Friday, April 20, 2012

Our Favorite Product of the week

One of the unique aspects of Green Baby Proofing is that we personally use products or get great recommendations of products before we add them to our line. The beauty of this is that you have a product that comes highly recommended from actual parents so you don't have to be a guinea pig.

Our favorite item of the week is the Naturepedic portable crib pad. Portable cribs can be very concerning because of the amount of plastic used, off-gassing, foam & flame retardants. They contain lots of synthetic materials that we as parents are constantly trying to protect ourselves and our children from!

But the portable crib/play yard is so convenient! Easy to travel with, small to store, and handy when you need a place for the baby to play in a space that is not proofed.

We have ended up using ours to sleep train our daughter. She is sleeping in the portable crib every night, in the bathroom! So that is where the need for a non-toxic solution came in. And this mattress is it!
An organic, waterproof, non-toxic mattress made just for the portable crib (and they come in different sizes too) and made in America! It is firm but not hard, and we love it. Just thought we'd share.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sleep Training Updates

We have new developments on the sleep training front. We saw some major improvements during our 3 nights of implementing big changes (see entries below) but last night we saw the biggest most amazing results ever!!
My friend from whom I got the original sleep training advice, of whom I will henceforth refer to as: "The sleep training wizard" gave me a gem of new advice.

We had gotten the baby to sleep longer than ever before, but she has been waking up between 2:30-4:00 or so and staying awake for 2 hours. My husband did everything he could do to console her but she just fought hard and long. We did that for 2 nights and then I said she must be hungry, so I brought her into bed at 4:30 one night and gave up...

My friend said that the trick to the late night baby hunger attack is:

As soon as you hear a wimper (anytime from 2am on), go to her (or him) before she wakes herself up. Make no noise, don't talk, Shush, or turn on lights. Just go in with your boob (or bottle) out. Lift the baby to the breast without cuddling, hugging or making noise. Let her nurse for a minute or less, till you hear the gulping stop. Then lay her back down and leave! 

My daughter fussed for a minute or 2 and then went to sleep... Till 6:30am!!! It worked!
The trick is that she got what she wanted: she nursed. But she didn't get enough to fill her tummy and make her wake up every night expecting to eat. This just gave her enough foremilk to satiate her need to nurse and allow her to sleep. Soon, she will skip that feeding altogether.

Just thought I'd share! Best of luck to all those sleeptraining families out there :)

Sign the Petition: Tell Infant Formula Makers to Stop Using Hospitals as Marketing Tools

Healthcare facilities shouldn’t market commercial products. Yet infant formula companies have coopted many hospitals and healthcare providers to market their products.
In the United States, the vast majority of birthing hospitals give away industry-provided samples of infant formula to new mothers after they give birth.
All major healthcare provider organizations recommend breastfeeding for at least the first six months of life. However, mothers who receive formula samples in the hospital are less likely to breastfeed exclusively and more likely to breastfeed for shorter durations. That’s why this kind of marketing is in violation of the World Health Organization’s International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.
Infant formula companies are directly harming babies’ health and undermining the healthcare mission of hospitals by engaging in this destructive marketing practice.

Add Your Name to the Petition Below

We, the undersigned, call on Abbott (maker of Similac), Mead Johnson (maker of Enfamil) and Nestle (maker of Gerber), to stop distributing samples of infant formula in healthcare facilities, including hospitals and other medical clinics. The immediate end of this practice would be a crucial initial step to become fully compliant with the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Easter!

Sleep Training, Night 3: Our final hours...

Night 3, the night that should complete our cycle in breaking old sleep habits and seals the deal for the new ones. We really hope. The good news is that last night we noticed some serious improvement!
We put her to bed (after her normal routine) at 6:45. She went down easily as usual, and she did wake up a handful of times, but only for a couple of minutes and then back to sleep! Until 3:21, that is.

She woke up fussing at 3:21, but she was not crying so after a few minutes we both fell back asleep. The walls are paper thin between our room and her room (the bathroom) so we will definitely hear her if she starts crying hard. We woke up again at around 4 and she was still fussing, so my husband got up with her and comforted her, trying to get her back to sleep for around 20 mins or so. No luck. He gave her another 15 minutes and went back in. This time he stayed with her fo 45 minutes and she got to sleep a few times but as soon as he would put her down or close the door she would wake up. He returned to bed feeling discouraged but I reminded him that his job is not necessarily to get her back to sleep, its to comfort her so that she doesn't feel abandoned and knows that we are there if she really needs us. Even in our sleepy state we can certainly decipher between a baby fussing (which many times they do to self soothe and get themselves back to sleep) and a baby who is crying out for help. It is actually very important to allow her some time to fuss on her own without rushing back in so that she can blow off steam/energy and get herself to ease into sleep. She will let us know when she needs us, and knowing that gave me a boost of confidence during the night while listening to her.

He went back in for another 5-10 minutes, and this time he got her to sleep... But this time it was 5:30!
We felt bad because now is when she could have woken up to nurse! But she was back to sleep, and slept until 7! So I would say that we have made some serious progress!

The Results:
She went from waking up between 3-5 times a night, to waking up once on the 3rd night.
She slept a record of 8.5 hours on night 3. I never even expected that!

The Future Plans:
We will leave her in the bathroom in the pack n play until she is reliably sleeping through the night.
Then we will move her into her sister's room!
I have read that they need 12 hours (or so) of sleep per night so I will plan on reaching that eventually, (our older daughter was already doing that by 6-7 months) but I think that if she wakes up anytime between 5-6 from now on I will just bring her into bed and nurse her.

The Sleep Training Summary:
All in all, this is the first time we have seen real improvement in getting our baby to sleep-this is actually working-and without too much stress on our part or the part of our baby. It is tough, admittedly we have been frazzled through the process. But it was only 3 nights, and we hope that it will pay off.
I do notice that she is "clingier" ( I really don't like that term-it feels like it downplays and insults the need for affection, but I used it for lack of a better term) during the day and wants to nurse and be held much more than before. But  I think that is great, because day time is the time for eating and cuddling!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Sleep Training, Night 2: A sleep Odyssey

Tonight came with much anticipation because I was told by my sage friend that the 2nd night of training was tougher [for her] than the first. Oh great! But things did not go as planned for us because we were at a friend's house and did not get the chance to put her to bed at home with her regular routine. So we wondered if it was just going to be a complete disaster.

We fed her at 5:30 (normal dinnertime) some mashed sweet potatoes.
At 6:30 she was fussing and telling us that she wanted to sleep, so my husband held her and soothed her to sleep and put her in a pack n play in our friend's living room (she had it set up there for her 7 week old). The other kids were playing and woke her up, so he held her and she fell back to sleep on his chest until we left at 8:30 to go home. She woke up when he put her in the carseat, but within 10 minutes she was back to sleep. We got home at 9:30 and he put her down. By 10 she was sleeping again. She slept until 1:30 when she got woken up by our 3 1/2 year old who had wet her bed :(
I know this because my husband told me this morning...Apparently in my blacked out state, I missed the whole thing! He cleaned our daughter's bed, and then went in to soothe the baby. He said within 15 minutes of him soothing her, she went back to sleep.

I do remember waking up lightly at some point in the night and hearing the baby wimpering. I noticed that my husband was in a deep sleep next to me so I didn't want to ask him if he would go in there. I listened, but I was in a partial sleep state so I am not 100% sure about how much time went by. I do know that after not too long, she quieted down and went back to sleep. I have to imagine it must have been around 3am (her former night nurse time) but I did not look at the clock.

The next thing I knew, we heard her crying and looked at the clock-it was 6!
So he went in to get her, brought her into bed and she nursed intensively. Both sides.

So today I feel like a new woman. Even though it was not a 10 hour night of un-interrupted sleep (I still warmly remember those days), I did sleep from 11 till 6 without waking completely. I AM THRILLED!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sleep Training, Night one...

Our second daughter is 7 1/2 months old now, and that means that its been about 7 1/2 months since we have had a decent nights' sleep. Well, you could say 9 months because during the last 2 months of the pregnancy the nights are spent flipping over trying to find the right position. With the baby keeping us up all night, and our 3 1/2 year old keeping me busy all day, the light at the end of the tunnel was flickering. Dimly.
I read some books, researched online, asked for advice from many, and tried to remember what we did with our first daughter and how we survived so many sleepless months. The reality is that our older daughter was just a better sleeper! I did read books, research and sleep train her, but she was easier to train because she was tough to put to sleep but once she was asleep she stayed asleep. Our baby #2 goes to sleep rather quickly but only stays asleep for 1-3 hours at a time. So all the techniques that worked the first time were just useless.

We created a bedtime routine including a bath, massage, nursing in the rocker and then to bed at 7.
We tried feeding her at dinner time (she was begging for food since she was 5 months old) to rule out the possibility that she wasn't getting enough milk. I gave her a "lovey" to sleep with and I slept with it a few times to get my smell on it. I spent some time most days letting her "hang out" in her crib so that it would be a happy place. We even tried allowing her to co-sleep all night but that just resulted in her sleeping restlessly and keeping us up all night too. We moved her crib as far away from our bed as possible (her crib is in our room because we only have 2 bedrooms and when she finally sleeps she will share the room with her sister!) so that she wouldn't be able to see us. Nothing seemed to help! She still woke up every 1-3 hours! Finally, yesterday I spoke with my girlfriend and she knocked some sense into me.

She has 2 girls the same age(ish) as ours, and she has many siblings (with kids of their own), she is smart and on the same wavelength as I am. So I always trust her judgement and value her input.
She said that I was crazy to be getting up all night with the baby, she is already 7 MONTHS OLD!
7 months old sounds young to me, and I remembered reading somewhere that 9 months old was the milestone when babies no longer need to nurse at night. But she insisted that the baby does not need to nurse at night anymore, and that her girls were both done with night nursing at 3 months old. She said that I was not being a mother, I was being a slave and that I was going to be sick if I didn't start sleeping. I agreed, and my back did go out on me a few weeks back as a result of not sleeping, but how did I make her sleep!
My friend insisted that she needs to be out of our room, so as per her suggestion, we set up the pack and play in the bathroom ;)
Then we made a plan: My husband would take care of her all night. That way, she would not see me and expect to nurse. And as with any babys' habit you try to make or break, it should just take 3 days. And 3 looong nights. OK, I am ready and really really hoping this works!

So, Night one:
We let her hang out in her pack and play for a few minutes first, and then put her down in her new room after her regular routine at 7pm. The room was very dark and we turned on her "rain" noisemaker because she was used to that noise at night. We put her lovey in the pack and play and off to bed. She went to bed quickly as usual, and slept till 10ish as usual. But this time, she just wimpered a little and went back to sleep. Already an improvement from her waking up at 9:30 or 10 and needing to be consoled back to bed. Around 10:30 she woke up again, but back to sleep in a few minutes. She woke up around 11:30 and my husband went in after a few minutes. Now this was the rough one. She was used to nursing between 10:30-11:30 so I knew that is what she wanted.

He went in and did all his best Daddy moves. After a few minutes, he retreated to our room frustrated.
I kept quiet even though my nerves were lit up like a Christmas tree. My baby! This was hard. He waited a few minutes and went in again for 15 minutes or so. He retreated, defeated once again. This time I was frazzled from holding myself back and listening to her cries...for me. I could hear the words describing a babys' experience of crying it out from the book "The Continuum Concept" (by Jean Liedloff) ringing in my head:

"He awakes in a mindless terror of the silence, the motionlessness. He screams. He is afire from head to foot with want, with desire, with intolerable impatience. He gasps for breath and screams until his head is filled and throbbing with the sound. He screams until his chest aches, until his throat is sore. He can bear the pain no more and his sobs weaken and subside. He listens. He opens and closes his fists. He rolls his head from side to side. Nothing helps. It is unbearable. He begins to cry again, but it is too much for his strained throat; he soon stops. He waves his hands and kicks his feet. He stops, able to suffer, unable to think, unable to hope. He listens. Then he falls asleep again".

But does this apply to a 7 month old? And she wasn't crying that hard, I thought. My husband returned and was very frustrated and when I said to him "calm down" in my late-night, frazzled Mama tone it put him over the edge. He went downstairs to cool off. "I can't do this", I thought. But the words of my friend came to mind and reminded me "She doesn't need to nurse at night anymore". It took him many attempts and defeats, while I sat at the edge of the bed ready to give up and pick her up at any minute-but by 12:30 she went to sleep-FINALLY! Ok, time to pass out.

5 am, she wakes up. The minute I hear her I look at the clock and already see improvement, she slept a record 4.5 hours! But at 5 she was awake... and crying. He went in at 5:20 or so, comforted her for a few minutes and then came back to bed. She fussed but didn't cry. She fussed and yelled but didn't cry so we left her, and by 6:10 she was back to sleep. Until 7am. When she woke up I sprinted into the bathroom to get her and it was like a reunion! I was sure she was STARVING and would need a record-breaking nursing session, but when I sat down, she calmy nursed, slowly, not starved at all!
And only one breast! Then 30 minutes later she calmly requested to nurse a bit more.
What a relief, my baby wasn't starving all night and we have all survived night one. Hopefully tonight will be better.