Monday, June 29, 2009

Newborn Summary: Week Thirteen


I can hardly believe that I am writing about McKenna's thirteenth week! This is from age 12-13 weeks. Time has gone by so quickly! This week is the last of the newborn months! This was a really good week for us.

NURSING
McKenna continued to just get faster and faster while nursing. It really is amazing to me how fast they get around this age.

My yeast infection is doing much, much better. The two week regimen seems to be getting rid of it for good (I hope).

CLUSTER FEEDING
One night as I was trying to feed the dreamfeed to McKenna, I decided the cluster feeding was now interfering with her eating. She didn't eat well for the dreamfeed because she had cluster fed. So I went to my Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems book and looked up when to stop. 8 Weeks! Oops. I missed that one. So I stopped that day and things went even better at night.

WAKETIME
Waketime finally clicked this week! On Sunday, McKenna was up a little longer for the third nap of the day, which had previously been hard for me to figure out. We were at church, so by the time we got home and put her down, she had been up somewhere between 60-70 minutes (my husband doesn't watch the clock as closely as I do and he had her when she woke up :) ). She cried for a minute then went right to sleep. Wow! That was much better than silently sitting in her bed for 20-30 minutes and then crying. If I didn't have a video monitor, I would have thought she was asleep and then woke up.

So I finally figured out all of her waketime lengths for the day. Her first waketime is best at about 50 minutes. The rest are best at about 60 minutes (though I am toying with trying 55 for some...but I might just leave well-enough alone). Some can be between 60-70 minutes.

This week I also started stimulating her more during waketime activities. For her entire life, I have been very cautious about overstimulation, which was really great for her for a long time. I kept things mild and quiet. But now that she is older, she naps better if she has some real stimulation during her waketime. Not a parade (though that is coming this weekend!), but more just normal life.

Her first waketime is still pretty mild. She eats, has a bath, and then I lotion her and do a massage and "goo-goo" with her. Then I get her dressed and she has about 10 minutes of independent play.

Her second waketime is more stimulating. I feed her, then we all go for a walk. Kaitlyn and McKenna sit in our double stroller and Brayden rides his bike along with us. Because I know someone will end up asking, here is a link to the double stroller we use: Jeep Wrangler Twin Sport All-Weather Umbrella Stroller. We really like it. Each seat can recline and it is lightweight. Also, it is a lot less expensive than most double strollers out there (and as I type this, it is 31% off on Amazon). We used it with Brayden and Kaitlyn and now Kaitlyn and McKenna. Oh, and an idea I had (once it was too late for McKenna) is that if you want to use it with a younger baby, you could get the Kiddopotamus Snuzzler. We have this and use it in our bike trailer for McKenna. It works great. But I found it when she was older and didn't need it for the stroller. Just a little FYI for you :)

Her third waketime is just with me. She eats of course. I often have her sit in her bouncy seat while I clean up the kitchen and/or she does some tummy time also.

Her fourth waketime is with the whole family home, so various things can happen. She eats. Errands, bike rides, visiting friends, around the house, etc.

Her last waketime is just before bed, and in actuality I haven't perfected this length yet. I am working with figuring out if she should have it be long or really short. It does include eating, getting ready for bed, and reading a story.

Some of you might be getting coss-eyed thinking about doing the same thing for each waketime. If so, mix it up! For me, I like the predictability and it also helps me be sure I get everything in that I want to. Some waketimes naturally vary because life isn't the exact same every single day, but this is the current plan I work with. Having one unpredictable waketime each day is enough for me.

CIO
CIO was fast and painless for us (I guess as painless as it can be). I am going to write an "In Action CIO" post because there are things I learned during this process that I think will be of benefit to others.

NAPS
Naps were good. One change I made this week was to close her blinds during naptime. I always like for my kids to learn to sleep with light, but I thought it might be disrupting her. I decided sleeping well the 99% percent of the time when she is in a room that can have the blinds closed is better than sleeping okay 99% of the time and okay the 1% of the time she might be somewhere I can't darken the room with blinds or curtains.

NIGHTTIMEShe continued sleeping through the night. When I say sleeping through the night, I mean she slept 7-8 hours continuously. Since I do the dreamfeed quite early, that puts her waking up before our ultimate desired waketime.

You will recall that in the past with McKenna, when she STTN I treated any feeding past 6 AM as our first feeding for the day and then just extended the first nap (which she will do). At this age, however, I found it better to feed her on one side and then put her back to bed and get her up at her desired waketime.

I think that around three months old, the baby starts to get more stable and even more on a pattern. I wanted her to learn what time is morning. So I reduced the amount she ate in the early morning feeding and then woke her up to eat. This went well this week.

SWADDLE
I didn't mess with the swaddle this week at all. She is still in need of it. She is getting much more coordinated with her arms, so I think that she will be able to at least have one arm out "soon." By soon, my guess is within the month (though that is only a guess; who knows the future). She does sometimes work her arm up so her hand is at her mouth. That can make her "upset" (not crying, just frustrated). At first I wanted to go in and put her arm back down, then I decided that it is part of the learning process for her. She needs to learn to sleep that way since she is strong enough to get that way. Keep in mind I can see her on the video monitor, so I know if she has her hand there or not by looking. She really quickly adjusted to this and fell asleep well with her hand down or her hand up. This really is a small step toward weaning from the swaddle.

HAND SUCKINGAs I said, she is getting better with her hand. She can more purposefully get her hand to her mouth. She still hasn't decided what she likes. Fingers, thumb, fist...she doesn't know yet. She is still trying it out.

SOCIAL
McKenna got a lot more social this week. Not only was she very social during nursing (stopping to talk to me), she was also much more social during awake time. She lights up when her siblings enter the room. She looks around to try to find the people who are talking. She is a jabber-mouth. She loves kisses. She is just so fun! See, this is the reason I just look forward to three months old so much. I love interacting with my children.

OUR SCHEDULE
Our schedule has some differences. Our morning waketime got a little later because of the early morning feedings and we also dropped the cluster feeding:

8:00 AM--eat
8:50 AM--nap
10:30 AM--eat
11:30 AM--nap
1:30 PM--eat
2:30 PM--nap
4:30 PM--eat
5:30 PM--nap
6:30-7:00 PM--eat
7:30-8:00 PM--sleep in swing due to witching hour
10:00 PM--Dreamfeed
5:30-6:00 AM--early morning feeding (she wakes for this, I don't wake her)

HELPFUL BOOKS/WEBSITES
I have a new book to add:
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Learning Activity of the Day

This past December, I decided that I needed to improve our learning activity of the day. We had previously had our theme of the day each day as discussed in Learning Activities (Preschoolwise) . This worked great, but as Brayden was getting older, I thought we needed more direction. January 1 is a natural time to start new goals, so we started a new program. Brayden was 3.5 and Kaitlyn was 1.5. I didn't really expect Kaitlyn to benefit from it as much as Brayden, but to my surprise she learned really quickly!

We have since built on it even more, but I thought I would post what we did then for those with the younger children. I think this is something that you could start even as young as 6 month or so, just in a low-key sort of way.

It was still a theme day, but I gave the theme direction.

Monday: Letter of the Day
Monday was our letter of the day. I started with the letter A and we worked our way through the alphabet. Each Monday was a new letter. I drew the letter A on a piece of paper. I would then ask the kids what letter it was. Then I asked what sound it made. I taped it to the cabinet (but after a few weeks I noticed that tape on wood is not a good idea--duh--so the fridge or something is a better idea). Then we went through the house looking for "A" words.

I tried to incorporate the letter A into our day as much as possible. For lunch, we would have an apple as our fruit. Any time I said a word that started with the letter A, I would stress the word.

Tuesday: Color of the Day
Tuesday was our color of the day. I just chose a new color each week. I would put up a piece of paper in that color. I asked what color it was. We then looked around the house for things that color. We each wore a shirt that color. We ate a food that color if possible. We were all about the color!

Wednesday: Shape of the Day
Wednesday was our shape day. I took the colored piece of paper and cut it into the shape of the day. We then went through the same routine of finding the shapes around the house and everywhere we went. I tried to incorporate food in that shape. If there wasn't a food that was naturally that shape, I would make a peanut butter sandwich and cut it into that shape.

Thursday: Number Day
Thursday was our number day. I am sure you are getting the picture by now. I started with the number one. I drew a one and also one shape from our shape day. So if shape day was a square, I drew the number one followed by one square. We then went around the house counting things that were one.

Friday: Free Day
Friday was the day I filled in with other items that had not been covered. Science, history, art, music, etc. (see Learning Activities (Preschoolwise) for more on these topics).

IDEAS FOR APPLICATION
Like I said, I was surprised at how well Kaitlyn responded to this. It was such a simple thing to do each day. I figured just the extra exposure and focus helped her learn. With Brayden, we had a learning time each day set aside to focus on it more. Here are some ideas for different age ranges. I think once McKenna is 6 months, I will start exposing her to it, so my ideas for that application are here, though I have never practiced it. These age ranges are simply approximate. Of course, go at the pace of your individual child.
  • 6-12 Months Old: I think I will draw the A on the paper and then show it to her and say "A". I will then tell her the sound it makes. I will do the same for the other items. On the letter day, I might read her one of our alphabet books. On the shape day, a book about shapes. It will be low-key and just focus on exposing her. I might also just sing the ABCs on the letter of the day. I won't be expecting any sort of reaction from her (like, I won't expect her to tell me that is an A). My goal will simply be exposure.
  • 12-18 Months Old: If you are reading this for the first time while your child is in this age range, I would start with the ideas from 6-12 months old first. Then move on as you see your child is ready to move forward. This is an age range where the toddler understands a lot but can communicate little. If you have been doing sign language with your child, you could add learning the sign for what you are doing that day. Or, for example, on A day you could learn to sign "apple" or "animal" or something that might interest her.

    During this age range, I would just slowly start to add to what you have been doing. Children learn best when it is step by step (see Factors that Influence Learning and The Learning Process (Toddlerwise) for more on this concept). Don't try to jump to where you think your child should be. Start at the beginning and work your way up.
  • 18-24 Months Old: During this age range, get into the finding the A things around the house and counting the pillows on the couch to see if it matches your number of the day. Get excited about it. Incorporate your theme into as much of your day as possible. During this age range, most children start to speak simple sentences if they aren't already, so your child will likely be verbally responsive during this time period. She might enjoy flash cards, but don't push it if you can see she doesn't like them. Do them for fun, not to try to turn your child into the next Bill Gates.
  • 2-3 Years Old: During this year, you can start to incorporate more into the day. Your child will obviously grow a lot over the year (intellectually--they don't change a whole lot physically). Remember to build on things. This is the age of the really fun toddler! They are thrilled to do everything. Okay, I am biased. I love two year olds. I know a lot of people struggle with the two year old (and the chorus of "no" and "I do it myself!"), but it is one of my favorite stages. But very small things thrill the two year old. If your child likes to color, you can go online and google "letter A coloring page" and find hundreds of letter A's for your child to color. If it is D day and your little one loves dump trucks, google "dump truck coloring page" and take your pick. Your little two year old will also want to help a lot. On number day, let her help you make cookies, counting as you go. Be sure to see Learning Activities (Preschoolwise) . This post was written when Brayden was at the end of this phase.
  • 3-4 Years Old: This is the age range when you can start to have formal learning time. You can sit at the table and do activities that correlate with your theme day. You can also start to add board games. On your color day, you can play Candyland or play with Play Doh. On number day, perhaps Cooties or High-ho Cherrio. Go for a walk and find all the things that start with the letter "J" or whatever you are on. If you are on the letter "B", you could go outside and look for bugs. Use your imagination and play to your child's interests. As your child gets closer to four years old, I suggest you have time where he is required to sit and complete a task. Do an amount of time appropriate for his age and his ability and work up from there.

I am at the beginning of ages 4-5 years, so I don't have much I could add of value for that age range. I will say that I think a more advanced curriculum is probably a good idea for that age range. I will share what we are now doing in the next learning post. In that post, I will outline what we are doing and post some sample pages of our work in .jpg format. I will also be posting weekly themes in the Yahoo! group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/chroniclesofababywisemom/ ).

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Postpartum Survival Tips

McKenna is now three months old! We are through the newborn stage. To celebrate, I thought I would share some tips. With each child, I have learned little things that can just make life easier during the postpartum period. This time period can be a little bumpy, so I wanted to share things I have found smooth the road. As always, please share any tips you have found work for you also!

For the Bathroom
A good friend of mine once commented on how long a trip to the bathroom took her after she had her baby. I have found this to be true, also. This can be a bit annoying, especially at night. That extra long bathroom trip is eating into your sleeping minutes! Here are some tips to make the bathroom experience easier.
  • Easy Access: Keep all of the things you need close to the toilet. I know this isn't a glamourouse conversation, but it is a real one. What might you need? Some ideas are any medicines you use such as Tucks Pads (witch hazel) and dibucaine ointment. I keep the two I am using on the counter next to the toilet and back-ups in a drawer next to the toilet. If you don't have a counter close by, put it on the back of the toilet. If you don't have a drawer close by, pay attention and put a back-up next to the one you are using when you get close to running out. Another idea are your pads. Also, you might want a change of underwear for when the pair you are wearing gets dirty. Another idea is a bottle of water for cleaning (used if you have a vaginal delivery).
  • Water Bottles: If you had a vaginal delivery, chances are the hospital suggested you use a squirt bottle with water in it to cleanse yourself rather than wiping. You fill the bottle with warm water. The trouble is that sometimes a bowel movement comes when you don't expect it and you need more water! This time around, I kept two bottles available. I kept one filled at all times for 'emergencies' and then filled the other one each time I went in. That way I knew I would always have enough water.
For Nighttime Feedings
  • Extra PJs and Bedding: Babies often leak through their diaper. When this happens, you of course need to change their pajamas and often times bedding if baby was in bed when it happened. It is the worst when this happens at night. While baby is a young newborn and I am still getting used to the location of things, I like to set out an extra pair of pajamas on the changing table. That way if the extra pajamas are needed, they are ready and waiting and I am not fumbling through the drawers at 2 AM trying to remember which drawer holds the pajamas.
  • Extra Diapers: If the diapers are not in really easy access, I suggest you set out the number of diapers you anticipate needing through the night and then a few extra. I have my babies sleep in my room for the first two weeks, so I have no changing table to use in the night. I set a stack of diapers on my night stand along with wipes so I don't need to rummage
  • Water: If you are nursing, you are going to want a nice big glass (or jug) of water close by so you can quench your thirst.
  • Burp Rag: Keep a burp rag close by for those times baby spits up.
  • Medicines/Creams: Keep your Lansinoh, gas drops, etc. close by. Also, keep any pain medication you might be taking close by.
  • Nightlight: Put a nightlight in strategic places if needed. I am one who can get to be fully awake quite quickly and easily. Full light will wake me up. I keep a nightlight in places I need some light but don't want to turn the light on and wake myself up. You also don't want light to wake up your baby.
  • Nuring Pads: I also set nursing pads out on my night stand each night before I go to bed.
For Your EmotionsWe all know what an emotional roller coaster the post-partum period is. Here are some things I have found help (see also the post Emotions).
  • Sleep: I always hate to read this advice for new moms! Get lots of sleep. Sigh. Don't we wish! But there are things you can do to get those extra Zzzz's you are missing out on. If this is yours first baby, you have more luxury of sleeping when baby is sleeping. Take advantage of that. You can go right back to sleep after the first feeding of the day. You can take an afternoon nap. You can take a nap whenever baby is napping! When Brayden was a baby, I did not take advantage of that.

    With older children, though, you have to work around them. Go to bed early. When Kaitlyn was a baby, I went to bed after her 8:30 PM feeding (she didn't do a dreamfeed as a newborn). Sometimes in McKenna's early weeks, I went to bed around 9:00 PM and set my alarm to wake for the dreamfeed. It gave me some extra hours to sleep that night. Chances are if you have older children, the only other time of day you will be able to sleep is in the afternoon when naps line up.

    If you are not a napper (like me) and hate to sleep because you are thinking of all the things you need to be getting done, make some rules for yourself. One rule I had with Kaitlyn was that I had to take a nap every day for the first month of her life. With McKenna, I wasn't as tired. I did that for the first week or two, but then I made the rule that if I got fewer than 7 hours of sleep the night before, I had to nap. Otherwise, it was optional. Make rules that work for you and your sleep needs.
  • Eat Right: Eat healthy foods that will give you energy long term. Avoid the sugar loaded foods that put you on a temporary high and then send you crashing down. You don't need any more opportunities to crash right now.
  • Walks: The Baby Whisperer often states new moms should take long walks each day. I remember one day when McKenna was 3 weeks old. I was feeling particularly down that day. We went for a family walk--I didn't feel like it but my husband made me. After we had walked a couple of blocks, I started to feel really good! It cleared my mind and it moved my body. I was better able to put things into perspective.
  • Get Out: Along those lines, get out of the house every so often. A trip to the grocery store can be thrilling! If you can, run errands when your spouse is home and can stay with the baby and/or older children. Some time a lone is nice. It is also nice to take your older children with you and have time to focus on them without worrying about the baby. Or you can take the baby and not worry about the older kids! Mix it up.
  • Know Yourself--Your Post-Partum Self: Get to know yourself and your emotional needs. They are likely different from your normal self. This is the new you for however long the hormones make you emotional.
  • Communicate: Once you know yourself, communicate your needs to your spouse. When Brayden was a baby, I handled my emotions differently and it took my husband and I several weeks to recognize that. Now, my husband knows post-partum me better than I do and he forces me to do things that will help me--hence the walks and running errands alone.
  • Exercise: Once you get the clear from your doctor, exercise! It can be hard to find time to exercise, but make it a priority. It is important to take care of yourself. You will have more energy, which makes for a more fun Mom. I recently started running with a friend and I am amazed at how much happier it makes me.
  • Consult: If your emotions are really spiraling and/or you just feel like something is off, talk to your doctor about it. Get help. You may or may not need help, but talking to your doctor will help you to know. She sees lots of pregnant women and she knows the signs.
For Your Chores
If you are like me, the chores that need to happen around the house start to really eat at you. This is one reason I have a hard time napping.
  • Break It Down: I have talked about this in the past. I have a "chore" for each day of the week. So Monday is laundry day. Tuesday is dusting, etc. You could do it like that or take one room a day. Monday is the family room. Tuesday is the master bedroom, etc. I also have the things that must be done every day (dishes!). This way, the tasks and goals are small.
  • Make Lists: When your brain isn't working well (a definite fact of life during post-partum time), lists are great. They help you keep things straight and help you remember what you need to do. I often find that while I am nursing, I think of all the things I need to get done. When I am free, I seem to forget. I have started keeping a paper and pen where I nurse so I can write the things down that I need to get done.
  • Get Help: Get your husband to help. Ask your Mom for help. When your friend offers to help, accept it. Take the help that you can. If you can afford it, hire a cleaning service! That would be nice.
  • Get Over It: HA! I need to write that to myself on a daily basis. If you think keeping a house clean is a challenge with one baby, just wait until you have a preschooler, toddler, and a baby! I can be *slightly* OCD, so I try to really keep things in perspective. At the end of the day, I can clean up. At the end of the day, I cannot spend time playing with my kids or teaching Brayden in schooltime.
  • Prioritize: Prioritize the things you need/want to get done each day. Do the most important first. That way if/when you can't complete it all, you at least have the most pressing things done. These are things that are time sensitive or things that will just wear on you if you don't do it.
  • Make Small Goals: Time is just not free flowing when you have a newborn. Even with an easy newborn, you don't have as much time. This is even more true when you have other children to take care of. I spend at least 7-8 hours each day just on McKenna! Feeding, bathing, dressing, playing with, etc. That is to say nothing of the time spent obsessing over her schedule :). Then I have the other two children and a husband! You have to just accept that you will not be able to get as much done. Over time, you learn to be more efficient and you also get more time as your baby gets older. My mother-in-law always says that the most efficient people in the world are young mothers. She says now that she is an empty-nester, she takes her time doing things. She has the whole day to get things done but she doesn't get as much done as she did with four small children at home.
For Your Sanity
  • Shower: For me, this one could also go under "emotions." I absolutely must shower every day. I feel so much more rejuvenated and refreshed. I get completely ready, down to my jewelry. It just makes me feel better. I know some people prefer to stay in their PJs all day. If that is you, go for it! Figure out what makes you feel better and do that.
  • Enjoy Nursing: When I nurse, I like to read a book. For the last year and a half or so, I have been buying books and saving them for the next nursing baby period. That way I would have books I was looking forward to reading :) It helps make the time go by faster. I had a friend that watched movies while she nursed her twins. I hate sitting still, so reading is a good thing for me to do that makes me relax and enjoy nursing.
  • Host a Party: Having friends/family over helps you in several ways. One is it gives you something other than the baby to stress out about :). Another is you are serving people and that always makes you feel better. You also have a taste of "real life" and it just gives you that social boost you need.
  • Do Hobbies: Scrapbook, sew, listen to music, dance, garden, cook...do whatever it is that makes you you. You won't have a lot of time for them, but you will have some. If this is your first child and your baby is easy, you might have a lot of time. Just don't become so wrapped up in your baby that you lose yourself. You want to maintain your identity and your personal interests. There is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself, also. It in no way takes away from your baby. It only benefits baby. Baby will have a happy, confident mom!
  • Scale Back: You can't do all that you did before baby. You can't attend every family function. You can't go to every social gathering. You can't clean the house from top to bottom every weekend. You can't run errands at the drop of a hat. You must scale back. You must learn to say no. It isn't forever. The day will come when you can start attending things as often as you would like. Our families know that when we have a new baby, we just don't go to everything. They now expect that. When go when we can. We stay home when we need to.

    When you become a parent, you have to change your lifestyle. You create a family. You can't tote baby around behind you as you refuse to give up your fun. That isn't responsible. But that doesn't mean you have to lock yourself up in your house forever, either. Again, this is a family. Baby doesn't rule all.
Those are some tips I have for surviving and adjusting during the post-partum period. I am sure many of you have great tips, also, so please share!
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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sleep Training and Trust


As you read either of the Baby Whisperer Books (Secrets of the Baby Whisperer or The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems), you will notice that Hogg often says to not Cry It Out (CIO). Hogg claims you will break the trust between you and your baby. In The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, Hogg even says that if you try CIO, you will have to go to extreme measures to earn the trust of your baby back.

When I first read this a few months ago, I admit that I started to panic! Were my children ever going to trust me? What had I done! I have heard from other Babywise moms that they felt the same way when they read this.

This panic really was brief (maybe a minute or two at most). I let reality talk to me. Brayden trusts me. Kaitlyn trusts me. We have never had any trust issues. We have never had any bonding issues or attachment issues. My husband's mother did CIO with all four of her children, and so far as I know they all trust her.

There is a lot written out there on both sides of CIO. Some say it creates problems physically, mentally, or emotionally. Others say there are no problems. You will find passionate arguments on both sides of the fence.

That is nice to read what people think (and you are doing so now), but be sure to look at reality. Chances are you know a family that has done CIO with their child(ren). Look at them. How are they? How do they behave? How is their intelligence? How is the relationship with the parents? What are the real life results that you can look at evaluate for yourself?

I think I was blessed to have Brayden first. I first tried rocking him to sleep. He wouldn't sleep. I guess most babies will sit happily in your arms as you put them to sleep; not Brayden! He screamed and screamed. In the end, we decided to try CIO. I figured he could scream for 20 minutes while I rocked him and I could feel frustrated and exhausted or he could cry for 20 minutes in his bed and I could feel sorry for him instead.

Well, he usually cried for less time in his bed than he did when I was holding him. He started sleeping better all around almost immediately. When I got him up, he greeted me with a smile! He was happier. He was better rested. Things were much nicer. Over time, the amount of crying decreased. After two months, he never cried before a nap or bed again!

Oh, it was hard. There were days I cried along with him. I have heard some moms who do not CIO call moms who do "lazy." These moms have no real notion of what it means to CIO. It zaps your energy. It drains your emotions. When Kaitlyn was in the heat of CIO, I once addressed envelopes backward (address on the right side instead of the left and stamps on the left instead of the right). It is no picnic.

When Kaitlyn was born, I knew I wanted the same great sleep habits for her that Brayden had. This time, we would start from the beginning. Overall, it was easier and faster. She didn't have bad habits to break, just new habits to learn and form. But it was still hard.

With McKenna, we didn't have to do CIO for so very long. She went down awake for every nap, but didn't cry! Eventually she did start to cry before naps. After a few days of mild CIO, she goes to sleep without problem.

I recently had a mom ask me what I thought about the trust issue and CIO. I had a lot to say (by the way, the question was just for my thoughts on trust and CIO; she had done CIO with her child and planned to do it with future children, but wanted to know my thoughts). Here is what I said:

"I don't buy into the trust issues and CIO. Why? Because Brayden and Kaitlyn both trust me. They both love me. They both hug and kiss. They are both really smart for their ages. They are both far advanced in every area (by advanced I mean ahead of what they "should" be doing at their ages). So my reasoning for not believing it is that I have two children who show no signs of issues and both did CIO [I can now add three children].

When I recently read The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, she talked about CIO breaking the bond of trust with your child. For a moment, I panicked. Then I let reality talk to me and point out that my children love and trust me.

I really think that following Babywise will teach your children to trust you more, not less. If you have someone who is supposed to lead you through something, are you going to trust them more if they take the lead and teach you what to do and when to do it, or if they step back and watch for you to tell them when you are ready for something...and you have no idea what that something is?

Babywise children don't need to "demand" their meal to get it. They get their meal regularly and predictably. That is something to trust. They don't need to become really irritable in order to get a nap. They get their naps regularly whether they want them or not :). That is a situation they can trust. Life is predictable. Mom and Dad know what they are doing and take care of the child's needs even if he doesn't demand it.

Also, if you are a religious person, I would look to what you know of God and trust that emulating Him is the best way to parent. He doesn't coddle us. We face experiences that are hard, and when we look back on them, we see that we are now stronger and the experience taught us a lot. He sets boundaries. He leads the way; He doesn't wait for us tell Him what we need. We have no idea in the eternal scheme of things! Anyway...that is just a bit of my thoughts. I think I will write a post on it so I can ramble even more ;)"
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UPDATE: FIVE YEARS LATER:
It has been almost five years since I first wrote this post. Let me say these things about my children.

Brayden is now 8 and in third grade. He is one of the youngest children in his grade. Despite being a young boy, he is in the gifted and talented program at school (I say that because there are plenty of people who assume young children will not do as well academically). I would say his intelligence has not been hampered by his CIO as a child.

He is confident, he is happy, and he is successful at all he does. He is a hard worker and an independent thinker. He has lots of friends at school. We enjoy a happy parent/child relationship with him. I have zero regrets or concerns over the CIO he did as a baby.

Kaitlyn is now 6 and in first grade. Gifted and talented program doesn't start until third grade here, but Kaitlyn tests are even higher than Brayden's were at this age in most areas. She is extremely smart. She is also extremely sweet and empathetic. She is a good friend to all and a great helper.

Kaitlyn has many passions and she gives all of her effort into something until she has it as perfect as she wants it. She is the type of person who is really good at everything she does. She is a sweet sister and a joy in our home. We also enjoy a great parent/child relationship with her. And like Brayden, there are no regrets over the CIO she did as a baby.

McKenna is 4 and in preschool. She is doing very well there. Despite being a busy child with a strong personality, she is a joy to her teacher. She always steps in to help and is especially helpful in helping difficult children decide to behave. She always looks to the bright side of life and is always laughing. Again, we have no regrets with her.

Brinley is our fourth and is 18 months old. She had a similar sleep experience as McKenna with very little crying before naps, though it has happened on occasion. The fact that we are still willing to do sleep training with our fourth child shows you that we believe in the importance of it.

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I don't know that I need to ramble on more about that. It is all there for you to think about. If you are considering CIO or second guessing CIO, you might want some sources to look to for guidance. Perhaps you would like real data. I think that is great. I think it is great to have a firm foundation to stand on so when the CIO eats at your emotions you can stand strong and know what you are doing will ultimately be good for your child.

I have several posts on CIO. They will help you do it effectively! They will help minimize the crying. There are other resources for you to turn to:
When deciding if you want to do CIO, please look at those you know who have done it. Perhaps even look at those you know who haven't done it. What does life look like for these people? Is that how you would like life to look like some day? If so (in either case), what do you need to do to emulate that? If the answer is CIO, press on! It is hard. It will take a lot out of you. But in the end you will have a child who sleeps well. Best of luck!
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Newborn Summary: Week Twelve

independent playtime
This is a summary for McKenna age 11-12 weeks, or the twelfth week. This week was kind of difficult. Let's get right to it.

NURSING
McKenna is getting faster and faster at nursing. This is very typical as a baby reaches 3 months old. Both Brayden and Kaitlyn got a lot faster at three months--cutting their previous nursing time in half.

My yeast infection came back and came back with a vengeance (my friend who is a lactation consultant says this is typical). There is still no sign of it in McKenna. I called her pediatrician's office and spoke to the nurse who is always rude on the phone (though she really is nice in person) and she told me the only treat the baby if baby has it. However, everything I have read says you treat both mom and baby if one has it. My lactation consultant friend says the same. AND I remember my pediatrician saying that with Kaitlyn. So McKenna now has Nystatin oral suspension drops and I am on a two week Diflucan (fluconazole) plan. Things are looking better.

WAKETIME
Waketime length stayed the same--about 50 minutes. However, I still found it elusive this week. I got the first two waketimes down with no problem. By the time her third nap rolls around I am confused and unsure...just as I was last week (I have since figured it out, but that was during week 13, not 12). I continued experimenting.

How do I know the waketime is wrong? Well, mostly due to the video monitor. I can watch her and I see that she takes a long time to fall asleep. This is a curse of the video monitor. If I didn't have it then I would think all was well and she was sleeping. But, it is also a blessing because I can fix things. However, this week she also started crying before the nap.

CIO
Ugh! What? Crying! We had this down. Things were so peaceful for her entire life (save that witching hour at the end of the day when she cries only if left alone in her crib). I was frustrated. By the time Kaitlyn was this age, she was totally done crying. Why is McKenna starting now? A hard thing is that I really don't know McKenna's cries well since I rarely hear her cry. So when she started crying before her afternoon nap, I didn't know what was wrong. I responded and I interfered, which I think was the right thing to do under the circumstances. She didn't do it every day, and I meticulously kept logs (of course) and review the meticulous logs from her lifetime to see if I could see the common thread.

No luck. I could not see any reason to it. I hypothesized it might be the heat because that is the point in the day it starts to warm up in her room. As the days passed, she started crying before other naps. Finally one day she cried before her first nap. At that point, I realized I had created a bad habit.

It was hard for me since she had never cried. I figured something was wrong with her, which I honestly think is a wise assumption. I quickly saw, however, that there wasn't anything wrong and she was just starting to protest the end of social hour. It was time to CIO. She must have sensed my resolve because she stopped crying that day.

SWING
This is where my downfall came, I think. McKenna has never liked the swing. We purchased a new swing before she was born and still had the swing Brayden and Kaitlyn had as babies. I decided to pull out that swing. She loved it! During her witching hour, she would sleep in it which is much better than being fussy in the other swing. It is often at the time of day Brayden and Kaitlyn go to bed, so it isn't really practical for me to just hold her the whole time.

When she started having a hard time going to sleep, I would move her to her swing since she liked it. She has always gone down so well and I worried she would get overly tired. Then I started creating a bad habit.

I love the swing. I think it is great to have it as a back-up. Since McKenna senses my departure, it gives me more freedom when I cross our property line :). But I started to mis-use it. More on that next week :)

NIGHTTIME
The days were warmer for the most part and she started STTN again. One day it was quite cold. That night she woke at 3:30 AM. The other nights she slept through the night. Now, when I say STTN, I mean she is sleeping 7-8 hours. This puts her waking earlier than our ultimate waketime. So it is technically still a night feeding.

SWADDLE
The first day of this week I decided to try McKenna's arm out of the swaddle. I did it for her first nap of the day. I debated when to do it. Her first nap is consistently good and I view the first nap of the day to be very important. If you mess up the first nap, you tend to mess up the whole day (especially with the younger babies). However, since her first nap is always good, I decided to go for that one.

As soon as I left the room, she was crying. This was before the crying started later in the week. So I immediately went back in and swaddled her arm in and she went to sleep just fine. She isn't ready yet.

HAND SUCKING
McKenna is trying to suck her hand. She sometimes works her arm up from the swaddle (though not out of it) and sucks on her hand. Sometimes during playtime, she gets her hand there. So far it only serves to make her really mad. She can't get it how she likes it I guess :)

OUTINGS/EVENTS
We of course still have a lot of disruptions. This is the reason I planned for a baby at the time of year that I did. Then she could be nice and established before the disruptions started, right? Well, she was :) She doesn't seem to be terribly thrown off by the disruptions. Like I said last week, I work to get her to sleep when she should and I keep feedings on time. I also always have a morning nap and I try to keep the disruptions to the evening as much as possible.

OUR SCHEDULE
It is the same:

7:30 AM--eat
8:30 AM--nap
10 or 10:30 AM--eat (I always get her by 10:30)
10:50 or 11:20 AM--nap
1 or 1:30 PM--eat (I always get her by 1:30)
1:50 or 2:20 PM--nap
4:00 PM--eat
4:50 PM--nap6:00 PM--eat
6:45 PM--put in swing (due to witching hour)--sometimes she sleeps, sometimes not
8:00 PM--eat (essentially a dreamfeed--no waketime)
8:30 PM--in bed
10:00 PM--Dreamfeed

HELPFUL BOOKS/WEBSITES
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Making Children Mind...The Super Parent

One of my favorite concepts discussed by Dr. Kevin Leman in Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours is the idea of the Super Parent. The Super Parent is the parent who reads all the books. Super Parents want their parents to work. They want to be perfect parents with perfect children. Leman says he finds Christian parents to be more likely to be Super Parents, and honestly when I read about the Super Parent, I can see that many Babywise parents could fall into this problem. Here is Leman's list of faulty reasoning by a Super Parent (page 89):

  • I own my children
  • I am judge and jury
  • My children can't fail
  • I am boss--what I say goes

I want to touch on a couple of these thoughts.

My Children Can't Fail
As I was reading this chapter, I saw myself in the "My children can't fail" category. I don't want my children to fail an any area. Leman says we should allow our children to fail. "I'm not saying that a child should be a failure by habit or that he should learn to be a loser in life. I am saying that we learn through failure. We learn through making our own decisions, and some of those decisions turn out to be mistakes which lead to failure" (page 93).

We shouldn't rescue our children from their mistakes. Natural consequences will come. We can try to shield them from the pain of this reality, but at some point in life, it will catch up with them. Natural consequences will meet our children at some point. For me, the difficulty is not in allowing natural consequences to happen once a bad choice has been made. It is in allowing my children to make those decisions in the first place.

I will stand guard and remind my children to be careful, they might get hurt doing XYZ. I remind them to do things they really don't need reminders for. I don't allow them to try things for themselves, and I don't give them the chance to remember things on their own. I am not saying I should be letting my two year old wander out to the busy road and "remember" it isn't a safe place to be or learn through the natural consequence of getting hit by a car. But when my children are playing with something age appropriate and have been told the potential dangers, I need to let them remember things on their own.

I found myself reminding Brayden to do things like pull his pants up after he went to the bathroom--every single time. At the time, he was not quite four. A child that age does not need to be reminded to pull his pants up. If he didn't remember for some reason, he could simply take a few steps and then realize his pants were down. I don't want to create a child who takes no care to remember to do things himself because he has a constant reminder of Mom in his ear telling him every step--down to the pants.

Brayden also feels good about himself when he remembers to do these things on his own. He will ask me to not tell him what to do because he wants to be responsible. He knows what he needs to do and doesn't want to be told. He wants that feeling of accomplishment that comes from remembering and being responsible. I wasn't giving him the chance to even forget. So I have worked on it and have tried to do better.

I have a good friend who has a personality similar to mine. Her oldest is now 12, and my friend recently shared some things she should have done differently, in retrospect. One was to not warn her daughter constantly. Another was to not remind her to do things constantly. My friend says she feels like she has taught her daughter to not trust her own judgement and she has taught her she doesn't need to remember to do things on her own. Mom will remember. Mom will keep track of what test she needs to study for and what worksheet is due in science class. She said her daughter also will become frozen often times because she is unsure of what to do.

I Am Boss--What I Say Goes
This is a common feeling of parents. We want our children to obey because we are the parents and they should obey us! This isn't really a weakness of mine. I remember growing up and asking my Mom why I couldn't do something. "Because I said so." I hated that answer! I wasn't asking in order to be difficult or to argue; I wanted to know why. I wanted to apply meaning to my world.

My husband would like to have Brayden do what he is told simply because he was told without every questioning why. That is how he was raised. I like to offer reasons. I know when Brayden asks why, it is so he can apply meaning to the reason. Why can't he climb the apple tree? Because he could fall out and get hurt. He is not yet old enough to be climbing the apple tree. Knowing the reasons for things helps him to be able to judge activities for himself.

Encourage and Enhance Your Child's Individuality
A final thought of Leman's that I like from this chapter is that your child is going to become and individual anyway. Do what you can to encourage and enhance it. Your home should be a place you allow your child to make decisions, and then deal with the consequences, whether good or bad. You have no choice but to offer more freedoms to your child as he grows up. "...at the base of the child-parent relationship should be the parent's desire to train the child, guide him, and set him free to become his own person" (page 106). Of course, as you do this, you need to keep in mind age appropriate freedoms. The fact that you need to allow freedoms as he gets older doesn't mean that you need to allow all freedoms at the age of three.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Frustration Tantrums

On Becoming Toddlerwise discusses the difference between a frustration tantrum and a temper tantrum starting on page 139: "A frustration tantrum happens when a child cannot make his body accomplish the task his mind can clearly understand" and "Frustration is the basis of these tantrums, not a defiant angry heart" (page 140).

You child can get these tantrums at a variety of ages. Brayden first started having frustration tantrums before he even turned one. He was constantly trying to do things that his body just wasn't ready for. Shortly after he turned one, I started using sign language as a means to curb these tantrums (see Controlling the Young Temper ). Now, at age 4, Brayden rarely has these tantrums. If he starts to wind up for one, I quickly stop him and we work through it.

Kaitlyn (26 months) only recently started to have these frustration tantrums consistently. She had them on occasion around 16 months of age, but they were soon over. As she entered the world of a two year old, they have returned. With Brayden, these tantrums escalated due to a lack of ability to communicate. As I presented him with communication tools, they dissipated. When they creep up, I remind him of how to communicate about it and he calms down. I also remind him to keep trying and that things take practice.

With Kaitlyn, these frustration tantrums are not due to a lack of ability to communicate. Not only is she a year older than Brayden was when they started, but she has always been an excellent communicator. When Brayden got frustrated, he wanted help with what he was doing. Kaitlyn doesn't want help. She is truly just frustrated because things are not happening as she wants them to.

A current example for her is taking her own clothes off. In her mind, she is ready to master that skill. Kaitlyn learns very well just by watching people. She only needs to see or hear something once to have it memorized. There are certain things about undressing that she isn't catching by watching, however.

This morning, Kaitlyn was getting undressed to take a bath. When she pulled down her pants, she pulled only in the front. I sat back and watched as she tried. When she got frustrated, I asked her if she would like some help. "No, I do it myself," she replied. So I explained that she was doing a good job of pulling down the front, but with pants, she needed to pull on the back, too. With that knowledge, she gave it a try and was successful.

Frustration tantrums are not exclusive to young children. Adults get them, too. While most are hopefully able to calm ourselves, I am sure we all have our weaknesses. It might be in a hobby like sewing or mechanic work. It is common to get frustrated when what we want to accomplish doesn't happen as we picture it.

In Controlling the Young Temper , I outline some ideas for helping your child get past the frustration tantrum. Here is a list of ideas that includes those from that post as well as new ideas I have learned as Kaitlyn has had her frustration tantrums--but if you are dealing with this right now, do be sure to also see Controlling the Young Temper.

  • Discover the Reason: Is your child upset because he wants help? Is he upset because he isn't doing it as perfectly as he wants to? Is he upset because he can't do it at all? Find out reason so you can find out how to best help him work through it. Ask your child. "Are you upset because you want help?" "Are you upset because you are having a hard time?" Your child might be frustrated because the toy is beyond him. If so, remove the toy
  • Teach Sign Language: If your child is upset because he can't communicate, teach him how to sign what he needs to say to work through it. This was a huge help for Brayden with these frustration tantrums at a young age.
  • Offer Encouragement: Encourage your child to keep trying. Tell him he is making good progress. Cheer him on.
  • Hang Back: You want to give your child tools (sign language for example), but don't hover. Don't be the helicopter mom. I often pretend I don't notice anything is wrong until the child asks me for help. If she starts to display a tantrum, I calmly look at her and explain that she needs to use words, not fits, to communicate with me. With Kaitlyn, her fits aren't usually directed toward me. Her fits are her own way of expressing her frustration. With Brayden, they were meant to get my attention and help.

    You want to give your child the opportunity to accomplish the task on his own. When you jump in, it tells him you know he can't do it. If anyone finds hanging back difficult, it is me! I always want to jump in and rescue, especially with Brayden for some reason. But standing back and allowing your child to do it himself helps him improve. Brayden rarely gets upset these days. I hear him talking to himself, "I have to keep trying. It takes practice. I will get better." Sometimes he needs to take a breath and try again.
  • Require Communication: If you are going to help your child, require that he asks for it in a nice, calm manner first. Don't teach him that a tantrum gets your attention. You might need to remind him at first that he needs to ask for help in a nice way. He will get there.
  • Explain Reality: This works with older children. When Brayden gets frustrated these days at age four, I remind him that things take practice. I tell him he can't expect to be perfect at things the first time he tries; he is going to have to work at it for a while to get as good as he wants to be.
  • Remain Calm and Patient: Losing your temper isn't going to help your child learn how to control his. Remain calm and patient with him as he works through this stage.
Remember that these things take time and patience. As you work with your child through this, he will improve, but not overnight. You will, however, see the day when he gets frustrated, takes a breath, and tries again. I have even seen it spill over into other situations. One day a boy walked up to Brayden, shoved him, yelled, "get me!" and ran away (the boy was trying to initiate tag). Brayden took a deep breath, turned, and walked away. He sat and stared into the distance for a couple of minutes before returning to play. I was impressed with his ability to remain calm and control himself. It is worth the effort you put into teaching your child to control his young temper.
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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Index: Dropping Things

Dropping Feedings
Dropping Naps

How To Posts
In Action Posts
Polls
Swaddling


Timeline
Weaning

Index: Dreamfeed

Dreamfeed Definition
Dropping the Dreamfeed
Dreamfeed Helps
Dreamfeed Polls
Reader Questions

Friday, June 19, 2009

Early Morning Waking and the Sun

image source
If you have a child who has started waking early in the morning, be sure to take into consideration the possibility that the sun is what is waking him or her.

My children are sun risers. As Spring has turned to Summer and the sun has risen earlier and earlier each day, they have woken up earlier than is typical. When we have a cloudy, rainy morning, I usually have to wake them up. Brayden (4) is more of a sun riser than Kaitlyn (2). Age has nothing to do with it, though. Brayden has always been a sun riser--even as a newborn. When he nursed in the early morning hours, I always hoped he would be done before the sun rose. Otherwise, he was ready to start the day.

I am also a sun riser. Even when McKenna was waking twice a night, I found myself waking up at 6 AM as the sun entered my room. It isn't because I didn't want to sleep--believe me, I did!--but it is because the sun was up and I found it hard (or impossible) to sleep. If I am that way, you can understand that a child would be that way.

Young children have no concept of time. The sun comes up and that must mean it is time to get up and start playing. Just this morning, Brayden came to visit me at 6:15 asking for breakfast. I told him it wasn't breakfast time and he replied, "But the sun is up!"

So what do you do about it? There are a few things.
  • Darken: One thing you can do is try to block the sun. You can get dark blinds or hang a dark sheet or blanket over your child's window. If you can block out the sun, you can prevent the sun from waking your child.
  • Accept: Another thing to do is just accept that your child is going to wake earlier because of the sun. In my experience, it is really only an issue for a few months. During this time, you can possibly have a longer nap in the day or an earlier bedtime to compensate for the early mornings.

    If you choose to accept it, I would suggest that you do not start breakfast as soon as your child wakes up. At our house, breakfast is at 7 AM whether the kids wake up at 6, 6:30, or 7:00 AM. I don't want their metabolism to get used to eating early because then they will wake early from hunger long after the sun is a non-issue. If your child is still staying in bed until you get him out, I would try to not get him out of bed until it would be time to get him up.

    At our house, Brayden (4) is allowed to get out of his room when he gets up. He has certain activities in the family room he knows he is allowed to do. He isn't allowed to wake up Mom unless it is an emergency. Of course, there are days like today that he doesn't follow through :). Kaitlyn (2), however, is not allowed to get up until a parent gets her. She stays in her room until Mom goes to get her in the morning.
  • Clocks: Brayden could start to read important times on his clock around 3.5 years old. If your child is 3 or older, consider if he might be able to read a clock to know when it is okay to get up.
If you are experiencing early mornings suddenly, be sure to consider the sun the culprit.
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