Monday, July 26, 2010

Chronicling Babywise - Week 2

Last week, I wrote a day-by-day, play-by-play journal of our first week using the Babywise routine with our fifth child, Moses, born July 12th. This post is week 2's continuation of our experiences... I hope this journaling of our experiences will be helpful for other moms.

Day 8: As I wrote in the last post, on day 8, I continued feeding every 2 & 1/2 hours (that's measured from the start of one feeding time to the start of the next feeding time) through the day.

On that day, we went to see the pediatrician and she confirmed that there was no jaundice-type coloring, and he weighed in at 30 or 40 grams above his birthweight. Good news all around!

That night, like the few nights before, he slept for one 3-hour cycle, and went every 2 & 1/2 to 3 hours for the rest of the night.

Days 9 & 10
: On these days, there were three noteworthy details:

  • At some point on both days, I had a really hard time keeping him awake for the full feeding. We really had to work at it! Sometimes, just seven or eight minutes into the first side, he was fast asleep. Sometimes it was getting him to latch onto the second side. It's not easy to get a sleepy newborn to eat a full meal, but it's worth it.
  • He slept at night. There weren't wakeful periods in the middle of the night. Because we've been continuing to give him several good quantities of waketime during the daytime, he's sleeping (except for waking up to feed 2-3 times) at night. Which is a real blessing. Even though our sleep is interrupted, at least we can feed him and then all settle back in to sleep.
  • He's beginning to have a bit of chub. :) This is both wonderfully precious and a bit bittersweet... how quickly they grow!
Day 11: Today, I noticed that he is more easily taking the full feeding on the second side. Up until today, I felt like I really had to work (i.e., burping, changing his diaper, undressing him down to the diaper, etc.) to keep him awake and interested in eating on the second side. But today he seemed not only willing but occasionally even hungry to eat on the second side! Yay! Progress!The other thing we've been working on in the past 36 hours or so is transitioning him to laying down while he's still awake, and falling asleep on his own. In that first week or so, we always end up holding, patting, snuggling with the baby as they fall asleep. Heck, that's one of the great things of having an infant-- they love to sleep and look so cute doing it! Plus all the relatives and siblings love to hold the new baby (see the above pictures), so that's additional hands and arms waiting to hold even the sleeping infant.

Anyway, eventually, we work to help the baby get used to going down to sleep in bed by themselves. For me, what that looks like is swaddling the baby snugly, and using one of these:I use a sleep positioner like this (I found mine 8+ years ago at a little thrift store for under a dollar) to help the baby remain on their side. Back to sleep? Tummy sleeping? For my part, I've found that infants feel secure and sleep well when swaddled on their sides, and so that's what we do in the early days with a new baby. I put this down around their torso (supporting their back and in front of their tummy), and then lay them down.

And I don't just lay them down any old time-- I wait for the right window of being still awake but becoming more sleepy. There are times when they are actively alert, looking around, (and later, cooing/interacting/etc.), but just past this time of alertness, there is a 5-15 minute window of time when they are ready for sleep. I always know it if I miss it, because they get overstimulated and it's much harder to settle them down. But if you learn to read your baby's cues, you can see that they start to yawn, or maybe their eyes begin opening and shutting lazily. Once I see those cues, I make sure they don't need a new diaper, get them swaddled, help them take their pacifier (if they use one), and put them down gently -- with a soft "night-night".

So that's the method I used today to try to help Moses get in the habit of falling asleep on his own, in his own bed. Two times out of three, it happened naturally, without any additional assistance. The third time, this evening, he was quiet at first but then fussed about 10 minutes after laying him down, and so we went in, changed his diaper, re-swaddled him, and yet he still fussed after being laid back down. So we got him, figured we'd missed the "window" this go-round, and held him for the 30 minutes of sleep until his next feeding. No biggie. He's still a little guy, but he's learning, and 2 times of falling asleep on his own is a real accomplishment for today! He's doing great.

Days 12 & 13

Here's a quick run-down of our basic routine at this point:
  • He eats every 2 & 1/2 hours or so throughout the day. I say "or so" because it sometimes varies by maybe 30/45 minutes. But of course, being flexible means that there's a basic norm to flex from-- otherwise it's just random and his little body won't have a "norm". So while one day this week, we went to the mall (our vacuum cleaner hose ripped and there was no way to repair it-- and I wanted to be a part of the choosing process-- so we all went to the mall together), and he ate at 10, then at 12:15 (2 hours, 15 minutes between feeds), and then at 3:30 (3 hours, 15 minutes between feeds), our "norm" is that he eats fairly close to every 2 & 1/2 hours throughout the day, unless he's hungry before then, at which point, he eats when he's hungry.
  • Sometimes his waketime is long-- nearly the whole of his feed cycle (for example, this morning, he ate at 7am, and then was awake until 9am, slept from 9-9:30, and ate again at 9:30-- so his "sleep" time was very short for that cycle. And sometimes his waketime is quite short- 15 minutes or so (this afternoon, he did a short waketime and went to sleep and will sleep for an hour and a half or so before his next feeding).
  • At night, I feed him a full feeding just before we go to bed (10/11pm), and then we don't wake him up for feedings at night. He's waking up two times at night- roughly around 2 and roughly around 5. Sometimes it's a little longer between feeds (on night #12, he went 4 & 1/2 hours for the first night cycle), and sometimes it's just about 3 hours precisely between feeds. This doesn't matter so much-- he's only 12 days old, after all. The point is that (a) he's sleeping at nighttime and awake during the day, and (b) he's already naturally taking his longer cycles between feeds during the nighttime hours.
Day 14
The main thing I noticed today (and realized it had happened for at least the two days prior at roughly the same time) was a fussy period around 4pm each day. Gas drops, swaddling, and patting/snuggling help, but only if he decides to fall asleep. If he fights it and fusses, it's a quite lengthy and seemingly painful fussy time. I've decided, based on what time it's happening, that it's possibly a result of my mid-morning latte. My husband, you see, manages a gourmet coffee roasting business, and so I take my portion of delightfully fresh coffee each day. :) I've been enjoying a half-caffeinated version since early on in my pregnancy, and thought that might be sufficient to avoid any problems with caffeine, but now I'm thinking maybe not. Anyway, this week, my husband will brew some decaf for me and we'll see if that resolves this fussy period, or in any way affects it.

Week 2 Wrap-up
On a personal note, I'm absolutely in love with him. :) I love looking at him, talking to him, laying him down beside me on the bed while I fold clothes. I love to snuggle with him close, nuzzle his amazingly soft cheeks, and sing hymns to him (if he's fussy, it settles him down almost immediately!), and when his little brow furrows up to study something or someone, it cracks me up!

He has genuinely smiled at my husband (multiple times, and only to him after my husband has smiled long and intentionally at Moses, so we know it's the real deal, even though "they're not supposed to" yet at this age), he is starting to coo at us, and it is so precious to see him interact with and stare at our other children. He already has brought so much joy into our lives, and he seems quite secure and content for such a little guy.

Regarding Babywise: Virtually any widely-followed parenting approach can be used wisely by parents to bless, or foolishly by parents to curse, their children. But this is how it typically goes for us, and how it's gone for us this last week. Like I said in the first post, I really don't want this post to turn into a referendum on Babywise, because I'm just one lady in this wide world, writing about how things are going with my precious newborn son.

This week, like last week, is a very good representation of how all five of our kids have fared with the Babywise routine in those early months. It helps bring sanity and blissful sleep to the entire family, and has been a blessing in our home. I hope this post encourages and informs other moms looking at their options with newborns/sleep issues.


[Here are links to this whole Babywise series: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Weeks 6 & 7, Weeks 8-14]

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