Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Mad Skillz

When you learn about the various "milestones" you can expect your child to reach, there are the usual suspects: smiling, holding up their head, sitting, standing, walking, yada yada yada. But there are a few skills that my kid has picked up which I find equally wonderful and amusing.

She seems to figure out one new thing every week, and then she'll only do it that week. As if to say "Hey, ma, check this out". Then she's done showing off and it's on to the next thing. Here are some of the hilarious things she's done so far:
  • Nodding at anyone and anything. This incessant nodding lasted for a week straight. If she wasn't sleeping, she was nodding. I was delighted to have such a positive and agreeable child... to bad it was only for a week.
  • Smirking. Seriously, she would raise her eyebrows in disgust and go "hrmph!"
  • Pointing. Pointing with the index finger, which then transformed into sticking said index finger into any available orifice. Pretty funny/gross.
  • Making fart sounds. Enough said.
I'm excited to see what next week will bring!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


I've been sleeping rather well lately.

I mean, let's not get too crazy. I go to bed around 10pm and wake up get woken up usually between 6 and 7am.

Because I know there are sleep-deprived, red-eyed parents googling this right now, I want to be helpful. Not just by giving you hope that things will get better (they will!). Also by giving you an outline of how we got to this relatively happy place of restful sleep.

Day 1 of parenthood: Baby pretty much sleeps through the night. I'm thinking, "Of course my baby is a great sleeper - she's a kitten. This is going to be a breeze."

Day 2: Baby gets caught up on the sleep she lost during being birthed, starts feeding every hour. And by feeding every hour, I mean I feed her for 45 minutes and then start again 15 minutes later. Yeah.

Weeks 1-10: Baby continues to feed mostly at night, and sleep during the day. She is basically attached to my boob from 6pm-3am, and then sleeps until 5 or 6. Maybe.

3-5 months: Baby starts to cluster feed less in the evenings. Will go to sleep by 11pm (after 3 hours of much fussing, crying, spitting up) and feed every 2-3 hours thereafter.

6 months: I start to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Baby starts going to sleep at a more reasonable time of 8-9pm (only fusses for 1-2 hours before bedtime, feeds at 1 and 4, up for the day at 7 or 8.

8 months: Going to bed by 7:30 with occasional fussing, feeding once at 3-4 am, up at 6:30-7.

9 months: Going to bed by 7:30, sleeping through until 6 or 7. Sometimes (once a week or so) she will randomly hunger at 4am, or will get up at 5 and refuse to go back to sleep, but for the most part she sleeps through.

Here's what I've learned from these past 10 months in stream-of-consciousness bullet points. I'm sure others out there have had very different experiences and may disagree, but this is what I personally have learned, and what will probably apply to my future kids if I am lucky enough to have more:

  • Sleep is very VERY important. It affects your mood, your memory, your energy levels, etc. Sleep is important and it's ok to obsess about trying to get more. Having said that, there are some things you can do to improve sleep, but many more things that you cannot change and must simply accept for the time being.
  • Having spoken with enough other moms, I conclude that my baby is a pretty average to good sleeper for an exclusively breastfed baby. I think that point is very important. There are lots of people/articles out there that say that formula-fed babies don't sleep better than breastfed babies but I think that is total BS. Here's why: it's not the formula that makes the difference (though it is known that it takes longer to digest than breast milk). It's because of the BOTTLE. My baby was perfectly capable of sleeping longer. She just didn't want to. She preferred to cuddle up to the warm milk bags, and who can blame her. Some of my friends and family have suggested that I should have given her a bottle more often in order to get her out of the habit of nursing for comfort in the evenings, or that I should do that for my next baby. I will think about that.... but I probably won't do it. Comfort is what she needed. She was a teeny tiny human and still is! So that is all to say: expect that you will not be sleeping well for a very long time. Do not expect that your baby is going to sleep through the night at 8 weeks or even 6 months, because I honestly think that is rare, or that people lie about how well their baby actually sleeps.
  • Following from the fact that your baby probably won't sleep all night for a very long time is this: It's ok. Accept that your baby wakes several times a night even if they're older than 6 months. I'm tired of all this bullshit of people trying to give me advice on how to get my baby to sleep through the night. I did everything the books said - took away the pacifier, put her down awake (which, btw, made things worse), fed more solids, you name it. It was useless. She decided to sleep more when she felt like it. My advice to my future self: nap more during the day, 'cause you ain't getting any more night sleep no matter what you do.
  • "Sleep training" aka "cry-it-out" is something that you can try when you're desperate, but it may not work (or at least not 100%). We tried sleep training at 6.5 months and again at 8 months. It worked very well for naps, but never for bedtime. And like I said, we went by the book - no pacifiers, put down awake, bedtime routine, etc. After many nights of baby crying for 30 mins or more and then collapsing from exhaustion, I went back to nursing her to sleep and don't regret it for a second. I know several other moms with the same experience.
  • A final point on acceptance. If you choose to breastfeed your baby, accept that you will have to live around the baby's schedule. I have to be home every night be 7 so that I can nurse my child to sleep. Yeah, it's a damper on my social life, but it's a consequence of the decisions I have made. I am her mother, and it's my number 1 job. The rewards I reap are far greater than anything I sacrifice. 
And now, I'm off to bed =)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Over the last few days I have had a bit more time to myself in the evenings. This is thanks to my munchkin finally going to bed without a 3 hour screamfest (another topic for another day), and the fact that we are finally done unpacking our stuff since moving.

Anyway, with this free time I've finally gotten around to catching up on my blogs. I saw that Rosachka is back on the TTC wagon. Mo is being induced TODAY. So much stuff happening for people who I started this journey with. It got me thinking about how absolutely hopeless we were when we started. We had no assurance of a real live baby at the end of the day, so every blow felt like a ton of bricks that we would never climb over or through.

Now that we are on the other side of those bricks, we know that it can happen for us. Lately I've been thinking about going for baby #2, and while I am scared and already a bit dejected about it because I know it will never be "easy", I also know that I've already battled some pretty tough shit and come out on top.

I also know that the hardest part is the first trimester. I had a relatively easy time getting pregnant, and once I passed the 12 week mark I went off the progesterone suppositories and everything went great.

I had a great, amazing, wonderful birth experience. Although there's no guarantee it will be the same next time, chances are it will be similar and maybe even quicker than 33 hours =)

So I get excited thinking about re-upping this TTC thing. I feel stronger mentally, more prepared, more realistic, more empowered by my last pregnancy and therefore less angry at my body. I feel like I will be more connected to my next baby in utero because I know how amazing that little person will be once he/she is born. Mostly, I feel like the "next baby" is actually a think that will happen. I mean, it probably will. Maybe it will take a year, maybe two or three, but it's happened once so it could happen again.

But you should know by now that I will find something to stress about in any situation, so here's what I'm stressing about now.

The munchkin is close to 10 months old. She feeds 5 times a day, which I think is pretty high. I was hoping that by this age she would be down to like 3 feeds, and maybe 1-2 feeds by 12 months, weaned by 13-14 months. I don't think that's going to happen. She nurses not as much for calories as for comfort and closeness to me. I will not refuse her. Are you kidding? To have that little cuddly cub nuzzling into my chest and falling asleep in my arms... sigh... hormones.

Anyway, the stress factor is that I'm pretty sure I'm one of those people who cannot ovulate (= get pregnant) until I stop breastfeeding. Even then, I feel like I will probably only get my period back several months after I stop. Not to mention the fact that I've lost so much weight from breastfeeding that I probably have gymnast-style amenorrhea... but I digress.

I want my cycles to restart ASAP because I feel so ready to get going again, but I feel horrible at the thought of weaning my baby for my own selfish motives. Bad mom! Bad mom!

So, as with everything else, I try really hard to just take it one day at a time. Before too long, I'll have my boobs and my hormones back.