frivolous friday

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TUESDAY, MARCH 17, 2009

a simple update

It’s been a couple of days, so I wanted to update family on the goings on of our sweet Judeabug. Goings ons? Going on?
On what he’s up to lately.

I’m proud to say that Bug is getting quite roly poly! I only weigh him once a week right now (for the sake of my own sanity), but I would guess he’s probably getting close to 12.5 pounds. He won’t be a heavyweight anytime soon, but it’s nice to see him getting new fat rolls and outgrowing clothes. We still have quite a bit of sample forumla in our cabinet, just in case he should need it – but it looks as though we’ve made it through this whole “failure to thrive” stuff completely with breastmilk. It was certainly very stressful for awhile, but I’m so grateful that we stuck with it. I plan on breastfeeding him for a year, and I can’t believe that we’re already over a third of the way there!

Back to the goings on…

Bug’s been sleeping a little better lately. Two out of the past three nights, he’s slept until 4:00am-ish. That’s about seven hours for him, which is about average for his age. That’s about five hours for me, which is pretty exciting! I can’t say for sure, but I think this might be attributed to the rice cereal we’ve begun giving him in the evenings. We’ve also gone back to doing a modified version of letting Bug “cry it out,” for naptimes, which seems to be working. He’s crying less and less each day and gets more sleep as each day passes. I’ll have to elaborate more on what we do and why I feel like it’s the best thing for Bug at some point. Several people have asked me about it, and I feel like crying it out gets some bad press. Not today, though, because today…I have a picture to share!


Go Duke!

FRIDAY, MARCH 20, 20a how to guide for getting jude to nap

As I’ve mentioned (probably over and over…and over and over), Bug is not exactly easy to get down for a nap. I’ve heard tales of babies who just fall asleep in the middle of playing when they’re tired, of infants who sleep most of the day and night away, of children who can be put into the crib awake and transition themselves to peaceful slumber. In our house, those things are about as likely to happen as a unicorn prancing through the living room with a leprechaun on its back.
We spent the first two months of J. Bug’s life doing the walk/bounce/shhh/lullabye/pacifier/pleasejudefortheloveofallthingsgoodfallASLEEP! combo. We’d combine these things in a array of frustration and exhaustion, doing our best to get our sweet boy to fall asleep. I thought he might be overtired…so I’d try getting him to sleep at the first signs of yawning. I thought he might not be tired enough…so I’d try wearing him out thoroughly before putting him to sleep.

Eventually my exhausted self came to the conclusion that Bug was going to cry before falling asleep. He could either cry for twenty minutes in my arms, or he could cry for twenty minutes in his crib. The place where all that crying took place didn’t seem to matter to him. Since it was much healthier for my state of mind to let him cry in his crib – that’s what we tried. After a day or so, I realized that J. Bug actually cried less when we let him “cry it out” in his crib. It’s almost as if he prefers to be left to himself to settle down to sleep. We had a pretty good routine going when he was diagnosed with failure to thrive. Mommy guilt overtook my brain and heart, and I couldn’t bare to hear my sweet boy crying as I could almost hear him screaming, “I’m hungry! I’m not tired! Please, please give me food!” So at the slightest whine from my boy, I fed him. After a couple of weeks of him putting weight back and doing well, I realized that he probably wasn’t getting enough sleep because I was feeding him when he was upset from sleepiness. So we went back to the walk/bounce/soothe him to sleep ourselves method, and he went back to taking 30-45 minutes to wind down for a nap, and sleeping for 20 minutes at best.

After Bug’s last appointment, I decided that I could put fears of starving my child out of my mind, and work on helping him figure out how to settle himself to sleep. The first couple of days were brutal, but after about a week, he only cries for six or seven minutes on average. I actually just put him down for a nap, and I think he cried a total of four minutes (and yes, I still agonize every minute that he’s crying).

So here’s what we do:

1. I take Bug back to his nursery, turn the lights off, and start his lullabye playliston my iPod.

2. With J. Bug on my hip, I put a pacifier in his mouth and let him cuddle against my neck for a minute. This usually involves him smearing his drool all over my shirt, rubbing his eyes, pulling out the pacifier, etc. I only do this for a minute or so. My theory is that Bug is such an active and alert baby. I think he has a difficult time “turning off” his brain and settling to sleep. By having a very specific routine and giving him a minute or so to realize, “oh, it’s time to fall asleep,” I hope to help him figure out how to turn that active brain of his off.

4. I swaddle Bug in a specialized velcro swaddling blanket. To be honest, it resembles a straight jacket. I wish he didn’t have to be swaddled…he hates it. I’ve tried several times to put him down without swaddling, but his fists automatically go up to his eyes and keep him awake. As he’s napping, the jerking of his arms and legs usually wakes him up if he’s not swaddled. He’s too feisty for a normal blanket swaddle…he’s out of those things in 60 seconds flat. Hence thestraightjacket.

5. I hold a swaddled Bug in the crook of my arm (with his pacifier in his mouth) and stand next to his crib, swaying with him for a minute or two. Sometimes his eyes close at this point, sometimes he gets super fired up and fussy.

6. Regardless of what he does, after a minute of swaying with him, I lay him in his crib, in the middle of this sleep positioner (another protection against hisfeistyness…he ends up on the opposite end of the crib with his head up against the crib rail if we don’t keep him in it). I tell him goodnight, and that I love him, turn on his monitor, and leave.

7. I let him cry for ten or fifteen minutes. For most babies, I think it would be sufficient to let them cry for ten minutes. With Bug, I learned that going in too early would often rile him right up to cry even louder, harder, and longer. If I stayed away for fifteen minutes, he would usually settle himself by that point. I try to keep myself busy – folding laundry, answering emails, writing a blog…anything to keep myself from listening to his crying. When we first started doing this, I’d sit outside his door and cry right along with him. Yeah, I wouldn’t recommend that. Do something productive.

8. If he’s still crying after ten to fifteen minutes, I walk in and put the pacifier in his mouth. It usually involves having to jiggle it in there a little bit to get him sucking on it, and lots of, “shhhh shhhh shhhhh” -ing. Whether or not that settles him down, I leave again.

9. I wait another ten or fifteen minutes and repeat.

Since we’ve gone back to doing this after his FTT diagnoses, I rarely have to go in more than twice. He did cry on and off one afternoon for almost an hour, and I eventually picked him up and rocked him to sleep. For the past four or five days, though, he rarely cries longer than ten minutes. He’s progressively crying less and less. Actually, he went down for a nap yesterday for Shawn without crying at all!That would mark the second time he’s ever slept without crying first.

Once he regularly falls asleep with minimal crying, I’ll work on phasing out and shortening parts of his naptime routine so he doesn’t need all of those things to fall asleep.

So my friends, that – in a very long winded nutshell – is a how-to manual for getting J. Bug to nap.

Skyping while eating cereal for the second time. He’s multitasking already!

A ride with Daddy (who does not enjoy having his picture taken).

Naked baby on the changing table.

SATURDAY, MARCH 28, 2000

bug smiles

 and it’s just about the cutest smile I’ve ever seen. He still smiles as though I am the funniest thing in the entire world – quite the ego boost (even if it IS from a four month old). I think he’s still working out the whole laughing thing, though. He smiles really big, and even kind of draws his shoulders up like he’s laughing…but no sound! We had one day that he laughed out loud – he laughed at me making faces to him while he was in his jumperoo, and he laughed at Daddy making faces while he was in the tub. It was a great sound, and I look forward to hearing him figure out how to make it again!

According to our home scale, J.Bug weighed either 13 lbs or 13.2 lbs – I weighed him twice. Either way, that seems to be right on target. Yay Bug! He’s mostly grown out of his 0-3 month clothes and is officially fitting into his 3-6 month clothes, which is also exciting. He has several more “going out” clothes in 3-6 months, so we have more fun options in which to dress him.

Let’s see, what else is Bug up to lately? Oh, I think he’s working on the sleeping through the night thing. He slept from about 9:00pm to about 6:00am three nights in a row (woo-hoo!), but has been waking up around 1:00am and 4:30am the past two nights. I’m not exactly sure why (I think gas might’ve played a big part the first night), but I’m learning that I don’t have to find a reason for everything. He’s continuing to get cereal at 7:30pm, and is getting better at eating. He’s beginning to actually open his mouth for the spoon, and he looks a little bit like a baby bird when he does so. 🙂 It’s hard to believe that in just two or three weeks, I’ll be feeding him real food. I’m not sure whether I’ve mentioned it here on the blog or not, but I plan on making Bug’s baby food (just in case you weren’t entirely sure we were complete weirdos and counter cultural). It’s cheaper and less processed, which seems like good enough reason to me! I’m going to start with butternut squash and sweet potatoes. We actually had both of those items on our grocery list anyway this week, so I figured I’d go ahead and make then freeze it for when he’s ready to move on from cereal.
Looks like naptime is over – gotta go!
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