Sunday, April 27, 2014

Cry Baby, Cry!~ Why I do Cry It Out

             

 Crying it out is a method that is very hotly debated in many households and other parent forums across the world. People have very strong feelings about this topic, and it can be a polarizing one.  I learned that this past week when an angry mom posted on my Facebook page. I do understand that by putting my thoughts, ideas, and practices out there in a blog opens me up to criticism-- I fully accept that fact and encourage good discussion from those who read my writing. However, I do expect that discussion to come in a respectful manner. I guess it is just the nature of the beast sometimes. If you have a very strong feeling about my last post or if you were offended in any way—I hope to explain myself in greater detail. I should have known better than to have posted that manual without first diving into my beliefs on Cry it Out and Babywise.
                I do not feel that I owe anyone an explanation for why I have chosen this method with my daughter. She is my daughter, I am her mother—it is my choice. I will not criticize or judge you for the way that you choose to parent your children. I am a firm believer that women could rule the world if we would just stop criticizing each other so much. I think one of the worst groups with this is mothers. If we did not raise our child a certain way, or if something did not work for us—then we believe that it is not the best way or that it does not work for other mothers. This is SO not true. I am fully aware that the system that I use may and will not work for some babies. I know mothers in my Mommy and Me group whose babies would not fit into this system. I use Babywise because after observing my child over her first month of life—I deduced that it would be beneficial for her. That is all! That is the reason.


                I could sit here and ramble off studies about Cry it Out and psychological development. There are countless articles that claim both sides of the coin. Here is the deal—I am not a Pediatrician, Psychologist, or expert in infant development. For this reason—I am not going to make statements that only these professionals should make. You will not hear (or I guess see) me talk in absolutes here. I will say that something may or can be, but never will or is. That is how babies are. They are not exactly identical. What works for some will not work for others. This is why moms cannot judge other moms. We are not dealing with the same product here. All we can do is what we feel is best for our individual child. Ok, rant over. Here is what I do want to say about my routine/philosophy with Baby P.
                When I first heard of Babywise, I too thought that it was a bad thing—I then I did my research. I read several blogs, articles, and the book itself. I made the decision that this could work for some infants if –and only if—several things were present. For instance—I do not believe that CIO would work for babies that are having significant colic or other major issues. I do not believe in letting a baby in pain cry. If you are a mother for any significant amount of time you know that there is a difference in the cry of an infant who is tired, hungry, or in pain. I would NEVER let my child continue to cry if she was in pain. PERIOD! Secondly, I think that CIO should only be done if you are also sleep training/schedule training your child. I have already talked about this in length and why I have chosen to do this with my child. You can read that post here.


Here are some common misconceptions about Cry It Out
1.       Cry it out is not a substitution for feeding a baby.
a.       I don’t know where this idea comes from, but when your baby is hungry, you should feed it. That is just common sense. What CIO does is to make sure that your child is actually hungry before you feed them. I have had many a friend tell me that their child was waking up at night—but would not eat when they tried to feed them. That is because they are not hungry. Babies do not only cry when they are hungry. Sometimes you may need to go down the chain of the many other likelihoods before finding the culprit. CIO maintains that sometimes babies wake up because that are used to and conditioned to wake up for feedings—and that they will continue to do this even when they do not need or want the calories. CIO is a means to break this sleep habit.
2.       Cry it Out does not mean you let your child cry for long periods of time every time they cry.
a.       I only let P CIO when I know that she has a full tummy and clean diaper. Even then, I go in and try to redirect her every 10 minutes. BTW—I think she has only ever cried for 10 straight minutes once. She usually always falls asleep after a minute or two of fussiness.
3.       Cry it Out does not mean that you just put the baby in the crib and walk away leaving them for hours and hours.
4.       It is not a substitute for parenting.
a.       When your child is hungry, wet, or sick—you may not want to let them cry for very long—if at all.


Here is what CIO means to me:
1.       CIO is a sleep training method that helps to train my daughter how to fall asleep and fall back asleep
2.       CIO is a way to send a message to my daughter of what is or isn’t acceptable night or nap time behavior.
All CIO is for me is a way to set limits of what I will or will not do during the night or naptimes. Babies can quickly associate things when it comes to sleep such as nursing to sleep, rocking to sleep, replacing pacifiers etc. These things can become sleep props for your child, and can start to really wear you down over time. I did not want my daughter to have to have these types of things in order to fall asleep because I knew I would not always be able to provide them for her. I do not want her to always have to eat in order to sleep for instance. For this reason—I think that CIO is great for breaking these types of habits.
Here is a good example—if your child hates the car seat and starts to cry while you are driving—you are not going to pull over and take them out. The baby is not hurt by the car seat—but is just unhappy. Eventually the baby will learn that it cannot just cry and get out of the seat. The same thing applies if your child does not want to fall asleep without being rocked. The baby may cry because they are frustrated that you will not rock them back to sleep, but eventually they may fall asleep on their own. The crying is just a way to express frustration. It is not hurting them.


In my case, Piper would wake up and cry at about 5 every morning. I would try to resettle her, but she would not fall back to sleep on her own. I would finally take her out and try to nurse her, she would eat for less than a minute before falling asleep at the breast. She was not hungry—she just wanted to be soothed back to sleep. While I loved the idea that she would nurse in the middle of the night (because she won’t any other time),  I knew that I was not prepared to do this each and every night. So one night she woke at five—I went in and re-swaddled her, gave her the pacifier, and turned on the mobile. I then left the room. She cried for about 5 minutes before she fell back asleep. The next night she did the same thing—I did the same thing. Then the third night she slept through to 7 am. She didn’t wake because she needed the nourishment—she had taken 27 ounces during the day. She had just woken herself up moving around in her crib and couldn’t fall back asleep on her own. On that third night—she did. I was so proud of my girl!

So that is why I do it. I hope now you understand it better. You still might think that it is harsh, mean, or cruel—but in the end—it works for me. What types of tricks do you have for helping your child sleep?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Piper Manual--A Guideline for Keeping My Baby


I recently had to be away from P for 5 straight work days. During this time, I was lucky to have family step in to care for my precious little P. I wanted to make sure that they knew what to do so that I could keep her routine as close to normal as possible. It worked great! She seems to have adjusted beautifully. I thought I would share with you all just in case!

The Piper Manual
Piper’s Schedule
**** Don’t worry if you can’t follow this exactly. It is more of a guideline for you so that you know what to expect and what she usually does.
7:00—Wake and feed
8:30—Nap time—swaddle her and turn on sound machine.
10:00—Wake and feed
11:30—nap time
1:00—Wake and feed
2:30—Nap time
4:00—Wake and feed
5:30—nap time
7:00—wake and feed
8:30—naptime
9:30—Wake and feed
10:00—down for the night

Notes and Troubleshooting
Playtime
·         When is done eating put her down for playtime. If she gets fussy before her nap time, then put her in the swing. Once it is time for naptime you can move her to the crib/pack n play.
·         Try to vary what you do during play time. Sometimes she won’t get on the activity mat, and instead just wants to sit up in your lap, but don’t let her do this every time if you can help it.
Nap time
·         When you put her in crib/pack n play—
o   turn on sound machine. It should be pretty loud but not all the way up
o    Make sure she is swaddled well.
o   Try to give her the pacifier, but if she will not take it, then don’t worry too much.
o   Leave the room
o   She may cry for a little while, but she will fall asleep on her own. If she cries for 10 minutes, then go in and try to give her the pacifier again. If she cries for longer than 30 minutes, then try to feed her a little more.
·         If she wakes before the next scheduled feeding, then let her cry for 10 minutes. She may fall back to sleep. If she does not go back to sleep after 10 minutes, then move her to the swing to finish the nap. Let her cry for 10 minutes in the swing. If she is still crying, feed her.
·         If all else fails, and she will not sleep, eat, or stop crying. Give her ½ teaspoon of prevacid. Wait 10 minutes. If she is still inconsolable—give her 2.5 ml of Tylenol

Giving Medicine
·         Lay her down and make sure she has on a bib.
·         Put syringe with medicine in her mouth and squeeze part of the dose into her back right cheek area. Do NOT squeeze it all at once—she will choke. You have to squeeze a little at a time.
·         She will scream like you are killing her, but she is fine.
·         Once you are finished and you are sure she has swallowed it, then pick her up and bounce her while walking until she calms down.
·         Put her in the swing. When she has gone really crazy, then it is ok to just let her sleep in the swing.

Feeding
·         Bottles are pre-made. If she eats it all and still seems to want more, then take milk from extra bottles in the fridge. Just give her an extra ounce at a time.
·         DO NOT SHAKE BOTTLES—it ruins the properties of the breast milk. To mix you need to swirl in a circle. Make sure to do this before giving her the bottle. This will help remix the cereal in the bottles.
·         To heat—fill a large measuring cup with water and microwave for about 2 minutes. Sit the bottle in the water and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
·         When I put her down for her nap, I usually go ahead and get her next bottle ready. It can sit out for up to 5 hours.
·         If she does not take all of the bottle, then put the bottle in the fridge. We do not waste anything an ounce or more. If it is under an ounce, then you can dump it.



Saturday, April 19, 2014

We are Family-- The Difference Between family and FAMILY

       


 Happy Easter Everyone! P and I have been staying with my parents for the last couple of days. It has gotten me thinking about family. What it means to me, and how it is different now that P is here. The following is my rant about "family."     
                Having a child makes you realize the importance of family and their influence on who you are. Since Baby P was born, I have been very lucky to have the support of my friends and family. I consider her lucky to have not only 4 awesome grandparents, but also countless aunts and uncles—both adopted and real. I truly understand the importance of building a circle of supportive and loving adults to help raise my child. I was raised this way, and I consider myself better for it. As many people say, it takes a village to raise a child. I agree with this sentiment a lot more now than I did growing up.


                It has always been baffling to my husband, how and why I treat those who are not family as such. It is something that I was brought up with. It was the way that I was raised, and I consider it a good quality to have. Don’t get me wrong, there’s family, and then there is FAMILY. I totally get the difference. But I don’t think many people my age have the same type of outlook on family that I do. It is something special to me, and I want my daughter to have the same thing.
                Growing up, I had a plethora of adults that I was around frequently. I called them all aunt and uncle this or that. That is what they were to me. In reality, I only have two aunts and two uncles that are FAMILY. The rest are just family. However, it wasn’t until I was much older that I fully understood this. Yes, it blurred the line a bit, but I think they all fit the description of family rather well.
                Today, my daughter will have one UNCLE and one AUNT, but she will have many other aunts and uncles. These will be people that I want to be a part of her life as she is growing up. I see it as paying homage to the respect that I have for what these people have done for me.  They include my best friends from high school that were in my wedding, my best friend from college, and a very dear friend that I met while student teaching. I consider them family, and want to show that to my daughter. Call me crazy—my husband certainly does. I would not have a problem with him doing the same thing with those who have meant a lot to him along the way.


                My daughter also has four wonderful GRANDPARENTS. She has a Grandpa and a G-Daddy. She has a Memo and a Glammy. She will also have a Meme. This is a very special lady in my life who I feel had a great part in raising me—especially in my teenage years. She is like a second mother to me. She treats me like a daughter, and treats my daughter like a grandchild. I am very thankful for her support and wisdom, and therefore feel that she should have a title. I want my daughter to understand her importance in her life.
                So what is FAMILY and what is family? The line is clearly blurred a bit in my world. FAMILY  are those related by blood. They are those that you may see at every holiday. They are important because they are part of you. They certainly care for you, want the best for you, and they support you. Sometimes, those that are family are actually closer to you than those who are FAMILY. Those that are family are perhaps even greater because they are not bound to you by blood or marriage. They love you, are there for you, and support you even when they do not HAVE to. They are not required to because you share relation. They do this because of the relationship that you have with them. To me that is just as special, and I appreciate them all the more for it.



                What does family mean to you? Do you have similar people in your life, and how do you plan to continue that relationship within your child’s life?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Fourth Trimester Wrap Up--Happy 3 Months P!


           

Its my favorite time of year. Spring is here! The braves are back, school is winding down, the weather is warm, but not yet sweltering. It’s a great time to be out and about. I am so excited this time of year, but even more so now that I have Baby P to share it with. I am looking forward to the pool this summer, and of course, her first beach trip. I can hardly contain myself.

            Baby P is becoming a real human being now. She is a little sassy, but still classy (ha!). I am more than a little obsessed with her personality. I just love her smiles, coos, and soundless laughs.  She smiles when I blow raspberries on her belly during diaper changes, and when she hears the rooster on her farm book.

I am also looking forward to all of her firsts that are right around the corner. I am expecting her to break out in giggles any day now. I know this summer will afford me lots of time to spend loving on her without having to worry about my job! I can’t wait to shower her with undivided attention. I love being a teacher for this reason.
           

Baby P is now 3 months old. We have survived the dreaded 4th trimester, and I could not be happier about how we did. I am getting a good amount of sleep, and Baby P is doing well with her schedule. We are still dealing with some acid reflux issues, but overall she is an AMAZING baby. J and I consider ourselves very lucky.

P weighs in at a hefty 13 pounds and 13 ounces. She has graduated to size two diapers and is wearing some 6 month clothes. Her favorite things at the moment are her activity gym, bumbo seat, and her crib mobile. She still loves to swing when she gets really upset. Although, I have heard that you should break them of that habit by four months! I have no clue how to do this, so if you have some advice, I would welcome it! She still sleeps swaddled in her halo sleeper.  It is a miraculous contraption that I recommend for EVERY MOM! I affectionately call it her straight jacket.



She is sleeping through the night most nights. She loves to sit up on your lap and watch TV. Her favorite thing to watch is the Braves games. I don’t know if it is the colors or the announcers, but she will talk to the screen like crazy. It is almost as if she is cheering them on. I love to watch her watch them. I am just so amazed at how much she changes daily. She loves to kick and slap at her toys, and is sucking furiously on her hands. She still hates tummy time, but is great in the bath!


It is hard to remember what it was like those first few weeks with her. I remember it being significantly harder than it is now, but I still remember it fondly. Motherhood is that way—it is exhausting, taxing, and at the time you never think it will get better—but once it does you only remember the good times. I guess this is God’s way of making sure we will do this again. He gives us selective amnesia so that we will choose to repeat this whole process. Unfortunately, he does not give this to our husbands. Whenever I speak about giving P a sibling—I think J has a stroke. I am not in any rush, but when I see the tiny babies at my Mommy group—I can almost feel my uterus calling out to me. Then when P pitches a fit—I remember myself.

I have decided not to go back into the classroom next year. J and I talked about it, and we figure that it would be best for P and me to give working from home another year. This way we can continue our breastfeeding relationship (what is left of it anyway), and I can fulfill my dream of staying home with my child. Even though this will mean that I will not be able to get countless beauty treatments, go on shopping sprees, and spoil P with ridiculously expensive monogrammed clothes—I am convinced that this is the best thing. I will never do anything as important as being her Mommy. I don’t mind sacrificing for her every day of the week and twice on Sunday. I look forward to being able to work on her development from home in the next year. It’s these days that I will remember when she is having her children. Staying home with her gives me the memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. She won’t remember that I was with her at this age, but I will. That makes a difference to me.  When I am home with her she is mine, and I am hers. It will not always be this way, and I am grateful for this time with my daughter.

I completely support working moms. I am a working mom too. I work from home, and I do makeup jobs on a lot of weekends. You are certainly not a bad mother because you choose to work instead of stay home. My mom was not home with me, and she was still a great mom.  My dad worked out of town, and so from Monday through Friday of every week my mom did it alone. I do not fault her for much because she did more than I could have done in her situation. I realize now how hard it must have been for her and I appreciate all that she did for me. I guess what I am saying is that moms come in all shapes and sizes. We are all trying to do the best that we can—and that is all that you can do. In the end, it is all about what is most important for you, and what will work the best for your family. I know a lot of moms that do go back to work, and they are happier.  I think that I could be happy going back into the classroom as well, but it was always my hope (and plan) to stay home the first few years with my children. This is why I took this job.


Ultimately, I would say that these first three months were some of the hardest of my life. I can’t remember ever being this tired for this long in my life. However, I have loved being a mommy. Right now I am staring at my daughter sleeping in her swing, and I am fighting the urge to rip her out and cuddle her in my arms. They are only this little for so long, and if you blink you will miss it. I remember a time when she wasn’t in my life, but I can’t imagine it anymore. She is without a doubt the best thing I have ever done. Happy 3 Month Birthday P! Mommy loves you so so much!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Baby P's Schedule Weeks 10-15


 P has gone through another schedule change. We are particularly thankful for this change because it means that she is now sleeping through the night without a dream feed! WAHOO! We are so excited about our extra sleep.


Here are some things to remember when dropping a feeding:

1. Continue to use your previous schedule until your child consistently eats poorly at the last meal of the day.
--In P's case we waited about five days before making the shift. We were noticing that at the 12:00 feeding she would play with her bottle and not really take much. She did this every night for 5 nights, and then on the 6th, we just didn't wake her at 12.
2. Understand that since your child will be sleeping longer at night that they probably will not nap as long during the day.
--this means that you will have to adjust the awake and nap times in your schedule.
3. Your child will probably take more food at each feeding to make up for the feeding they are dropping.
--In P's case she started taking around 4-5 ounces each bottle.
4. There will be times when they will not sleep through the night. This is just the nature of having a baby. That does not necessarily mean that they are hungry! It could be any number of things. I usually go in and try these things first before feeding her:
-re-swaddle her
-Give her a pacifier
-turn on her mobile
-pick her up and rock her
**only after all of these are exhausted will I feed her.


Schedule

Early Morning
7:00--wake and feed
7:30--playtime
8:30-8:45--down for a nap

Mid-Morning
10:00--wake and feed
10:30--playtime
11:30-11:45--down for a nap

Noon
1:00--wake and feed
1:30--playtime
2:30-2:45--down for nap

Mid Afternoon
4:00--wake and feed
4:30--playtime
5:30-5:45--down for nap

Nighttime
7:00--wake and feed
7:30--playtime
8:00--down for nap

Late night
9:30--wake and feed
10:00--down for the night

Houston, We Have a Problem--dealing with low milk supply






In a recent post on my friend's blog I wrote about my issues with breastfeeding Baby P. It was a hard post to write, and one that I struggled with very much. As I continue to struggle with mommyhood, I find that blogging really helps. So, bear with me as I gripe about my newest issue--my low milk supply!

Once my milk came in, Breastfeeding got a lot easier, and I thought that it would continue to get easier as the weeks went by. It did--for awhile. However, at week 5 P stopped taking my breast. The reasons--at the time-- was my overabundant supply and super quick letdown. Well, I no longer have either of these issues, but what I do have is something much scarier. A low supply!

In mommy groups all over the world this is the dreaded issue. We don't all face it, but for those of us who do, it is the most nerve-wrecking feeling in the world. The fear of not being able to keep up with your child's hungry demands is enough to drive you half crazy--or maybe all the way crazy.



I should preface this by saying that I am now exclusively pumping for P. She will not take the breast well. Occasionally we will have a good day where she will breastfeed 3 or four times in a 24 hour period, but most days she feeds at the breast once (the first feeding of the day). I have come to terms with this, and I am okay. I won't say that there are times that I don't miss it, but I am okay with it now. On days that she breastfeeds more, she usually does not sleep through the night. At this point, I choose sleep. So--bottles are not the devil, ladies! They can be a very good friend.

Since P was 8 weeks old, I have been exclusively pumping. My supply actually started to increase during these weeks because she had not been nursing very well. Then, last week--BOOM. It TANKED! I was used to getting 8 ounces after breastfeeding P in the morning (your optimal time) and then 5 ounces each time after that. I was pumping 7 times a day, and P was eating 7 times a day. It was a great system. I was building up my freezer stash, and had actually run out of space in the freezer. I had to outsource to my parents and in-law's freezers. I was cocky, proud, and oblivious that all of this could change. So--it tanked hard. I woke up one morning, and was only able to pump 4 ounces at my first pumping. WHAT? That was half of what I normally got. It only got worse throughout the day as I was only able to pump 2 ounces at each pumping for the rest of the day. I panicked. Then I reached for a bag of frozen milk out of my freezer.

Once I calmed down, I searched the internet frantically trying to find out what had changed. I figured out that the culprit was the fact that P had started sleeping through the night. She is now sleeping 8 straight hours at night (feel free to throw something at me virtually)! I wasn't getting up anymore at 12 to pump. My body had overcompensated for the dropping of that feeding.

What was I to do now? I had heard from several other mothers who had gone through similar issues with their little ones so, I did know what to do. Just in case you don't--here is a list:

1. Drink more water, and then drink some more. It is so so so important.
2. Don't skip meals--I was really bad about skipping breakfast in the mornings. I had gone back to work and found it hard to keep up with the demands of morning time with a baby.
3. Eat better--Leafy green vegetables are shown to help with lactation. So be like Popeye! Also, oatmeal is said to boost supply.
4. Take supplements--Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle! I swear by these. Take three Fenugreek capsules three times a day and one Blessed Thistle capsule three times a day.
5. Drink less caffeine--it's known to dehydrate you faster. Just substitute it for water until you are back to normal.
6. Pump more often and for longer periods of time. In my case I added back one pumping session to get back to 7 (so I don't have to get up in the middle of the night). Then I lengthened my pumping times from 15 to 20 minutes.



After doing all of these things, it started to come back--slowly but surely! I started to relax, but I am all too aware now that this could happen again, so I am going to try to be more cognizant of what I put in my body, and how shifts in her schedule could affect my supply.

I want to also say that in times like these--we tend to overreact. Thank god I have a level headed husband who helped to keep me sane. He kept pointing out that while the amount I was getting was significantly less than I was used to, I was still keeping up with P. In fact, I was still staying ahead of her by at least a half an ounce at my lowest point. This really helped to keep me calm. Shout out to you babe! You're the best!

I was terrified of having something else taken away from me. I already was unable to breastfeed my child the way that I wanted to. I definitely did not want to have to give her formula. I am determined to do whatever I have to do to ensure that she was getting breastmilk until she is one. In the end, I know that formula is not the devil. It is more about pride and stubbornness in my case. I want something to go my way--even if it means I have to invest more time and effort into it. However, I understand that sometimes things are beyond our control. If for some reason my supply dries up, then I will find a way to cope with it, and I will shake that bottle of formula with a smile on my face and know that it will be okay.

Have any of you had a low supply? How did you deal with it? Did you have to switch to formula?