New Mum on the Blog

Sharing is Caring! Experiences, insights, advice and tips from one mum to another

Moving Baby to Crib…YOU CAN DO IT!

I think over the course of new mummyhood we all struggle with that one touchy subject, transitioning baby from our rooms and beds to theirs. Jon and I had always agreed that we wouldn’t bed share with our little baby. It just made me really nervous and with so many horror stories you hear about suffocation, a parent rolling over in a deep sleep, or baby falling out of the bed, just had me feeling uneasy about it.

I will admit there was a week or two in the beginning where, like any new mum, was extremely sleep deprived and the only way Aud would sleep for more then an hour at a time was if she slept on my chest. So I would nurse her in bed and then have her fall asleep on me. It didn’t last long because one night I woke up because I had felt her roll off and ended up in the middle of Jon and I. That was the last time I brought her into to bed with us. I have seen some really amazing products out there that make bed sharing safer and easier for mum and dad, so look into them all. I would suggest reading the reviews and consumer reports to figure out which is safest for baby.

Baby girl slept in our room for about 4 months in a bassinet beside our bed. As a nursing mum it just made thing much easier to just be able to sit up, pick her up, nurse and put her back down all without having to get out of bed, even changing diapers and soothing was just that much easier with her in our room. All mums have a special code we follow that in any and all situations if there is a way to make things easier then do it, no if’s and’s or but’s!

Around 4 months is when she started to grow out of the bassinet. She was getting too long for it and she started to roll onto her side, so we decided it was time for the transition.

The one thing I would HIGHLY suggest starting the week you bring home baby is get them used to their room and crib. Read stories, rock, nurse, change diapers in their room. The more baby is familiar to their room and their surroundings the easier the transition will be. The second week home we had baby girl napping in her crib during the day whenever we could. Of course because she was the sweetest little baby ever, and I could spend hours watching her, sleeping in my arms was acceptable as well J

When we moved her into her room, I seriously considered sleeping in the rocking chair or camping out on the floor for the first couple nights. Jon just sort of gave me that, your crazy look and that was the end of that idea.

The first night she was in her room, I guess I’m not really sure what I expected. Maybe that she would be so distraught she wasn’t going to sleep, or serious separation anxiety was going to set in on both sides. Questions of, was I going to hear the monitor in the middle of the night? And what if she wakes up and doesn’t smell me beside her, how upset is she going to be? What if she moves in her sleep and gets stuck somehow? Constantly ran though my head.

I woke up that next morning thinking, wow, that was surprisingly better then expected. She not only slept for a little longer in between nursing’s but I felt better rested too. I think not being beside her and waking up periodically to watch her breathe, or wonder why she shuffled in her sleep, or being able to pick her up at the mere sound of a whimper helped us both.

So my advice would be transition baby to their crib the earlier the better, at least for their naps. Get them used to their rooms and cribs. It will really make a huge difference when you decide to fully transition.

Now Aud only really has a good sleep in her crib. When we stay over somewhere, she doesn’t sleep well in her playpen. One thing I regret is not getting her use to that as I did with the crib. If you are like me and like to stay over at cottages or friends houses and bring baby with you, set up the playpen in their room and have them sleep in it a couple times a week to really get used to it. Remember familiarity is so important with babies.

FYI: If you follow my blog you probably know that baby girl was never a great sleeper up until a month ago, BUT that I believe is because teething started and we moved, a lot of things happened at once. When you do decide to transition, remember one thing at a time, don’t throw a bunch of changes into the mix at once. Slow and steady wins race, or in this case your bed and room back.

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Growth spurts and regressions, just when you think you’ve got it!

After months of getting baby on a good nap and bedtime routine, sleep training, feeding schedules you finally feel like you are in a smooth place. Then BAM, it’s 6 a.m. and you realize baby has woken up about 3 times last night, she wanted to feed every hour, she is not enjoying that infant massage you spent a pretty penny learning, the broccoli casserole you make for her all the time she all of sudden decided she doesn’t like it.  What is happening? I can’t tell you how many times I have asked myself this question, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Babies, especially in the first year, go through what seems like a series of set backs and regressions. It always seems to happen just when thinks get good.

I don’t want to confuse this with growth spurts, which will come around a lot too. I remember the first two weeks Aud went through her first growth spurt. I was nursing from 8p.m.-2a.m. with maybe 10 minute breaks in between. Baby girl would nurse, pull off, fuss/cry, nurse, pull off, fuss/cry ect, ect. This went on for hours. I thought for sure this was not normal. Maybe I wasn’t producing enough, maybe she isn’t latching correctly, do I need to supplement with formula? So I did what any other new mum would do and I Googled, “2 week old non stop nursing.”  What’ya know?  Tons, and I mean tons of discussion boards came up with others who have gone through it too!, what they call “Cluster feedings,” I wasn’t alone.

Cluster feedings are described as when babies feed/nurse closer together at certain parts of the day, most of the time at night. Sometimes, yes it does mean baby will probably sleep a little longer after she is done, maybe even sleep through the night. Just remember it is normal and you are not alone.

Back to regressions. Our first regression happened around 4 months, and after some research learned it is extremely common, the technical name for it is “The 4 month regression.” Aud’s sleeping completely changed, which I have talked about in recent posts so I wont dwell on it too much. Just know that it does happen.

Many mothers go through the 4 month sleep regression, but it can happen at 3 months, others at 5 months, 4 months is just somewhere in the middle. Where all of a sudden your baby went to sleeping at least 4-6 hours stretches to up every hour.

You will hear a lot about regressions in babies over the course of being a mum, 4 month, 8 month, 12 month… Isn’t it funny how when you think you’re the only one whose baby is a crazy snoozer, you find out that’s not the case. That there is actually a technical term for what they are going through? The good news is that most of the time after about 2-4 weeks your baby should go back to their “normal” habits (really what is their normal habits at 4 months…) the bad news is that you will experience more regressions in the next year, maybe more.  Just comes with the territory. I’ve learned and am still learning patience is a virtue in these scenerios.

Aud’s cut a couple teeth (poor girl) and so she has been waking up more then usual. I mean, it’s nowhere near what it was like a couple months ago… (you can read about that here) but I find myself getting so frustrated and anxious. I think its because I’ve had a taste of what its been like sleeping longer then 4 hour stretches, so when it’s interrupted the anxiety starts flowing. Also I am trying to wean her from the breast so I can’t do what I used to and just nurse her to help her back to sleep. So now I am offering some water and it seemed to help her last night. Tip: Keep a sippy cup of water in her room at night so that if she wakes up and is thirsty you have the water ready and waiting. We learned the hard way last night…don’t get me started.

My friend and I were talking about it today, that when they are newborns we are so used to being sleep deprived and know we signed up for the interrupted sleep at least for the first few months so when we finally get some sleep back it can be more bothersome for us to be interrupted. So two word of advice if this happens to you (which it will) 1) let your spouse know that in no way is it ok for him to come near you during this night wake and if he wants to help standing outside the bedroom door asking if everything is ok doesn’t help 2) go to bed a little earlier if you know your babe is going through a regression, trust me. That extra hour of sleep you’ll get will almost make up for the lost sleep at night.

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Hush Little Baby, Don’t You Cry…

It all started around the age of 6 months. The waking went from once a night to 3. Of course to help soothe her and ease her teething pain I would nurse her back to sleep. I just couldn’t let my baby cry when I knew picking her up and stickin her on the boob would make her feel better. I felt so terrible for her. The pain her mouth must be feeling, and we just moved so she’s in a new place in a new room. I would do anything to make her feel better, and if it means becoming a human pacifier then so be it, she’ll grow out of it. HAHA. WRONG! It got worse, even after the teething and being in our place for a couple months, the waking went from 3 times to a night, to 4, to 5, to 6. No one was getting any sleep (oh except for Jon, did I mention he was a VERY sound sleeper). So Aud and I would wake up in the mornings, bags under our eyes, cranky, tired, she would nap for over 2 hours in the mornings and 2 hours in the afternoon, and because I have a million things to do all the time I didn’t sleep when baby slept. Needless to say, I was hardly a pleasant person to be around all the time. At night most mum’s probably look forward to bed time, not me. I dreaded bedtime. I actually thought about just moving into her room at one point. I tried some sleep training, but it didn’t work for us. We weren’t strong enough, (a-hem Jon wasn’t strong enough), or so I thought. Finally, finally I reached my breaking point. You’re probably, wondering really? It took you that long to get to your breaking point? I took the easy way out. It was easier to just nurse her and have her fall back asleep that way then going through the hour of crying, and anxiety if I didn’t. But I knew that solution wasn’t the right one, not for me and especially not for baby.

So I will start with the first method we tried. The gentler of the CIO methods, increment training, (geez it sounds like we were training for the Olympics or something…) The method is that you start off leaving her room for 5 minutes, during those 5 minutes (longest 5 minutes I have ever experienced) just keep yourself busy (this is when Pinterest came in handy) and when the time is up, go into her room for only 2 minutes, rub her back, shush her, try to calm her down but do not pick her up, do not talk to her, be as boring as possible. The first night we put her down in her crib, drowsy but awake, and left the room. As soon as we closed her door she started to cry. So since I thought it would be harder for both of us if I went in I sent Jon. I built him up all week about this “sleep training” we would, no-no, he would be doing all weekend. “Prepare for no sleep babe,” and “you can’t pick her up, don’t talk to her, just rub her back.” So after the first 5 minutes were up in he went. She cried even louder when he went in there. It was like a “WTF are you doing in here? Where’s my boob?” sort of cry. I could hear him “Shushhhhh, shushhhhh. It’s ok baby, daddy’s here.” Of course I’m outside the bedroom door thinking, don’t talk to her, be boring!  Men, do not listen to instruction. So after about two minutes he comes out, she’s still crying, I’m pretty well in tears at this point, and Jon just has this defeated look on his face and it’s only been 7 minutes. Oh god. So now we are suppose to let 7 minutes go by? We do it all over again. Get the pattern? Leave for 5, in for 2, leave for 7, in for 2, leave for 10, in for 2. We are suppose to follow this pattern all night until she falls asleep. I read some people did it for 2 hours. 2 HOURS!! There is no way, no way I could do that. Some mum’s can, and that’s completely fine, no judgement. Maybe you live in a house where you have a staircase and a whole floor separating you from baby. For us, we live in a small apartment where the only thing separating us is a wall, needless to say we hear every whimper, cry, and movement that goes on in her room. So we decide we will do it for a couple more rounds. So 7 long, long minutes go by (still crying) he goes in, “Shushh, shushhhh,” I hear him say, (still standing outside the door.) Then all of a sudden she stops crying!! IT WORKED! I thought. It actually worked! I can still hear him shushing her, but she isn’t crying. But what’s strange is the “shushing” keeps getting closer to the door, and then backs away again. It hit me, HE PICKED HER UP!! NOOOO!! Oh Jon. A minute later, she starts up again. Well, I guess he put her down. He comes out, “you picked her up didn’t you.” Again, the look of defeat on his face says it all. The third time he went in, he sat on the floor beside her crib and she played with his hair and giggled. Ok, this was not working for us. We are just going to have to live with the fact our child is not a good sleeper. Maybe we’ll try again in a couple months.

A couple months did go by, and no changes really. She was kind of all over the place. Her napping was impeccable, she would fall asleep on her own, suck on her fingers and have a couple good naps, but at night she was a different baby! This is when I met Nanny Robina. If you remember I talked about her in one of my first posts, (Sleep, Anyone?). I told her my story, and she suggested that we had to try again with the CIO. She was good at motivating, and pumping me up for it.

So that night I decided I would try again but this time I would try to ‘Extinction’ method. Basically, letting her cry and not going into her (unless at some point you know you have to). Listen, I know what some people think of this. I know that mums think it’s cruel or that they cry for a reason, that maybe it was separation anxiety, or she is hungry, ect…and I thought of all the same things, but you have to understand that at this point she was getting up almost 6 times in one night. She needed a good nights sleep, she needed to learn what sleeping more than 2 hours felt like! Believe me when I say this was more for her then anything. I decided I would still nurse her around 11 p.m. to “top her up for the night” but after that I wouldn’t. The first night she cried for almost an hour, it took everything in me not to go in, Jon and I are both saying to eachother, “don’t go in, it’s ok, she is safe. Don’t go in.” We didn’t. She finally fell asleep on her own, and didn’t wake up for the rest of the night. The second night she cried for about 30 minutes, then fell asleep on her own and didn’t wake up again. The third night, she cried for about 15 minutes, and fell asleep and didn’t wake up again. It worked, it actually worked.

She now sleeps “through the night,” with the exception of her 11 p.m. feed which I plan to wean in a couple weeks. There are nights here and there she will wake up around 3 a.m., moves around, whines a little for a few minutes but then goes back to sleep. Since we did the “training” she is happier, has much more energy, we’ve even noticed a change in her appetite. I’m not recommending this CIO is for you. It is probably one of the hardest things I’ve gone through as a parent thus far. If you have sleep issues with your baby find something that works for you. If you can’t do the CIO, research the different methods because there are a TON out there to try. There are people that specialize in sleep training where you can pay for their service- which I have had friends swear by and was our next step if this didn’t work. Just don’t give up. You, your hubs, and your baby deserve a good nights sleep, and just remember your baby will still love you, smile for you, and cuddle with you in the morning.

To read how the insomnia began Sleep, Schmeep

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Sleep, Shmeep.

Ok so I’m going to write again about baby girl’s sleeping. If you know me then you know it’s been a bit of a struggle for our family. I’ll start at the beginning to shed some light on the situation. When Aud was a newborn her sleeping schedule was pretty on par from what to expect when they are so little. We would all go to bed around 11 p.m. (not late for newborn standards considering they sleep majority of the time), and would wake for a feed about every 2 hours. We had her sleep in a bassinet beside the bed because like most new mums it was more comforting, easier, and I could watch her breathe all night (ok, I only did that the first month). We never co-slept because Jon and I were a little nervous about it, but there were nights that she fell asleep on my chest, and that feeling of closeness, her listening to my heartbeat while falling asleep, was just so incredible I would never move her (she also seemed to wake up every time I put her down in her bassinet so to get a little shut eye this was the solution). Like most newborns she was prone to movement, and boob to fall asleep. She also liked to fall asleep on her daddy, and I can’t count how many pictures I have of them both sleeping on the couch with a little smile on their faces (cue ‘Awww’). You pretty much do whatever you can to make sure baby has a nice, comfortable, peaceful sleep. We would watch the t.v. on mute, whisper to each other when we spoke, and any noise made I would automatically “SHHHHH.”

Back to baby crying every time I put her down in her bassinet. So remember that friend I told you about in my last post? The one who told me about to get out and meet new mums and babies, well she also had some great advice about getting baby to stay sleeping. SWADDLING! I know your probably thinking, well duh! But we did the swaddle for a couple nights when we brought her home and she didn’t seem to like it, so we were putting her down without. Man, were we wrong! She suggested I go out and buy those ‘swaddle sacks’  or learn how to do a good swaddle with blankets. So I did, and that night I tightly swaddled my little bean in this cute leopard print and pink trimmed swaddle sack I bought (if you know me then you know how strongly I feel about animal print) and what’ya know, it worked! I was able to put her down in her bassinet without her waking up, not to mention she was sleeping for longer stretches! She wasn’t waking up as often as before! I was getting four hour stretches of sleep by the 3rd month! Life was good! I was telling everyone what a great sleeping she was, swaddling saved us all, we were so lucky! JINX! I’ll get to that.

Sometime in her fourth month we moved her to her room in her crib. The transition went really smoothly because from the beginning I had her napping in her crib. Something I strongly suggest for you mums. Put baby in the crib from day one, or at least early on. I have heard horror stories of transitioning baby to crib when they have outgrown co-sleeping or the bassinet. Luckily for us, Aud was already used to sleeping in hers that the first night she slept soundly, me on the other hand, not so much. I think I checked in on her about 15 times, and had the monitor permanently glued to my ear (totally normal).

We also started to move up her bedtime in about half hour increments until eventually we were putting her down at about 7. Do it people! Don’t let your babe stay awake till 11 p.m. The earlier you start this the better. I know, I know you don’t want to have to get up at 7 a.m. but once you get it going, you’ll notice a big change in baby’s routine and it helps with their sleeping habits for the future. Plus gives you and hubs some serious cuddle time, *wink wink*.

We started a bedtime routine with her the week we brought her home with we still stick with to this day. Her routine is Warm bath, lotion, pajamas, lullaby, nurse, bed (this will be changing in the next couple weeks). She was doing really great for a couple months, it even got to a point where she was only waking once a night! HEAVEN! Then the teeth started to come in, and we moved to a new place. Why didn’t anyone warn me what I was in for? Let the terrible sleeping begin.

I’m ending this post here because my experience with teething, and the sleep training could be another page in itself, which you should know by now I will have no trouble writing about. I hope the above couple tips and tricks helps you with your baby. Don’t worry, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Just think in 20 years, they will be moved out and you will finally get that good night sleep you’ve been dreaming about since you were about 8 months preggers and you were getting up every hour to pee….then again….you still may be getting up every hour to pee…keep doin your kegels ladies!

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Sleep, anyone?

Well it’s been an interesting week! Yesterday Aud and I went down to a taping of CityLine! It was lot’s of fun and a busy morning! It will air on Wednesday August 15th on City Tv at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. tune in as I will be asking Nanny Robina a question about my 10 month olds sleeping issues.

A couple weeks ago we had the pleasure of meeting Nanny Robina!! The UK/Canadian Super Nanny of sorts. She is a very bubbly and outgoing person so obviously we clicked (bubbly is a keyword in describing myself, notice the exclamation marks at the end of most sentences!). We talked about food, life, and Aud of course. I had explained to her that I was having some real trouble getting her into a good sleep schedule- you know what I’m talking about right? Sleep? That thing before we had children where we got to lay on a comfy bed, close our eyes and forget about reality for at least 7 hours? After explaining that baby girl currently was getting up 4-6 times a night, (yes, that means I wasn’t getting more then an hour of sleep at a time) I could see the sympathetic look in her eyes and thought “Thank God she’s going to help me!”

After some much needed advice, Aud started to ‘sleep through the night,’ (up for one feed around 11-12 p.m.). Oh, I couldn’t wait to tell everyone that she was finally sleeping well! Of course, I was quick to update my Facebook status, announce it on Twitter and call all my friends who have been hearing me ‘complain’ about it the last 6 months, and of course we had to celebrate with a glass of wine and some 5 year old Cheddar! Ahh, finally I get to go through more then one sleep cycle in a night!

It’s been about a month since we did the ‘sleep training’ and there’s been a bit of a set back. She has been waking up around 2-3 a.m. Sometimes she manages to fall back asleep, but other times she gets hysterical if I don’t go in, pick her up and shush her back to sleep.I ask Nanny Robina what could be the cause of this on CityLine airing August 15, 2011. So tune in to find out what she suggests! I’ll update this blog next week to let you all know how it’s going! 

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