Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sleep Training: Day ??

Just a quick update because I'm SO freaking excited about this. So we've been keeping John on a 3-hour feeding schedule. We feed him at 7 AM, 10 AM, 1 PM, 4 PM, and 7 PM. After the last feeding, we put him to bed and he goes right to sleep. Then we just wait for him to wake up before we offer him another bottle. Well somehow he got himself weaned to just two bottles a night, then to just one... without me doing anything. I had this whole elaborate plan about how I was going to step him off the night bottles by a half ounce at a time, giving him three days at each new volume before stepping down another half ounce... blah blah blah. Then suddenly, two nights ago, he miraculously slept through the whole night all by himself! That's 11 hours of sleep (from roughly 8 PM when his bedtime routine is finished to 7 AM when we get him up for the day).

The dogs woke us up around 6 AM to go outside and be fed. I turned to James and asked him if he had gotten up with the baby during the night and he said no. I knew that I hadn't gotten up with the baby during the night, so we both immediately raced up the stairs to check on him because the first thought that crossed my mind was, "OMG my baby just died of SIDS!!!!" But when we peeked into the crib, he was fast asleep and just as happy as can be. We let him sleep until 7 and then took him out of his crib for his first bottle. There was no fussing, no crying, just sweetness and snuggles.

I. Was. Floored.

The best part? He did it AGAIN last night! I couldn't believe it. I thought it was a fluke, but he slept all night long. We've been doubling the inserts in his cloth diaper and putting a little preventative diaper rash cream on him after his bath each night, so I think that helps.

(FYI: That means we now use cloth even overnight and STILL don't have any problems with leaking. Woo hoo!)

Best. Baby. Ever!

And may the peace of the Lord be always with you.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sleep Training: Taking a Time Out

So we had to take a little break from the sleep training. The first step is to get him on a four-hour feeding schedule, but after a couple of days I began to notice (from checking my baby log notebook) that he wasn't get as much formula as he had been before we started sleep training. As a result, we had one day last week that was a total nightmare. He was cranky. I was cranky. It just wasn't good. He isn't able to drink enough formula at each individual feeding to make up for the reduced number of total feedings. I guess he's just not quite big enough and not quite ready for the four-hour feedings.

So we took a couple of days off and started back on a three-and-a-half-hour feeding schedule, which gives him five daytime feedings instead of four. The good part is that he's drinking plenty of formula on the new schedule (actually, more than he was before we started sleep training at all) and isn't cranky anymore. The bad part is that it makes his day 14 hours long instead of 12, and his sleeping period only 10 hours long instead of 12. But he seems to be doing well anyway. After his bedtime routine (bath, bottle, book, and bed) he goes right to sleep and is out for at least four hours most nights. He still wakes up for a bottle twice during the night, but he goes right back to sleep afterward. I'm tempted to keep this schedule permanently and move on to step two, gradually eliminating the night feedings. I just don't know yet. I'm going to give him another week or so on the three-and-a-half-hour schedule and see how things go.

On a side note, we've been using the bum Genius 4.0 one-size pocket diapers exclusively for a while now and I really love them. Have I already talked about that? I've got a bad case of mommy-brain today. Anyway, we haven't had ANY problems with leaking OR diaper rash since we switched to cloth and they are SO easy to use. James even thinks so. We have a roll of Kushies flushable diaper liners so I don't have to wash any poop out of the diapers and they work really well. The only thing I would do differently would be to get a flushable liner that's a little wider, maybe just an inch more coverage to make sure no poop gets on the cloth. And I need few more diapers so I could wash every other day instead of every day and a half. I have 14 right now, so if I get 18-24 then I'll be set. I still don't know what I'm going to do once we put John in daycare in the fall because I am NOT going back to disposables.

Last thing. We had a doctor's appointment last week and John was 11 pounds 9 ounces!! He's huge! And he started trying to smile at me today. Be still my heart!

And may the peace of the Lord be always with you.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Sleep Training: Day 4

We had a bit of a break-through last night! As I said before, John has been doing really well on the four-hour feeding schedule. I was actually quite surprised by how easily he took to it. No fussing between feedings, no hysterical crying at three or three-and-a-half hours, nothing... which is quite a relief. I don't know how well I would have done trying to coax him into waiting just a few minutes more if he were really struggling to make it to the next scheduled feeding. He's still not getting a full day's worth of formula during his day feedings, so we're continuing with the 11 PM and 3 AM feedings to make sure he doesn't dehydrate or go hungry.

Where we really made progress was at bedtime. Lately, we've been having trouble getting John to go to sleep after his 7 PM feeding. Because he hasn't been sleeping well, he's been tired and cranky during the day. Because he's been cranky, he hasn't been napping. And because he hasn't been napping, he's totally exhausted by the afternoon. He passes out pretty hard around four o'clock and sleeps until just before his last feeding of the day. So of course he isn't tired and ready to go to bed at seven. He just woke up!

I went to a friend's house to study yesterday afternoon and after we were finished, we sat around and played with the babies for about an hour (she has a daughter about six weeks older than John). When John was totally worn out, I put him in his car seat and drove home. He slept all the way home, which is typical, and then for quite a while after we got back to the house. We woke him up for his 7 PM feeding, changed his diaper, and rocked him for a while. To my surprised, he went right back to sleep (must have REALLY worn him out at Rachel's house). Not only that, but he slept for almost 4 hours before waking up hungry around 11 PM. We gave him a bottle, checked his diaper, and put him back to bed. To my surprised again, he zonked right out! Same story around 3 AM. He was awake for about 20 minutes while we fed and changed him. And then he slept until about 6:30 this morning. He slept for almost 11 hours (minus two twenty-minute feedings)!!

He woke up kinda mad because his diaper was really wet. But he settled down as soon as I changed him and we  had some morning cuddles until it was time to eat at 7:00. I played with him in my lap for a while and then let him swat at the hanging toys on his Funky Farmyard activity mat. When he started yawning and getting droopy-eyed, I slipped him back into his crib and he slept for a little over an hour and a half. He took an actual nap! Now I've got him in the Baby Bjorn and we're hanging out until it's time for his 11 AM bottle. I'm hoping a little play time and some tummy time will wear him out enough to take another legitimate nap this afternoon.

We're making progress!

And may the peace of the Lord be always with you.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Different Kind of Hero

The following sermon was written by the Reverend Scott Walters of Christ Episcopal Church and is published here with his permission.
Billy Dick was 6 years old and sitting in Sunday School at the Lakewood Methodist Church in Dallas. It was Easter, and his teacher was telling the story of the crucifixion. Billy Dick squirmed as the gruesome events of Good Friday unfolded. Finally he thrust up his hand and waived it in the air until the teacher stopped and acknowledged him. And when she did, Billy Dick stood up and declared, “If Roy Rogers had been there, those dirty S.O.B.s would not have been able to do it!”
The reason that the story of Billy Dick’s mildly profane Easter outburst made its way to us all these years later is because his cousin was a guy named Stanley Hauerwas, who grew up to become a theologian, a not always so mildly profane one at that. More specifically, his cousin Stanley became a theologian who worried about our tendency as Christians to confuse God with Roy Rogers.
That’s my oversimplified, unqualified synopsis of Stanley Hauerwas’s theology. But the God as Roy Rogers problem is not confined to the imaginations of six year old boys. Long after we’ve learned not to stand up and blurt out what we really think in Sunday School, don’t you think we still believe that God’s saving work is a lot like that of a cowboy hero? God wins the day because God is infinitely quicker on the draw, God’s aim is perfect, and the Resurrection was that satisfying moment in which evil got what it had coming. Got it right between the eyes.
But there’s a problem. The problem is that even on this side of the Resurrection, we’re still looking for someone to come riding into town, six guns blazing, to set things straight. Because things still aren’t straight. Evil is still around. Which means that apparently Jesus wasn’t Roy Rogers at all. Apparently Jesus wasn’t that kind of savior. But we, just like those two disciples on the road to Emmaus, just can’t quite believe it. Because we have a hard time believing that there’s any other kind of hero.
Billy Dick was pretty sure he knew what would have happened if Roy Rogers had been at the crucifixion. And most of us Christians are pretty sure we would have recognized the risen Christ if we had met him on the road to Emmaus. Or if we’re humble enough to give those two blinded disciples a break, we at least believe we would recognize Jesus now. He’s “our kind of people”, right? We understand who he was and what he was about. We have the creeds and the scriptures. Maybe we had a mother who made sure we were in Sunday School. And not just on Easter.
But the story of the walk to Emmaus suggests that we can miss the risen Christ even if he’s walking right beside us. In fact, one of the most curious details of this story is not just that the resurrected Jesus met two people on the road, but that he took them through the meaning of the scriptures, beginning with Moses and all the prophets. He told them what it all meant. He showed them how his life was the fulfillment of all that came before him in the life of Israel. These two people got the whole biblical scoop, right from the mouth of the second person of the Trinity.
And they still miss it. They still couldn’t see him. Maybe they couldn’t see him because they were still looking for Roy Rogers.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sleep Training: Day 1

John just turned 7 weeks old yesterday. So far, he's been a relatively easy-to-care-for baby. During the night, he usually wakes up twice for a bottle between midnight and 6:00 AM. Luckily, he goes right back to sleep after a diaper change and a bottle and we've gotten the whole process down to about 20-30 minutes each time. But it still means one of us has to get up around 1:00 AM and again around 4:00 AM. And even though James and I generally take turns getting up, it's still completely exhausting. Once I start nursing school in June, there is NO way I will be able to sustain that schedule without school and my sanity suffering. So we've decided to try some sleep training with John. Since he's going to have many different care-givers over the next few months, I think it would be good for him to have a daily routine. That way he always has the same schedule, regardless of who is taking care of him on a given day.

I had bought Suzy Giordino's "Twelve Hours Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old" back in 2009. I would include references and page numbers now except that someone (I suspect Hamish, but possible Piper.. or both) totally shredded my copy of the book about a week or so ago. In any case, the premise is that you can teach your baby to sleep or rest quietly in the crib for 12 hours a night by the night he/she is 12 weeks old. Now I'm not 100% convinced that this will work, but we're going to give it a try. If we can at least eliminate one of the night feedings and get just eight hours of sleep, I'll be tickled pink!

Before we can start sleep training John, certainly developmental milestones needed to be met to make sure he was ready. Firstly he had to be at least six weeks old, he had to weight at least 9 pounds, and he had to be drinking at least 24 ounces of formula a day. Well John is seven weeks old, weighs 11 pounds 9 ounces (OMG!), and usually drinks about 30 ounces a day so I think we're ready now.

The first phase of sleep training is to get him on a four-hour feeding schedule. Today we started our day at 7:00 AM and did feedings at 7:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM, 7:00 PM, and 11:00 PM. I was worried that he wouldn't tolerate waiting four hours between each feeding. He'd done it before, but not for every feeding in the course of a day. Since we still did night feedings, I wasn't too worried about making sure he got enough formula. But we'll need to start gradually increasing the amount he drinks at each feeding so we can eliminate the 3:00 AM feeding.

But anyway... so far so good!

And may the peace of the Lord be always with you.