Saturday, January 1, 2011

Food and Sleep...two of my favorite things!

I have been having some major cooking withdrawls!

I really enjoy trying to cook new things, letting my brain go wild in the kitchen, and having a super yummy made-from-scratch kind of meal. BUT, with a newborn that's tough. Sure Craig can hold her and I can start cooking, but her nursing is not on any kind of a schedule yet so it's very unpredictable. Some days she'll eat every 2-3 hours and some days it's like my boob is out ALL day and she's frantic to eat every hour. That makes me nervous that I'll have 4 pans going with different stuff in each and something in the oven and 2 things being prepped on the counter (which is so fun, I love multi-tasking in the kitchen!)....and then the inevitable will happen; I'll need to nurse the baby for 10-20 minutes and there goes everything. It was like this with Eliana, too. I had to take a break from culinary creativity for a little while and then when I got to do it again I had so much fun. We did sleep training with Eliana at 4 months and she has pretty much slept 12 or more hours a night ever since (except when teething or sick). Her bedtime was 7 or 7:30 so I had the evenings free to cook! Usually I'd have one week of lots of cooking and fun in the kitchen and then another week of cereal and eggs for dinner, then back to a week of good cooking and so on :)

I would like to try sleep training with Evangeline at 4 months also, so we'll see how she does. It will be tough since the cribs are in the same tiny room. If Evangeline wakes up at 6am, there's a good chance she'll wake up Eliana, too, and that will really suck. I keep dreaming and thinking if there is any way for us to be out of this house in the next few months but I just don't see it being possible at all. We tried to sell for about 9 months in 2010 and had zero offers. We've tried to refinance 3 times to get a payment low enough that we can rent it out and live somewhere else but we keep running into 'value' issues. Basically a lot of people on our street have foreclosed or done a short sale and that makes our recent 'comps' look really bad. If the homes on our street are selling for $150k, why would the bank value ours at $190k? So unfair. We've never been late or missed a payment ever, but we are penalized by the people who have. Sucky. We are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Every day this house feels smaller and smaller and Craig and I are battling the frustration with having no where to walk and constantly tripping over toys, nevermind having 'personal space'. There is only 763 square feet in this house and it's now being shared by 4 people and all their stuff. We just want out! Anyway, I will keep praying and trying to hold out the trust that God knows our needs and will provider a bigger/different place for us. SOON PLEASE GOD!

As far as sleep training.......what is it, you ask? For us, it's pretty much the Cry It Out method (CIO). I know this can be very controversial and a lot of parents are strongly opposed to it. I don't feel that it's my job to change anybody's mind about it, I simply see how well it has worked for Eliana and I can't argue with that. It takes about a week usually and then it's smooth sailing. ~Added later-A friend's comment on this post reminded me how important the bedtime routine is. Eliana has done the same thing every night and that is huge. They need to know what to expect and I think that helps there to not be any argument about it. Now at 26 months she gets in her jammies, does her vitamin, flosses and brushes her teeth, has a drink of water, and then we pray, sing Jesus Loves Me, and off to dreamland she goes! As a four month old it was jammies, vitamin, nurse, then pray, sing, and bed.

The other key is to put them to bed early enough. A 4-6 month old child should be getting around 12 hours of sleep at night. And unfortunately, putting them to bed at 10pm doesn't necessarily mean you will get to sleep til 10am. With children- sleep begets sleep. A good daytime nap/s means they will sleep better at night and putting them to bed BEFORE they show total signs of tiredness (rubbing eyes, cranky, etc) is key. When we wait too long and put Elly down at like 9pm, she sometimes cries and usually won't sleep in as long in the morning. BUT, if we put her down at 7:30, she goes right to sleep and sleeps til 9am :) Just like the adage that by the time a baby cries she's already past the point of hungry, the same goes for tired.
I also don't allow her to wake for the day early. As far as I'm concerned anything before 8am is too early! She can whine and cry and settle down to sleep a little more, which she does. I know she is getting sick or teething if she starts waking up too early.

So, you do your nighttime routine, then put the child to bed drowsy but not totally asleep (otherwise you're training the child to only fall asleep at the breast). Baby then will start to cry and you just leave them :( This is the hard part. It was SO hard the first night. I felt like a horrible parent. No one wants to hear their baby cry. BUT, I wanted her to learn to self soothe, which is an important life skill, and also to learn to sleep through the night. I knew she wasn't hungry, didn't have a dirty diaper, and her room temperature was good. She just needed to go to sleep. The first night she cried for about 50 minutes and then it was total silence. For. 12. Hours. WOW! The next night she cried about 35 minutes and then again slept through the night. The 3rd night she cried 20 minutes and each night was less until eventually around 6 days she went to sleep peacefully with zero tears. Occasionally she'd cry during the night and I'd let her calm herself and go back to sleep. I will also add that Eliana never used a pacifier. Of course if she was sick or teething I went in immediately to calm her.

After getting the deep sleep her body needed she would wake up happy, smiling, and in a good mood. She started looking forward to bed and going to sleep immediately. What a blessing! Even today at 26 months she'll tell me when she is tired and she sleeps great. Another part of learning to self soothe is to stop swaddling. Elly's dr recommended we stop swaddling at 4 months as part of the sleep training. And it worked! Babies shouldn't need to be swaddled at 10 months. The startle reflex is gone and they need to have freedom of movement. I also don't believe that babies NEED to nurse at night past about 4 months (very thin or underweight babies are a different story). I think it's a comfort and habit thing and about being close to mommy and feeling that security. As a mother it's your decision to continue night feedings or let baby CIO until they no longer have that habit. I'm not judging on it, I think it's a personal decision. I'm not totally decided on what I'll do with Evangeline. Eliana was such a high needs baby with colic and GERD that by the time 4 months came I needed space and I needed peace! I held her nearly 24 hours a day during the colic and at least 8 hours per day was blood curdling screams. I was happy to have her sleeping and away from me for the night. Evangeline is a different story. She's mostly a typical baby and pretty easy going. I may not want her away from me all night starting at 4 months. We'll see.

There are many who want to continue night feedings for months (or years) and there are many who enjoy having a family bed. I don't think that's really our style. Evangeline has slept in our bed every night so far, but I'm hoping around 3 or 4 months she'll be in the bassinett or crib. I want my bed to be a peaceful and romantic place for my husband and me and I want my children to have peaceful, deep sleep in their own space. But again, we'll see how that plays out :)

Well, since I'm typing about sleeping of course Eliana's nap is a bit of bust. Only one hour :( Better go get her....


  1. I'm in shock at how eliana trained to sleep so well! When we did cio with maddy, it took MONTHS of letting her cry for hours at a time. It was traumatic for us all. People think I'm exaggerating ....but it was seriously horrible. I don't think we focused enough on routine or an early enough bed time though.... something I will fix for the next one. I think that part is super important.

    as for the house ... im sorry its so cramped. I know how we felt with 2 and a coming baby ... I didn't know how we would do it in our old apartment. Keep the faith and hang in there. And if you want some info on how to make extra money from home, I can help with that too. ;)

    P.S. are you interested in borrowing my ergo? It's the organic one, super soft. You could use it till we need it again with another baby.

  2. Diana, I think you do such a good job of discussing controversial issues and presenting your side without making anyone feel judged or criticized if they try a different approach than you. The Lord has given you a gift with words and I'm so thankful for you and that you share your life on your blog! Happy New Year to you and your family!

  3. @Rachel-
    I totally agree, I think the nighttime routine is HUGE. I should've written more about that actually :) With as much as we've probably done wrong, I'm really glad that we started a routine so early with Elly. It's always been the same stuff at the same time and nighttime is never a problem for her. And an early bedtime is huge also. Many people wait til their children show signs of being tired (cranky, rubbing eyes, etc) and I think by that time the child is already PAST the point of tired. When we wait too long to put Elly down she sleeps less hours that night typically. With children, sleep begets sleep :)
    Thank you so much for the Ergo offer. I ended up getting one a couple days ago with some Christmas cash from the In-laws from Only $55 and it's brand new!
    Thank you hon ;)

    @ KristiAnn-
    That is such a huge compliment and I really really appreciate it. I know I've been judgemental and maybe too opinionated in some posts, but God is working on me and I'm continually learning :)