Thursday, May 26, 2011

Update on the pacifier

Remember how I said I wanted to get rid of the pacifier to end the "sucking to sleep" association? I think things just got worse! Here is the journey of the pacifier: new baby = would take it to sleep, could pop it in his mouth if he was starting to wake up and he would go back to sleep; 3-4 months old = would take it for naps but not in the nighttime, would only take it after he had nursed for a minute or two; now = won't even take it after he nurses, will still take it during the day.

What we should know is that I decided to drop the whole "get rid of the pacifier" crusade and let it be for now. We just took the swaddle away about 2 weeks ago (when I discovered he roll to his side while he was in it. Didn't want him landing on his face and not able to push himself up) so getting rid of both at the same time seemed a little extreme. But, alas, now he won't take it at all at night. Ahhh! I just became the human pacifier!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How to sidecar your crib

We love co-sleeping and after reading up on the benefits of it (post soon to come), I decided I just wasn't going to give it up no matter how many nay-sayers there are. There are a number of safety precautions that should be taken if you decide to co-sleep. For the most part, our family bed was a "go" on all things except one: our mattress is too squishy. Due to a few car accidents, I have a terrible back. We purchased a memory foam pad to put on the bed to help out with that (and it's done wonders!) but it's not safe for our baby to sleep on, due to the soft surface.

We were faced with two options: give up co-sleeping or get rid of the memory foam. I wasn't ready to do either. We decided to settle for the next-best thing--turning our crib into a co-sleeper. Here's how we did it:

We have a stationary side crib so we removed one of the sides (a drop-side crib would be even easier. Just remove the side that drops)

We then adjusted the height of the crib to meet the height of our bed

We fastened the crib to our bed by tying thin rope between our bed frame and the base of the crib (if you have rope handles on the side of your mattress, this would be far easier. We just don't have them so we had to attach it this way). Bungee cords would also work great).

Because there was a little bit of a gap between our bed and the crib mattress, I placed some boxes underneath the crack (just gained extra storage space!) and then stuffed blankets in the crack between the mattress and the base. I then rolled up some old bath towels until they were very firm and placed them above the blankets in the cracks. This way I can easily move Hyrum over on to our bed if he needs to nurse at night and easily roll him back to his bed when he's finished.

In addition to making a safer sleep environment, some great things about this co-sleeping arrangement are: the extra room in our bed (when all three of us were in there, it was a little bit of "3 in the bed and the little one said 'roll over!';" It allows some cuddle space for hubby and me while being able to keep our little guy nearby; and this way we prevent extra night wakings caused by baby or parents moving around in bed.

Seems like the little guy sure likes it!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

That blasted pacifier

When Hyrum was a tinsy baby, he had a ridiculously strong sucking reflex (shouldn't be surprising considering his mother's thumb-sucking addiction until age 8!) Even the nurses in the hospital commented on how he was "always on me" and asked if I wanted to take any bottles home. I replied that I was fine but I did accept their offer to give him a pacifier. Kid loved it. He never had a problem nursing so the whole "nipple confusion" thing kind of seems like a hoax (maybe there really are babies out there who have problems but I believe they're likely few and far between).

In just about every parenting book and website I read, they mentioned that one of the most important things for helping your baby learn how to put himself to sleep is to put him in the crib awake. So, off I go, swaddling, putting the binky in and BAM! Asleep! Little to no fussing at all. I'm a great mommy, pat on the back, wahoo!

But, one problem...sucking to sleep. Well my friends, my baby has learned to rely on sucking as comfort. Nursing or a pacifier is almost a must for helping him to go down. That would be fine except the fact that he therefore doesn't know how to put himself to sleep a few hours later when he wakes up and the pacifier has fallen out.

And thus we see the major obstacles--taking away the pacifier and nursing to sleep. The past few days my strategy has been to help Hyrum go down for naps without a pacifier during the day, even if it means rocking or swinging to sleep. My main goal is to break the sucking-to-sleep association. I try as hard as I can at night but figure that until naps are under control, night time is going to be hard. Tonight looked something like this: nurse, drowsy, burp, rock, fuss, rock, fuss, rock, fuss, nurse, rock, fuss, rock, put in crib, fuss, pick up and rock, put down again, fuss...cave and give pacifier, sleep.

Again, the plan is to be pretty rigorous about not sucking to sleep for naps because I can do other things such as go for a walk in the Moby wrap or go for a stroller ride. But nighttime is different, mostly because he's so tired by then. I still try really hard not to give in but I usually give up after 10-15 minutes of fighting it.

Have any of you had to take away the pacifier? How did you do it?

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Every nap time and every night as I try to put Hyrum to bed, I think about how much easier and time effective it would be for me to just let him "cry-it-out." My pediatrician, friends, books, etc. keep reminding me how it would only take 3-5 days. I'm pretty sure the method I'm using is going to take a month or two. That's a big time difference. That's a month or two of it taking 10-20 minutes to get Hyrum down without resorting to full-on crying, a month or two of waking up repeatedly in the middle of the night, a month or two of not knowing when I'll just be able to put him in the crib and have him fall asleep completely on his own.

But I think it's worth it. Though it's a month or two, I don't have to do 3-5 days of listening to my baby cry and wondering when it will end. That much crying might feel like longer than a month or two in the moment so really, maybe I am making the more time conscious choice? Who knows...

For now I just keep reminding myself how much this is teaching ME. There are so many things we want right here, right now. And frankly, most things in this life that are important are worth waiting for. In this case, getting my baby to sleep for longer stretches at night and being able to fall asleep on his own are my goals. It means I can't just resort to my easy methods of just nursing him to sleep when he's grumpy. It works in the moment (oh, how it works!!!) but in the long run, it's not helping him.

So, here we go...patience Amy, patience.

The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Naps

Naps are important for babies. How a baby naps often points to how they sleep at night (and vise versa). Hyrum is an inconsistent napper. Some naps are long, others are short. Some are peaceful, others are restless. When he was younger, his naps were pretty consistent and usually peaceful. As he's gotten older, sleeping in general has gotten worse.

In efforts to help Hyrum sleep better at night, I realized I needed to tackle naps first. Here are some of the suggestions we are implementing from The No-Cry Sleep Solution:

1) start a nap routine, keep it simple: For our nap routine, I decided reading a book and a little bit of rocking could be a good way to wind down.
2) help your baby fall asleep different ways: I usually give the pacifier for naps. I'm going to try the following--breastfeeding until sleepy and putting down in crib, bouncing/rocking on the bouncy ball until sleepy and putting down in crib, going for a stroller ride and letting baby stay sleeping in the stroller, and lying down in bed with baby until asleep and putting in crib.
3) If baby's nap is less than an hour, work on extending the nap. Do whatever helps your baby fall back asleep: nursing almost always helps Hyrum go back to sleep so that seems the easiest go-to. I will also try replacing the pacifier before nursing to see if that will help.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Nighttime routine

I'm starting to work through a book called The No-Cry Sleep Solution to help Hyrum sleep through the night. One of the first steps listed is to create a nighttime routine that helps to signal sleepy time and help baby wind down. Right now our nighttime routine looks something like this:

7:15 bath time
7:25 massage
7:30 change into pajamas, nurse
7:45 Try to lay down in crib. If he cries, I'll pick him up and rock him or nurse him.

I realize that maybe I need this bedtime routine to be a little longer--not really to signal sleep because the current routine does that nicely--but to calm him down to get him ready for sleep. Here is my newly proposed plan:

1. 6:30pm--family walk
2. 7:00pm--bath
3. baby massage
4. change into pajamas
5. read 3 books
6. move to baby's room
7. lights out
8. sing Primary song
9. nurse
10. lay down in crib
10. rub tummy and stroke head
11. sleep

The main issue with this routine is the walk at 6:30pm. My husband doesn't get home from work until about 6pm. Normally we talk for a little while, make dinner together, play with the baby, and sit down to eat dinner. By the time we're done eating dinner, it's already after 7pm and basically time for Hyrum's bath. We could scratch the walk but since Daddy is at work all day, I really want us to be able to spend some time together as a family before Hyrum goes down for the night.

Therefore, I need to add a personal goal to our bedtime routine: have dinner ready at 6pm when Daddy walks through the door. While I really love the time that we spend talking in the kitchen together with the baby, we could move that time to the outdoors where we can all get a little bit of fresh air and spend time winding down together.