Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sweet Dreams!

So as many of you who follow my blog and my IRL (In Real Life) friends are well aware, Nicolette is an absolute dream baby.......... EXCEPT when it comes to bedtime.  We (and I should say I as the Italian travels frequently so bedtime ritual is on my list of to-do's) struggled profusely with frequent and incessant night wakings (you can read my original post here).

I asked Dr. Chris about it at one of Nicolette's check ups and we made the decision to cut out dairy and soy from my diet as she had excessive gas.  That was back in February and the doc did say that it could take 2-3 weeks or even more to see the results.  I can definitively say that we've definitely noticed a significant decrease in the gas...our little Tootie hardly ever toots anymore!  I have relaxed a little bit on the diet and don't freak out if something has butter or soy lecithin in it but I am pretty mindful and make sure not to order a grilled cheese, drink a glass of milk or eat yogurt or any of the obvious culprits.  This still works for us so Nicolette isn't too terribly sensitive but is sensitive enough to make a difference.  So sadly, I shall remain pretty much soy and dairy free for the duration of our breastfeeding relationship.

With that said, we were still struggling with night wakings by the time we got to Nicolette's 9 month check up so I asked Dr. Chris about it again.  I told him that I had heard that if she wasn't sleeping continuously for 8-9 hours uninterrupted by this age that her brain might not be developing properly.  He literally laughed at me...out loud laughed at me.  He said, "look at your baby...she is developing perfectly."  He said that the interrupted sleep is not ideal for mommy so that I needed to do whatever I felt I needed to in order to manage my own sanity.  He does not support CIO (Crying It Out) for longer than 30 second increments for a baby Nicolette's age so he offered 3 suggestions:

  1. To make sure that her tummy is nice and full before bedtime
  2. To try a cup of Epsom salts in her bath and to make sure that she soaks for at least 10 minutes each night
  3. To feel free to feed Nicolette one time if she woke up in the middle of the night...he said that some babies DO need the extra calories and/or hydration in the middle of the night.  He said think about us grown ups...don't we sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and need a glass of water?  Same thing with a baby...why deny them that if it's what they need? 
So the control freak in me made the decision to make sure that she has a puree every night for dinner so that I know how much she's taking in.  We still play with avocado or peas or broccoli or whatever in addition to the puree but I felt the need to feed her the puree to make sure that her tummy is getting nice and full. With the Baby Led Weaning it's just  hard for me to gauge how much she's taking in.   

I left the doctor's office that afternoon and bought Epsom salts (4 bags of them) at Target and we started with our experiment that night.  I was skeptical but hopeful...we ran the bath, dissolved the salts and I set a timer on my phone (I don't know what has happened to my sense of time since I became a mom...10 minutes can feel like 2 minutes or 2 hours so I wanted to make sure that we hit at least 10 minutes).  I tried to keep bath time calm and rubbed her back, poured water on her and sang to her.  She got out and I dried her, rocked her and tried to massage her with her baby lotion (our baby massages are anything but relaxing...this child is a squirmy little wiggle worm and wants to be on the move...she has NO patience for anything that might be considered relaxing...even when she's exhausted...silly baby).  I nursed her, put her in her sleep sack turned on the noise machines (yes, that is not a typo it is supposed to be plural we use 2 sound machines in her room) and she was out in 2-3 minutes. SUCCESS!!!!  I quietly tiptoed out of the room and started to tidy up downstairs when 34 minutes later (yes I time her sleep too...I'm a Type A, obsessive compulsive mommy, remember?) I heard her crying...ARGH!!!!  I had such high hopes.  We went through several wake ups and around 11 I finally caved and brought her to bed with me.  

Fast forward to the next night.  I decided to try the salts again..repeated the same routine - full belly, warm bath, set the timer, rock, lotion, jammies, bed, noise machines, etc. and I tiptoed out of the room.  Wouldn't you know that the little stinker slept for 12 1/2 hours that night...straight through!!!!!  Holy Moses!!!!  I had to wake her up in the morning because we had plans but I couldn't believe it!  From that point on it's been smooth sailing.  We're going on 3 weeks of great sleep!  Maybe 3 or 4 times she has woken once in the middle of the night and I simply feed her and she goes right back down and stays asleep but most of the time she sleeps straight through. 
Look at those bright eyes after a full night's sleep!
This is LIFE CHANGING!  So either the salts are the miracle cure or the good Lord above had mercy on me and decided to bless me with the gift of sweet baby sleep at just the right time (I've had some unfortunate and stressful personal drama that crept up a few weeks ago and I honestly don't think I could have coped with the lack of sleep and this situation all at the same time)

We did have one night this weekend where she was struggling with teething and I was paranoid and afraid to give her ibuprofen so that was a rough night with lots of wake ups.  But now I've tried to make peace with the ibuprofen and have given it to her once or twice when I KNOW that she's struggling with pain and she's sleeping like, as they say, a baby.

It's amazing that this night sleeping has totally straightened out her naps as well.  I used to struggle to get Nicolette down for a nap and could hardly ever get her to sleep more than 20-30 minutes.  Now that she's sleeping well at night, her naps are very regular and much longer.  She takes an hour to an hour and a half nap in the morning and a 30 minute to hour long nap in the afternoon with little to no effort on my part.  For example this morning I rocked her and nursed her and got her good and sleepy, then laid her in the crib.  She crawled around for about 5 minutes then laid down and went to sleep on her own...LIFE CHANGING I tell you, LIFE CHANGING!  I had always read that good daytime sleep begets good night time sleep but for us it was the exact opposite...we had to get the night time sleep straightened out in order to get good daytime sleep.  

So if you're struggling with baby sleep...give the bath salts a whirl and see if they're magic for you.  Remember that they didn't work the first night for us so try for a few nights and see if it helps. 


Saturday, April 20, 2013

My daughter

I don't know what's going on with me this week.  I've been a mushy, gushy, emotional mess.  I feel like life is moving in fast forward and I'm frantically looking for the remote so that I can press PAUSE.

Nicolette is now 9 months old (technically 9 and 1/2 months old but I refuse to acknowledge the extra weeks until we actually hit the next birthversary).  She is all over the place and loves showing off her latest tricks - pointing, waving and clapping.  

She is fiercely independent which makes me proud and sad all at the same time.

She is curious about everything - carefully inspecting every detail of whatever it happens to be that has captured her attention for the moment.  She loves to point at everything and loves to carefully inspect faces with her eyes and her hands.  She loves to stick her fingers in my mouth, in my eyes and yes, up my nose.  

She is focused - once she gets her mind and eyes set on something, she's focused intently on it until she's done.  She is not easily distracted.

She is strong...I watch her literally practice squats over and over again and I have a hard time holding her still if she wants to be on the move (i.e. when changing her diaper).  She's been crawling for 2 1/2 months and pulling to standing nearly as long.  She loves standing and walks with her push toys now.  I clap and say yay and am so proud but inside a little piece of me wants to cry.  I miss the tiny little bundle who would lay quietly in my arms for hours on end out of every day while I sang to her and stared at her and am all too aware that those days are long gone.    

She is happy.  She loves to be chased and she giggles endlessly when I nibble on her toes or on her fingers.  

She is content, she hardly every fusses about anything and almost never cries.  Even if it is well past time for her to have eaten, she usually doesn't make a peep.  She'll skip a morning or afternoon nap and never make a fuss about it.  I can't believe what an easy going nature she has!

She is sweet...even with her independent streak she still needs mama to rub her back or hold her hand as she falls asleep.  Our bedtime routine ends with me laying on the floor next to her crib with one hand in between the slats as we hold hands while she drifts off to sleep.  I will cherish the memory of this ritual forever.  

She is Nicolette, my daughter, my everything
...there is none like her and she is more than I deserve.  God has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams.  She is my heart and our little family is my whole world.