Friday, September 28, 2012

31 Days in 2012

Have you all heard about the idea of 31 Days that will kick off October 1st? The entire concept is explained over at nesting place and you can click here for a detailed description of "What is 31 Days?"



31 Days Starts on Monday.

Basically you pick one themed topic and blog about it once a day, for every day in October.

31 posts.

One every day.

Then everyone links up and shares their 31 Days series/posts.

Sounds fun, right?

I've thought about jumping in, but we all know I'm lucky if I post once a week. Posting for 31 straight days? Now that is a challenge.

Anyone else want to participate?

It might be fun.

Pick any theme you want.

Posts don't have to be long.

Here is one example.  And here is last years link up. 

Anyone up for the challenge with me?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Keurig Vue V700 Brewer coupon winners

Following up from Thursday's post. . .

The winners of the Keurig Vue V700 Brewer 50% off coupons are. . .

Allison 

Amanda

Gillian

How do I have three winners instead of two? I found another coupon. Lucky y'all!

Congrats, ladies. Please email me with your home address and I will get the coupons in the mail to you asap. Or I can send you all of the coupon/coupon code info over email, whatever you prefer. Remember, The coupons are only valid 9/22/12 - 9/30/12. 

Sorry, Marie :( But I don't feel quite as bad since you are not a coffee fan!! I hope we can still be friends. And judging by the lack of comments on yesterdays post, there are many others who have failed to fall in love with mornings most perfect beverage. That or everyone just thinks I'm weird and could care less about my coffee maker and ramblings. Yep - probably the later. 

OH - and you all should really take a few seconds and go click on Amanda's blog. She has some super exciting news to share.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Keurig Vue V700 Brewer + coupon giveaway

Brandon has a way of always finding/winning us free/incredibly cheap stuff. It seriously is a talent of his. He basically subscribes to every deal website possible and watches these like a hawk. These daily deal websites along with other coupons he finds here and there seem to aways work in his favor.

Now, sometimes this is rather annoying because do we really need another oversized t-shirt or plastic water bottle with some weird logo on the side?

No, no we don't.

Yet sometimes he strikes gold. Like the time he got us a brand new 9x13 pyrex dish and some kitchen utensils for free. Or the time he ordered Clara a personalized keepsake box (with her picture and birth stats. . . love it) for $5 with free shipping.

Or the time he got me a BRAND NEW Keurig Vue V700 Brewer for FREE. Zero dollars, y'all. He obviously knows that coffee is the way to my heart.

Brandon entered us into a drawing to host a house party from this website and we won. So then Keurig sent us the brewer. Just like that. Amazing.

The only requirement from House Party is that we have friends over to test out the new brewer. Reason to get together with friends? Yes please. House Party also sent us some freebies to pass out at the party such as insulated cups, aprons, chocolates, etc.

Here's a few pics of the beauty.



I love that it has nice big water tank and a touch screen. You can control the water temperature and size of cup you wish to brew.



Not only does the Vue brew fabulous coffee but it also does lattes, hot chocolate, sweet tea etc. A list of the available Vue packs (the Vue's name for the standard K-cup) are listed here. 

A little more about the Vue V700. . .

"The next generation of Keurig® has arrived! Brew stronger, bigger and hotter with the Keurig® Vue® V700 Brewing System. It’s easy to brew your perfect cup hot or over ice with a fully programmable color Touchscreen, strength and temperature control, 8 brew sizes, removable 74oz water reservoir and a bonus variety of 10 Vue® packs. Now you can fully customize your cup of coffee, tea, hot cocoa, iced beverage, specialty or cafĂ© beverage to brew what you love, the way you love it – every time!" (Source)


A close up to compare the Vue V700 with my old brewer, the Keurig Mini Plus.

You have served me well, Mini Plus, but it is time to say bye bye.

The only downside, in my opinion, is that the Vue does not allow you to purchase regular coffee and brew with a separate attachment, as you can with most Keurig brewers. You have to use the Vue packs, which are a tad more expensive than the Keurig K-cups.

So. . .

Keurig and House Party included a few coupons for friends/family to receive 50% off a Vue V700 brewer!! I have two coupons to give away on the blog! These are not the cheapest of appliances thus 50% off is a great deal! The coupons are only valid 9/22/12 - 9/30/12, so you would need to purchase soon.

If you are in need of a new coffee maker I highly recommend this brewing system.

Leave a comment on this post by 8:00am Friday, 9/21/12, if you would like a chance at one of the two coupons. I'll randomly pick two winners tomorrow morning and then get you your coupon/coupon code asap.

I'm off to enjoy a hot beverage. . . See ya!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Clara 4 months

My baby turned four months on September 2, 2012. So so crazy. I mean really. The next thing I know she is going to be crawling, walking, talking, etc. Can we please just stop time???

Here are a few pictures of our little cutie.

Girlfriend doesn't like to smile. It's all serious business.


Or apparently we are boring her to tears. . .


Or making her so annoyed that she refuses to open her eyes . . .

And since we obviously are not getting the hint, she resorts to covering her face . . . 

I can tell family Christmas pictures are going to be REALLY fun as she gets older. :)

Anyways, heres a little bit about Clara at 4 months old:

Stats:
Weight - 12 pounds 15 oz
Height - 23. 88 inches
BMI - 15.96 kg/m2
HC (head circumference) - 15.12 inches

She's now in the 15th percentile! Moving on up from the 3rd percentile, which is where she was two months ago. :) Dr reports that while Clara is still on the small end of the spectrum, she growing well and at a good rate. No concerns there.

And as you can see from the pics, she is filling out and chunking up more. I love that she is getting some squishy things and arms. So stinking cute.

Other info:
We are keeping her on her reflux medicine for now and will try to wean her next month, once this prescription runs out. Didn't want to try weaning her the same month we started sleep training!

Got four vaccines at her four month well check up. She took it like a champ. Cried for ten seconds, maybe.

Eating: She continues to eat well. I stopped nursing and am exclusively pumping my milk and giving to her via bottles. She was putting up at fight at each nursing session and eventually that just got overwhelming and exhausting. We are a much better team this way! We put rice cereal in her bedtime bottle and some nights it seems to stretch her longer and other nights it does not seem to make a bit of difference. Dr said we can try introducing rice cereal w/ a spoon and from there determine when we want to introduce baby food.

Schedule: After some trial and error, we now have a somewhat predictible daytime schedule! So far this is working well for us. Took us a while to get there but after several days spent sleep training, and working to get some consistency, I think Clara has it mostly figured out..

Goes a little something like this. . .
  • 7am - wake time
  • eat & playtime 
  • 8:30 or 9am - nap 1
  • eat & playtime/errands if needed
  • 12:30 or 1pm - nap 2
  • eat & playtime/errands if needed
  • 5pm (or so) - nap 3 - this is a short cat nap, maybe one hour, to get us to bedtime 
  • eat & playtime/errands if needed
  • 7:20 - start getting ready for bedtime (bath, book, bottle,)
  • 8pm - bedtime 
  • wakes for one feeding @ night, usually between 11pm-12am
I'm well aware this will change as she grows, cuts teeth, etc etc but for now I am loving our new routine. I am slowly becoming that mom who is super protective of her kids nap schedule. . . you know. . . that mom I said I would never be, ha! 

Sleeping: We transitioned Clara out of the nap nanny once she started rolling over. We no longer swaddle her at night. Clara goes to bed at 8pm, usually wakes about 11-11:30pm to eat, and then sleeps until 7am (sometimes 6-6:30am but we are working towards 7am). She puts up a fight here and there but ever since we started sleep training she is fighting/crying less mid night and sleeping longer stretches! We stopped giving her the pacifier at night so that she wouldn't become dependent on falling back asleep/self soothing w/ it. She's doing well with all these changes at once! I'm SO proud of her! She also sleeps in size 2 overnight/extra protection diapers to help prevent/limit night awakenings (thanks to many friends for this suggestion!!).

Development: She is smiling more (but still a ton. . . I'm lucky if I catch a smile with my camera) and she is now rolling over both ways all the time! She coos and babbles all day and is so much better at following our voices with her eyes. I love that now she will actually look at me and lock eyes! She is still working on her head control but it's getting better. She is in size 1 diapers (although I think they are starting to get snug) and is wearing 0-3 and 3-6 month size clothes, depending on the brand, but soon I'm sure she will be in all 3-6 months. She LOVES playing on her play mat/baby gym. It is so fun to turn on the music and watch her go crazy kicking her legs and waving her arms. She is also enjoying looking at her reflection in the mirror.

Adventures: We have a lot of travels over the next month so I will have more adventures to report at her five month update.

Clara 1 month
Clara 2 months
Clara 3 months

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

And on the 8th day, she rested

I just had to check back in and let you know that on Day 8, everything clicked.

Check it out...

8pm - bedtime

11:30pm - feeding (followed by hardly any fussing)

6am - this momma woke up and realized her baby girl was still asleep. SAY WHAT?

7am - had to go wake her up to start our day

Just had to share the good news!! I realize we will have days of progress and days of regression, but for now I am going to marvel in our success.

And go take a nap.

Cause my sweet girl is snoozing in her crib. Like a champ.

And just incase you missed what we've been up to:


BYE!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sleep training Clara, Day 7, and overall progress after one week

Here's the recap thus far. . .


So today is our final day of sleep training. Well. . . not our final day but the last day I will be blogging about the experience. I will continue to keep a record, such as what Ive been posting here, to continue to spot trends, areas to improve and overall successes. Who knows what will happen from here on out. We are praying she will continue to make progress each day and that eventually she will figure it all out. But obviously if time continues and we see things are not working, or we grow uncomfortable with how things are working, then we will reassess. 

Sometime in the next few weeks I plan to write a reflection post on this whole experience. Things I liked, didn't like, things that worked for us or didn't work for us. Things I did that I wouldn't do again. Not because I think I am some expert on the topic b/c obviously this is FAR from the case (um hello. . this is my first child and we've only been at this one week!! And our nights are still very bumpy. Plus, many of YOU are the ones providing me with suggestions and ideas), but so that I will have a record of details should we need to revisit any version of sleep training in the future, either with Clara or another child. Basically for my own memory purposes! Because we all know I forget things after 2.5 seconds.

Day #7: 9/10/12
  • 6am - wake time (she's been awake since 5:30am but not going back to bed, so I go get her)
  • 6:15am - feeding/playtime
  • 7:15am - she's getting sleepy so I give her a tad more to eat (what is leftover from earlier bottle) and then begin to wind down for nap #1. As much as I want to try and stretch her I know she is already tired and since she has technically been up since 5:30am, I don't want to push it and have her become overtired and thus super fussy and not nap well). 
  • 7:30am - in bed for nap #1 - she plays in bed for about 10 minutes and then fusses for 20 minutes (but not fully crying, just normal fussing) and then falls asleep by 8am. 
  • 8-10:30am - nap #1 - She wakes about 45 minutes into this nap but put herself to sleep after talking to herself and rolling over. So proud!
  • 10:30am - feeding then off to run a few errands
  • 12:15pm - take a stab at another feeding and to my surprise (since she typically won't) she takes another 4 oz. 
  • 12:30pm - 3pm - nap #2 - she falls asleep almost instantly once she's in her crib. NO CRYING.
  • 3:15pm - feeding then off to play outside/take a walk
  • 5pm - 6:15pm - nap #3. She started getting sleepy about 5pm so I decided it was time for nap #3. She went down and fussed for 5 minutes and then rolled over and went to sleep. NO CRYING. Woke her up at 6pm so we could aim for a relatively early bedtime. 
  • 7:15pm - start bedtime routine
  • 7:40pm - feeding
  • 8pm - bedtime - NO CRYING. Goes down like a champ.
  • 9:20-9:230pm - she starts crying and is able to calm and soothe herself to sleep in 10 minutes!!
  • 11:10pm - 12:45am - wakes and starts crying. Go in for diaper change/feeding - she takes 5 oz. Then its back in crib by 11:30pm. She plays in her bed for a good while (quietly and contently) and then starts fussing/crying about 12:15am. The crying stops at 12:45am. Only 30 minutes of crying. 30 minutes! This is a 45 minute improvement from last night and an even BIGGER improvement from the night before last. I am shocked actually (and so so thankful). 
  • She wakes up every hour on or near the half hour (1:30am, 2:30am, 3:30am, 4:30am) and fusses for 10 or so min and then puts herself back to sleep each time, before I need to go in and check on her.
  • 7am - she still asleep! Go in to wake her for another day. 
Progress from the last 24 hours:
Minimal fussing at nap #1
Able to soothe herself back to sleep after waking briefly during nap #1
No crying at nap #2
No crying at nap #3
No crying at bedtime
Only 30 minutes of real crying after she's down for bed
Able to soothe herself to sleep after waking briefly, multiple times, during the night  

Progress overall, after one week of sleep training:
These are goals that were important to our family and therefore in no way do we look down on anyone who does not find the below important to their family. I think you all know that, but just had to say it!
  1. We now have a consistent nap and bedtime wind down routine: Call us crazy or naive but we were not doing this, at all, prior to sleep training. I think having this routine is really helping signal to Clara "ok, it's time to sleep now." (You're probably thinking "duh") For example - Now, when I begin soothing Clara down for naps she snuggles up under my chin and gets really still and calm. Before, she would squirm and fight sleep (most likely because she was way overtired from lack of consistent naps). Which leads me to my next point. . . 
  2. We now have a set nap schedule, which guarantees she will have at least two, maybe three, naps per day. Basically, we have some predictability and routine to our days! Prior to sleep training Clara would nap an hour here, 30 minutes there, 20 minutes here, another hour there, etc. An hour and a half was probably the most consolidated nap time she was getting, and it was at random, not even on a daily basis. 
  3. Clara has learned how to fall asleep unassisted and how to self soothe, especially at nap time. Prior to sleep training we were having to pace the halls or bounce her in our arms for every "nap" or at bed. This is not a bad thing, but not something we wanted to continue long term. It is amazing to lay her down awake and then watch her babble to herself for awhile, roll over and then go to sleep. Liberating actually!
  4. Clara is sleeping longer stretches at night on her own. Meaning - she has successfully slept six - seven or so hours on her own, in her crib. Prior to sleep training in order for Clara to sleep this long we would have to go get her, take her to our bed, take her to the couch, walk the halls with her once she started to stir, etc. 
  5. Clara is learning to love her crib. Before Clara was born I always said "I'm going to put her in her crib from day one. She's not coming in our room." Blah blah blah. You know, all those things you are SO certain of before you actually become a parent? Let's just say I am guilty of eating my words once or twice. Or maybe three times. The colic sent us into pure survival mode and therefore Clara slept anywhere and everywhere. To name a few - the couch with us, her swing, her little lamb chair (well, her friend Jake's little lamb chair), our bed, her nap nanny (well, her friend Aedan's nap nanny). . . you get the idea. Then once the colic subsided we naively continued all the survival mode techniques because we knew it worked and we didn't want to go backwards. All that to say, Clara has successfully transitioned to sleeping in her crib and I think she is now used to & familiar with her bed. 
  6. Clara is MUCH happier during the day compared to when we had no set nap schedule. Actually, since we started this training on 9/4/12, she has not cried, even once, other than when she is crying it out in her crib. Previously, it was not uncommon for her to be crying at some point throughout the day, for an extended period, whether that be morning or afternoon. This is really amazing to me. Goes to show that all her fussiness was most likely due to being extremely overtired. 
So. . . there you have it. One week down. Like I said, who knows what the future holds, and we will always reevaluate as needed, but I remain optimistic that she will continue to make progress. Thanks for sticking with me. And thanks for refraining from any negative or hateful comments. Outside of recovering from an eating disorder, this is, by far, the hardest thing I have ever done. 

A few pics from our walk to TJ Max and Kroger this afternoon. Say what? You don't walk to your local TJ Max and to get groceries? Clara and I are cool like that.  



Oh and I will leave you with this image. (Some of you might have seen this on Instagram). After dinner, I was doing dishes and Brandon was getting Clara undressed and ready for her bath. All of a sudden I hear Brandon hollering from the bathroom and I go running in thinking Clara just peed or pooed on him. She didn't pee/poo on him. It is actually much more hysterical than that. 



That would be spit up. See it on his chin? Yes well. . . what you don't see is the crazy amount that landed in his mouth. His MOUTH. So what does a loving wife do? I run to go grab my camera instead of grabbing a towel. Because obviously moments like this need to be documented. 

Have a great week! 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sleep training Clara, Day 6

Here's the scoop in case you've missed all the "fun"...


Day #6 : 9/9/12
  • 7am - wake time. She was up at 7am on the dot so I scoop her up for some snuggle time. 
  • 7:15am - feeding and then playtime
  • 8:20am - she's showing sleepy signs so I start soothing her down for nap #1. She's in bed by 8:30am and then babbles/slightly fusses for a short while. NO CRYING! She's out by 8:45am. 
  • 8:45am -11am - nap # 1. She is still snoozing at 11am, but I decide to wake her so she can eat and also to protect nap #2. She stirred twice during this nap but was able to successfully soothe herself back to sleep. 
  • 11:15am - feeding and then playtime
  • 12pm - try to give her a tad more to eat
  • 12:40pm - she's already really tired so in to bed she goes. She is quiet and calm until about 12:50pm and then starts crying. She cries for 10 minutes and in the meantime I am praying that God would calm and settle her. No lie - within 2 seconds of my prayer she turns over and falls asleep. Fastest answered prayer ever. Praise God for only 10 minutes of crying!! 
  • 1- 4:30pm - nap #2 - decide to wake her at 4:30pm so we can aim for a 7pm bedtime with no third nap. Obviously, this is all trial and error but it seems that Day #3 (for both bedtime and during the night) was most successful, when she went to bed at 7pm. 
  • 4:30pm - feeding and playtime
  • 6:15pm - start winding down for bed
  • 6:30pm - feeding
  • 7pm - bedtime, and she falls asleep almost instantly. NO CRYING!
  • 9:30pm - wakes up and starts crying. Give her a few minutes to settle but the crying only gets more intense. I decide since this is typically the time of her late night feeding, before we implemented the earlier bedtime, that we should go in and feed her. She takes nearly 5 oz of milk, gets a new diaper, a kiss from dad and then it's back in bed.
  • 10:00-11:15pm - cries for one hour 15 minutes and then conks out. While a little over an hour of crying seems like a lot, and it is, this is much improvement from last night!!
  • 5:30am - she wakes up and starts playing in her bed. My plan is to not go in to get her before 6am (if she is restless/unhappy, and since it is so close to the 6am hour) or wake her at 7am if she by chance falls back asleep.
  • 6am - wake time - obvious she isn't going back to bed, and I'm sure she's hungry, so I go get her to start our day. Will try to adjust our day/naps so that we can aim for a 7pm, or around there, bedtime. I'm assuming (but will play it by ear) that since wake time is earlier today, she will most likely need a third nap in order to make it to bedtime. 
Progress from today:
No crying at nap #1 and she is able to soothe herself back to sleep during this nap
Only ten minutes of crying at nap #2
We were able to continue with an early bedtime of 7pm
No crying at bedtime
Only 1 hour 15 minutes of crying from bedtime to wake time!! This is big progress in my opinion!
Overall, a lot less crying in a 24 hour period!!!

THANK YOU all for your prayers, support and encouragement!!

Day #7 here we come... 

A few pictures since pictures always make these posts a little more bearable for you all. . . 

 Loves her Sophie the giraffe
She was SO smiley while sitting on the couch with Brandon. Love that I caught her mid-smile.

Stealing some kisses from my sweet girl

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sleep training Clara, Day 5

Here's the scoop from the last few days in the Blackburn house. . .

Run down of Day 4

Which bring us to. . . 

Day #5: 9/8/12
  • 7am - she wakes on her own so I go get her to start the day, followed by some playtime. 
  • 8am - feeding
  • 8:15am  - start winding her down for nap and plop her in bed by 8:20am
  • 8:30am - 10:30am - nap #1 - she fusses for a few minutes and then she drifts off to sleep. NO CRYING! At 9am - wakes up and fusses for maybe three minutes. She then starts playing in her bed but by 9:20 she's back asleep w/ no more fussing. She wakes at 10:30 but is content playing in her bed for a good 20 minutes so I let her hang out for a bit.
  • 10:50am - playtime
  • 11:30 - 12pm - feeding (she takes a feeding at 11:30am, spits up four times, so give her more at 12pm, before we wind down for nap #2)
  • 12:30pm - 3:30pm - nap #2 - she goes down very easily and just babbles herself to sleep! NO CRYING. 
  • 3:30pm - feeding then we run some errands as a family 
  • 4:45pm - she's getting tired so I give 2 more oz of milk and then plop her in bed by 5pm for a third nap. She is restless and by 5:30pm it is evident that she is not going to nap. Hmmm. In order to avoid her third nap being too late and thus requiring a later than desired bedtime, I decide to go get her and just start the process for bedtime and get her there by 6:15pm or so. Just to see what happens and praying this decision doesn't backfire on me. But. . . Weissbluth and others strongly suggest that the earlier the bedtime the better baby sleeps and the less night awakening baby will experience. We will see. . . 
  • 5:40pm - go get her for bath, lotion, etc
  • 6pm - feeding, she takes another 3.5 oz and by the end of the feeding she is wiped out
  • 6:15pm - lay in crib, NO FUSSING OR CRYING, and she falls fast asleep. 
  • The rest of the night I am scared to document on the internet for fear of forever receiving hate comments on this blog post. If a crying baby brings up feelings of anger in you, please stop reading and just know that we had a long, hard evening. If your good then. . .  
  • 7:30pm - 12:30am - she wakes up and starts crying which by 8:15pm turns into screaming. At 9pm she is still screaming so I consult my amazing mommy friend on what to do. We decide I should go in now and feed, burp and check her diaper and then do not return. She eats a little over 4 oz at 9:15pm, burps and gets a fresh diaper (it wasn't dirty) and by 9:30pm she's back in her crib (she calmed the second I picked her up). She's calm for a little while longer, maybe 20 minutes, and then the screaming starts again. In full force. And doesn't stop. Worst feeling ever. Cue me sitting in my living room bawling on the couch wanting to call it quits. Because I feel like a neglectful mom. Maybe the cumulation of her crying over the past five days is finally starting to wear me down. At 11pm I let Ashlie know that she stopped screaming (yay!) and we come up with a game plan for the night. Well the screaming stopped for 10 minutes. And then it started again promptly at 11:10pm. At this point I can't even distract myself.  I wonder why we are taking huge leaps in the wrong direction, or so it seems. Screaming continues and her voice is getting more and more hoarse. I feel like I want to throw up. Finally, at 12:30am she surrenders to exhaustion. Y'all - that is 4 hours or so of crying with a 30 min break (feeding plus her calmness after feeding) I have no words. So much for her getting some good consolidated sleep at the front end of the night. Ugh. 
  • 7am - she is still asleep, praise God, so I go in to get her to begin another day. Cuddle her like I have never cuddled her before. 
On a happier, less gut renching note, here are a few pics of my sweet baby fully enjoying her nap time



Positives from our day:
No crying at all at nap #1
No crying at all at nap #2
She is consistently going down easily for naps
She is adjusting to her new nap schedule quite well
No crying at all when put to bed 

Questions for those of you who did CIO. . . (I will also be consulting our pediatrician this week, but just trying to gather info from those who have gone before me.) 
  1. Did you find that your baby made progress with one or the other, naps or bedtime, first? Or did your baby seem to catch on to both simultaneously?
  2. For those of you with a post colicky baby, at what point did you wean baby from a night feeding? (I'm OK if Clara needs to eat in the night, my goal in all of this is not to avoid night feedings, but I do find that when I go in to feed her she completely wakes up and the scream sessions start again, or start from square one, soon after I leave the room). 
  3. HSHHC says to pick one or two times you will go in at night to feed baby and then, regardless of crying, do not go back in. How did you decide the time(s) that you would intervene?
  4. On nights like the one described above, did you allow your baby to sleep in a tad later than their regular wake time (say 7:30 or 8am, if wake time is usually 7am) to allow them to get in a bit more consolidated sleep? (I'm assuming no, to keep their biological clocks in synch & to keep naps on schedule, but just thought I would ask.)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sleep training Clara, Day 4

I plan to keep documenting the ins and outs of our sleep training experience until we hit one week. If this is boring you to tears then just check back with us next week, mid week!!

But just incase you are interested and want to catch up:
Disclaimer and run down of Day 1
Run down of Day 2
Run down of Day 3

Day 4: 9/7/12

  • 7am - Clara still snoozing so I go get her/wake her to start our day. Give her TONS of positive reinforcement for such a great night. :) 
  • 7:30am - feeding/cuddle time/playtime
  • 8:30am - can tell she's getting sleepy so we begin our soothing routine
  • 8:40-10:40am - nap #1-  put down awake in crib. She fusses (not cries) for maybe 10 minutes and is out cold by 8:50am. Yay! Great morning nap!
  • 10:45pm - feeding/cuddle time/playtime
  • 12:15pm - she starts showing sleepy signs so I give her a little more to eat
  • 12:30pm - soothing routine and lay her down in crib. She's out by 12:45pm w/ only minimal fussing. 
  • 12:45pm - 4:30pm - nap #2 (She has several awakenings during this nap although each time is able to babble and fuss a little bit w/ out it turning into full fledge crying. She is able to fall back asleep on her own each time. About 3pm she begins to fuss so I go in to soothe her and realize her diaper is wet. I change diaper and then lay her back down. She falls asleep almost instantly.)
  • 4:30pm - feeding and playtime until Brandon gets home then later we all run a few errands together
  • 6:15 - start bedtime routine
  • 6:45pm - feeding
  • 7pm - put her in bed followed by NO CRYING. She goes down so easy! From here on things get interesting, and confusing, and I start to wonder if we are experiencing the regression that so many families say they experience on/around day four. (I read several testimonies in the book of this happening. Weissbluth says this is very normal but encourages families to keep at it!)
  • 9-10:30pm - she wakes up and starts fussing and stiring quite a bit. I give her a few minutes but she's not quieting down so I decide to go ahead and feed her so she can make it a while longer into the night. She takes nearly 4 oz and once I put her back down she is quiet for 15 minutes and then the crying begins. She cries from 9:30-10:30pm and then passes out. 
  • 12-1am - wakes and starts crying. Not sure what to do since I know that it's been three hours since she ate last, but I also know that last night she had such a great stretch without eating. Her crying increase in intensity so I assume she is hungry and/or has a dirty diaper. I go in and change diaper (majorly wet) and try another feeding. She takes about 3 oz and then becomes disinterested. Lay her back down in crib by 12:15am ,and then she proceeds to wail, hard, for a good 45 min. 
  • 3-3:20am - wakes and starts crying. At this point I have no clue what I should do. It's been another three hours since her last feeding but I decide to give her more time to work it out before I go in and get her. After about 20 minutes of crying she is back asleep. 
  • 3:30 - 3:40 am - she's back awake and crying again. I decide to give her until 4am and at that point, if she is still crying, I will go in and give another feeding/diaper change. She's back asleep after 10 minutes of crying. 
  • 5 - 5:30am - she's back awake and crying. Ok - so here I have a few options. 1- Feed her now and then lay her back down until at least 6am and start wake time early, assuming she doesn't go back to sleep, or start wake time at 7am if she is able to fall back asleep. 2 - let her try and work it out until 6am on her own and then if still not asleep go in to start wake time/give feeding. I go with option #1 assuming she is probably hungry, since her last feeding was at 12am. She takes 4 oz fairly quickly, burps and then it's back in her crib by 5:15am. She cries for only 15 minutes and is asleep by 5:30am... thank you God!
  • 7am - she wakes on her own so I go get her to start the day. 
Wow, what a night. I'm not sure how to even process all of the above. Praying this is just an expected regression and not a sign of our nights ahead. Despite our crazy night, and the disappointment from all the night awakenings, there are still several small successes from the day.

Small victories today:
Minimal amount of fussing when put down for both nap #1 and nap #2!
A nice long afternoon nap!! (This is a big goal as most kids will keep this nap time, or something very similar, as they continue to age)
She's able to soothe herself back to sleep after several awakenings during afternoon nap! 
No crying at bedtime!

And we press on to Day 5. . . 

Crossing my fingers that Clara will take another long afternoon nap today, so that mommy can too. Time to make some strong extra strong coffee. 

Oh, here is an interesting article describing why sleep regression is common in a four month old baby. This refers to common sleep regression for this age group and not specifically to regression for CIO method but I think it sheds some light on what's going on, in general, in a four month olds little brain. 

See ya! 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sleep training Clara, Day 3

Disclaimer and the run down of Day 1
Run down of Day 2 

Day #3: 9/6/12
  • 7am - wake time & feeding
  • 7-8:15am - playtime. At 8:15 I notice she is getting TIRED. I really was hoping she would make it closer to 9am but I am not going to push it. Remember the goal is catching your child's natural sleepy states to ensure better sleep and avoid nap time protesting. 
  • 8:15am - start soothing routine and put her in bed. NO CRYING. 
  • 8:30-10:40am - she is asleep and nap #1 is officially underway. She sleeps until 10:40am! Two hours and ten minutes! (She woke once during this nap and was able to put herself back to sleep, with no crying, within two minutes!)
  • 10:45am - feeding then we run a few quick errands
  • 12:15pm - notice she is getting sleepy so I feed her a few more ounces to make sure she can make it through a nice afternoon nap. Complete soothing routine.
  • 12:30pm - 4:20pm - nap #2. She coos and babbles for about ten minutes and then cries for 11 minutes, and then turns on her tummy and falls asleep. 11 minutes! Much progress from Tuesday's 2nd nap (one hour of crying) and from Wednesday's 2nd nap (45 min of crying). I'll take it! At 2:45pm she wakes up and starts crying. I go in to check on her and I pick her up but when I get her and hold her, her eyes start closing and her body goes limp. I soothe her and lay her back down. She goes back to sleep easily within seconds, no tears!! 
  • 4:30pm - feeding and playtime
  • 6:15pm - start winding down so we can have her in bed by 7pm. Bath & lotion. 
  • 6:45pm - feeding (she will only take 2 oz. Not interested in eating as she is fading fast)
  • 7:00pm - put her in crib. Takes her a few minutes to settle but she falls asleep within a few minutes. NO CRYING. 
  • 7:50-8:40pm - she wakes and starts to stir/cry. I was not quite sure what to do but since she only took 2 oz at the last feeding I figure we better try to feed her again so she will have more substance to make a longer stretch. I remember reading that going in to baby is ok as long as she has falling asleep on her own, first. I send Brandon in with the remaining 3 oz from the last bottle then it's back in crib. Brandon does this feeding and comes out within a few minutes. I realize I should have had more in the bottle b/c he said she sucked it down so fast and still seemed interested. FAIL on my part. I didn't even think to add more to the bottle. So now we have to go in a second time to give her more to eat. I realize I could have let her cry this out but I suspected she was still hungry and thus I didn't want to ignore. (She had been crying since Brandon left room). Brandon goes in at 8:00pm w/ another bottle and she fusses the majority of the time. She will only take 1 more oz. Enter lots of prayers that I didn't set our little girl back going in her room 2x back to back. I'm frustrated at myself but thankful she took a total of 4 more oz. About 8:10pm she starts crying but calms and is asleep by 8:40pm. Only 30 min of fussing/crying! 
  • 8:40pm - 4:00am - She wakes at 10pm fussing, but within 10 min or so puts herself back to sleep! She wakes at 4am (awesome stretch!) so she gets a feeding, diaper change and then back in crib by 4:15am. I am in shock she slept so long! Hasn't slept that long, um, ever. 
  • 4:45-5:25am - she starts fussing and this continues for a while (yet not full out crying!)
  • 5:25- 7am - sleeping like a (well rested) baby. :)
  • 7am - go get my baby to start another day/establish wake time. 
Progress/victories from the past 24 hours:
No crying at morning nap. She wakes during this nap and can put herself back to sleep easily.
A lot less crying at afternoon nap. And this nap lasts 3.5 hours. She wakes SO happy.
Able to successfully move bedtime earlier by 30 min; 7pm is my goal! 
No crying at bedtime. 
Only 30 min of crying after first night awakening. 
A 7 hr and 40 min stretch at night!!

And just because. . . 


Love that I caught this pouty face on camera. :) I promise she was actually really happy so not sure where this look came from but I love it.

P.S. - I have spent the last four days soaking up sleep training research/info and thus I have been scouring the internet like a mad woman. I stumbled upon this blog. I haven't had time to totally dig in, but thought I would pass it along since at first glance, it appears to have some great info.

P.S.S. - I am trying to convince Brandon to make me THESE this weekend. Oreos, cookies and brownies all in one? Yes please. :)

Happy Friday!! 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sleep training Clara, Day 2

For disclaimer and a run down on our first day of sleep training, click here.

Day 2: 9/5/12
  • 6am - Clara wakes up and I rush in to greet my baby with smiles. She seemed quite happy and (despite the two hours ten minutes of crying a few hours earlier) well rested. (While a 6am wake time might seem extremely early for some, I feel it is unfair and unrealistic of us to expect Clara to make it to 7am right now. If she does then great! But if she wakes at 6am or anytime between 6-7am I will happily go and get her!)
  • 6:15am - feeding and then playtime. Turned on all the lights and played some music to help her learn that this is wake time! 
  • 7:30am - I start watching Clara for signs of sleepiness. Weissbluth recommends no more than two hours of wake time and thus Clara's morning nap would be close to 8am. Yet he also suggests that for post colicky babies, sometimes their limit of wakefulness is anywhere in the 1.5-2 hour range. Thus I start watching Clara like a hawk at 7:30pm. I soon notice she is getting still, quiet, sleepy eyes and yawning. My clue to start soothing routine. (The goal is to put baby down during this sleepy state, as to prevent them from becoming overtired and fussy. Basically, you don't want to start the soothing routine at the time of the second nap, that is too late, it needs to happen before). 
  • 7:45am - complete soothing routine and place Clara in her crib. Give paci and cover with blanket. She falls asleep quickly with, wait for it, NO CRYING AT ALL. Slept solid from 7:45- 9:30am. At 9:30 she was awake, but completely happy and content, so I let her wake up slowly and enjoy talking to herself for a few minutes before I go to get her. 
  • 9:45am - feeding and then playtime
  • I notice at about 11:00am she is showing all the normal signs of being tired. She's been up for 1.5 hours which, as stated earlier, might be the maximum period of wakefulness depending on the day. I begin soothing routine. 
  • 11:15am - nap #2. She whimpers for quite a while and then, for the first time, rolls over from back to tummy in her bed (she's done this, just never in her bed). Whimpering continues b/c she is now stuck. The book recommends not going in to roll baby over or put paci back in as this reinforces to baby that the more they fuss, eventually mom or dad will rescue. So now I have to sit and see what happens. Enter crying. Hard, hard crying. She manages to maneuver her way to the top right side and then top left side of her crib. Eventually, the crying ceases at 12:00pm on the dot. Cries for a total of 45 min which is 15 minutes less compared to yesterdays nap. 
  • 12-3pm - napped like a champ (was on tummy entire nap). She was still asleep at 3pm but I woke her in order to protect getting in (a short) third nap and an earlier bedtime. 
  • 4:20 - 5pm - nap #3. We got out to take dinner to a friend and my goal was to be home before 5pm. We were on our way home and at about 4:20pm, Clara fell asleep in her car seat. So I am calling this nap #3. 
  • From here I wasn't quite sure what to do. I knew it wasn't likely that Clara could make it three hours, until 8pm, without getting tired. I'll admit the thought of a bed time before 8pm made me REALLY nervous. But. . . I knew Weissbluth would recommend putting Clara to bed during her next sleepy state as opposed to having her nap again and then have a late bedtime (he recommends a bedtime somewhere between 6-8pm). We watched Clara's signals and about 6:50pm she starts showing her sleep signs. We can tell she is fading fast. 
  • 7:00pm - begin bedtime routine w/ a bath
  • 7:15pm - feeding - literally is falling asleep while eating. 
  • 7:30pm - bedtime - she is already totally out of it by the time we put her in bed. 
  • 8:15pm - she wakes up and starts crying. (I don't go to her b/c I know she just had a diaper change + a four oz. feeding one hour ago). She rolls to tummy and cries, hard, until 9:05pm.
  • 9:05pm - 12:45am - slept well and when she woke at 12:45 she had first feeding of night and diaper change. 
  • 1:00am - went right back down with NO CRYING and slept solid for one hour. 
  • 2:00 - 3:15am - she wakes up at 2am and starts crying - lots and lots of crying. I SO wanted to rescue her, but I assumed she was not hungry since she ate four oz. at 12:45. I knew going in now would undo every bit of progress made thus far. One hour and 15 min of total crying. 
  • 3:15 - 7am - sleeps like a rock. I have to go wake her at 7am to start the day and establish her wake time. 
We made some progress today. . . 
She cried less at nap time (45 min compared to 1 hr)
She took a 3 hour nap which hasn't happened since she was a tiny newborn!
Bedtime was a tad earlier (which is a big goal!)
She cried less during her night awakening (1 hr 15 min compared to 2 hr 10 min)
Progress in her wake time/start of the day (7am vs. a 6am wake time yesterday)

This is HARD stuff y'all. Totally rips my heart out. But I am confident that our consistency will help her establish better sleep habits overall. I have to keep reminding myself that she will be better off after a few nights of protesting/crying vs. several years of unhealthy sleep patterns. At least I am praying it's only a few nights! 

We CAN do this!! 

On to Day #3!!

(Ps - Clara has her 4 month pedi appt. next week and after that I will work on her 4 month update!) 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sleep training Clara, Day 1

**Disclaimer: I know there are a million different infant rearing methods out there. With different methods  come different (and strong!!) opinions. Our decision to sleep train Clara is important to us, and what works for us, but in no way does that mean I am judging your method should it look vastly different from what I describe below. Everyone makes decisions for what works best for THEIR family. The Mommy Wars has spiraled out of control, and at the end of the day, is just so unnecessary. We are different people, different families, and thus we make different parenting decisions. Want to nurse your baby until he is five years old? Great. Want to give your baby formula from day one? Do it.  You prefer to co-sleep with your baby for the first few years? Ok! Begin cry it out method from the day you get home from the hospital? Go for it. Rock your baby to sleep until he is in Kindergarten? Sure! You get the idea. All this to say I am not going to fill this post with a million disclaimers as I discuss our sleep training choice. I won't judge you. You won't judge me. Letting my baby cry, in hopes to help better her sleep quality, in no way means I do not love her with all my heart, nor does it mean I wouldn't risk my life to save hers. Because I would. And it doesn't mean that I am an emotionless mother who is not phased by listening to her baby scream for hours. Because I am phased. Yet in order to do this, and do it well, I had to set my emotions aside. The End.**

We have been considering sleep training Clara for a while now. It has always been important to us to help Clara learn how to self soothe, and for her to learn how to fall asleep, unassisted. Meaning we put her down in her crib, awake, and she is able to fall asleep on her own. Well colic kinda put a damper on any type of sleep training plan, and rightfully so. The last thing I need to impose on a super colicky baby is some type of "cry it out" method. The poor girl did enough crying already. She needed us to feel soothed, to feel calm, and we basically did anything possible to make it happen.

As our pediatrician suspected, starting at about three months, the colic began to disappear. I can boldly say that to date, at four months, Clara's colic is now a thing of the past. Sure she has a bad night here and there, but who doesn't?

So even while the colic had passed, over the last few months Brandon and I have developed a bad habit of rushing in to soothe Clara, during the night, as soon as she starts to stir. I mentioned this habit briefly in this post. We felt that by doing so she would not fully wake up and thus fall back asleep quickly. Her waking completely meant we would be up for a good two - three hours. She has never been the type to fall back asleep quickly. It is a process. Well our "plan" worked and she would typically settle within five -10 minutes of us rushing to rescue her. Mission accomplished. But what was also accomplished was one of us rushing to her side all. night. long. Or bringing her in our bed for the last few hours of the morning. Or going out in the living room, on the couch, in hopes that she would fall back asleep. You get the idea. While this routine felt like a dream compared to our colicky nights (because we were actually getting some consolidated sleep), we knew that eventually this habit would need to be broken. And we all know habits are more easily broken the earlier they are tackled.

So. . .  I spent all day Monday, Labor Day, reading up on sleep training and developing my action plan. We are basing our sleep training plan off of Marc Weissbluth's Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. The book gives many options and samples of sleep training (not all involve cry it out, or crying at all for that matter). We are choosing the "cry it out/extinction" method. While the "cry it out/gradual extinction" or the "maybe cry/check and console" options might provide less emotional trauma for us as parents, I knew it would take that much longer for Clara to "get it."

I knew we had to go big or go home.

Weissbluth suggests that post colicky babies have the hardest time with sleep training and experience the most night awakenings when compared to non colicky babies. (Which is why the extinction method is suggested, as the check and console method is more confusing for the post colicky baby, since the parent spent SO much time during the colicky weeks soothing). 

Oh joy.

Let the fun begin.

(I will be documenting each day as it unfolds. I apologize in advance for these super boring posts, but it is the easiest way for me to keep track of how Clara responds to the training. At the end of the training, who knows how long this might be, I will do a summary of some tips and/or things I could have done better, you know, since hindsight is 20/20)

Day 1: 9/4/12
  • Clara woke for the day at 6am 
  • 7am feeding 
  • We played for a while then I started our soothing routine (to prepare her for nap #1). For us this means: going into Clara's room, cuddling, and singing a few songs. Then I lay her down in her crib and say something like "I love you sweet girl, have a good nap." I put her paci in, cover her with a blanket, and leave the room. 
  • She was calm for about 4 minutes and then enter crying, which turned to screaming. I let her scream for 1 hour. 
  • At 9am I go in and pick her up. Repeat soothing routine. She calmed immediately and looked oh so sleepy. I laid her back down, awake, and within 15 minutes she was asleep. No crying. At. All. She slept for 2 hours. (She experienced several natural awakenings during this nap but was able to put herself back to sleep). 
  • Feeding at 11:15, and then we played until it was time to prepare her for nap #2.
  • 12:50pm - began soothing routine for nap #2. Laid her in crib at 1pm. Immediate screaming. She screamed for 1 hour. 
  • At 2pm I go and pick her up. The poor girl is hoarse and covered in sweat from crying so hard. She immediately snuggles under my chin and acts so so tired. I repeat soothing routine and laid her back in crib. She cooed softly for a few minutes and was asleep by 2:05pm. No crying. Slept until 3:30pm. 
  • 3:30pm feeding 
  • Played and read books until 5pm. Was not sure if she would take a brief nap or not, so I put her in her swing with music and at 5:15pm she fell asleep. I turned off swing but left her there and she woke at 5:50pm. Success! A 35 minute power nap to get us to our earlier planned bedtime! (I knew bedtime needed to be around 8pm as her waking a few minutes before 6pm means 8pm is hitting the two hour of wakefulness limit - all this explained/discussed in the book). 
  • 6pm feeding
  • 7:20pm - start bedtime routine which is bath time, lotion, books, bottle, bed. 
  • 7:45pm last feeding before bed
  • 8:00pm - bedtime. NO CRYING. She went right down to sleep without making a peep.
  • 11pm - woke up, started crying. Gave her first (and what ended up being the only) night feeding. 
  • 11:15pm - burped, changed diaper and put back in crib. She screamed, and I mean screamed, from 11:15pm-1:25am. Two hours and ten minutes of screaming. Wow is all I can say. 
  • 1:25am - 6am - slept like a champ. The book suggests controlling the child's wake up time and starting the day at either 6am or 7am to ensure a good first morning nap, and to help set the child's sleep schedule. (So no going to get baby before 6am or waking up baby by 7am if not already awake)
  • 6am - she's awake and happy! run in to my precious baby!!! 
So here we are on Day 2. To Be Continued. 

Did you follow any type of sleep training program? Any helpful hints you want to pass on? We are all ears! 
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