30 Days of Blogging, Day 9

It’s cold again. It’s supposed to go down to  -20°C again tonight, and it’s icy and snowy outside. It’s the kind of weather for family cuddles. The kind of weather where I miss bed sharing with my baby. 

And when your baby has another nasty cough and cold and has to choose whether to breathe through her mouth and trigger more coughing, or breathe through her nose and not get enough air to her lungs, it’s really, really hard to withhold nighttime nursing. Nursing is the throat soothing cure-all that helps her sleep through anything. 

So about that night weaning we started… the night weaning has gone out the window during my shift. While my wife is on call for nighttime wakings (from bedtime till 1am), Avery goes back to sleep with nothing more than my wife poking her head through the doorway and saying “go back to sleep.” During my shift, I’ve started nursing her again. It’s how she sleeps well through being sick. It’s the only way to get her back to sleep during her bouts of middle-of-the-night insomnia (even during my wife’s shift). 

So weaning is a discussion topic for another day (or month, or year….).

On a related note, Avery LOVES peppermint tea. It’s just a dried mint leaf from our garden steeped in hot water. And when she’s sick, a little dollop of honey is a great throat soother. 

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Weekend Update

Our weekend was busy and full of little parenting worries. Not my favourite kind of weekend. 

Worry 1: pressure to leave my baby

Friday night was tainted by an emotional discussion between my wife and I. We’ve been getting a lot of offers from people wanting to babysit Avery so my wife and I can have a date night. I want to be emotionally available to my wife, and she really needs some alone time with me after 7 months of always coming second. But, I’m just not ready to leave Avery with someone other than my wife. She’s been going through a long phase of “making strange,” and my instincts are to slowly help her ease into social situations. Those offering to babysit assure me that it’s ok if she cries the whole time – they can handle it. No offense, but I’m not worried about the adults in that situation. So my wife and I continue to debate how and when we’re going to leave the baby with someone else for a date night. 

Worry 2: Eczema

We decided to miss Avery’s last swimming lesson of the season because her eczema spots on her cheeks were open and weeping and we didn’t want to get pool water in them. It was sad to miss because Avery LOVES the pool and we love seeing her having fun. 

Mid-Saturday-morning we went to a parenting book club meeting at the public library. That was nice. I love talking with other like minded parents. Hearing that others bed share and struggle with feminist parenting dilemmas, and just being around people who don’t pass judgment on my parenting is refreshing. It makes me feel like I suddenly have a cheer squad backing me. 

Saturday afternoon we ran errands, did a lot of cooking, and I did some work. The house did not get cleaned, I did not shower or even look in a mirror. Self care fail. 

Sunday morning we left for the city where we picked up some used building supplies for our chicken coop (my wife’s building us a chicken coop this spring!) and then we were off to Avery’s cousin’s first birthday party. My sister-in-law did such an amazing job throwing a Wiggles themed party – everything was rainbow and it looked like a Pinterest party gone right. 

Worry 3: my baby being labeled as anti-social 

At these kinds of social functions, though, Avery tends to get passed around a lot. She doesn’t like it, and she gets labeled as not liking people or as being a mommy’s girl. We’re already working on teaching Avery (and friends and family) about consent, and don’t want physical interaction to be forced upon her. If she cries and gets upset when someone new takes her, I want to let her come right back to her safe zone (with her Mo or I). I like to slowly introduce her to people and ask if she wants to go to them (even though we kind of have to infer her answer based in body language right now…)  But others out there believe in letting her work out her fears through tears. Unfortunately I pried her out of several people’s arms at the party when my wife had passed her around, and by the end I started to get frustrated. People assumed there was something wrong with her because she was being so “anti-social”. They even got the baby thermometer out, assuming she must be sick. Nope, I know my baby. She’s not sick, she’s sick of the grabbing hands. So that had me feeling quite judged as a parent, whether intentional or not. Oh and note to self – don’t admit to bed sharing around old school parents…. 

Worry 4: constipation 

Becuase of all the stimulation on Sunday, Avery didn’t breastfeed well. I only got her to have one small feed through the entire day. By evening, I noticed her straining more than usual. She woke a few times during the night crying (which she doesn’t normally do while next to me). This morning she struggled to pass some hard rabbit-like poops. I’m focusing on offering her the boob all the time throughout the day today, and her solids are going to be prunes and pears. 

I have to call the doctor today to ask what to about eczema that isn’t clearing. It keeps blistering and scabbing and weeping and I don’t want it to get infected. The corticosteroid is doing nothing and I’m concerned that overuse is going to thin the skin. 

I just want to look at my baby and feel like she is perfectly happy, healthy, and carefree. Do we ever get to that point as parents, or will there always be something to worry about? 

This post was written in reponse to a daily prompt:

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A Gentle Baby Sleep Experiment: The Conclusion

I used gentle baby sleep methods to try to get my bed-sharing baby used to sleeping in the crib. Did I make it till the end of the 10 days I challenged us to? Are we sleeping peacefully with baby in the crib using only gentle methods? Here’s a re-cap of our 10 night challenge. 
NIGHT ONE

Asleep in our bed by 7, woke 4 times before 10pm. Transferred to crib at 10. Woke every hour until 5am. Putting my hand on her chest only worked once to get her back to sleep. Brought her into our bed at 5am, slept until 6:30.

NIGHT TWO

Passed out immediately upon nursing at about 6:40, slept in our bed until 10, moved her to her crib. Woke every 2 hours and I nursed her back to sleep. 6:30 wide awake and ready for the day. 

NIGHT THREE

Not a good night. It took 3 hours to get her to fall asleep and she nursed and kicked and punched me the whole time. Transferred to crib at 10, woke and demanded the boob every 45 -90 minutes.  Up for the day at 6:30.

NIGHT FOUR

I caved. Typical evening, only woke once before 10 pm crib transfer. Once in the crib, woke every 15 god damn minutes for 3 and a half hours. I had to pick her up and hug her for just a second to calm her and then she would go happily back into the crib, for 15 minutes. By 1:30am I caved and brought her into bed with us where she slept beautifully until 6:30am. 

NIGHT FIVE

Another terrible night. Went to sleep well in our bed and transfered well at 10. Then she woke every 15 min again. At 3:15 she went to sleep and stayed asleep until 5, brought her into bed with us, slept till 6:30. She woke underslept and cranky. 

NIGHT SIX

She was super tired so we let her go to bed early, asleep by 6. Crib transfer at 10 – she protested being put down in the crib for 2 hours. Lots of crying and rocking. Finally at 12:30 I got her to stay sleeping and she woke every hour until 5am, brought her into our bed,  slept till 7am. 

NIGHT SEVEN

Daylight savings time change. We adjusted her bedtime to 7:30 instead of 6:30 so she wouldn’t feel it. Transfer to crib took 3 hours (10:30-1:30). Any time I put her down, awake, drowsy or asleep, she immediately cried. Brought her into bed with me at 2am. I felt like it was cruel to deprive her of any more sleep that night. Woke at 7:30.

NIGHT EIGHT

Oops, I fell asleep during bedtime routine and neither baby nor I woke up again until 7:30am. Bed shared all night. 

NIGHT NINE

Transfer to crib took half an hour. Woke every 30 to 90 minutes. Woke for the day at 7:30 (loving the time change). 

NIGHT TEN 

Tried something new. Put her crib mattress on the floor in her room and I put her to sleep there at bedtime instead of in our bed. I stayed with her most of the night and she only woke when I went back to my own bed twice, briefly. Slept till 6, brought her back to our bed so I could get an hour or so of good sleep. Woke at 7:30.
So did it work? No. Not at all. But we did come out the other side of these rough 10 nights with a new plan, thanks to feedback I got on the No-Cry Sleep Solution Facebook group. We’ll try the crib mattress on the floor of her room for as long as I can hold out in discomfort. 

My original goal with this 10 day challenge was to get her used to sleeping in the crib. I hoped that if we just pushed through, she’d get used to it as a function of spending more time in it. We may have tried to bypass a necessary step: recreate the sense of safety/comfort that she currently gets from being next to me. The Lovie that we conditioned is not sufficient for her. 

The goal now is to make her room a safe and comfortable place to sleep, with me there at first to make this association. We realized that she generally slept well alone in our bed between her bedtime and our bedtime, so we know it’s possible for her to be left alone to sleep. 

Perhaps I’ll have another 10 days in me before caving… I know consistency is key, but it is very hard to be consistent with the things you do in the middle of the night when you’re exhausted. 

Wish me luck.