happy there for about 3 minutes before she cried and needed someone to turn her back over...but it's a start. And I guess it means I need to start watching her a bit more when I put her down on the bed and such! Just after rolling over: Stuck on her tummy because she doesn't know how to roll back: Showing her full height next to her big lion: And very excited to be going for a walk. We planned to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, but the clouds rolled in shortly after we walked we bailed on the bridge and went out to brunch in Dumbo instead.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mild reaction to vaccinations

Well, similar to her 2 month shots, Leah has a bit of a fever and is very sleepy. Yesterday afternoon her fever was 101.2. I gave her tylenol at 3:30 and 7:30 and she seemed fine - just slept most of the day. She was actually only awake for about 3 hours in total yesterday. This morning she seemed fine and didn't feel warm so I didn't take her temperature, but this afternoon she seemed a bit off and her temp was 99.9. She was also a bit sleepy today, but not as bad as yesterday. I gave her tylenol today at 1:30 and 6:00.

Hopefully she'll wake up all better in the morning. She doesn't seem to be in pain or anything, just calmer and quieter than usual.

It makes me a bit sad to see her this way, but obviously the few days of not being 100% are worth it in order to be vaccinated against diseases like Polio and Whooping Cough.

She'll get the same shots again at 6 months, so I guess I should expect a similar reaction.

She even looks calmer than usual in the pictures I took today:

Monday, June 9, 2008

Leah's 4 month check-up

We have a happy healthy baby girl. She's now 25 inches long - 80th percentile. She's 13 lbs 12 ozs - 50th percentile. And her head is also in the 50th percentile. So she's growing well and staying long and lean.

The doctor said our sleep training sounded like it was going well. And we should be really happy that she's sleeping 7 p.m. to 4 a.m. That's a great stretch of sleep for 4 months. She said that I should keep doing the night feeding unless Leah starts sleeping longer on her own. She recommends not forcefully cutting out night feedings until 9 months. She also said that it's hard to keep naps on a real schedule until 6 months. It's not bad to aim for a schedule, but I need to follow Leah's sleep cues. So if she's tired earlier then don't wait to put her down. She said our failed naps are probably happening because she's getting overtired and I need to get her down earlier. She should be having at least 3 and maybe 4 naps a day - and more if they're short naps.

As expected she recommends waiting until 6 months to start solids. And also waiting that long before giving bottles or sippy cups of water. Still just sticking with breast milk.

It's fine to keep swaddling Leah for as long as Leah seems to want / need to be swaddled. No it does not look like she's teething - drooling is just an age appropriate thing that happens - not necessarily a sign of teething.

Leah seems to be quite strong - good legs, good neck, sitting up well (with support). The only thing I need to work on is getting more tummy time. She said Leah really needs an hour a day and until we're getting that she's not going to push up on her hands and until she does that she's not going to reliably roll over. She said it's fine if it's several short periods per day but it should add up to an hour. And it's okay to leave her on her tummy for a bit after she starts fussing - then maybe she'll stay longer the next time. So I'm definitely going to work on that and make a concerted effort to get to an hour a day.

We had the same vaccinations today as last visit - 5 vaccines combined into 3 shots. Leah handled it pretty well. She did let out a scream with each one and cried a little when I hugged and kissed her after - but she calmed right down when I put her to the breast.

Dr. O'Connor commented on how expressive Leah is. Her eyes and facial expressions are very expressive and she's also vocally communicative. Her cries and sounds are pretty distinctive. I agreed - she almost always lets us know what she wants - and it's pretty rare now for her to cry without us being able to figure out why.

And on another note, sleep training continues to go well. Last night Leah woke up and cried for about 10 minutes at midnight but went back to sleep until 4. And this morning she slept until 7:15! Then I put her down for a nap at 9. She cried for 10 minutes and fell asleep until 10:10 - so she slept an hour. And then she napped in the stroller while we were out from 12:30-1:30 - another hour long nap. I couldn't get her to nap this afternoon - but when I put her to bed at 7 she only cried for 5 minutes before falling asleep.

And all that good sleep lead to some fun happy play:

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Leah is 4 months old!

Yesterday Leah turned 4 months. I can't believe it's already been so long. She's getting so big.

I haven't been keeping up with daily sleep training updates since it's getting to be a bit standard. But last night Leah was amazing. She did cry for about half an hour when we put her down at 7:10. But then she slept until after 4 a.m. And then after a feeding she went back to sleep until 7 a.m. If we can keep that up, I will be a much more well rested mom!

She's still only napping for about 40 minutes at a time, but she's pretty calm and happy in between, so maybe that's enough.

We'll see what the doctor says tomorrow at her 4 month check-up.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Sleep Training Day 7

Last night Leah woke up at 11. I didn't think she needed to eat, but I didn't want to leave her crying in the room with the in-laws, so I fed her. She ate for a couple minutes and fell right to sleep. Then she woke up at 2. She was very hungry then. Big meal and then back down in the crib easily. I'll have to wait until she's in the room alone to work on making sure she only calls me once a night.

At 5:45 she woke up and fussed for about 15 minutes and then fell back to sleep until 6:45. So I'd say the morning crying it out is working.

We had a pretty good day. I think the nap crying it out is working too. She went down fairly easily for naps - cried 10-15 minutes. And she slept 40-45 minutes at each of 4 naps. Two were in the crib and 2 in the stroller. She's also easier to get to sleep in the stroller since we started the sleep training, so it seems she's definitely becoming more adept at putting herself to sleep. I'd still like to get at least the first two naps up to an hour so that we can cut down to 3 naps a day. But we seem to be making progress towards that.

Tonight I started the bedtime routine around 6:15 and put her down in the crib at 6:58. She cried on and off for 20 minutes, but it was always more of a "pick me up" cry and never got hysterical. Overall I can definitely tell we're making progress.

And she's a much happier and calmer baby with less fussing and crying than before. Today she almost had as much sleep as she should be getting. Last night she slept about 11 hours (10-12 hours is the goal) and adding up her naps she had almost 3 hours of naps for a total of 14 hours of sleep in 24 hours (the goal is about 14-15 hours total per day).

A special treat today...2 very cute videos of Leah being very happy:

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Sleep Training Day 6

Last night Leah woke up at midnight but her cry didn't sound hungry. When I went in I found that she had an arm out of the swaddle. I reswaddled her and put her back down. I figured if she hadn't gone back to sleep by 1 a.m. then I would feed her. She cried until 12:57 and then fell asleep. She slept until 4 a.m. Then I fed her and put her back down. She fussed for a few minutes but fell back to sleep.

At 5:30 a.m. she cried out and whined for a couple of minutes but then fell back to sleep until 6:25 a.m. Still earlier than 7, obviously, but much better than if she had stayed up at 5:30.

I waited until 7 to feed her and then we played a little. At 8 a.m. we went out for a walk. I was hoping that would help her take a better morning nap. We stopped at the hardware and drug stores and then on the way home Leah fell asleep - at 8:45. I had planned on coming home and feeding her around 9 and putting her down for a nap, but since she fell asleep I decided to go sit on the promenade and read a book.

Unfortunately after only about 25 minutes Leah got woken up by a nearby screaming child. She was obviously still tired, though, so we came home and I fed her and put her down. She cried for ten minutes - from 10 to 10:10 - and then she slept until noon!

Then we went out for another walk and lunch. Leah napped in the stroller from about 1 to 1:30 and again from 3:30 to 4. But then I wanted her to take another nap around 5 so that she wouldn't get too cranky before bedtime. I fed her and put her down at 4:45. She cried until 5:15. I had hoped she would sleep for half an hour, so I was just going to get her and consider it a failed nap when she stopped crying and fell asleep...but then she woke up 5 minutes later and started crying again. So I got her up.

We played with her for a bit but she was obviously tired - rubbing her eyes and starting to fuss a bit by about 5:45. So I started the bedtime routine at 6. I fed her at 6:30 p.m. and she fell into a sound sleep after about 10 minutes. I picked her up and burped her but she was out cold. So I put her down in the crib and walked out. On one hand I was happy there was no crying, but on the other hand, I'm not sure we can consider it sleep training when she fell asleep at the breast.

So we'll see how she does tonight. I'm hopeful that she'll go until at least 1, have a feeding, and then go until at least 6:30. Cross your fingers for us!

Oh yeah - we had lunch today with my friend Jen and her friend Caryn. Caryn is Leah's biggest non-relative fan and avid reader of the blog. She was quite happy to meet Leah in person. Unfortunately I didn't have the camera with me...but I got a cell phone picture:

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sleep Training Day 5

Today was a mixed bag. Leah did calm down after I went to her at 7 a.m. Once I got her on the changing table she was all smiles. But around 8:30 she started getting pretty fussy. I fed her, hoping she'd then give me a long nap. She fell so sound asleep at the breast that when I picked her up to burp her she didn't even wake up. She was down in the crib at 8:50 a.m. But she was awake at 9:25. I let her cry until the hour was up - 9:50 a.m.

We played for a bit but she was pretty fussy - probably some combination of being tired and being unhappy about having spent so much time crying. At 11 I put her down for a nap and she fussed for 5 minutes but then fell into a deep sleep. I kept expecting her to wake up...and finally at 2:30 I woke her. Yes - a 3.5 hour nap!

She woke up very happy. We went out and she was calm and happy in the stroller for over an hour. Around 4:30 she started to fuss a bit so we headed home. I fed her and got her down about 5:15 p.m. I was planning to wake her at 6, but amazingly she woke up on her own about a minute before. A 45 minute nap in the evening seemed about right to me.

Then we started her bedtime routine at 6:30. I put her down in the crib at 7:15 p.m. Tonight she cried on and off for about 25 minutes. First she cried for a minute and then she was quiet until about 7:20. She continued an on again off again pattern, which seemed strange to us. She wasn't just pausing to catch her breath - she would really be silent for a couple of minutes and then begin crying again. So we were surprised that she went on like that for so long, but it was always a mild cry, so it wasn't so bad to listen to.

Hopefully we'll have only 1 night waking tonight and she'll sleep a little later in the morning.

Rough morning

Last night wasn't quite as good as the couple of nights previous. Leah woke up around 11:30 and had gotten an arm out of the swaddle. I reswaddled her and fed her. She only ate for a couple of minutes and was falling asleep. I tried to wake her to get her to keep eating, but it seemed she wasn't really hungry. I put her down in the crib at 11:45 and she cried lightly on and off until about midnight. In retrospect, I think I should have reswaddled her and left her, as it was too early for her middle of the night feeding and she probably had just woken up because of the swaddle.

Then she woke up at 2. I debated leaving her, but her cry sounded like a hungry cry so I went to her. She had a pretty full feeding. I put her down about 2:15 and she was just barely awake - opening her eyes a little as I moved her to the crib. She let out a couple of little peeps but then went right to sleep.

The real problem then was that she woke up at 5:25 this morning. She made some happy sounds for a few minutes and then started crying. By about 5:40 the crying started to get pretty hard. Shafi and I discussed that we don't want her waking up this early so we need to stick to our guns of leaving her until 7 a.m. I said I thought she'd cry for half an hour and go back to sleep and I don't think she can actually cry for an hour and a half.

I was wrong. She has been crying on and off since then. Now it's 6:55 and in 5 minutes I'm going to go change her and feed her and hope that we can have some happy playtime for at least an hour before it's time to put her down to nap.

Hopefully we can get her on a good schedule today through Sunday and be able to continue it next week but not have to be quite as rigid. For this week I will skip other plans if they don't fit in between naps, but I don't want to be a slave to Leah's schedule and according to the sleep book I've been reading, I shouldn't have to be.

Now I'm going to go comfort my poor little girl and keep telling myself that this is all for her own good as well as mine and Shafi's.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sleep Training Day 4

Well, I think we can officially call nighttime sleep training a success. Last night after our off schedule she slept until 3:30 and had a quick feeding and back to sleep. She then woke up at 5 and I was worried that she thought it was morning, but I was able to do a quick feeding in the dark and put her back down. Then she woke up at 6 and thought it was morning, but that seems to be her norm. Considering the fact that she pretty much went to bed at 4 p.m., I can't really complain that she was up at 6 a.m.

But naps seem to have been the casualty from getting the better night sleep. The problem being that she needs the naps, so she's getting fussy by late morning / early afternoon. She napped around 7:30 but only for 40 minutes. And then we went out and she napped in the stroller around 11:30, but again only for 40 minutes. Then when we got home I put her down around 4 and I think she would have done the same thing as last night, but I wanted to try the alternative...waking her up. So I woke her at 6 p.m. I fed her and played with her a little, but calmly. We read a book and then we started the bedtime routine about 6:45. Same as before - I bathed with her, dried her, lotioned her, dressed and swaddled her, fed her, burped her, and put her down in the crib.

I put her down at 7:30 p.m. on the dot. She had a bit of a whimpery cry for about a minute and then she was quiet. At 7:35 she again had a little whimpery cry for a minute or so. Not sure exactly when she actually went to sleep, but we didn't hear another peep after that.

So now that nighttime sleep training has obviously worked and she can put herself to sleep, it's time for daytime training. She'll still get one night feeding around 1 a.m. - give or take - whenever she wakes up. And then if she wakes up other times, I'm going to leave her alone and let her cry it out if need be. Also if she wakes up before 7 in the morning, I'm going to leave her until 7. And we'll also start nap training. I'll swaddle her and rock her for a minute and put her down to put herself to sleep. And if her morning and midday naps are shorter than an hour I'll leave her alone until the hour is up.

Hopefully we'll be able to do the schedule I had planned on before:
8:30-9:30 Nap 1
12:00-1:00 Nap 2
3:30-4:00 Nap 3

If she can't be awake quite that long then it may be more like:
8:30-9:30 Nap 1
11:30-12:30 Nap 2
2:30-3:00 Nap 3
4:30-5:00 Nap 4

Or if her naps are longer than an hour we'll modify as needed.

Shafi and I are incredibly pleased that sleep training has gone so well so far. And I'm very optimistic that we'll get the day worked out pretty quickly too.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sleep Training Day 3

Leah had a good night again last night. She slept until 1:00 a.m. had a quick feeding - down 15 minutes later - and then went until 5:50 a.m. Shafi got up with her until she started to fuss around 6:30 and I held her off from feeding her until about 6:45 a.m. But then she didn't want to sleep. She started showing tired signs about 7:20 - which seemed right - an hour and a half after she woke up. But it took me half an hour of hard work to get her down for a nap - and she was up around 8:10 a.m. - so her nap was not even 30 minutes.

She then had several fussy periods during the day but consistently napped for only about 30 minutes at a time - 4 times. We were at the park from 11 to 3 or so, but she was pretty fussy when we got home. I fed her and played with her for a bit. Then I swaddled her and fed her to sleep. She fell asleep pretty quickly at the breast and was out by about 4 p.m. I figured she'd sleep longer since she seemed so tired...little did I know.

Shafi got home a little before 6 and she was still sleeping. We debated waking her but decided she needed the sleep, so we went ahead and had dinner. When she was still asleep at 7 we decided she was down for the night and we'd let her be. I wasn't so sure that was the right decision, but it was a bit too late to change it. I went to bed at 8:30, afraid we'd have a rough night - and tired from our long day out and about.

She woke up about 10:30 p.m. and I let her fuss for a few minutes - she was fairly calm - before I decided she was obviously awake and hungry. I fed her and she seemed to be falling asleep, but then when she was done - after about 15 minutes - she was wide awake. Since I hadn't bathed her and she had been out and wearing sunscreen and such I decided to sponge her down a bit. I unswaddled her and undressed her and just wiped her down with a warm wash cloth. Then I changed her diaper and took her temperature just to make sure she was okay - 99.2 - close enough to normal.

By this point she was definitely wide awake but yawning a bit. So I dressed her for bed, swaddled her, and fed her again. She actually ate pretty voraciously for about 10 minutes and seemed sleepy but wasn't showing signs of falling asleep at the breast. I burped her for a couple minutes and then put her down in the crib at 11:12 p.m. She was pretty quiet for several minutes, letting out an occasional whimpering sort of sound. A couple of times she cried a little bit harder, but still a fairly calm cry - nothing hysterical. I checked on her every 10 minutes without her seeing me.

At about 11:28 - 16 minutes later - she had gone silent and I waited until 11:32 to check on her. She was moving her head slightly but seemed to be on the verge of sleep. Five minutes later I checked again just to make sure, and she was sound asleep.

So I'd call it half the time it took last night - and with considerably less crying. It's hard to be sure since our schedule and routine was so off tonight - but I'd say sleep training seems to be a success. Hopefully I didn't just jinx it - we'll see tomorrow night!

And hopefully tonight won't be too bad despite bedtime being so incredibly early. But once again, she's so cute she can pretty much get away with anything. :)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sleep Training Day 2

Well, tonight wasn't bad, but it wasn't better than last night. We started the bedtime routine just after 6. Same routine as last night - I bathed with her, dried and lotioned her while singing songs, dressed and swaddled her, and fed her. Then I burped her and put her down at 7:00 on the dot.

She was quiet for a minute. Then she started crying - her somewhat mild cry. But she escalated faster than last night and was crying hysterically within a couple minutes. Shafi and I felt worse than last night. Not sure if the crying was worse or if it was because we were just watching TV while last night we were eating dinner and were thus more distracted. I had guessed that she'd cry 20 minutes tonight, but I was wrong.

She cried for exactly 30 minutes. When I checked on her at 7:30 she was moving her head and legs just a little bit but was quiet. And 5 minutes later when Shafi checked on her, she was sound asleep.

But on a more positive note, we had a good night last night and good day today. She slept until about 1:30 a.m. and then I fed her and had her back down in 15 minutes. Then she went until 5:40 a.m. At that point she thought it was morning, but I can't complain too much since she did a 4 hour stretch rather than being up every 2 hours. I played with her until 7:00 a.m. and then fed her and got her down for a nap. She didn't fuss to eat while I played with her, so I know it wouldn't be a problem to leave her in the crib until 7 without a feeding.

She was in a very good mood today. She took less frequent naps than she has been, but that also could have been because we were out and about most of the day so she was too interested in her surroundings to fuss too much. We had a nice brunch with some friends. And then after a nap at home, Leah and I went for a long walk. Shafi's back is still bothering him, so he stayed home. I put Leah and the stroller and we walked to Red Hook to the BWAC (Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition) art show - 2.2 miles away. It took just under an hour and she slept for about half of it. She woke up while we were there and seemed interested in looking at some of the bigger bolder paintings. Then we headed back, stopping at a bar on the way so that I could feed her and change her diaper and have a beer. She slept part of the way back and stayed asleep for a bit after we got home. And when she woke up around 5 she was quite happy.

So I guess sleep training is going well overall. I'll just cross my fingers that the next couple of nights the crying is shorter and by the end of the week she's just going right to sleep. We'll see!