Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sleep, please!

For the past month (to the day actually), Emma has suddenly been waking up every 2-3 hours (every 1 hour sometimes!). It's been a difficult and tiring month to say the least. We actually only had sleep cycles like this with her the first few days home from the hospital. She did 4 hour stretches pretty early on and started doing 7-9 hours at 7 weeks. People warned me that her sleep could change, but it didn't make sense as to why it would so we figured it wouldn't. 

Yeah, it doesn't make any sense, so that's why she decided to do it! Babies are tricksters and have a secret plan to switch everything up just when the parents are getting comfortable. Emma is not only just waking up, but she wants to feed every time she wakes up, which means I'm on duty every time. For a while we thought she was going through a growth spurt and really was hungry (which she probably was), but after a while I could tell she was just doing it for comfort. We started putting her down to sleep still awake so she can learn to self soothe (no crying it out though) and she seems to be doing well with that. We've also tried calming her when she wakes but it doesn't seem to work and I end up feeding every time still. 

She is in her crib in her room at night which is great, we love having that alone time at night now and we knew we'd have to move her was actually an easy transition and she did really well in there the first week. We're pretty sure that isn't he problem. I've had people suggest formula or rice cereal saying it will help her sleep longer. And actually, there was a study done that those are myths and breastfed babies actually sleep longer. Thank goodness because we don't plan on using either of those. Then there is the suggestion I've heard that my milk is low and she's hungry because she's not getting enough. This is totally not true since I can pump a whopping 5.5oz on one side in mere minutes. So, that's not the case either (not that I ever thought it was, I'm pretty much a geyser).

I talked to a sleep specialist as recommended by a friend and I was really comforted to know that all if these "issues" we're having are completely NORMAL. We are doing everything right and there is nothing wrong with Emma.  Whew, I loved hearing that! Basically Emma has "woken up" and is more aware of everything around her. She suggested just continuing to put her down awake and keep trying to comfort before feeding. She said in about another month or so she should get better...but if not we can start a sleep program with her (also not cry it out).

Looks like we'll just keep her routine, try to put her to bed around the same time every night and pray that 5 months brings us more sleep. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas!

A day late, oops! This year I used a template for our Christmas card...I'm tired and had my first big deadline this past month since being back from maternity leave. We're dealing with a big month-long sleep regression, so many things this holiday season have been simplified and made easier.

We had a great first Christmas with Emma, but all three of us were very tired. I said I would try not to make myself too busy or stressed out this year and just enjoy being with family, Mike and Emma on our first Christmas with her. I think I did ok with that, but the lack of sleep definitely didn't help. We were blessed with some very generous gifts this year – Emma is set for clothes until spring/summer time!

We're looking forward to next year when she will be running around and knowing a bit more of what's going on...although that is really hard to imagine now. The time is going so fast, we're just trying to enjoy every moment of time we have with her. :)

Hope you all had a great holiday season too!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Lights

Emma is completely fascinated by them. I love her little face checking out the Christmas lights at Luminarias this year. She has started showing us so much personality and talks our ears off. We always wonder what she's saying and thinking. :)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Baby Favorites: 0-3 months

While I was pregnant, I always enjoyed seeing new moms post their favorite baby necessities on their blogs. I've definitely learned that every baby is different and has different needs, but it was still nice to know about a lot of different product options out there and to hear reviews on them. I'm obviously no expert, but we did have a few favorite things for Emma that seemed to work wonders. I seem to have a lot of pregnant and new mom friends, so I thought I'd share what worked for us!

1) Dohm Sound Machine: We started using this from day one at home (had a sound machine app on our phones for the hopsital). Emma started sleeping 7 hours at night at 7 weeks and I'm sure this helped. She really doesn't get too bothered with noises while sleeping now. The doorbell can ring, her cousins can be rowdy and she doesn't hear a thing because of this machine!

2) 4Moms Bath Tub: I did some research on bath tubs to find out which we might like best. There are so many different kinds out there, it's confusing. We absolutely love this one! It constantly checks the water temperature and filters out the dirty water on it's own, so awesome! Of course we had to wait until Emma had better neck control to use it, but now she loves it. Bath time is her favorite time!

3) aden + anais Muslin Blankets: We love these blankets so much! We used them for swaddling Emma the first few weeks until she was able to bust out of them. We also use them every day to wrap around her, cover her in the house, cover her in her carseat, as a makeshift nursing cover, carseat cover and the list goes on and on. Since Emma was born during hot weather, these were the best because they are so light and breathable, but still keep her warm enough. They are so soft too! Seriously worth the investment. (Just be careful not to wash velcro with anything muslin!)

4) Exercise Ball: Yes, that is an exercise ball like you would use at the gym. We sit on it and bounce Emma to sleep instead of rocking her. It seriously works wonders!

5) Rock n Play: I didn't register for one of these because we wanted to keep baby equipment to a minimum (and we got a swing and bouncer as hand me downs...thank goodness because she rarely uses them). I regret not registering for this and using it from the beginning. Emma slept in this for naps and at night for the first 2.5 months! It's especially helpful when babies are stuffy or have reflux. Now she just loves sitting in it while we get ready, shower, use the restroom, etc. This one also has a vibration on it which is an extra little bonus.

6) SwaddleMe Swaddlers: We switched to these after she started breaking out of blankets and they have been really great! She's starting to grow out of hers now, but they make swaddling super easy and more difficult for her to bust out of. I also love the apple print, it's really cute!

7) BumGenius 4.0 One-Size Diapers: We didn't use these for the newborn stage, but were able to start them at around one month. We tried a ton of different kinds of newborn diapers (for that stage we like prefolds and covers). I definitely thought we'd like other brands over these, but it turns out these are the ones that fit Emma the best and hardly ever leak. If you are going to cloth diaper I still recommend trying out different styles on your baby, but definitely have a look at these. Best part is Buy Buy Baby carries them so you can use their coupons on them. :)

8) Look, Look! Book: This was a gift from Grandma and is by far Emma's favorite book! She doesn't like to sit and read before her nighttime feeding, so we read this to her when she's happiest...on the changing table, naked. I love seeing her look at the images in the book and I wonder what she is thinking when she sees them. She's starting to see a lot more things around her and not just high contrast, so I think we'll start transitioning to other books, but this was definitely best for the first few months!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Emma: Three Months

Date: December 3 (Daddy's birthday!)

Stats: 12 lbs 6 oz – measured on our scale at home, no doctor appointment this month

Sleep: Once again, she was doing very well with 7-9 hour streaks and once we got closer to 3 months, she switched that up to 1-3 hour streaks. Last night seemed to be better and she did a 5 hour streak, so hopefully we are getting out of that growth spurt. She officially sleeps in her crib full time!

Feeding: Exclusively breastfed. Still eating about every 2 hours during the day (lately every 2 hours at night too, she's growing!). We don't plan on starting solids until 6 months.

Clothing size: Has pretty much grown out of 0-3 month clothing and is wearing all 3-6 month sizes. We are finding that we love to put her in one piece winter outfits. They are so easy, cute and they look super comfy!

Likes: looking around at everything, bath time in her bath tub, going for walks outside, her new fish toy, her "Look! Look!" book every night before bed, smiling at everyone who talks to her, starting to like tummy time for a couple minutes, the Christmas tree, sucking on her bottom lip and her hands

Dislikes: putting clothes on, getting coconut oil put in her cheek (she has eczema) :(

Biggest changes: She can pretty much hold her head up, but still isn't fully supporting her own least it doesn't flop around anymore. She is constantly sucking on her hands, blankets, toys, anything she can get a hold of! She is really showing so much personality and interacts a ton with us. She loves to look at the world around her and explore lights, sounds, patterns and contrasting colors. This past month has been the best month so far and we can tell she actually knows who we are. She is such a fun, happy and loving baby!