Sleep Training Saved My Life

To say that sleep training saved my life might be a bit of an exaggeration. Of course, I spent a few months so tired that I could have crashed my pick -up in a fiery accident while driving down the road so maybe sleep training did save my life?

sm2016august07-teddylp9a3727

Between months five and six of Teddy’s life, he decided he didn’t want to sleep alone in his crib anymore. It was rough. Teddy and I slept in our king sized bed while Colby slept in the guest room most nights. I was up, on average, hourly for a two minute long nursing session or to pat Teddy on the back. He couldn’t really transition between sleep cycles and needed me to help him fall back to sleep. I was miserable.

Not only that, but Teddy was miserable. He is typically a happy baby who doesn’t cry during the day. At night, he would scream and whine and sometimes even throw little fits. It was obvious that he was tired and wanted to sleep, but couldn’t manage it in bed with me.

Harvest is looming on the horizon and Colby and I realized that something had to change. Teddy was perfectly capable of sleeping longer stretches- he had done it before and was old enough to sooth himself back to sleep and connect sleep cycles. A little over three weeks ago, we decided one night to commit to sleep training. We went with the Ferber method- which involves graduated checks. On the first night, we did our bedtime routine and put Teddy in his crib awake and left the room. He quickly became very angry and started screaming. Colby went in after three minutes, then five minute and then every seven minutes. I hid in the living room staring at the baby monitor begging my child to fall asleep.

He cried off and on for a miserable hour. But then he stopped crying and fell asleep on his own. He stayed asleep until 4AM when I woke up engorged and uncomfortable and did a “dream feed” where I basically picked him up and nursed him while he was still mostly asleep. I put him back in his crib where he rolled over and slept until 8AM.

He cried a little less each night and by night five, he went to sleep with zero crying. Sometime he plays with his hands or talks a bit before falling asleep, but he rarely cries at night. He typically wakes up around 3-4AM and I nurse him for a few minutes before he goes back to sleep. All in all, he is sleeping twelve hours a night with one short wake up. He is old enough to be night weaned at this point, but I’m in no rush. He’s a very distracted nurser during the day and I love rocking him and holding him in the early morning hours. It is perfect!

sm2016august07-teddylp9a3710

We went to the lake over Labor Day weekend and tried to sleep with Teddy in our room in his pack ‘n play. It was awful! He was up every thirty minutes and was so restless. At 3AM, Colby and I were both exhausted and decided to move him into the living room and divide up the night in shifts. I really thought the poor kiddo was sick and needed us. Imagine my surprise when he drifted off the sleep and stayed asleep the rest of the night! Apparently we were waking him up! The next two nights, he slept like a little pro in the living room by himself and we were all well rested.

I know sleep training is quite the hot topic these days. As a new mother, it can be easy to question your judgement and choices. I obviously want the best for my child and am absolutely devoted to Teddy. I did a lot of serious research and reading before we decided to sleep train. In my research I found evidence that stressed the importance of sleep for growth, brain development and parents’ sanity. I know for my family sleep training has resulted in less bedtime struggles, fewer night wakings, and twelve hours of sleep a night for Teddy. Colby and I have downtime at night together to reconnect and relax and I am slowly figuring out how to sleep after seven months of crazy nights. Furthermore, my sweet baby boy wakes up happy and smiling every single morning.

Of course, sleep training may not be the best choice for every family, but I believe it’s one of the best parenting decisions Colby and I have made in Teddy’s seven months of life.

Teddy | Seven Month Update

My sweet baby boy is officially seven months old! I sound like a broken record, but holy cow- where is this year going? He’s no longer a little newborn and looks more and more like a little boy every day.

Here’s his weekly pictures from the last month:

sm2016August07-teddy-27weeksLP9A3695

sm2016August15-teddy-28weeksLP9A3937

sm2016August21-teddy-29weeksLP9A4508sm2016August28-teddy-30weeksLP9A4988

This has been a huge month developmentally for Teddy. He’s became a pro at sitting up and can now scoot a little bit across the floor. He likes to sit and play with his toys and will be content for thirty or forty-minutes at a time playing by himself. He loves bouncing in his jumper and has figured out how to really blow bubbles!

Teddy wears 6-9 month clothing and size four diapers. He loves baths, kicking his feet, trying to crawl and playing with his toys. He doesn’t like sitting still for diaper changes, being alone in the bath seat, or getting hot.

I’ve noticed Teddy loves watching Milo and Cricket in the last few weeks. Milo adores him- even though Teddy grabs ahold of him fur quite frequently until I rescue him. Of course, seconds later and Milo will be right next to Teddy. They are best friends!

sm2016August02-teddyLP9A3477

Teddy has became a big eater! He loves solid food and now starts whining if I try to eat without giving him something. The other day, he couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t give him chips and salsa! His favorites include green beans, carrots, avocado and peaches- although I haven’t really found anything he doesn’t like.

Sleep has gotten so much better in the last two weeks! We finally bit the bullet and did some sleep training. It turns out, sleeping with me was actually causing Teddy to wake up more often! He now sleeps twelve hours a night (from 9PM-9AM) with only one short nursing session around 3AM.

sm2016August25-teddyLP9A4823

I am in no rush to drop his night feed because honestly- it’s one of the best nursing sessions of the entire day. He is such a distracted nurser these days and often refuses to eat at all. It’s frustrating and leads to a lot of unneeded pumping sessions. He’s so wiggly and crazy during the day that I am really treasuring our cuddle time in the middle of the night.

Naps have also drastically improved this month. On Monday, he slept until 10:15AM and ended up taking two separate two hour naps! Some days, he still struggles to connect sleep cycles, but naps are way better then they used to be. I think these will continue to improve in the next month or two.

sm2016August18-cousinsLP9A4309

This has really been a good month for seeing family. A few weeks ago, we visited Albuquerque where Teddy got to meet a bunch of Colby’s extended family. They all fell in love with him and agreed that he’s a total keeper. He traveled like a pro and made Colby and I so very proud.

Teddy is no longer the baby of the family! Two weeks ago, his baby cousin Avery Quinn was born! They haven’t gotten to meet yet (Avery has been in the NICU) but Teddy has spent lot of time with his cousins Samuel and Gavin this month. They adore him and he’s a little intimidated by them!

sm2O3A9207

In the next month, we are going to start gearing up for harvest. Teddy and I are on going to be on one grain cart full time. Working fourteen hours a day for a month should really test his easy-going temperament. Honestly, I’ve worried about corn harvest since before Teddy was born, but the more I get to know him, the more confident I am that he will handle it all just fine!

Here’s to month seven!

 

 

Balance

Teddy finally mastered sitting in the last week-ish. Before that, he was more interested in learning to crawl and would rather spend time on his belly moving his legs about. As his pediatrician said, he was plenty strong enough to sit, he just hadn’t “found the flat spot on his bottom.”

I took these picture a month ago, but they are too funny not to share. Imagine the following sequence in slow motion-

sm2016July23-teddyLP9A3050sm2016July23-teddyLP9A3051sm2016July23-teddyLP9A3052sm2016July23-teddyLP9A3063

Of course, Mama just kept snapping pictures. And Teddy just posed like he hadn’t just face planted right into the ground. Ha.

Teddy | Six Month Update

My baby boy is now officially six months old! The past six months have gone so fast, but I cannot seem to remember what I used to do before he was born! It feels like each day I get a little more used to motherhood and I am really loving this stage. Teddy is still very needy, but he plays on his own and naps for short stretches and is so happy. I miss having a tiny newborn, but if I’m honest- those days where much harder and so very stressful!

Here’s his last three weekly pictures:

sm2016July18-teddy-24weeksLP9A2743

sm2016July24-teddy-25weeksLP9A3080

sm2016July31-teddy-26weeksLP9A3393

Theodore’s personality has really started to shine this month. He is a happy, nosy little guy. He loves people watching and has yet to meet a stranger. Teddy loves to be on the go. Last week, we went on his first road trip and visited Colorado Springs. He smiled and laughed and charmed all the people we met. We took him to the zoo and he had a blast- although I’m not sure he really noticed the animals. Instead, he just hung out and watched people.

Teddy is still breastfeeding but he is very efficient and easily distracted. He typically nurses for three or four minutes every three hours. He also eats two meals a day- typically a fruit and a veggie. So far he’s tried- sweet potatoes, squash, green beans, carrots, prunes, peaches, avacado, apples, bananas, watermelon and oatmeal. When we go out to eat he happily munches off our plates and has tried rice, beans, pickles (ha!), and French fries. He’s a great eater!

sm2016July20-teddyLP9A2891

He has two of the cutest little teeth already and I think he might be about to pop two more. He chews on everything and has been known to bite on my fingers. This morning, I cought him chewing on Milo’s foot!

He is pretty intent on learning to crawl, but hasn’t mastered sitting up yet. He is strong enough, but still quite wobbly. We’ve been practicing a lot the last week and I expect he will be sitting independently very soon!

(I’m exciting about all the new photo opportunities I will have once he’s sitting like a pro!)

sm2016July23-teddyLP9A3065

Unfortunately, my baby boy isn’t a great sleeper and our nights have gotten worse this last month. He was only waking up once a night to nurse and then he started teething. He now wakes up every three hours and only sleeps next to me. It’s not my favorite thing, but we are all getting some sleep and it’s about survival right now. He generally takes three naps a day after being awake for two hours. His naps are generally 30-40 minutes long, but I have gotten a few longer naps out of him in the last week.

sm2016July06-teddyLP9A2409

It has been a very fun month around here. We went to the lake again. Teddy watched the Forth of July fireworks and loved them. He went swimming with his cousins Samuel and Gavin. Jamey and I took him to watch Finding Dory and he seriously watched the entire movie without ever letting out a sound. Teddy loves to stay busy and I love seeing the world for the first time through his eyes! He makes life a lot more enjoyable!

 

Teddy | Five Month Update

My itty-bitty baby boy is somehow five months old!

sm2016June12-teddy-19weeksLP9A1545

sm2016June19-teddy-20weeksLP9A1709

sm2016June26-teddy-21weeksLP9A1955

I seriously feel like this kid changes every single day. The things he has learned in the last two weeks alone is mind boggling. He still has a chatty, bubbly personality and loves to take baths, roll over, and be outside. We’ve been busy with wheat harvest and he has adapted to riding on the grain cart like a total pro.

sm2016June19-teddyLP9A1743

In the last two weeks, he finally learned how to nurse without the silly shield. This has revolutionized our breastfeeding experience. Instead of him nursing for twenty minutes hourly, he nurses for four minutes, lets out a huge burp, and then goes two or three hours before he wants to eat again. Teddy used to nurse on average for about three hours a day. Now we are down to forty-five minutes! Amazing!

sm2016June11-teddyLP9A1511

Our sleep situation still isn’t perfect. On good nights, Teddy typically goes to bed about 8:30 and wakes up once around 3:30AM to nurse and then goes back to bed until 7AM. Unfortunately, we’ve been having a lot of really weird nights lately where he’s skipping the long stretch and waking up every three hours to eat. It’s exhausting and had me quite puzzled.

On Tuesday night, he fought sleep for an hour and a half and woke up every two hours. He was cranky all day and just a total mess. Finally, I felt around in his mouth and realized he had a little tooth! It’s a tiny little thing and I haven’t gotten a great picture yet, but it’s totally there. No wonder he’s been acting crazy and waking up so frequently!

Our nap situation has improved a little… He takes three naps a day and each one is exactly thirty-two minutes long! He actually naps in our bed. I put him in his sleep sack and he sucks on his paci until he falls asleep on his own, but I can set a timer on exactly how long he will sleep. He often wakes up a little cranky from his naps. I’m hoping that the length of his naps will improve on his own and he will learn to connect those sleep cycles with age.

sm2016June07-teddyLP9A1383

Teddy has also started solid food this month. So far he’s tried squash, oatmeal cereal, and sweet potatoes. Tomorrow, I plan on introducing green beans. I’m not sure how much he actually swollows, but he seems to love enjoy eating so far.

I’m not sure who gave my kiddo permission to grow up, but it wasn’t me! I’m sure enjoying watch all his firsts and am so proud when he learns a new skill.