Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sleeping Sound

Ah, sleep. You don't really know how important it is until you haven't had enough.

After 17 hours of labor (2 hours of pushing), I delivered Z by C-section under some heavy anesthesia. I was literally falling asleep mid-sentence, and the next five hours are a complete blur. Zoe was a very alert baby, and as a result, she cried a lot that first 48 hours. When we got her home, we immediately tried putting her down in her bed, but quickly changed course when spit-up caused a choking incident in the middle of the night. She was switched to a bouncy seat in our bedroom so she would be on an incline, and I could keep a watchful eye.

As time passed, her sleep schedule seemed to progress normally...for awhile... I would get up around 2-3 times per night to breast feed for the first 4 months. At 6 months, I just couldn't take it anymore. I don't think I ever recovered from her birth. I was tired, and ready for her to start a regular, more predictable schedule. We quit nighttime feedings at 4 months, but she was still waking. We tried several different methods in our attempt to get her to sleep through the night, but nothing seemed to work. Over the next six months, things began to go downhill. There was no improvement in her sleep schedule, and it was one struggle after another: breaking free of the swaddle, switching to her own bed in her own room, binkie fell out, blankie got lost in the tangle, etc. etc.

Then the one year mark hit, and it really hit me. How long was this going to last? Instead of waking 2-3 times per night, sometimes she would wake as often as 7-8 times per night. I would go in, plug in her binkie, hand her the blankie, and stumble back to bed. Sure, doesn't sound like much, but when it's 7-8 times per night, it really starts to interrupt a sleep pattern!

We made the decision to find a specialist to help. I looked high and low, and found the only guy around that specializes in behavioral sleep problems in childr
en. Here's his link:

He said that for Z's age and issues, he recommended a "full extinction" method. Basically, we put her down for bed, and don't return to the room until it is time to get up the next matter what... For the most part, this has worked for us. There have been some issues with sickness and diaper changes that have interrupted a bit, but we have mostly followed the "we don't go in there at all" guideline. If nothing else, this has freed me. I discovered that the doc was right...sleep really DOES win in the end...she may cry for a few minutes, but she always falls back asleep (who knew?!)

The doc also made some changes to Zoe's nap and bedtime schedule, which made a huge impact. We now put her down around 7 (7:30 at the absolute latest), and she wakes at 6. We do two naps: At 8:30 and 12:30. This is a little off from the doc's recommendation, but seems to work best for us. This also took care of the nightmares, as the doc predicted. Since changing her schedule, she has not had a single night terror. Yay!

So how long did it take, and how are things going now? It took a few weeks to get the hang of it. It probably would have taken less time, but like I said, sickness and diaper issues. She still wakes occasionally (once, maybe twice per night, a few times per week), but she goes back to sleep with minimal crying (less than a minute). I don't have to get up, and sometimes I sleep right through it!

Disclaimer: I would not recommend this method, unless you have seen a specialist. It is not right for every child and every age group, so just get a pro's opinion!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Hop, Skip, and a JUMP

Fifteen months is here, and while it's getting hard to keep track of months now, I can't seem to stop...
Whatever will I do when she turns two?

A few weeks ago, we took a short vacation to San Francisco.  Of all the trips we have taken thus far with Z, this has gone the smoothest. We were careful about our flight selection this time, opting for flight times that had minimal nap and sleep interference. We also booked a suite, so that Z could sleep without interruption. It really made a difference, and resulted in a much more peaceful trip. We also booked Southwest, which allows us to check bags for free. It is super nice when you are traveling with kids! (we don't check bags on other airlines, even when traveling with Z). Of course, theres always flight and airline delays, which are completely out of your control or theirs. This time, it was a two hour one, right in the heart of nap time. We survived, and still made it home in one piece!

As far as Zoe goes, a lot has happened this month. For one, Z is hopping and jumping now. Except, not really. She makes a big production, but her feet don't ACTUALLY leave the ground. It's pretty funny.

She also is talking much more and picking up on things I wouldn't believe possible for someone so young. Children's minds amaze me. If only we could all learn so fast. Just the other day, I heard her in the play room saying "bac, bac." I went to investigate, and discovered she was reading about the Ugly Ducking- the book has a chicken in it. I sat down to read the book, and when I reached the page with the duck, she said "quack!" then went to get her toy rubber ducky and held it next to the duck in the book. Talk about making a connection!

We also had our sleep appointment this month. It went well, and we have been implementing some of the doctor's orders already. It is going fairly well, other than some hold up we have had over her two year molars coming in (finally, more than 6 teeth!!). I will be writing a sleep post with all the details, soon!

As for me, I am still helping out here and there at Southwestern Christian University. This next month, I get to teach a class for the first time in awhile! I'm very excited!

Here is what is new with Z this month:
Favorite Thing to Do: She loves demonstrating her physical abilities- spinning, jumping, climbing, etc.
Favorite Food: She still REALLY loves cheese, pasta, and sushi still. Anything NON-American...
New This Month: Jumping
Growth: All 12 month clothes. 
Sleep: Look for my post in the next few weeks!
Speaking: She has been getting better at talking and signing for what she wants. She is also good at making animal sounds.
Movement: Climbing and jumping
Behavior: She has been super loving and has been hugging us all the time!