Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Love This Age!

I kind-of wish I could stop the clock right now. Lillian is so much fun these days, and she has become such a happy, easy baby. She loves to smile and talk up a storm. It is like night and day compared to a month ago. Greg and I were discussing about how, now that we can look back and compare the "new" Lillian to the baby we had during months 0-3, it is easy to say for sure that she had colic!

I think we are finally starting to get into a routine. I found the book "Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child" to be extremely helpful in learning what I should expect as far as Lillian's sleep patterns, and I've been steering her in that direction. She goes to sleep between 6:30 & 7:00 and she wakes up a few times to nurse - some nights it's once or twice and other nights it's still four times. A few weeks ago, she was waking up super early, sometimes before 5:00 AM, and it was killing me. And I could tell she was still tired. So I've started taking her into bed with me when she wakes up, and she nurses and usually falls back to sleep until at least 6:00, sometimes as late as 6:30. I think we both feel better now!

She's down to three naps a day, which makes life a bit easier. After a few hours of her playing in her various "stations" (high chair w/ toys, playmat, swing, bouncer, crib looking at her mobile) while I eat breakfast, do my medicine, and get ready for the day, she takes her first nap around 9:00ish. This one has been the hardest one to get her down for. There is often a lot of crying in the pack n' play.

The other two naps usually occur in the carseat. We run errands after her morning nap and she falls asleep on the way home between 11:00 and 12:00. And her third nap is usually between 3:00 and 4:00, when we are on our way home from the gym.

Lily loves to get out of the house! It's part of the reason I love this age - everything is new to her and she is so happy to be facing-out in the Bjorn and just looking around. Everyone always stops us and says how cute she is, which is fun :) And she is doing great in gym daycare. I am so thankful for gym daycare because it allows me to get my exercise and gives me a little break. She usually spends about 60 to 90 minutes in there on weekdays.

She is still not very good at taking her Zegerid. It's a challenge because we have to give her 2.5 ml, which is a lot. We squirt it in her cheek in 0.1-0.2 ml doses, but she still spits about half of it out. So I am still giving her Mylanta once or twice a day, usually when she starts fussing while nursing. She loves Mylanta - she gets all excited and open her mouth wide and sucks the stuff down.

In other news, I've decided to start actually using the DSLR camera we got for Christmas last year, so hopefully I will be posting more pictures! Here is one I took yesterday of Lily playing in her high chair (the bib is because she had just gotten her medicine):

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Swing Transition: Days Two and Three

As I wrote in my last post, yesterday Lillian went down for her first nap in the swing with no motion. My original plan was to wait three days to move her to the pack n' play, but the transition from swinging to not swinging went so well that I was considering doing it more quickly. For her second nap, we had an appointment with a title company to refinance our house, so she fell asleep in the car.

For her third nap, I did the same routine as the morning nap, but she starting trying to roll onto her side in the swing and I decided it was time to try the pack n' play. I placed her in there with two of her favorite toys: A Lamaze doll and the Fisherprice Seahorse. And the screaming began. It was a total replay of Day 1, only I was terrified it would last much, much longer because Lillian didn't know that the pack n' play was a place for sleep. I kept going in and hugging, kissing, and patting her, and I even picked her up one time, but I couldn't stop her from screaming. After 30 minutes of screaming, she stopped crying and started sucking on her hand. She cried, quieted down, cried, quieted down, and then she fell asleep five minutes later. Similar to Day 1, she woke up after 15 minutes and I had to run in and turn the blow dryer back on, (and to answer Alicea's question, we do run a fan when she sleeps, and turning on the fan is part of the naptime/bedtime routine, but apparently the sound isn't loud enough to help soothe her when she is fussy). Then she slept another 50 minutes. She did not wake up smiling like she did yesterday, though. Instead she woke up crying and I felt a knot in my stomach, wondering if I did the right thing. But, once she was up and playing, she was all smiles and loving her mom again ;)

The next time she went down was for the night, so we did our routine and I put her in the pack n' play. She started playing with her doll, and, after a few minutes, got frustrated and started crying. After about five minutes of fussing/crying, I went in and took the doll away and hugged and kissed her. She smiled at me. After that, I watched her on the video monitor for twenty minutes as she played for a while, then sucked on her hand, and then went to sleep! I seriously could not believe it! It was too easy.

Seriously, the crying was about as bad as the time we got stuck in traffic and she wanted out of her car seat. It sucked and broke my heart, but it was not as bad as I feared and I think it was totally worth it to get her used to sleeping in a "bed."

Last night she was up a lot to nurse. And she did wake up once when I knew she wasn't hungry because she had just nursed - She cried for about five minutes and then went back to sleep.

Today (Day 3) was okay. She didn't nap well. She cried when we put her down for naps, but it was just like the fussiness she's had at many nap times in the swing. There was one nap where she slept, fussed, slept, fussed, slept, for an hour, which was unusual. So, I think she is still getting used to the new sleeping space and position, and I am hoping she'll start sleeping better soon!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Swing Transition: Day One

Because I have spent so much time Googling for stories from other people who have transitioned their babies from a swing to a crib, I figured I would try to blog about our transition.

We started putting Lillian in the swing for naps and at night time when she was about four weeks old. She had colic and acid reflux and was resisting the crib and pack n' play more and more. But that swing would put her right to sleep, and all the books said to do whatever works in the first few months. The swing saved our sanity! However, now the colic is over and her reflux medications seem to be helping, and she is four months old, so it's time she start sleeping in her crib. Plus, as I learned that this is the time when bad habits really start getting ingrained, and because she will stay asleep with the swing off, will fall asleep without movement if she is nursing, and has occasionally fallen asleep in the swing without it moving, I really think we need to jump on this now!

Her pediatrician really stressed this at our four month appointment. She said she would definitely recommend we chose a cry-it-out (CIO) method if it weren't for Lillian's reflux - she is slightly concerned Lillian may swallow a lot of air while crying and that would make her reflux worse, but she was more concerned about Lillian staying in the swing. I was also concerned that Lillian may still be a little too young for CIO because we tried to put her in the crib the other day and she screamed until she was choking :( I have both the Ferber and Weissbluth books, which both say four months is when you can start trying CIO. But, Ferber does say that it may better to wait until five months if the sleep problems are not severe. And, as Lillian only needs to swing to fall asleep, not to stay asleep, I don't think we fall into the "severe" category at this time.

The pediatrician recommended we try the Baby Wisperer method, which is a kind-of a comprimise between CIO and "No-Cry." And I just happen to have the book, so I decided to give it a try. Basically, the plan is to transition her in steps, taking each step about three days at a time, and to comfort Lillian if she starts hysterically crying.

Here are the steps I am considering:

Currently Lillian falls asleep with the swing on and a blowdryer blasting. Last week we, (Greg and I), tried turning the swing off once she was asleep, and it didn't affect her sleep AT ALL. It may have helped her sleep longer, because she had an eight our stretch for the first time the other night! I also developed a naptime routine that consists of going into the room, singing a lullaby (the same one each time), closing the curtains, turning on the fan, and putting her in the swing. When she wakes up, I open the blinds, turn off the fan, sing a different, upbeat song, and pick her up.

Now we are trying to get her to fall asleep in the swing without it moving. If she fusses we ignore her, but if her crying escalates, we go in the room and manually push the swing or pat her. Once she is calm (but not asleep), we walk out of the room and let the swing slowly stop moving.

Once she can fall asleep without the swing moving, we'll move on to the next step. I don't know if we should jump straight to the pack n' play or try putting her in her car seat first (because the positioning is similar to the swing) and put the car seat in the pack n' play.

So, here's how Day One went:

Her first three naps were kind-of failed attempts: Nap 1 - she cried for 30 minutes, then it was time to eat and she fell asleep nursing. Naps 2 & 3 - she cried and I kept pushing the swing to calm her down and she fell asleep when the swing was still slightly moving.

I was down to business for her 4th nap - I pushed the swing to calm her down, but I stopped it, (not abruptly), before she fell asleep. This meant more crying every time the swing stopped. And screaming. There was lots of screaming. So I sat there and patted her, but she didn't seem to give a rat's ass that I was there and she just kept screaming. So I tried leaving the room and she calmed down, fussed a little, calmed down, fussed a little, and then fell asleep. The whole process took 45 minutes. After 20 minutes of sleeping, she woke up crying, so I turned the blow dryer on and she went back to sleep. The exact same thing happened 15 minutes later. And then she slept another 45 minutes before waking up happy.

At bedtime I was prepared to just nurse her to sleep - the pediatrician said to start with naps and worry about bedtime later. But, she was too tired and fussy to really nurse, so I just put her in the swing without it moving, turned on the blow dryer, and walked out of the room. I watched her on the video monitor as she played with her feet, sucked on her hands, tossed her head around, and went to sleep!!! No fussing, no crying, no screaming. I couldn't believe it! I called Greg and he was ecstatic. After each night time nursing session, she fell back to sleep in her swing without movement. And, at her first nap of the day, she looked at her swing mobile, tossed her head around, and went to sleep. Wow! I am so glad we decided to do this now!
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