Friday, September 28, 2012

Sleeping Update: Scheduling

Since reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child a few weeks ago, I started implementing a more regimented sleep schedule for Michael. I previously avoided a strict sleep schedule because I thought we would become slaves to the schedule and therefore become that couple that can't do anything because baby has to nap (as if we do so much socializing now???). After reading this book, I now know that a schedule actually works for you and your baby as long as you follow your baby's sleep cues and realize that his/her sleep patterns (as in timing) are biologically wired. In my first post on sleep, I mentioned that Michael had fallen into a nap pattern on his own, napping around 9am and 1pm, where he would fall asleep while nursing, and I would let him sleep on the boppy on me (where was I going?). Turns out those times are exactly when he's supposed to be napping, when baby naturally feels sleepy and are all part of the overall development of baby's circadian rhythms.

The last couple of months though Michael had started to catch on that nursing makes him sleepy, so he would cut feedings short before he fell asleep. It was time to implement a nap routine so he would know that his 8:30am and 12:00pm-ish feedings were followed by naps. The first couple of weeks were filled with resistance--screaming, crying, wriggling, just ugliness. Same at bedtime which was between 6 and 7. The Ergo carrier has become my nap buddy because I can't keep my big baby still when he writhes around! It usually helps to calm him down, frees my hands to stroke his head or back, and most importantly keeps him secure while I swing or squat (yes squat, or sometimes more of a side lunge) or rock him to sleep. Lately the rocking chair seems to be sufficient. His sleepy song is Apples and Bananas--for some reason it soothes him (and it's fun to sing!).

So, the big question, has his sleep improved? It's been about 5 weeks. Nap and bedtimes are much more peaceful. Bedtime is now between 5 and 6pm, wake up for the day between 6 and 7. Naps are still around 9am and 1pm, lasting 30min to one hour. Michael doesn't resist or cry as much (or at all some days) and I no longer feel like I'm forcing him to sleep. Our pre-sleep routine is very sweet and snuggly now--sometimes he'll just stare up at me while I sing and just fall asleep. Although, since he's a high needs baby, he manages to find a distraction while rocking, even if it's my face. As long as he's not getting too worked up, I let him fidget with whatever's caught his attention, and he usually stops after a few minutes and puts his head down. His naps were running 1-2 hours, but they've been getting shorter with morning being the shortest, around 30 min. He's still waking up at night, but there does seem to be an overall progression to fewer wake-ups, this week especially with about 3 wake ups, so I'm very hopeful that the schedule is working and he is catching up on his sleep debt. I'm also only nursing at night if he seems really upset and absolutely can't fall asleep. Just as the book says, he usually has a wake up between 4am and 6am where he has a hard time going back to sleep. Even nursing doesn't work unless I catch him before he fully wakes up. Otherwise I usually have to use the rocking chair, where he squirms and squirms until working his way down to my lap with his head in my tummy--not very comfy for me to hold but it works! I can't believe I never heard of this book before! I think this would be a great read for mommas of high needs babies wsho just don't want to sleep! Now if only there's a book on transitioning a 10 month old high needs baby with separation anxiety from the family bed to the crib...Maybe I'll have to write that one. ;-)

Quick Post: J Crew Bubble Necklace Lookalike for $16

This is just a quick post to let you know about a deal from Living Social to get a J Crew Bubble Necklace Lookalike for only $16! The website is Ily Couture and they have many colors! Check it out!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Baby Food

I recently discovered something that has dramatically improved the feeding of solids to Michael--pouches. Well, I was aware of them earlier this year when I saw my SIL feed her 1yo a pouch with a screw on spoon. How nifty for travel! I decided to get a couple of Plum Organics pouches with the Boon spoon tops for our beach trip a few weeks ago. They were twice the price of the Earth's Best jars I had been buying, but decided it was worth the splurge and convenience for the trip. (I did find a couple of Earth's Best pouches too.)

When we got back, I decided to look into Plum Organics a little more. After all, the pouches were a hit with Michael and came in really great flavor combos. To backtrack a little, I had fully intended to make baby food but had only managed to cook and freeze a few veggies that I would mix with applesauce or cereal. Michael seemed bored and kept trying to grab the spoon, so mealtimes seemed very unpleasant for him. And my attempt at meat/veggie combo purees was apparently the worst thing he had put in his mouth! Anyways, while on Plum's facebook page, I noticed pictures of babies feeding themselves right out of the pouch! What! So I checked a pouch, and sure enough, there were no sharp edges and the spout was pretty much a short straw. Next day, I had to try it. At first Michael just squeezed the squishy pouch and licked his fingers, so I put the spout in his mouth and off he went! He figured it out in no time and loved it! He now gets so excited when he sees those pouches! (I had to let him eat one in Target the other day because he started screaming at the sight of them! Don't worry, I did pay for it. But yes, I've become one of those moms who paid for something after it had been eaten. Oh well, better that than the mom with a screaming baby!) He no longer resists the highchair either! Bonus: I can more easily make lunch for myself and eat it too! We actually share mealtimes now.

So what's to discuss, right? High needs baby gets to feed himself, I get to eat, no more fighting at mealtime. Sounds great. Well, those pouches can really add up at the register. I've looked into other brands, but they just don't have the flavor varieties that Plum has. Earth's Best does have fruit and grain combos and yogurt smoothies that are less expensive and fulfill nutritional needs (I do buy these), but they don't have the veggies like broccoli, zucchini, and spinach. Also, foods containing meat only come in jars, at least for stage 2. In order to appease Michael's desire to feed himself while giving him a dinner jar, I started him on the cereal puffs, literally just last week. He's been pincer grasping everything in sight, so I figured it was time. He's doing great with them! Even though the spinach-apple tastes like ass (even he makes faces), he still eats them! He'll even grab a piece and bite it with his incisors. So cute! For now dinners are ok and hopefully will remain that way when we transition to stage 3. I suppose stage 3 might be easier for me to make since I can just give him soft chunks of meats and veggies instead of trying to find the magic ratios to puree.

So back to price/brand issues. I recently discovered that Target's house brand also had pouches for, get this, 89¢! And puffs for $1.99! The catch? Not organic and simpler flavors like apple/carrot. Gerber also has organic pouches, but they're about the same price as EB. What's my dilemma? Go exclusively with Plum and EB or fill in with non-organic Target brand to save some money? Also, how dependent do I want my child to become on these pouches?

I recently found an article talking about the "pouch phenomenon." It seems that people are giving their kids pouches beyond the "training" stages of eating to feed them when a sit-down meal is not possible, as in beyond the age of 3, even beyond 5. I know, right? I don't know how I feel about that. The whole point of the feeding stages is to get your baby on to regular food, so you can make a meal and your toddler can partake in the same meal, even if you have to chop things up a bit. For snacks, I want to be able to provide fruits, cheese, crackers, whatever I would want for a snack myself. I've already given Michael chunks of bananas and avocadoes, and I let him gnaw on the fruits I eat. I don't want him to become too attached to these pouches. For now, they allow him to feed himself which makes him feel much better about mealtimes--he's visibly more confident which is what we're trying to teach right?

I just don't want the pouches to become primarily about convenience, like so many other things in our lives, always on the go and which I am currently not! Plus I love food and want my baby to share that love and not be a picky eater! There are too many picky eaters! Right now, he will eat just about anything I put in front of him (except when I tried to puree meat with veggies--disaster!). Adults are bad enough walking around slurping on their Jamba Juices and frappuccinos all the time. Do we really want to start the slurpy liquid diet in our children? I don't. We already go to local farm markets and pick our own peaches, apples, and soon pumpkins! I hope Michael is paying attentio--I think he is. I just hope my introduction of these pouches doesn't lead to a later need to wean off of them. So stressful to think of the potential long-term impacts of these types of decisions!

Any thoughts on food training, weaning, pouches? I would love to hear what others think!

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with nor was I compensated by any of the brands/stores named in this article.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Look Ma No Hands!!

Michael turned 9 months yesterday, and as if to commemorate this special week, he decided to surprise me by standing on his own on Monday! We have 2 windows in his playroom whose sills are the perfect height for him to pull himself up and stand. We like to watch the birds or especially big trucks! I looked from sending a text to DH and Michael was standing at the window waving his hands in the air! It was as if he knew exactly the excitement of what he was doing! He's been holding my hand and taking steps from the window to me, but he's never not tried to grab my hand before. Now he keeps letting go and practices balancing. He's growing up too fast! Time to buy some shoes!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Beach Post!

For Labor Day weekend, we visited the in-laws and headed to the beach! Michael had loads of fun. He instantly took off crawling toward the water. He would occasionally sit up on one knee and raise his arms to the sky. It looked so funny--we wondered if he was signaling to the seagulls, "here i come"! I think he was trying to stand up unassisted. He's been walking up a storm since we got back (with my assistance) and he's been doing his arm raising thing too. He's also noticing birds more too since he came pretty up close and personal with the seagulls! He slept really well during the trip, and was never fussy during the day. He was so easy-going and loved hanging out with everybody. He can be such a charmer! The beach definitely did him good, and I'm so glad we created this wonderful memory.

Here's a pic of one of the many horrifying sand snacks he had, licking a rock in this case. I couldn't stop every single mouthful so I took a picture.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fighting

I feel like I'm always fighting with my baby. Today was especially bad. I needed to go to the post office, so I waited until after his morning nap which I always do before going on errands. He hates the carseat, but I can usually coax him to sit with his monkey buddies. Ok. That worked. Small fight. But then he cried all the way there, screamed and fought upon getting back into the carseat, and cried all the way home.

Diaper changes have recently become a struggle. He won't lie down anymore, so I've learned to change him standing up. Except for poopy diapers. He squirms too much on the changing table trying to roll over and stand up. So I put him on the floor. He was not happy with this new arrangement, but he stayed still long enough.

Feeding is just a disaster. He fights the high chair (are you getting that he doesn't like being strapped in?). He fights being spoon-fed, even though I gave him his own spoon and bowl to go crazy with.

He fights naptimes and bedtime. Sometimes he falls asleep nursing which is great. Other times I have to sing and rock him to sleep, so he kicks and fights even though his eyes are half closed. Tonight was pretty bad--of course the longer he fights, the more tired he gets, and the fussier he gets. I hand him off to daddy, but he just cries for me. I have another post on sleep coming up since I've finished reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.

When I steer him away from a hazard or remove something he shouldn't be chewing on, he throws his body backward and straightens his legs and sometimes adds a scream. He's so strong (and not little) that I'm afraid he might slip out of my arms!

I'm the one whose home all day, so I'm the one who gets to be the bad guy all the time, and I hate it! Of course we have good times, but on days like today, I can't help but wonder if he just sees me as a mean mommy. I always tell him I love him and explain why I'm saying "no," but is it enough? Does it make a difference to a 9 month old? Will the fighting ever stop? Is this normal? Is it because he's a high needs baby? Maybe the fussiness is because he hasn't quite caught up on his "sleep debt" yet?

Sorry I just realized this is similar to a previous post, but he was just so fussy today! And he started adding this high pitch screech to his cries! I had to write about it. Thanks for reading.

On a more positive note, we visited the in-laws this past weekend and Michael had a blast at the beach! I learned that he needs and wants much more stimulation than he's getting hanging out at home with mommy (if only he didn't hate the carseat so much!). He also slept better than he has in a long time! Once I get the pics processed, I will have a beach post!