Friday, May 29, 2009

Baby Stuff I Love: New Baby Products

Items to make life easier for you and your baby are always being invented. My three children are each under two years apart, and still I have found new products I just love as each one has been born. I wanted to share some of my favorite new products (or at least new to me!) since McKenna has been born.


  • Video Monitor: Okay, I know this isn't new. My Mom raises horses and she has video monitors so she can watch her pregnant mares from her house. But I never had one until McKenna was born. I had heard moms talk about them, several of you readers raved about them, and so we bought one. I love it! I love being able to look at McKenna. I think it would be a great tool for CIO. McKenna hasn't ever had to CIO, but I know Kaitlyn would sometimes break from her swaddle. Knowing that she had done that would have taken some of the guess work out of the process. McKenna goes in bed and 95% of the time is completely silent. I would assume she is asleep, but when I watch her in the video monitor, I can see how she settles down. This has helped me gauge waketime length to know what length actually helps her fall asleep the fastest.

    When purchasing our video monitor, I turned to the online BW community to ask for suggestions. Overwhelmingly the suggestion was Summer video monitors. There are many different kinds, ranging from color to black and white and also handheld to portable to more of a stationary item. I was told to not bother with the color because at night it is black and white anyway. In the end, the kind we wanted only came in color so it is what we got. We went with a handheld. Cons are that it has a smaller screen. Pros are that it is portable. I wanted to be able to take it around my house. They do have LCD monitors that are easy to transport. Ultimately, I wanted a video monitor I could take outside with me so I could be outside with Brayden and Kaitlyn and yet still see McKenna. You can also buy packages with the LCD and the video.

    The sound is not the best sound for a monitor, but we use our Graco sound monitors for sound and the Summer monitor for video. You can hook these monitors up to a television. You can also buy additional cameras and put them in different rooms. Here is a link to the Summer Infant Video Monitors on Amazon.com. And here is the link to the one we ended up getting: Summer Infant Day & Night Handheld Color Video Monitor 1.8
  • Swaddling Blanket: Again, another item that is not terribly new. I had heard about swaddling blankets online in a Babywise group. I decided to give it a shot. When Kaitlyn was a baby, she loved to be swaddled, but I was literally the only person who could do it the way she liked it. If anyone else swaddled her to put her to bed, she wouldn't go to sleep. She was particular. In order to avoid this problem again, I tried out a swaddling blanket. We went with the Kiddopotomus Swaddleme since it was the least expensive and it looked to be quite easy. We love it! They are typically only $10 each on Amazon.com. Kiddopotomus. (new version is Summer Infant SwaddleMe)

    There are three different materials offered by Kiddopotomus: Microfleece, Cotton Jersey Knit, and Flannel. I had a hard time deciding what to get. I first tried the cotton Jersey knit. We did this since it is coming into summer time and we figured cotton is the most breathable. It works great. Then I decided to get a fleece one for when we go camping or other colder places. McKenna prefers the fleece blanket, but I would say each baby is going to have different preferences. McKenna preferred to be swaddled in flannel receiving blankets; Kaitlyn preferred to be swaddled in knit blankets. Babies are different.

    I read a great review on Amazon. The woman detailed that the flannel material, expectedly, doesn't stretch at all so your baby will outgrow it much sooner than the other materials. The fleece has some stretch. The cotton, again expectedly, has the most stretch and her baby who was at the end of the weight for the Small in cotton was still using the cotton rather than her Large (by the way, weight for the size small is 7-15 pounds). I assume that by the time McKenna is 15 pounds, she will no longer be swaddled.

    Another thing to consider is air conditioning. We have central air. When that air is on, she really needs the fleece. Between her summer outfit and the cold air, the fleece is just right until her last nap of the day, when I put her in the cotton.

    Let me sing the praises of this swaddle blanket a bit more. It has the ability to go in the carseat. When McKenna was a flailing newborn, I would put the blanket on her in the carseat and she was much more calm.

    When we go on walks, I wrap the blanket around her torso so it covers her legs and doesn't fall off. The shade on the stroller covers her arms and head (plus I put her in a hat), but her legs often will be exposed. I am trying to avoid too much sun exposure. When Kaitlyn was a baby, her blanket usually fell off and I usually didn't notice until the same nice old man in my neighborhood was running after me waving my pink blanket. The Swaddlme stays in place!

    I also take the blanket with us to church and when we are out and about. When it is time for her nap, I lay the blanket on my lap and wrap her up. I then hold her and she goes to sleep. She has a sleep cue that is consistent with home and can be comfortably wrapped up to sleep.

    There are a couple of other swaddle blankets I have seen recommended, so I will list them for your consideration. The Halo Sleepsack Swaddle and the Miracle Blanket.
  • Wet Wipe Warmer: This is definitely not new. We have had this since Brayden was a baby. He was very unhappy with diaper changes and was much happier with his warm wet wipe (in case you are wondering, my Mom got it for him when she saw that her precious only grandchild didn't like cold wet wipes :) ). Kaitlyn didn't mind in the least, so she had cold wet wipes. McKenna came along and took after her older brother in her dislike for cold wipes, so I plugged the warmer back in. But you don't need one of these--you can also warm the wet wipe in your hand for a few seconds before using it.  Prince Lionheart Ultimate Wipes Warmer
  • Baby Sling: Yes, you are still on a Babywise blog :). I have a couple of good friends who had babies last December. They both have this sling. I quickly saw the benefits of the sling. For me, this is mostly at church. After McKenna falls asleep at church, I put her in the JJ Cole Collections Premaxx Baby Carrier where she sleeps. I am actually able to hold scriptures and raise my hand to contribute to the discussion. My arm doesn't go dead after holding a sleeping baby for a couple of hours! It is very nice. I have also used it at the park. I was able to put McKenna in it one day when I took Brayden and Kaitlyn (and McKenna) without my husband. I was able to push Kaitlyn in the swings and admire Brayden as he zoomed down the slide while still having McKenna right with me. I have also been able to use it at parties. It isn't something I use at home, but it is very handy for many situations. If you have older children or have something like church that consistently cuts into naps, you might find this handy also.
  • JJ Cole: This is a brand that I haven't known much about until recently. They have a lot of fun, cute, and useful things for babies. JJ Cole. The range from this easy to clean and transport blanket (JJ Cole Essentials Blanket), to the Bundle Me (JJ Cole Original Infant Bundle Me) to an Infant Body Support (JJ Cole Infant Body Support) to fun accessories like this JJ Cole Diaper and Wipes Pod. A comment about the Diaper and Wipes Pod. Some friends of mine gave me this along with a couple of other things, and I have really come to like it. I have a few diapers in there along with my little wipe carrier. It comes with a changing pad in it. When I need to go change McKenna's diaper at church, I just grab this bag out of my diaper bag rather either A-carrying my entire diaper bag with me or B-carrying the diaper and wipes on their own. Not a huge deal, but it is fun. Also, it is easy to grab this bag and throw it in my purse if I want something smaller to carry around. Not a necessity in life, but a nicety.
  • Snuzzler: I am really loving Kiddopotomus right now. Here is their Kiddopotamus Snuzzler Complete Head and Body Support. It can be used in a carseat, joggers, strollers, baby swings, backpacks, and bike trailers. The bike trailers part is what caught my personal interest. We love to go for bike rides but I knew it would be a while before McKenna could sit up well enough for us to go on a family ride. This snuzzler will make it possible to do it sooner. Take note if you buy one of these from Amazon (because I didn't notice) that different colors and materials are different prices.
  • Kiddopotamus: Kiddopotamus I just had to throw this in here. They have their awesome bibs that you readers first told me about (and I have since purchased--Kiddopotamus Bibbity Rinse & Roll Bib 2 Pack), their handy placemats to use in restaurants (Kiddopotamus Tinydiner Placemat), and their ingenious PiddlePad (Kiddopotamus Deluxe PiddlePad). I find them to have valuable products that are very affordable. No, I have no affiliation, but I love their stuff.
  • Ray Shade: Okay, last Kiddopotamus item, Kiddopotamus Ray Shade. My Mom again gave this to us as a gift upon the recommendation of a friend of hers. It provides a lot more shade than those that come with the stroller.
  • Peek-a-Zoo Book: A friend gave this to McKenna. In my opinion, it is the best touch and feel book I have held. It has a lot of varied textures. Peek-a-Zoo (Little Scholastic)
  • Lansinoh Wipes: I have mentioned in the past that I use Lansinoh nursing pads. Well, in one of my boxes I got a package of Lansinoh "conditioning cloths" to try. They are really nice! They smell great and have lanonlin in them so they condition baby's skin. There is no alcohol in the cloths so they are non-irritating. Lansinoh Clean & Condition Wipes for Breastfed Babies. Oh, and as a side note, if you don't do this already, rip your wipes in half for your newborn baby. A newborn doesn't need a full wipe. You will get twice the use out of them. Also, you can rip them in half for poopy diapers and use the two halves rather than needing two wipes. Try it. You will be glad you did (you can rip most brands in half easily).
There you have my list of new items I love. Please share your items you love also!
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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Baby Whisperer: Common Complaints 0-6 Months

In chapter one of The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, Tracy Hogg lists common complaints she hears from parents of babies ages 0-6 months and the solutions to those complaints. I thought I would list those that I also hear often.

0-6 WEEKS

Baby Wants to Eat Every Two Hours (page 26)

  • First, be sure baby isn't going through a Growth spurt . If so, feed baby. If not, move on to other solutions (this is not a suggestion of Hogg's, but the number one suggestion of mine).
  • If baby weighs less than 6.5 pounds or has jaundice, he might need to eat more often right now.
  • Be sure baby is taking in a full feed when eating.
  • Be sure the latch-on is appropriate.
  • Check your milk supply.
  • Be sure baby isn't using you or the bottle as a pacifier (again, my suggestion).
Baby Acts Like He Wants To Eat, Then Only Sucks For a Moment (page 26)
  • Baby wants to use you as a pacifier.
  • He isn't taking in full feeds and just wants to snack.
  • Milk supply might be low.
  • Let down might be slow (my addition).
  • Let down might be too forceful (my addition).
  • Baby might have Reflux (my addition).
Naps Are Inconsistent (page 26)
  • Baby might be over stimulated: overstimulation
  • Baby might need to be swaddled: Swaddling
  • You need to lay baby down in bed awake.
  • Again, check for a Growth spurt (my addition).
  • Baby is falling asleep during feedings and not tired for naps (my addition).
Baby is Up Frequently At Night (page 26)
  • Baby has night and day mixed up.
  • Baby is sleeping too much in the day (but don't keep her up to the point of overstimulation).
  • Baby is not getting enough waketime in the day (my addition).
6 WEEKS to 4 MONTHS
Baby Won't Sleep More Than 3-4 Hour Stretches At Night (page 30)
  • Baby might need more food in the day.
  • Baby might benefit from cluster feeding .
Baby Was Sleeping Through The Night, but Now is Up Often (page 30)
Baby's Naps Are Short (page 30)
4 TO 6 MONTHS
Baby Is Eating So Quickly; I Am Afraid He Isn't Eating Enough (page 35)
  • This might not be a real problem. Babies get to be much faster nursers/bottlefeeders as they get older.
  • Baby might not be hungry enough and is ready for a four hour schedule
  • If baby seems unsatisfied, check your milk supply (my addition).
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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

McKenna Newborn Summary: Week Eight

This is a summary for McKenna ages 7-8 weeks (the eighth week). Last week was a week of bliss (see Newborn Summary: Week Seven ; this week was a difficult one! Let's move right on to the summary.

GRIPE WATER
I wanted to mention something else about gripe water. Some brands of gripe water come with a dropper to dispense the gripe water while others do not. If you buy a kind that does not come with gripe water, be sure to buy a syringe to dispense the gripe water. You can get it from your pharmacy or often in the baby section of a store.

NURSING
Nursing remains the same.

WAKETIME
Waketime got shorter this week. Strange? I thought so. Remember that a few weeks ago optimal waketime for her was about 60 minutes? This week it was back to 45. After thinking it over, I am assuming she needs shorter waketime now that she is more alert for her waketimes. She is taking so much in that she is getting more stimulation, so she therefore needs shorter waketime.

Another thought on waketime, waketime can vary based on the previous nap. If your baby takes a 1.5 hour naps, she might need a shorter waketime than she would if she took a 2 hour nap. Now remember, a 1.5 hour nap is nothing to be upset about. It is a good nap length. She just might need a shorter waketime than she would after a 2 hour nap.

NAPSHer naps continued on as usual until her growth spurt started.

GROWTH SPURTYep, she started another growth spurt this week, which is right on track. Hogg says growth spurts happen every 3-4 weeks. She had her first one at 4 weeks old, so to have at 7 weeks old is right as it should have been. And boy did she grow! She grew several inches in a few days. I tried to put her in an outfit that fit just one week earlier--and it was very much too small! Those babies sure grow fast.

McKenna has an interesting rhythm to her growth spurts. She starts by eating more often for a couple of intervals one day--2.5 hours instead of 3. The next day, she does the same. The next day, she eats every 2.5 hours more often. She continues this until the final day of her growth spurt. The last day of her growth spurt, McKenna eats every 2 hours for most of the feedings in the day. Then she is done. Happily, her nighttime sleep is not really disrupted. She might eat earlier in the night, but not more often.

WITCHING HOURAbout halfway through this week, McKenna suddenly had a "witching hour" experience one night. The witching hours are between 6-10 in the evening. There is no known reason for it. Baby is fussy during this time. It typically lasts until baby is 3-4 months old.

I was really quite concerned. McKenna had never had a hard time falling asleep in the least, and here she was between 6-10 having a hard time! That evening, I ended up feeding her every two hours--doing what Hogg calls "cluster feeding" or "tanking up." More on that below.

This was a funny experience when I look back at it. At the time, I was naturally very concerned. McKenna had never had a hard time sleeping and I worried something was wrong. I found myself asking myself what was wrong and I remembered a question I had answered from a reader only a day or two before. Basically I said, "This is a normally fussy time for many babies. If your baby is sleeping well for other naps, you can put baby in the swing, bouncy, or rock her." I had to step back and look at my situation as though I was asking myself a question in order to gain proper perspective.

McKenna didn't have this "witching hour" every night--just two in this week. Kaitlyn never had this witching hour, though Brayden did.

CLUSTER FEEDING
I fed her at 6, 8, and then her dreamfeed at 10. Many people swear by this practice for extending baby's sleep at night. I had thought about trying it with McKenna from birth, but she had previously just been hard to feed sooner than three hour intervals. After feeding her like this, she slept much later into the night--by a couple of hours! That is very nice for my sleep :).

I decided to make cluster feeding part of our schedule. It makes for a hectic evening, but it also makes for better sleep for both McKenna and me.

NIGHTTIME SLEEP
Due to the cluster feeding, McKenna moved her nighttime waking later into the night--even during her growth spurt. She was sleeping about 6 hours. McKenna is at the age where most Babywise babies are supposed to start sleeping 7-8 hours at night. I am honestly not expecting that from her yet. She still has a week of being 8 weeks old, so it is possible, but as I have mentioned in the past, McKenna is small.

Size is not something often considered with Babywise moms and their hopes/expectations for sleeping through the night. I think it is something that needs to be considered. Size gives indication of the capacity of the baby's tummy, and capacity has an effect on nighttime sleep. Most books I read say a baby can't sleep through the night until baby is 12 pounds. My doctor's office says 11 pounds, so obviously opinions differ. McKenna is growing really well, and her percentile is moving up (in other words, she started life in a low percentile and is now in a higher percentile), but she is a small girl.

My guess is she has 2-4 weeks before she hits the weight most babies are at when they sleep through the night. I will remain patient. I can tell she is waking from need. So long as she needs the feeding, I am happy to give it to her.

OUTINGS/EVENTSMy in-laws watched our kids one even while my husband and I went on a date. McKenna of course was somehow aware of my absence and not happy about it, but she eventually settled down and was fine. All was well in the end. She sure likes me :)

45 MINUTE INTRUDER
McKenna is in the age range for the 45 minute intruder. This is when baby wakes 45 minutes early from nap or 45 minute into nap (BW says it both ways). Did McKenna experience this? I guess the answer is yes. Babywise says it appears the 45 minute intruder is a feeding issue and to treat it as such initially. Since she had a growth spurt, I suppose that is a feeding issue and woke earlier from her naps in order to eat.

PERSPECTIVEThe witching hour experience was an interesting one. It is because of this rough evening that we tried cluster feeding, which in turn showed me how well it worked for McKenna and gave both of us longer periods of sleep in the night. It is often through our difficult times that we learn and are able to improve ourselves and our lives.

I was also able to get to know McKenna better. I got to know her personality more and get to know some methods for soothing her. She has been so good at soothing herself that I haven't needed to sooth her. Through this difficult evening, I was able to get to know her better and improve on my abilities to help her when she needed it.

HELPFUL BOOKS
My list of helpful books for the newborn period:
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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Making Children Mind...Random Thoughts

Here is a list of thoughts I liked from the book Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours. These are thoughts I thought were important that either already have a post dedicated just to them or are self-explanatory enough they don't need an entire post.
  • Put Marriage First: Leman discusses the importance of putting your marriage first (page 19). This is something I think most if not all -wise parents agree with. Leman recommends having a weekly date night. Ideally, you would be able to leave your house to do this. If not, try to have an evening a week that is your date night even if you are home. Rent a movie, play games, even just talking...but have it a special night for the two of you to spend together. Do it after the children are in bed. For more thoughts on putting marriage first, see the related links below.
  • Tantrums: Leman says to handle tantrums, put your child in isolation (40-41). They are free to have their tantrum, but not free to do it around the family. They must do it alone. Tantrums are done for attention, so once the attention is gone, the tantrum is also. This is what we use time-outs for primarily. If a child cannot control emotions, he or she will be in time out until he or she is done with the fit. Then he or she may return to the family.

    Take note that isolation doesn't need to be the only consequence for the fit. For example, a friend of mine shared with me a story of her 6 year old son and ice cream. Mom made some ice cream sundaes for a Saturday night treat. Her son threw a fit when he saw there were nuts in his ice cream. He didn't want nuts. Once he had calmed down, he nicely asked for an ice cream sandwich instead. My friend shared that had he asked nicely in the first place, she would have been fine with that. But since he threw the fit, he got no dessert.
  • Honesty: Leman states that if you want to get honesty from your children, you need to be honest (pages 44-45). Children learn by example, and for those young years, you are your child's number one example. No one knows more than you. No one is smarter. Umm...at least in your child's eyes. Be honest at the grocery store when you don't get charged for something. Be honest when someone calls--don't pretend you aren't home. Show your children what integrity is. Also, when you are honest with your feelings, Leman says that your children trust you more. Be honest about your faults. Your children will learn that people don't have to be perfect. Be honest about your worries and fears. Your children will see that you have been there; you can understand their feelings.

    I had an opportunity to practice this with Brayden recently. My husband called from work with bad news: he was going to have to work all day Saturday for at least 12 hours. The following Sunday was Easter and we were having family over for dinner and a small celebration of Kaitlyn's birthday. McKenna was barely two weeks old. I was worried. I had planned on having my husband around to help prepare things for the gathering, and now he wouldn't be around. Brayden could tell something was wrong. He asked me repeatedly what was wrong. I told him nothing a few times. He then said, "Mama, what is wrong! Tell me!" So I told him Daddy was going to have to work and I was stressed about getting everything done in time for Kaitlyn's party all by myself. Brayden told me he would help me out. He would help make the cake and get things prepared. It was a sweet gesture. Brayden was much more at ease when he knew the truth from me. Knowing I was stressed didn't stress him out. He did what he could to help out.
  • Manners: Like honesty, Leman states that the best way to instill manners in your children is to be the example (page 135). If you want him to say please, you need to say please. You say please to those around you, including your spouse and your children. He also states that good manners are easiest to instill if you focus on them from a young age. I have discussed this in previous posts, but I have found exemplifying courtesy to be the best teacher. Something I am very good at saying is "Thank You." I thanked Brayden for everything from his earliest days. I thanked those around me. When he started talking, he thanked everyone for everything. Adults were shocked to have 12 month old Brayden thank them for things. It was never something I told him to say. I noticed, however, that he was not good at saying please. After monitoring myself, I noticed I was not good at saying it, either. My tone implied it, but I didn't say the word. I worked hard to get it into my every day vocabulary. Kaitlyn grew up hearing both please and thank you from me, and she is very good at saying both. Brayden still needs to be reminded sometimes. I have seen that teaching by example from a young age is the best way to go when teaching manners.
  • Reprimanding: Leman states that when your child says or does something discourteous, you shouldn't reprimand your child in front of that person. You need to take your child to another room or somewhere private and talk to your child about it there, not while there is an audience (page 136).
  • Belonging: Leman says that parents need to work to ensure their children feel a sense of belonging in the family. He says that your child will belong somewhere. If he doesn't belong with the family, he will belong with a peer-group--but he will belong. Some ideas for helping your child feel like he belongs with the family are to let him have a say in planning family activities and trips, ask their opinions when facing problems in the family, give them work to do at home, and explain reasons for rules (as age appropriate) (pages 161-162).

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Obedience Percentages

In On Becoming Toddlerwise, the authors give a list of compliance percentages to expect from different age groups. These percentages are well worth taking note of and ingraining in your memory. I think most Babywise moms are the type to strive for 100%. When we don't get 100% from our children, we start to worry why they are being so disobedient.

Notice that I said "when" and not "if." If you look at life realistically, you can't expect 100% from your child. Just as you aren't perfect, your child isn't perfect. Your child can't perform perfectly. Everyone makes mistakes.

So what can you expect? I believe the percentages given in Toddlerwise will leave you feeling happy. They are quite attainable:

  • 2 Year Old: For a two year old, obedience means that he "complies with your instructions at least sixty percent of the time" (page 94) 60%
  • 3 Yearh Old: 70%
  • 5 Year Old: 85%-90%

Does this mean you expect 60% and then allow things to slide 40% of the time? No. You still work on obedience 100% of the time. You still correct your child during that 40% of the time. You just don't freak out and wonder why your child is so difficult and start to question what is going to happen during the teenage years because your child is clearly unable to control himself. Take a deep breath and work toward getting a higher percentage in the future.

Are you worried this is going to give your child low expectations? Toddlerwise warns against having too high of expectations. If you set the bar too high too early "it will only lead to frustration for you and the child" (page 95). Conversely, if you set the bar too low, your child will be out of control.

Remember your child is learning as he grows. Rome wasn't built in a day, so the saying goes. Your child's self-control won't be mastered in a day. Is your self-control mastered? Probably not. There are probably areas you are weak in. Your child will work on this throughout his lifetime. It is a process for everyone. Have some patience and help your child be the best he can for his age. He will get there.



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Friday, May 22, 2009

Best Things...Newborn 0-3 Months

Every age and stage has its good points and its hard points. I thought it would be fun to list the best things about every stage and have you, the readers, add to the list. Then when we have our bad days, we can turn to our lists of the good things and better enjoy the moment (see Enjoy the Moment).

Each stage has things we should cherish that will leave as they grow older and will never again return. Granted new, fun things come in to enjoy, but we will miss some of these things. Every parent has their stages that they like better than others. During our hard stages, we can turn to these lists and take note of what to focus on--the good! Here are some of my favorite things about newborns:
  • Sleeping Angel: Is there anything cuter than a sleeping baby? Have you ever noticed that pretty much all baby products feature a picture of a sleeping baby? That is because they are so cute.
  • Cuddly: I know not all newborns are cuddly; Brayden definitely was not! But my girls have been. Even though I am not a cuddly person, I love to cuddle my little babies.
  • Light-weight: They are as light as they will ever be. This is nice for your back :)
  • Speechless: Okay, I know we all wait in anticipation for the first words to leave our children's mouths. However, any mom with older children will really enjoy the fact that newborns don't talk yet; they can't talk back!
  • Stationery: Newborn babies remain where you place them.
  • Clean: I was noticing how much easier it is to keep McKenna's room clean than Brayden's and Kaitlyn's. She doesn't make messes anywhere except in her diaper :)
  • Pure: There is something so peaceful and pure about little newborns. They are new here and unmarked by the world.
  • Not Moral: You don't have to worry about the moral lesson your newborn is learning. Granted, she is learning all the time, but you don't need to focus on her "p's and q's"--so to speak.
  • Obedient: Along the same lines, your newborn isn't getting into anything she shouldn't. She is very obedient to you :)
  • Peaceful: There is no fighting! I remember watching siblings interact when Kaitlyn was a baby and realizing someday I would face sibling fights. Brayden and Kaitlyn get along remarkably well with few fights, but fights still happen. In fact, one day they were fighting over wether or not McKenna wanted to play with a certain ball. Kaitlyn was lecturing Brayden, informing him that McKenna didn't want it, and Brayden was trying to give McKenna a toy to play with (he is always concerned she is bored). Some day, there will be three to fight amonst themselves. Right now, McKenna is peaceful!
There is my top 10. Please add your favorite things about newborns!
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Baby Whisperer: Starting a Routine "Late"

In The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, Hogg outlines steps to starting her EASY routine late--meaning later than birth. She outlines what to do and what to expect when starting at various ages. I particularly love one piece of advice she gives.

Hogg says when starting a routine, take two weeks to stay home and be consistent. She says you must do at least one week. "You must make the time to make the change" (page 42). I love this advice and have given it myself many times.

We started full Babywise with Brayden when he was 9 weeks old. It was summer, and we had a lot of things going on. Add to it the fact that he was the oldest grandchild on one side and the oldest grandson on the other, and he was a popular guy. We experienced disruption after disruption. After a couple of weeks, I finally decided he needed time to be consistent and get this new way of life. My husband and I decided there would be no disruptions for two weeks to his schedule except for church.

This made a huge difference! It was such a huge difference that when we were deciding on the timing of when to have Kaitlyn, we chose a time of year that we knew we could easily establish her schedule with her. This is a huge consideration for me when I am deciding what time of year I want my children to be born.

So when you are starting your routine, give time for a routine to be established. You will be able to enjoy life a lot sooner if you do :)

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Poll Results: Did your baby experience the 45 minute intruder around 7-8 weeks old?

Results:

Yes: 157 votes (74%)
No: 37 votes (17%)
Unsure: 19 votes (9%)

Total of 213 votes

RELATED POSTS:

Reminder: You can leave comments on poll results posts if you would like to add to the poll after it has closed. This would be helpful for those who have more than one child, those whose children have reached certain ages after a poll closed, and those who didn't visit the blog while that poll was open. To find closed polls, click on the poll results link above.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

McKenna Newborn Summary: Week Seven

This is a summary for McKenna ages 6-7 weeks old (the seventh week). This was a really nice, smooth week and was my favorite week so far. McKenna became much more interactive and initiated smiles. She became far more alert during waketime. Things all went smoothly and she dropped a nighttime feeding. All was splendid!

GRIPE WATER
I wanted to give a gripe water note. McKenna gets hiccups all the time. Up until a week ago, she got them during every waketime. She got them after every middle of the night feeding. Happily, I can just lay her in bed with her hiccups and she goes to sleep, but I still hated to see her with them. You read in baby books that hiccups don't bother a baby. Really? How do they know? Anyway, each time McKenna gets the hiccups she groans for the first few. No matter what the books say, I can tell they bother my baby.

So this week I tried giving her a small dosage of gripe water when she got the hiccups. It was magic! They went away immediately every time. You might think it was due to drinking something, but that is not so. She sometimes gets the hiccups in the middle of a feeding, and continues hiccuping while she eats. Drinking does not make them go away for her. It is the gripe water!

The recommended dosage on the gripe water for her age is 1 teaspoon. I just give her 1/4 teaspoon and that cures it.

NURSING
Nursing is the same. Nothing new to report.

WAKETIME
Waketime was also the same. We didn't do anything new...except I guess that she smiled at me spontaneously a lot, so that is always fun!

NAPS
Naps continued on as normal and needing to be woken for most feedings. I totally stopped the "sitting" part of the four S's (see: Sleep Training: The Four S's) and she did just fine.

NIGHTTIME SLEEP
As I said in the opening paragraph, she dropped a night feeding! It was exciting. She started waking more around 3 AM and then around 6-6:30 AM. This isn't my ultimate 7-7:45 goal (I will be happy with any time in that range), but it is late enough I am happy with it.

Babywise says there are several ways you can address this waking early issue. For me, anything before 6 AM is a night feeding. Anything after I will take as a day feeding. I am willing to have a 6:15 waketime for a while until she can sleep longer. I can move it back later when I need to using my time change strategies (see Time Change Strategies: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/02/time-change-strategies.html). You do have to be careful with this, however. You might start a habit that is hard to break. See this post for more on these early morning feedings: Early Morning Feedings Before Waketime: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/early-morning-feedings-before-waketime.html.

OUTINGS/EVENTS
We didn't have any new, big events this week. I did have McKenna take a nap in her bassinet one nap this week just to monitor her willingness and ability to sleep in a new bed and place. (see Sleeping Tip: Vary Sleeping Locations )

There is something strange we noticed this week. McKenna seems to be able to sense when I am not home. I know it sounds crazy, but it is true! When I am not home, she wakes early OR she won't go to sleep. Kaitlyn was the same way when she was a young baby. Am I crazy? Did this happen to anyone else? I honestly don't think I ever left Brayden when he was a young baby, so I never noticed that with him.

EMOTIONS
Emotions were a non-issue for me. I don't anticipate them becoming an issue again, but if they do, I will fill you in.

INFECTIONS
My yeast infection seems to have gone away. I am not holding my breath, but for now it is gone and there are no problems from it.

HELPFUL BOOKSHere is the list of I books I find helpful for newborn phase:
RELATED POSTS/BLOG LABELS:

Monday, May 18, 2009

Book Review: The Nursing Mother's Companion

During my pregnancy with McKenna, my insurance company sent me The Nursing Mother's Companion by Kathleen Huggins. I didn't really think it would come in handy for me to be perfectly honest. I had, after all, already nursed two children successfully for one year each. I had spent two of the last 3.5 years nursing a child. While that doesn't make me an expert, I thought I would have little need for a book dedicated to nursing. I didn't have one while nursing my other two and made it just fine.

Well, I have found it to be helpful and informative. Yes, there is a lot in it that I don't have need of (discussion of how to latch and different positions to hold), but I have found a lot of helpful information. It is very complete, which isn't surprising since the entire book is dedicated to nursing.

Here are some of the sections found in this book:

  • Preparing for breastfeeding
  • Ensuring milk supply
  • Survival guides by week and later month
  • Caring for breasts
  • Breastfeeding difficulties
  • Concerns about baby in various age groups
  • Nursing adopted babies
  • Relactation
  • Nursing with thyroid issues (and other special circumstances)
  • Nursing premature babies
  • Nursing multiples
  • Nursing babies with physical defects or neurological problems
  • Nutritional needs
  • Herbal supplements
  • Nursing with illnesses and medications
  • Breast infections
  • Reflux, colic, etc.
  • Pumping and storing milk
  • Biting
  • Weaning
  • Nursing toddlers
  • Nursing during pregnancy
  • Tandem nursing
  • Resource list for nursing mothers
  • Charts for determining milk needs for babies birth to 6 weeks
While I have found this to be a helpful book, take note that it is a nursing book. As you might expect, it is not a book that is positive about schedules. In fact, she has a section where she addresses Parent Directed Feedings, though she never says "Babywise." She said, "...the program teaches parents to feed babies on a rigid three to four-hour schedule and to eliminate nighttime feedings at an early age. The purpose is to relieve parental anxiety and instill a sense of order and discipline in the infant...these practices are often associated with low milk production, poor weight gain in the baby, and early weaning. Some babies subjected to this method have become dangerously thin and dehydrated" (pages 126-127).
Perhaps there are other "Parent Directed Feeding" books out there? If not, then she is referring directly to Babywise, and just plain wrong. I actually read this section first as I flipped through the book. It irritated me so much that I put the book down. I didn't want to bother with it. If she was that wrong about PDF, then how could I trust other things she said? However, I have found helpful information in the book.
I want to address some of her points. First, PDF is not "rigid." I feel like going through Babywise and counting the number of times it says to feed baby when baby is hungry no matter how long it has been. It says that a lot. That is not rigid. Also, it is not a four hour routine for a newborn. It is 2.5-3 hours.
Another point is that the parent doesn't eliminate the nighttime feeding at an early age. The infant does. If the infant doesn't do it on her own, the parent will help eliminate it if the parent feels the child does not actually need the nighttime feeding anymore. This does not typically happen until the child is close to three months old.
The purpose of PDF is NOT "to relieve parental anxiety and instill a sense of order and discipline in the infant," but rather to stabilize metabolism so the baby can eat at regular intervals and sleep at regular intervals. Baby also then takes in full feedings each time she eats, getting plenty of hind milk if she is breastfeeding. Baby is then able to take a full nap, which helps brain synapses to form and helps baby to grow well. Baby is well rested and able to make the most of her waketime. PDF is for the benefit of the baby. It also helps the rest of the family to add baby to the family, not revolve life around the family. Some parents might be fine revolving life around one child, but what do you do when you have more than one? Something has to give.
As far as "low milk production, poor weight gain in the baby, and early weaning," all I can say is that I have never had a problem with any of those things. I have an entire post refuting this sentiment (see "related posts" section below).
Okay, now that I am done with my soapbox, despite the anti-PDF sentiment (it is only a few paragraphs), this book does have its helpful points and I find it valuable as a reference book.


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Friday, May 15, 2009

Emotions

I really feel quite inadequate to write a post on emotions. Other than the postpartum time in my life, I have no trouble keeping my emotions under control. I am a very even person emotionally. I think my logical side has a lot to do with it. I am not easily offended. I readily recognize that everyone has a different perspective based on life experience. I believe most people want to be good and aren't looking to damage other people in any way--I give them the benefit of the doubt. I know that no one can make me mad or upset; only I can allow that to happen. Etc. etc. etc.

When my husband and I were first married, he walked around in a constant state of stress. It turns out he was waiting for me to blow. He is the only boy in his family, with three sisters. He is really, really good at avoiding common things males do to upset females. Not to say his sisters and mom are crazy people who fly off the handle; they are just females. My husband was just waiting for me to get upset over something.

The funny thing is that I am a blunt person. If I am upset about something, you will know it and you will know it in a frank manner. You will hear it from me directly. My husband was waiting around for me to break down about being upset over something, and I wasn't upset in the least. I tell him his talent for dealing with women is wasted on me :) The poor guy was well equipped, and still had to learn a whole new way of communicating.

I tell that story just to illustrate that I am just an even emotional person. I have never understood how people could get emotional. Of course, life (or as I would call it, God) has a way of helping you understand things. You gain experiences to help you relate, sympathize, and empathize with people.

Growing up, my Mom would often tell me how lucky I was that I was a happy person. I was lucky that I didn't have to deal with depression. My Mom and sister both have experience with it. I have never understood it, but I have been around it.

Then comes postpartum life. By the time Brayden was born, my husband had accepted the fact that if I had a problem with something, I would talk to him about it. During my postpartum time, however, I morphed. I bottled emotions up. When he did or didn't do things that I wanted him to, I said nothing and instead just got more and more irritated with him. It took me some time to realize that I was the one being different. We talked about it all. I don't know that we ever really recognized that I was different because of hormones. We thought motherhood had affected me, but not necessarily that hormones had anything to do with it.

After Kaitlyn was born, I again clammed up. I found the isolation of being housebound difficult. I am a social person and an extrovert. It made me very sad to watch my husband and son leave to go do something. I was happy that Brayden had someone to do things with, but it made me sad to miss out on it. We again talked about things, and everything was good and back to normal when postpartum was over.

After Kaitlyn, I did recognize emotions. I was stressed out. I had no appetite. I had a panic attack while in labor with her. We had lost a baby boy between Brayden and Kaitlyn, and I lived in constant fear that she was going to die any day.

Before McKenna was born, my husband and I had it all figured out. We talked about all of our pre-conceived notions. We knew what I needed to be less emotional. My husband is the type of guy who wants to go out and work on stuff after a new baby arrives. He wants to fix up the yard and house to be the best it can for the baby. He wants to go shopping and run errands because he wants to help out and doesn't know what else to do. After Brayden was born, I saw this behavior and assumed he hated Brayden and didn't want to be around us. After Kaitlyn was born, he reacted by starting work on an elaborate playground for the children (which, by the way, is awesome), but I just wanted some company!

So, the third time around, we knew what we needed. We knew how each other reacted and what each other needed. My husband knew I needed him around to talk to. He knew he needed to force me to rest and take it easy. He knew I needed to get out every so often. Things started off really great. I was taking it slow. My husband stopped all projects and stayed inside helping around the house and just talking to me. It helped that it snowed a lot :). I was calm and completely unemotional. The first two weeks were heaven.

Then work happened. We are thankful my husband has a job and is needed at work, but it was bad timing for an emergency. He was needed at work. He had to work longer hours every day. As Easter weekend approached, he was told he would be working the entire weekend. Not only did we have Easter plans, but Kaitlyn's birthday celebration and lots of family coming to visit. I was overwhelmed at juggling my three children with little break and preparing the house and food for visitors with the three kids--including a two week old!

My parents were great to help where they could, but my Mom was foaling out her horses (she had 8 babies since McKenna's birth) and couldn't get away much. My husband's schedule continued on with Saturdays and late days. He also was finishing up his semester working on his Master's Degree, which included group projects, presentations, studying, and tests. All around, it was a busy time. This went on for several weeks.

And my emotions were not so even anymore. What was wrong with me? Why was I so able to cry at the drop of a hat? Things weren't so bad. McKenna has been such an angel baby (what a blessing!). There was nothing I could ask more of her. Brayden and Kaitlyn were really good. They are good children. I was just emotional. And there was little I could do to change it. That is what bothered me. And then I had days where I was superwoman, and this was all too easy. What? Did I mention that I am an even, logical person? The logical side of me kept telling myself to get a reality check, but my emotional self (didn't know she existed) wouldn't listen.

As I mentioned in one of my Newborn Summary posts, I was re-reading Secrets of the Baby Whisperer. At the height of my emotions (week three seemed to be the worst), I happened to be on page 227: The Many Moods of Mum. Hogg discuses the many moods swings of early motherhood. Hogg says that mom will experience many moods, all within one day possibly, definitely one week. Here are some moods she broke down:
  • This is Easy: You are calm. You are happy. Things couldn't be better. Yep, I felt this way often. After all, I am the Babywise Mom. I can handle it.
  • Am I Doing This Right?: Anxiety. You worry that you are doing something wrong. The slightest bump in the road sends you into a panic. Yep, I felt this way, too--even in the face of no problems. I had my moments of worry. Though I will say that I had them a lot fewer times this postpartum period than my first two.
  • This Is Really Bad: This is your last child, you are sure of it. You can never do this again. Why did you want to have a child in the first place? Things were good! Yep, felt this way too. I never wondered why we had a child in the first place with McKenna, but I did with both Brayden and Kaitlyn. With McKenna, there have been many thoughts that three kids is good. I don't know how many children we will have for sure and do not believe there is one right number for every family to have. Three might be good. We might have more. We don't know right now. Logical me tells myself postpartum is not the time to decide. But I do have a good friend (mother of 6) who tells me that she pretends every child is her last during postpartum. It helps her make it through :)
  • No Problem, I Will Fix It: You are smart. You are capable. You will fix it! I actually don't think I have felt this, surprisingly enough because I am smart and capable! ;)
  • The Book Says: You search books and books looking for answers. You make lists and lists. You refuse anything that could disrupt routine. Yep, I have been there too. This is a fine line. You want to ensure consistency. You need to make some sacrifices for your baby. But you don't have to shut your life down forever. It is also good to turn to books...just not too many. Every book is going to have different advice. Look until you find what you are looking for. If you look too much, you are going to confuse yourself with the millions of opinions out there. Remember that your schedule is to serve you, you don't serve your schedule.
As Hogg points out, some sadness is definitely normal. I think that is the message to take home. Expect to be emotional and irrational. But also be aware of the line between depression and the blues. Be really honest with your doctor about your feelings. He/she can help you know if what you are experiencing is normal or not. Talk to good friends and family so you can have a gauge if you are having normal blues or something more. I have found when I talk to other women about my feelings, they relate. They remember those feelings. I have a good friend who always tells me she appreciates my honesty. She had her first baby 13 months after Brayden was born. She tells me that my honesty about my feelings and emotions helped her through it. You will be surprised that other people have felt the same way.
Depression is not something talked about a lot in the US culture. It is getting to be more out in the open, but I think many people are ashamed of it. If you are depressed, you need help. Seek it. It is no different than having high blood pressure. There is no shame in getting the help needed. You aren't broken in some way. You just need some help.
If it is "normal" blues, there are things you can do to help. One is knowing yourself. What makes you happy? Is it one on one time with your spouse? Is it words of affirmation? Is it physical affection? Know yourself and be sure those around you know so they can help boost you up when you are down.
Another is to eat well. Also, get as much rest as you can. I hate that suggestion to new moms. Get rest? That is why I say as much as you can. Have a time of day you take a nap each day so you can be as rested as possible. Go to bed early. It is a short time period. You can get back to staying up later soon enough. For now, take care of yourself and let yourself recover.
Also, get out of the house when you can. Grocery shopping can suddenly become a thrill! Go outside. Get some fresh air and sunshine. You need to get in touch with reality. Staying cooped up in your house can start to make you frankly a bit crazy. Getting out every so often can remind you what life is about. What is really important.
On my worst day after McKenna was born, my husband forced me out of the house to go for a walk. That walk did wonders for me! Hogg recommends Mom take long walks.
Do your best to enjoy this period. A good friend of mine says it is too bad that women have to be emotional after having a baby because it makes it harder to just enjoy the moment. A reader of this blog also made this comment. I think by being honest with yourself and those around you, you can be better equipped to enjoy the moment. I have had my emotions since McKenna's birth, but I have acknowledged them and have enjoyed her as a newborn far more than I did my older children. Part of it is age and wisdom (yeah, I am only almost four years older...but motherhood adds wisdom to your years quickly!). A lot of it is honesty all around. The more we can all be honest with ourselves, we can be honest with each other, and we can stop being so secretive about the emotions we feel after having a baby.
For me, at 6 weeks postpartum I literally woke up and felt 100% better. The night sweating stopped (how annoying is that!?!?!?!) and my emotions returned to being my emotions. My husband even called me one day to tell me he hadn't left work on time and led me to believe he would be home about an hour late. As I was talking to him, he walked in the room--30 minutes early! My husband loves surprises, and while he doesn't lie, he will say things and do things to trick me and make the surprise that much more surprising. I gave him the look (yes, he gets it too :) ) and told him he was taking a big risk tricking me like that. He smiled and said, "Yeah, but you are okay now." By that he meant that I was back to myself, and I realized he was right!
At some point, the emotions calm down and you can either get back to normal or get to your new normal. While you are dealing with the emotions, get the support you need and ask those around you to be patient. It isn't fun, but it is part of the process :)
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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Baby Whisperer: 4 Month Old Changes

4 Month old Kaitlyn

A large percentage of parents find four months old to be a difficult time period. For me, four months old was been a "golden age" for both Brayden and Kaitlyn, but a fussy time for Brinley. I have often wondered why so many parents find four months to be difficult (see 4 month sleep problems ). I have had my theories. While reading The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, Hogg lists many major changes that happen at four months of age (starting on page 33).

Hogg talks about how your baby is now more aware of her environment and more interactive. She engages with toys and has a better memory. She is a more efficient eater and nurses or finishes a bottle much faster. She can stay up longer than she could as a newborn. These are all things I have noticed (though both Brayden and Kaitlyn became much faster nursers around three months old). These are things that make four months really enjoyable for me.

There are other things Hogg talks about that I think can be contributors to common four month problems parents run into:

  • 4 hour Schedule: Your baby might need to move to a four hour schedule and you aren't realizing it. See four hour schedule
  • Early Morning Waking: Hogg says around this age many babies will wake around 5 AM. BW also mentions this. Hogg suggests you not go into the room too fast. Baby might settler herself back to sleep if given the chance. See also: Early Morning Feedings Before Waketime: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/early-morning-feedings-before-waketime.html
  • Longer Waketime: I listed this above, but if your baby needs a longer waketime and you are not recognizing that, you will have sleep problems. You will also have sleep problems if you see baby needs a longer waketime and add too much. When adding waketime, add very little at a time until you get to optimal. I personally added only 5 minutes at a time with Kaitlyn. That often was literally all she needed. I wouldn't do more than 15 minutes at a time, but would actually stick closer to 10 if you think baby needs more than 5 additional minutes. See optimal waketime for guidance on figuring this out.
  • Dropping the Dreamfeed: This isn't listed by Hogg, but I thought I would add it. Your baby might be ready to drop the dreamfeed around this age. Often times, if you keep the dreamfeed around and baby doesn't need it, it can interfere with restful sleep in the night. See: Dropping the "Dream Feed": http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/dropping-dream-feed.html
If you are having difficulties and your baby is close to four months old, look into these possible reasons. See this post also: 4 month Sleep Problems

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