Tuesday, May 31, 2011

counting down

Only 4 more days of pumping! I am getting really sick of it so I'm relieved it is close to being over. Sitting in a storage room with no windows by yourself isn't the most fun way to spend a half hour at a time. I'll be glad to nurse Palmer instead and save pumping for whenever Tyler and I have a night out. I'm relieved that I've made it through this 6 weeks (almost) and my milk supply is still good- no formula yet! Thank goodness- I don't want to add that expense to our grocery bill unless we have to.

It's exciting to only have a few more days of school since I'm ready to be with Palmer all day again, but it's sad to have my last few days of school with all my great coworkers. I think about it a lot that if only I could do both- teach, be with my friends, make money, AND be Palmer's mom at home all day- that would be perfect. . . I guess everyone has to choose though. I am going to focus on soaking up this time with him as a little sweet baby because I'm sure it's going to fly by just like his first four months have! Our budget will definitely be tight with me not working, but there are more important things than money, like memories :) Cheesy, I know.

Monday, May 23, 2011

one smooth bedtime!

Palmer's sleep learning is still a work in progress but we've had some great victories so far! He took a couple long naps today with my mom here following the plan, and tonight he was smiling when I put him in bed at 8:30 and didn't cry at all! I think he's getting more comfortable being in his crib whereas when we would rock him or nurse him to sleep he was never really awake in his crib to get used to it. I guess that's why he screams when he wakes up in the middle of the night and realizes where he is! I think that will keep improving though as he gets better at putting himself back to sleep. I can already see him developing self-soothing habits like putting his hands in his mouth and clutching his raccoon blankie up to his face.

I have resorted to pacifier use once or twice since starting this on Friday night, but only after doing 4 or 5 check-ins and if he's really hysterical. It hurts to see your baby upset like that! We have stayed disciplined though and haven't given in to picking him up until his feedings or "wake time". Four to five AM this morning was definitely a rough stretch! I was planning on waking him at 5 to nurse, but he beat me to the punch. I was between a rock and a hard place because we're trying to avoid feeding him in response to the crying so we can break that behavior habit! On the other hand, it was almost time for him to eat, so it was a long shot that he would ever stop crying and go back to sleep. I ended up just waiting til a lull in the fit when he calmed down and picked him up to nurse then.

Hopefully we're through the worst of the learning process and we can iron out the wrinkles over the next week or so! I'm having dreams of rainbows, gumdrops, and actually getting things done while he naps this summer :)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

chatterbox

video

"sleep learning"

It was a bit of a bumpy road for Palmer's sleeping this past week. For about a month now he has been going to sleep between 9 and 10 and I've been feeding him between 4 and 6 in the morning. If he woke up between those times I would go in and rock him or give him his pacifier til he fell back asleep. It used to only happen once a night but for the past week he's been waking up at least twice and fussing quite a bit! I know it's not about hunger because he is getting plenty to eat during the day and if he truly wanted milk he wouldn't accept the pacifier substitute. I decided to take another look at a book I bought while pregnant called "The Sleepeasy Solution". Basically, it's a nicer version of the cry-it-out method and you check on them once every five minutes, giving verbal soothing until they fall asleep. You're letting them figure out how to get to sleep on their own instead of relying on rocking or nursing from mommy. It also has lots of good tips about things like creating a good sleep environment and routine to help the process along.

Since the basis of sleep learning is that the baby learns to soothe themselves back to sleep when they wake in the middle of the night, we decided to lose the swaddle since it keeps Palmer from getting to his hands to suck on. They advise going without a pacifier because babies get upset and wake when it falls out of their mouth and they can't get it back. The book suggested an earlier bedtime than we've been using because babies his age need about 11 hours of nighttime sleep. It's a little counter-intuitive but they say the less sleep a baby gets at night, the worse they will be at napping during the day (due to the stress hormone cortisol that keeps them "wired"). Last night after feeding him at 8:00 we put him down at 8:30 and began the sleep learning process! This involves 5 agonizing minutes at a time of listening to him cry :( Luckily it only took 8 minutes so after one check-in he was konked out! I did a "dream feed" at 11:00 to tide him over til morning, and set my alarm for 5:00 to feed him again. The idea is that if you feed them BEFORE they wake up on their own and get upset, they'll go back to sleep more easily. Also, you avoid confusing them by sometimes feeding them when they cry and sometimes not even picking them up.

Palmer jabbered to himself and fussed for about 15 minutes after I fed him at 5:00 then CRIED for probably four 5-minute check-ins. Finally, the last time I went in there to talk to him I gave him a little animal head blankie which he promptly clutched for dear life and BAM!- fell asleep. He slept til 7:30 which was our planned "wake up time" at 11 hours after his bed time. He was a happy baby this morning at Lowe's and now he's taking his first nap of the day, alone in his crib! (This book suggests tackling nighttime and naps all at once). He has always slept longer when held during the day, but let's face it- eventually he'll be too big for that and I'd like to be able to get things done while he sleeps! You do the same 5 minute check-ins at nap time until they fall asleep and leave them in their crib for 1 hour. It took 10 minutes for him to put himself to sleep- hope he gets some good rest after all that hard work :)

P.S. Above I mentioned a "dream feed"- which I am really a fan of after just one night! Here's how it goes- right before I go to bed, I just barely wake him up enough to nurse a little and then put him right back down to sleep. This stretches out the sleep time of a 4 month old like him who can't quite go all night without eating. When he is a couple months older, I'll stop the "dream feed" and probably the preemptive 5 am feed too and see if he can make it all 11 hours! I'll keep y'all updated. . .

Sunday, May 15, 2011

3 1/2 months




Palmer is growing so fast! He can only wear the longest 3-6 month footies now. Hopefully we don't have many more cool nights before he moves up to the next size! Most of his 3-6 mo outfits still fit though. Palmer loves to look around the room and watch whatever is going on. We've been putting him in the Bjorn facing out and he loves it! He is learning to reach out and grab things that he wants and I've heard he knows when that bottle of milk is headed his way. He is drinking 4 1/2 - 5 oz every 3 hours during the day, goes to bed around 10:00, and I make him wait til 5 to eat again. Most of the time he'll wake up fussy around 3 or 4, but a re-swaddle and pacifier usually do the trick til at least 5 o'clock. The couple times a week that he sleeps through til 6 am are AWESOME. Palmer's talking up a storm to anyone who will listen, including his frog. It's like he's really got things to say! I miss him a lot during the day and relish this time with him on the weekends. Only 3 more weeks of school til I get my baby all day long!

garden update!

Palmer and I checked out the garden in the Bjorn yesterday and it is doing great! The cilantro in the left herb box is OUT OF CONTROL- about 3 feet high. We have a little bell pepper, a jalapeno, a cayenne pepper, and several tomatoes in the works! All the credit goes to Tyler for building the raised bed, planting it all, and keeping it watered! Here are some pictures of the fruits of his labor. . . (and the fruit of MY labor in the last picture)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

first mother's day

I wanted to have a lazy day and stay close to home and it turned out to be a perfect Sunday with my awesome husband and cute cute baby! Palmer wasn't interested in sleeping in, but we took a long snuggly nap together this afternoon :) We went to the grocery store as our little family of three and I made pesto chicken pasta tonight for dinner. (Tyler would have cooked for me, but he knows how much I enjoy it!) Palmer picked out this very appropriate shirt to wear and Tyler gave me a frame with three pictures inside. Palmer was holding one card in each of the pictures that said "Happy" "Mother's" and "Day". It is such a joy to be his mom and just gets better every day!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

so much fun

Palmer has been such a good baby lately! He is smiling at all times of day now, even in the evenings when he used to be so cranky! He loves to look at books with bold pictures while sitting in your lap and is getting really comfortable in the Bumbo. It's so neat to see him learning new things and getting better every day at grasping and other new skills he's working on. I can't believe what a difference it is from just a month ago! I am sooo sleepy so I'm off to bed, but I wanted to post a few new pictures. . .