Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sleeping Through the Night

I don't claim to be any kind of pro on the subject of parenting, in fact I know I make mistakes every single day and am constantly learning how to do better at so many things concerning Olivia.  I have, however, been successful at helping her keep a good sleep schedule.  I have had several people ask lately how I got her to sleep through the night and take two consistent naps every day.  Part of our success is from learning by reading many many books and articles and speaking with our pediatrician and friends and family, and part is by letting Olivia teach us what she needs and wants.

Every parent is different in their approach to the kind of attachment they have with their child.  We decided early on that we were against co-sleeping and that it was important that Olivia learn to soothe herself rather than have us soothe her and put her back to sleep.  I'm not saying this is the best way, it is just best for us.

Because of our parenting style Olivia has always slept in a separate bed from us, and after the first month slept in a completely different room.  This way I don't keep her up and she doesn't keep me up with sleep noises, movement, etc.  Also, I think one of the keys to getting her on a sleep schedule was to have her on an eating schedule as well.  This way her body was able to anticipate and plan on the times of day more concretely.  In the beginning I tried to be strict with the 'eat every 3 hours' rule, and found it to be too rigid, so I let her decided when she was hungry and then made those her set times.  Same with sleeping.  Olivia gets tired and fussy at 8pm so that is her bedtime every night.  It helps to have a bedtime routine to help her anticipate what is coming and go down more easily.  I've read and found that including a few activities in the routine helps (bath, reading a book, feeding in a specific place, singing a song, putting lotion on, saying prayers, baby massage, etc.)

Here's the kicker.  When I put Liv to bed, I had to let her cry.  This is always hard, but I had to learn that she was crying because she was tired; and I had to leave her so she could get the sleep she needed!  If she'd cry for more than 15 minutes, I'd go in and rub her tummy or hold her hand but would not pick her up.  Once she learned that this was bedtime and she was expected to stay there until she slept, she stopped expecting me to come get her.  Also important: babies older than 6 months should be able to sleep for 8-12 hours without eating.  They are old enough to comfortably go that long without food.  So don't feel guilty :)  So Olivia goes to bed at 8, and then around midnight wakes up for a feeding.  I don't feel comfortable letting her go the full 12 hours without eating so if she hasn't woken up by midnight, I go in and feed her anyway.  That way I can get it in before I go to bed myself and then I get the full 8 hours before she wakes up again at 8am, ready for her day.

Sometimes Olivia will get into the habit of waking up a second time in the night (due to teething or a cold) and of course I rock her or feed her during these extenuating circumstances, but when she is well again I have found that, to get her back in the habit of sleeping through the night, if I let her cry for longer and longer stretches, or feed her less and less during that extra night time feeding, she will eventually stop waking up. (Also, it helped me to get a video monitor so that I could see that she was still wrapped warm in her crib instead of suffocating beneath the mattress or a dozen other scenarios I would play in my mind)


As far as naps go, same principle as bedtime.  I observed when she got fussy and tired during the day and made that her naptime.  Surprisingly, most babies are ready for their first nap within 2 1/2 hours of waking up in the morning.  Just go with it.  Also, 45 minutes is not a nap and won't help baby get the sleep he/she needs.  Let baby cry for a few and soothe them without picking up until they finish the nap. I've read that feeding before every nap and bedtime is a bad idea, but Olivia won't sleep unless her belly is full so we've worked a short feeding before both naps into her eating schedule.  She wakes at 8am, naps from 10-12pm, naps again at 3:30pm.  I don't let her sleep more than 2 hours for each nap, otherwise she has a harder time going to bed or taking the next nap.

I know that was long-winded but I hope that helps those who have asked me questions about how we got on schedule. 

Here are some of my favorite books to reference:
100 Things I Wish I Knew in my Baby's First Year
BabyWise (I HATED this book until I learned to use it as a guideline instead of a Bible)
What to Expect the First Year
Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems (About the Ferber method)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Oscar Night 2012

This is one of our most anticipated nights of the year :)  I don't have to tell most of you how much Husband and I enjoy movies. For some reason, deviled eggs are a traditional snack at every Oscar viewing (and General Conference as well...) so we snacked on those, grilled chicken salads, and homemade brownies.  I'm currently on the hunt for the perfect brownie recipe.  I'm three recipes in, with no standouts.  Feel free to email me any and all amazing brownie recipes, as my search continues.
Billy Crystal hosted for the ninth time and was hilarious as usual.  I loved his opening song.  Cirque du Soleil performed, the 'In Memoriam' tribute was touching, the Bridesmaids cast and Will Ferrell and Zach Galafinakis were funny, and Angelina struck an awkward pose in an attempt to be...sexy?
Meryl won and gave a very sweet speech, as did Octavia Spencer.  The Artist deservingly took Best Picture, and my best friend Jean Dujardin won best actor.  I was giddy.  If you don't love Jean as much as I do, watch his interview with Jay Leno here and here

Also, I held on to my title from last year as "Person  in our house who knows more about who will win Academy Awards" as I beat Jack's ballot predictions by one point.  Oh, SNAP :) Long live the conquering hero.

I will be posting my Top Ten movies of 2011 list very soon.  I only have two more to watch.

Monday, February 27, 2012

St George!!!

I've been itching to go to Southern Utah ever since Olivia was born.  Jack and I used to go down every couple of months to visit my family and friends and just bask in the best city on earth :)  but we have been hesitant to take the 4 hour drive with baby so it has been 9 months (!) since I've made the trip.  We just got Liv a new, upright carseat to accommodate her growing body and decided that it might just be what she needed to be content in the car.  I packed plenty of snacks, books, and toys for her and we scheduled the drive down during her afternoon nap...only to have her wake up after 15 minutes.  We made a couple of stops for her to get out and stretch, get changed, and get fresh air, and other than a 20 minute meltdown right at the end of the trip when she was fed up, she did remarkably well.  Olivia's not one to just cry and cry when she's bored or upset, she's pretty reasonable.  So as long as she was distracted and kept busy, she was fine.  Also, I think she loved facing forward and being able to see us.

Our hot chauffeur
 Baby Einstein on our ipad helped once it got dark
We had dinner at Players with my dad, his wife Jamie, my brother Tony's family, and Hunter, then headed over to the Christmas Suite at Green Gate Village.  For those of you unfamiliar with it, GGV is a hotel that covers a city block and contains renovated pioneer houses that you can stay in.  Ours had a huge jacuzzi tub, so the three of us soaked away our car trip and then relaxed in hotel robes
We put Livi to bed in the cottage's living room and then stayed up watching Law and Order and eating junk food
 Breakfast Friday morning at 25 Main.  They have a killer Acai smoothie bowl with homemade granola on top.


 We got Olivia a bran muffin that Jack and I had to stop ourselves from devouring. It was amazing. 




 best cupcakes on earth
Our hotel was right in the middle of town and we had fun walking everywhere and letting our bones thaw out in the warm sunshine


Of course we hit up Lip Trix and I got cute flip flops.  Olivia liked watching the kids play on the splash pad


The third night we stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn. Jack loved their shower.
 and Liv {kind of} liked the hot warm tub
We had dinners with my best friends, Olivia loved Clar's baby, Taft, and tried to 'hold' him.  Sometimes she doesn't realize she's a baby herself.
 She played with her bf Tasha on the floor for a while before bed
 and then we all played games and laughed and said stupid stuff for a few hours.  I have the best friends everrrrr
Livs was a dream on the drive home (slept for two hours!) and was so happy to be back in her own bed.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Is it just me..

or were David and Victoria Beckham's baby, Harper, and Olivia cast from the same mold??


I was looking at a People magazine this morning and saw this pic and did a double-take...

Monday, February 20, 2012

This is how we do

Work:  I am a little old-fashioned.  When we (I) decided to get pregnant, I told Jack that I wanted his full-time job to be earning money and maintaining our advertising business and my job would be taking care of our baby.  He does very well at maintaining work hours at his desk upstairs, but has wonderful flexibility to have lunch with us, run errands, and spend time with Olivia.  During baby naps I sit at my own desk and do my own part for our company.  He has final say on how we run the business and I have final say on decisions about the little one.

Cleaning:  Jack is a bit more neat and organized than I am.  Sometimes I will clean a room and think it looks nice, only to have him follow behind me and do 10 more things to make it look even tidier :)  During the day we try to put something away right after we use it, and every night before bed we do a quick 20 minute clean up to make sure we don't go to bed with a dirty house.  I'm usually in charge of the master bedroom and baby's room so these are usually the messiest rooms in the house.  Also, our rule is when I cook Jack will clean up the kitchen.

Losing baby weight:  I have been very lucky in that nursing Olivia has literally sucked the baby weight right off me.  I also hardly ever eat refined carbs; only whole-wheat breads, pastas, and brown rice.  I love fruits and vegetables and only occasionally eat fried foods or pizza (which I order as thin crust veggie).  In addition, I walk or run on the track by our house a few times a week.  I reached my pre-baby weight when Liv was 4 months old and an additional 5lbs since.  I definitely still have a few common post-baby body quirks though; namely lots of grey hairs, all of the short wispy hairs around my hairline, and the fact that any butt I once had has migrated to my boobs...which in turn sagged 3 inches.  Also, I have a weakness for baked goods (not candy, which I could never eat again and be fine).  I eat good meals so that I can have sweets every day, just in moderation.

Breastfeeding:  I made the decision to exclusively feed Olivia breastmilk for the first 6 months.  Now, at almost 9 months, she still nurses 5 times in a 24-hour period (every 3-4 hours and once in the night) as well as eating solids.

Weaning: We have decided to follow baby-lead weaning, meaning that I will nurse Olivia until she loses interest.  She loves baby snack foods and finger foods, and somedays is interested in cereal, sometimes not.  I'll continue to let her tell us what she would like to eat and when.

Linguistics:  Thanks to his LDS mission in Puerto Rico, Jack is fluent in Spanish.  When Olivia turns 3, he will start speaking only Spanish to her, while I speak English.  I think it will put her so far ahead to learn another language young, while it still comes easily to her spongy little mind.

Marriage:  I expected a baby to put a strain on Jack's and my relationship.  I'm sure I am very hard to live with when I am under stress or am going on little sleep and there are times when I am in a mood where everything Buba does annoys me.  The fact is though, I think our bond has been stronger than ever.  The fact that I love Olivia more than I thought possible only magnifies my love for my husband.  Every time I look at her I see him and everything he has contributed to this new, amazing part of my life.  At the end of the day, there is no room for games and we don't have the energy to guess what the other is feeling, so it has become imperative that we communicate, listen, and be compassionate and understanding to each others' feelings so that this union can endure forever.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Olivia's New Bathing Suit

I am a sucker for babies in swimsuits.  I love their little bellies and roll-y arms and legs :) 





Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Recommendations

2.7.12 edition

1. White Collar.  It's a TV show about a (hot) forger who breaks out of jail, gets caught, and cuts a deal to work with the FBI.

2. Honey Roasted Barbecue Sauce from Chick Fil A.  Slather it on their grilled chk sandwich and dip the waffle fries in it. Then pinch yourself to make sure you are not, in fact, in sauce heaven.

3. Urbanog.com.  My sister Brittain told me about it.  I am currently trying to narrow down the 13 pairs of boots in my shopping bag there.

4. Dr Brown's sippy cups.  Just like the Doc Brown bottles, it keeps baby from swallowing air, and also doesn't leak when tipped.

5. The tomato soup at Flour Girls and Dough Boys in AF.  It's chunky and creamy and doesn't have that sour acidic taste that some tomato soups have.

Monday, February 6, 2012

St George!!!

I haven't been home to Southern Utah since before Olivia was born (remember girl's weekend?)  We are planning a trip at the end of the month. I'm stoked.  Here are things I want to do:

Activities
-See my dad, Hunter, Tony's family.
-Spend time with my friends.  Play lots of games.
-Check out the addition on HHS.
-Go to Zion.
-Go to the shooting range with our new gun.
-Check out the watches and stickers at Lip Trix.

Food
-Eat at the One True Pasta Factory.
-Cupcakes at 25 Main.
-Pie at Croshaw's.
-Breakfast at Bear Paw.
-Bumbleberry Pie in Springdale.

This is the furthest we've traveled with Olivia and I will be interested to see how she does in the car.  She is at a tough age for traveling because she's too old to get sleepy easily and to young to watch a movie.  She ishowever, at just the right age to get bored easily and scream most of the way.  We will try to plan the drive during a nap or bedtime.
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