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One year ago today, my sweet little girl made her grand entrance out of me, and into this world at 9:18PM. She came out screaming so loud that even my OB made a comment–something to the effect of, “wow–I’ve never heard a baby scream so loud.” This was within 10 seconds of her being born, mind you, and I can truthfully say, I vividly remember thinking in that moment “holy shit…my kid is going to be a force”.  I was right. To say that life has never been the same again is pretty much stating the obvious, but it’s one of those things that you can’t really explain. The realization of a major life change happens in increments: It starts with you,  at 3AM with your (finally) sleeping baby, attempting to scratch a persistent itch on you nose with your pinky toe so as not to accidentally move your arm a millimeter and wake her. Then, you catch yourself taking one last whiff of the last bottle of breast milk you’ll ever give her…swishing it around like a 40 year old vintage Cab, trying to blaze every possible note of its sweet smell into your brain.  12 months down the road, you catch a glimpse of someone’s reflection in a window and truly wonder who that slightly pudgy, tired looking, slouchy person is. She needs a hair cut. And then you realize it’s you, and you’re both depressed, content, and humbled.

Because that baby next to that slightly world weary reflection is quite possible the cutest thing you’ve ever laid eyes on.

Shira_one_1

As a first time mom, I have no other child to compare Shira to, but I will say that as her mom, I just “know” certain things. I know that she is not an “easy” baby. Frankly, every baby has their challenges, so maybe easy babies are myths… but I know some people with  babies who rarely cry, or who can fall asleep in the car, or who can be put down in chairs for more than 2 minutes… Shira has never been that baby, and her infancy involved a LOT of bouncing, pacing, and movement to keep her from crying until her face was beet red and sweating. Those early days and nights are captured in snippets–and when I try to explain them, it’s as if I’m trying to explain a dream that felt very vivid upon waking, and once I get around to explaining it, feels far away and nonsensical.

Shira is a force of nature. I’ve had a lot of people who make the “She-Ra” Princess of Power jokes, but the more I think about it, she’s kind of living up to that name. She came out of the womb basically wanting to walk. I believe that much of her early infant screaming was a result of being frustrated she couldn’t move her body in the way she wanted to. As soon as she could crawl at around 5 months, her world opened up. At 12 months old, she is not only walking, but basically running, trying to climb stairs, chairs, and toilets. If she bumps her head, she will cry with the same force she exerted at birth, and then 30 seconds later, she’ll be back with a smile, attempting to climb the leg of her high chair again.

Shira’s  sweetness is infectious. She will smile and wave to virtually every single person in a room. I’ve seen her inspire laughs and smiles from people in a Starbucks line who look like they have not cracked a smile in 30 years. I get constant comments/compliments about how happy and alert she is, and I wish I could say it was something I was doing as a parent to make her that way, but I think it’s just who she is. This initially seemed counter-intuitive to me, in the sense that I have seen her lose her shit on me if I leave her alone to pee for 3 seconds and if you came into my house at any given day, you’d most likely hear her cry intensely at some point within an hour of you being there. The truth is, Shira absolutely loves being around people, and is happiest in a public forum (which is the exact opposite of her introverted mom). She rarely if ever cries when she is out and about or when we have guests.

You never have to guess if Shira likes something. If she doesn’t like something, she will cry intensely for as long as it takes for you to fix the perceived issue. Some things that inspire cries are: being left alone in her crib during the day for more than 10 seconds, being bored and cooped up in the house, no “baba” produced within 10 seconds of her requesting it, closed doors she cannot go through, poopie diapers, and car seats. No matter what I do, this kid screams bloody murder in the car after 15 minutes. It has made traveling with her one of the least enjoyable experiences I can imagine.

But then she runs up to me, nuzzles her head into my neck and gives me her 12 month old version of a “hug”, and shit…I’m a pile of mush.

There are too many things about Shira that I could write about at length, so I’ll bullet point now (for posterity, and also so I don’t forget!)

At 12 months, Shira:

  • Is in the 95th% for both height and weight–she’s long and lean,  around 30 inches long and weighs around 25 pounds. She is wearing 18 month-2T sizes now and has a 5.5-6 shoe size. Lord help me!
  • Has a vocab of about 20-25 words, and understands about 75% of everything I say to her. It’s pretty insane, really. Her ability to communicate and understand things is completely incredible to me.  She doesn’t quite have the mouth muscles to make all of the sounds required of a word, so something like “blueberry” will be “boo buh buh” but she consistently “talks” to us by pointing to things and saying words or sounds. Off the top of my head, her vocab list features the “words”: bunny (buh), fish (shhhh), more (mo), blueberry( boo buh buh), strawberry (buh buhbuh), apple (buh puh), banana (nana), cheese (chhh), butterfly (buh buh bye), baba, mama, dada, night night (ny ny), bird (buh), water (wa wa), bath (bah), Big Bird (buh buh), diaper (pie puh), poo poo, shoes (shhh), dog (dog), duck (da). Along with the words, she also makes sounds for horse, Sheep, duck, cat, dog, cow, train, car, and vacuum cleaner (random!). She just learned that she can put to words together, ie: “mama mo” when pointing to blueberries.
  • Sleeps through the night!!!! FINALLY!!!!
  • Will only nap in her stroller. I’ve toyed with crib training her for naps, but I’m scared it will make her hate the crib which I finally got her to love for night time sleep. So our nap time routine involves a baba in a stroller and a quick walk around the block until she passes out and usually sleeps in the stroller for an hour and a half. She’s only down to one nap a day now, though, and I think crib training may be in her future because I’d like her to take longer naps if she’s only taking one a day.
  • Still loves her “baba” and demands one in the morning pretty much as soon as she wakes up, along with various times during the day. We’re working on transitioning her to whole milk soon (no more formula expense! Cha-ching!!)
  • Loves bath time, but still hasn’t figured out that breathing in water makes you choke.
  • Loves banana, cheese, and most other fruits–especially blueberries. Does not love broccoli or spinach, and has a love hate thing with turkey or chicken. I try not to sweat her eating habits and am pretty relaxed with what she eats and when she eats it, but try to sit her down for 3 formal meals a day, plus 2 snacks, plus about 4 x 6 ounce bottles.
  • Is happiest when outside running around or in a very busy place with lots of people she can smile and stare at.
  • Loves her bunny blanket to snuggle into at night.
  • Has been doing the most adorable “joke” lately where she’ll say “ny ny” and pretend to go to sleep on the floor, and then I’ll say, “Oh no! Shira’s asleep??!!” and then she’ll pop up and laugh. Such a rascal.

Last year at exactly this time, I had a strange inkling to bake a blueberry coffee cake. By the time it came out of the oven, I had my first painful contraction, and called my gyno and doula. 6 hours later, I was 9cm dilated and racing to the hospital. 2 hours after that, I was pushing her out. I decided that every year on this day, I will make her a blueberry coffee cake for her birthday.

cake

Happy birthday, sweet girl. I love you more than you love blueberries. And that’s A LOT.

 

 

 

PCOS Pop Quiz:

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Moon Craters? Or an ultrasound of my ovaries?

Since getting pregnant, staying pregnant, birthing a child, and gradually nursing my body back to some semblance of normalcy, the thought of ovulation or my periods has not crossed my mind for almost 18 months. Admittedly, it was only as I started to get a full night’s sleep that the musings of what having a second child might be like started to creep slowly into my mind. It started when I came across an errant onesie stuffed in the back of Shira’s drawer. Oh, errant onesies….you are a mind fuck. It was a newborn size, and the thought that Shira had actually fit into it at one point made me pick it up and sniff at it longingly.  This is what the passage of time does to you when you’re a mom. You forget that you were a sore, bleary eyed confused mess at the time that your child was actually wearing that onesie, and somehow your brain convinces itself that everything was soft lighting and baby coo’s in those early days of holding her in my arms.

As my 2 loyal followers can attest, my PCOS-riddled ovaries have always been clunkers. Growing up, there would often be times I wouldn’t get a period for 6 months. The year I went off birth control (and started this blog) I didn’t ovulate for a full year. Ultrasounds indicated upwards of 30 cysts on each ovary. It was only after taking three rounds of Clomid that I conceived. Round One of 50mg Clomid was a dud and did nothing, Round Two of 100mg I ovulated and got my period, and Round Three I got Shira.

For me, the when, why where and how’s of ovulation and pregnancy don’t add up to normal questions about a general range of time I can expect my fertile window, or when I will get a period. The entire process is fraught with anxiety, frustration, and truthfully, scary indications that there is something wrong with my body. Not getting a period is not something I’m happy about, and it really irks me when other women who have never battled with PCOS comment on how lucky I am to not have to deal with bleeding every month. They are speaking out of ignorance, I know….but I just wish more people knew that “not getting your period” is actually a symptom of a much bigger problem that can have long term effects on my body and my health–insulin resistance, high cholesterol, and heart disease are also more likely in women who “don’t get a period”. Personally, I’ll take a bleeding vagina over death by heart attack, thanks.

Anyhow–I’m writing with news to report. A couple of months ago, about 8 months post partum, I got a weird sort of brown blood period that lasted on and off for over a week. I didn’t think much of it, except to note that it most likely wasn’t ovulatory, and I could pretty well assume I wouldn’t see another period for at least a year, if my track record proved correct. Then, about a month later, I had another weird period that lasted over a week of sporadic bleeding. Again, I chalked it up to coincidence, but this time,I started to feel those familiar yearnings to understand my cycle….I started to remember how it felt to be back pre-pregnancy, yearning to finally get a grip on what was going on with my body. I banished those thoughts from my mind.

Until around 3 weeks later.

I started noticing what I thought was EWCM when I wiped. I laughed. Clearly, this was my body’s form of some sick joke. I fully expected it to be a fluke. But the next day, there was even more. And the day after that, it was all like:

So. Haha. Very funny, body. You expect me to believe I am ovulating. On my own. What a riot. Right around the day that the EWCM subsided, I dusted off the math on my luteal phase which is usually 12 days on the dot. I counted forward on the calendar and came up with tomorrow–Thursday the 12th,  as the date in which I would get my period IF I happened to have ovulated which I haven’t done on my own in over 3 years (prior to starting birth control).

Today, (Wednesday) I went to the bathroom all “ho hum”. Wiped. And saw a massive quantity of blood on the toilet paper. “Fuck. Hemorrhoids are at it again.” I thought. Wiped the butt. Nothing. And then,

VAGINA hemorrhoids.

Or, as I like to call it:

MY PERIOD!!!!!

Sorry, Picard.  I’m in shock.

This month, I ovulated on my own. I fucking ovulated. I have no idea how I did it, but I’m proud.

Getting real

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Welp. It’s official. My last attempt at weight loss ended almost exactly where I began. After three weeks of diligent calorie counting and staying within 1200-1400 calories a day, I experienced an initial weight loss, and then promptly gained back 5 pounds in the blink of an eye. My thyroid checked out as totally normal, so I don’t think that’s the problem. The problem is, I’m not 22 anymore and I had a baby–the sleep deprivation alone over the past 12 months has been enough to whack out my body for sure. But enough is enough. I’m 15 pounds heavier than I was when I got pregnant, and Shira is almost a year old. It’s time I outgrew my maternity pants. As much as I wanted to believe that I could lose weight on 3 pieces of cheesecake all day with no exercise, I found myself increasingly hungry, craving sugars and fats, and feeling bloated an exhausted at the end of the day….and, oh yeah, the whole weight gain thing. It sucks.

I think I mentioned in my last post that I had heard about this diet plan called 21 Day Fix. It’s a 21 Day plan that involves portion control, properly ratio-ed fats/proteins/carbs, and 6 days a week of 30 minutes of exercise. It is not a quick fix, and it’s not easy because every day takes a LOT of thought about what I’m eating, but since my “quick and easy” plan basically blew up in my face, I needed to try something different.  I began the diet plan yesterday, and decided that this blog would be a perfect forum to document my progress. I’ll also be posting my menu plans.

The diet portion of this plan gives you different colored containers for different food groups. Green=vegetables (it’s the biggest container), Purple= fruit, Red= protein, Yellow= starch, Blue= healthy fats, Orange= nuts and seeds, and you’re allowed a couple of teaspoons of peanut/nut butter throughout the day. You find out how many calories you need to take, and then the program gives you the amount of each container you need to eat per day. For me, I need to eat 3 green, 2 purple, 4 red, 1 blue, 1 orange, and 2 yellow, plus two teaspoons.

It sounds easy, but unless you’re content eating bland tupperwares filled with raw fruits, veggies, cheeses, eggs, and meats, you need to make recipes that have all of these foods in them, but still taste good. This is where the hours of food prep come in. Thus far, I’ve made roasted veggies, roasted sweet potato, egg and avocado salad, watermelon feta salad, tropical fruit salad with shredded coconut, homemade salad dressing, and oatmeal “cookies” made with oats and applesauce. I did most of this last night when Shira went to bed. It felt great to cook, but MAN. It’s  not easy.

The workout part of this plan is also challenging, but not as challenging as looking at my instructor:

Autumn Calabrese.

My new nemesis.

This woman is my age, has had a kid, and–wait for it–isn’t even annoying on the workout DVD’s. Argh!! I want to hate her, but she is making it so hard!!!

I took a before pic last night which was really difficult, actually. I haven’t been confronted with the way my body has changed post baby, and seeing the image was pretty shocking. I feel like I don’t even look like ME anymore.

Anyhow. That’s the report for now. I will post my measurement stats, my meal plan, and some recipes throughout the week. But for now, I’ll end with my starting weight:

141.6 pounds

Goal: 127 pounds

 

 

Frustration

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Anyone’s metabolism take a huge turd after the baby?

I went into my weight loss challenge with such zest. I counted calories and did a little happy jig when I saw I lost 6 pounds in a week.

Then it just stopped. The last three weeks I have not only stopped losing weight, I have GAINED. After eating 1400 calories a day, I somehow managed to go from 138 to 140.

Shira (bless her sleep trained little heart) has been sleeping through the night for a good 2 months now, so aside from the 50-60 hour work weeks, I have no excuse not to start exercising again. I think this is the only way I will ratchet up my metabolism from “Sloth” to “Lazy Cat”.

Thankfully, Hubs is in the same boat, and we have decided to team up and do a weight loss program. A Program, people! It sounds so officially weight lossie, doesn’t it? I caved and bought 21 Day Fix--which is supposed to FIX all of my weight loss problems and turn me into a ripped super model in 21 days, of course! Duh!

I intend to follow this program to a tee, and post on my results. Little did I know when I bought it that the diet portion of the program would be so detailed, so I’m going to have to do a lot of planning in order to have success. The program comes with colored Tupperware that you fill with certain food groups throughout the day. There is no calorie counting, but rather, you eat whatever you can fit into the Tupperware.

The infomercial made the Tupperware look big and hearty. Little did I know the tupperwear for “fats and dressings” is about as big as a thimble. The other sizes aren’t much bigger than my fist, so who knows how I’ll do on this, but it’s worth a shot.

I start on June 2. Until then, I’m living it up and ate mac and cheese for dinner.

Weekly Weigh In

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I’ve decided I’m going to try and do a weekly weigh in of sorts to keep me accountable to my all new 1400 calorie per day diet and weight loss plan. Thus far, the weight loss plan has not included a lick of exercise, just hard core calorie counting and feeling hungry and cravy for carbs and sweets which I deny myself. I have no off limit foods, and am not trying to carb count or load up on protein. Just sticking to straight calories (so, if I wanted to eat three pieces of cheesecake as my only food all day, that would fit into the “plan”) In previous attempts to calorie count I had a tendency to over do it on trying to prepare fancy meals and monitor every nutrient in every morsel, but that sort of vigilance has caused my downfall on more than one occasion where I get frustrated and give up. Motto for this round is: KEEP IT SIMPLE. I downloaded a great new app called Lose It! and it’s awesome–I feel like I’m playing a video game rather than counting calories!

Week One Weight:

144lbs

Week Two Weight:

138 lbs.

Net loss:

-6 lbs!

I was in shock. SHOCK. when I looked at the scale this morning. Not entirely sure how I lost 6 lbs in a week–it’s probably more like a few pounds, plus water weight or something, but I’m feeling so positive about my progress!!! It definitely motivates me.

Aside from feeling hunger pangs in the middle of the afternoon, the 1400 calorie diet feels do-able for the next couple of weeks. I’m hoping to lose a few more pounds, and then step up my game by incorporating my diet with a workout plan in a few weeks. Bottom line, though, is KEEP IT SIMPLE.

what are some tricks that have helped you lose weight?

How to lose 20 pounds without crying into a tub of ice cream

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My weight has been, well, weighing on me lately. I’ve always felt pretty good about my body, and have had an athletic shape. I loved running, hiking, and doing crazy workout programs I had no business attempting.  I’ve held steady around 125-130 pounds for all of my adult life until pregnancy when I gained (bum bum bummmm) 55 pounds and went up to 170.

Now, eight months post partum and I still don’t have a hope and a prayer of fitting into my old jeans. I have a stomach roll that is making me look and feel about 3 months pregnant, and I saw a picture of myself taken recently and I truly didn’t look like myself. I looked like a pudgy extremely exhausted version of myself.. Bottom line is, I’m done feeling this way, and need to do something about it! When I was breast feeding (or, in my case, pumping), I dropped weight very quickly to a point where I was at 137. I kept saying if I lost 10 pounds, it would be perfect. That felt manageable. Somehow in the 3 months since I’ve stopped all pumping, shit went south. I went to the doctor recently to check on my amazing PCOS hormones post pregnancy, stepped on the scale, and nearly had a heart attack. In 3 months I gained 7 pounds and I went up to 144! They are checking my thyroid to make sure nothing crazy is going on there, but the bottom line is, I think the reason I’m gaining is that I’m still eating like a pregnant/nursing lady, and I’m not doing any exercise.

I have downloaded an app called Lose It! which essentially takes your current weight and goal weight and tells you how many calories you need to consume per day in order to lose x amount of pounds per week. Basically, if I want to lose 20 pounds by August, I need to be on a 1400 calorie a day diet.

I’m terrified to say the least.

I also know that I can eat a bit more some days if I exercise, so that is providing me some relief, although the thought of going into a gym or doing other sweaty activities that will make me feel my butt jiggle is hard.

Along with my goal to lose weight, I also want to run the LA Marathon again in March. I love running, and the course of this race is pretty awesome. We’ll see how it goes. For now, I’m focusing on trying to make it through one day keeping to my calorie goal. It’s proving difficult (I’m pretty hungry right now, and I only have 450 calories to go for dinner.)

The Post About Sleep.

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I’m going to preface this post by sharing a few things I’ve learned along the way about infant sleep. In my opinion, sleep advice needs to be treated much like the advice you would give a woman in the throws of infertility treatments. There is no “right way” there is no “cure” there is no “one sized fits all” when dealing with individual babies and their individual needs. I will post what worked for me, but I don’t want to come across as some sort of holier than thou sleep sage who found a magic sleep formula that will work with babies big and small. I can still feel my skin crawl when I was in the throws of Sleepless Night 187 and I had a fellow mom ask, “Have you tried putting her to bed sleepy but awake?”

YES, BITCH, I’VE TRIED PUTTING MY BABY TO BED AWAKE AND IT WILL NEVER WORK BECAUSE SHE SCREAMS FOR TWO HOURS AND BY THAT TIME I HAVE STARTED DRINKING TO NUMB THE PAIN.

Awkward.

Point being, I don’t want to come across as “that girl”.

It’s akin to someone hearing I was going through IF and asking, “have you tried temping?”

Anyone who has struggled with infertility and has made it “to the other side” can attest to the fact that there is a lot of guilt associated around complaining once the infant comes into your world.  I think this is why I have resisted blogging much, and especially resisted blogging about sleep. Shouldn’t I be over the moon about waking up 2-3 times a night to feed and care for the baby I wished so hard for?

The answer is no. No, I shouldn’t. And that’s OK.

Getting up every 2-3 hours for 7 MONTHS STRAIGHT is completely unbearable for anyone.  And unless you’re one of those parents who knows from Day 1 that you will sleep train the shit out of your baby from the moment he/she is old enough to cry it out, I’ve found that many new parents (myself included!)  operate on a different philosophy initially. I call it the “my baby will train himself” philosophy also known as the “my baby is different” or “my way of parenting will defy everything” philosophy. Sleep books? Pssshhh. They’re for parents who clearly don’t have any idea how to get their babies used to a routine.

Sigh. I’m embarrassed at how arrogant I was around the whole sleep business.

My own personal “You Idiots, My Baby Will Train Herself” inner monologue went something like this:

Happy birthday baby... you’re a cute tiny newborn….Right now we’re dream feeding and snuggling….you’re only 2 months old….awww, do you need a baba? Mama’s here…Oh my goodness!!! You slept 4 hours STRAIGHT! You’re mama’s good little sleeper!! Right?…. I mean….you’ll sleep longer than 4 hours some time soon, right??? I should stop putting pressure on sleep….it’s only been 4 months, and now I’m feeding her CEREAL! Of course sleep will get better….This will ABSOLUTELY be the night she sleeps through the night….no? Seriously? You’re up again…she’s 5 months now….should I be getting worried? Should I let her Cry It Out (CIO)? Ok. Here’s what I’ll do.  I’ll let her CIO for 10 MINUTES. I’m certain she’ll stop after 5 minutes and put herself to sleep… Holy shit, she’s screaming even louder now….fuck. I have to go in and get her….fuck….I’ve probably trained her to cry for 10 minutes or longer now because she knows I’ll come get her! Maybe I should read a sleep book. NO! I will not succumb to a goddamn sleep book!!…. Abigail’s let her 4 month old CIO and now her kid sleeps through the night now….what the fuck am I doing wrong???? But….she really does seem hungry when she wakes up to eat!!! How can you ask me to STARVE my child in the middle of the night???? She’s 6 months old….I’m doing something wrong…Can’t function in the mornings….I’ll shower tonight so I can sleep in the morning for 5 more minutes…fuck my life….7 months….She’s up again. 4th time tonight…. I am starting to hate my child…..5th time tonight. Bottles won’t even work anymore….did I just hear my husband whisper “shut the fuck up?” to her?…Yes, yes I did.

This is where I hit my limit. Not because I heard my husband tensely whisper “shut the fuck up”  into my sweet little girl’s ear (because trust me, I would have done that too…) But because I had reached “The Point”–“The Point” is a place all of us parents hit when we eventually agree it’s time to sleep train. For me, it was the realization that we were becoming angry at our daughter for not understanding how to sleep. Clearly, it’s not her fault, but sleep deprivation makes everything feel about 47 times more dire than it would had you had a good night’s sleep.  Some people reach “The Point” at 3 months. Some, never. For me, it was 7.5 months of waking 2-3 times a night, every night, sometimes more, and realizing her sleep patterns were getting worse and not better. I should also mention that my husband absolutely did not want to train my daughter. He felt that CIO was cruel, and that she was so strong willed, she was essentially “untrainable”. His plan was to “get through it”. This thought gave me heart palpatations. Get through it? For how much longer? A year of no sleep? 2 years?  I knew that for the sake of our sanity, and for our marriage, what we were currently doing was not working. We needed another plan, but I didn’t know what it would be.

I also had issues with having her cry it out in timed intervals, although TRUST ME– I do not begrudge in ANY WAY parents who use this technique. It works for many many parents, and if it suits you and your child, I say go for it. It just wasn’t for me, but I didn’t know what other options existed.  In some sort of very strange coincidence, the day after the “shut the fuck up” incident, I saw a post from another mommy on a Facebook group I belong to about this very same issue around CIO. She detailed her approach to a gentle method of sleep training that worked for her, and I decided that the very next night I would attempt to implement it.

For those mommies (and daddies) who are going through sleep issues with their babies, and feel you might be coming close to “The Point”, let me just assure you…I feel your pain. There are truly no words to accurately describe the crushing frustration of hearing your child crying in her crib 2 hours after you JUST rocked her to sleep for the 4th time. There’s no way to properly explain the dread that starts to seep into your life around sleep itself. I found myself getting more and more depressed when I would go to bed after a long day because I knew I would wake up several times, I just didn’t know when.  My relationship with my husband was suffering simply because as soon as she went to bed, I would begin getting anxious about when I needed to go to bed so I could at least maybe squeeze in 3 hours before the first wake up. We were bottle feeding Shira, so I at least had Hubs able to get up and do some feeds, but once she woke up, I found it was very hard for me to sleep, even if Hubs was taking care of her. It would take a minimum of 30 minutes to get her back down, and as she got older, it became more and more difficult to put her back to sleep. Towards the end, we had an elaborate method of trying to get her back down which involved rocking, bottle feeding, bouncing, strapping her in the stroller and rocking her, and eventually…co sleeping just so I could get a couple hours of sleep.

Prior to deciding to sleep train, our nightly pattern went something like this:

Our bed time routine was always very consistent. 7PM Bath, story, bottle, swaddle (or Merlin Suit) rock to sleep, put her in the crib, creep out of the room and pray she was fully asleep by 8PM. We’d usually get a 4 hour stretch before one wake up, and she went back to sleep fairly easy, up for the day at 4 or 5AM. At around 5 months old, she began rolling, and slept horribly in her Merlin suit so we transitioned her out of it cold turkey. When she fell asleep she would roll on to her tummy, which I thought would help her sleep better, but it didn’t. she went from 1-2 wakings to 3-4.  Every time she woke up, we would give her the bottle to try and soothe her back down, but, towards the end she didn’t sleep more than 3 hours straight, and once she learned to stand in her crib, it was all sorts of hell. The bottle wouldn’t even help us anymore. Our daughter needed to be dead asleep for us to transfer her back to the crib, and if she wasn’t it would cue more cries, standing and falling in her crib, more rocking, more frustration until sometimes an hour had passed before we could get her back to sleep. She would wake up 2 hours later. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Hubs and I butted heads on multiple occasions about the sleep training issue. He was very opposed to it, but I think it may have been because he thought the only way was to let her CIO. When I heard of this other gentler way, he was still very wary about it, and didn’t want to commit to it.

Step One to  my method of Sleep Training:

CONSISTENCY: once you commit to this, commit to it for a full week at least. NO EXCEPTIONS.

The fact that my husband was not on the same page threw a snag in my plan…which brings me to:

Step Two:

BOTH YOU AND YOUR PARTNER HAVE TO BE ON THE SAME PAGE.

If you’re not, it won’t work. You can’t have one person waking up and doing one thing, and you doing another.  Or, you could do what I did, and start Night One of sleep training on your own without discussing it with him. This is a recipe for a fight. A big fight. But in the end, Hubs agreed to let me handle every single night waking for a week so that I could do things my way and see if it worked. I felt that I couldn’t go much further down the sleepless rabbit hole than I already was, so I didn’t have much to lose by getting even less sleep for a week. After seeing how well it worked to have only me doing the training, I would recommend that one spouse take all of the wakings for one week as it will help bring consistency to the method.

Step Three:

All night feedings must be eliminated. I fought and fought against this one until I realized that she was waking 3 times a night to “eat” and she absolutely did not need this, aside from the small comfort the bottle provided. I eliminated my night feeds cold turkey as I didn’t want to deal with diluting her bottles with water, or giving her less and less each night feed. It seemed this would prolong the agony. Please make sure that your child is at least 15 pounds, and it is clear he/she is gaining weight well before you implement this part of the training.

Step Four:

Unless there is pee or poo all over the crib and she is soaking in her own filth, do not remove your child from the crib once she is down for the night. If you absolutely need to change her, do it quickly without expression. Put her back in the crib immediately. This happened once during our sleep training when her diaper leaked.

Step Five:

Come up with a catch phrase– a phrase that you will repeat over and over and over again. The only thing you will say to him or her once they are in their crib for the night is this phrase. I chose, “Shhh, it’s night night time” which I say in a soothing melodic voice leading up to bed time and any time she wakes up.

Step Six:

Put a lovie in the crib (a blanket or stuffed animal that can keep them company while they work things through).

The goal behind this training is that you are never leaving your child to cry alone. For the first few nights, you are with them until they fall asleep. If your baby seems like he/she is getting more worked up by you being there, I would still encourage you to stick to soothing him/her to sleep for the first few nights. They WILL fall asleep eventually. If it still doesn’t work, maybe this isn’t the right method for you–babies are not one size fits all!

How Things Went Down:

Night One:

I consider this a “half night” of training because I had initially put her down asleep which is advised against in this method of sleep training. The goal is to get baby comfortable hanging in his/her crib so they can put themselves to sleep.   I balked at this at first, especially because I knew how absolutely horrendous things were when I did put her down awake (screaming). She woke up as expected 3 hours later at 11PM. I decided then and there that she would not be getting the bottle to put her back to sleep, and she would not be getting out of the crib. Steeling myself for the battle ahead, I went into the room and repeated “Shhh, it’s night night time” and patted her back. She cried harder and began crawling up the side of the crib, reaching for me. Each time she crawled to stand up in the crib I gently placed her back down on the mattress and said, “shhh, it’s night night time.” The screams got louder, and she began crying even harder. I counted how many times I pulled her from the side of the crib and put her back down. 92 times. By the 93rd time, she was still crying, but she stayed on her tummy and let me rub her back. 90 minutes later, she was asleep. She did not wake back up the rest of the night.

Night Two:

I decided to bite the bullet and put her to bed “sleepy but awake”. Cringe. I fed her her bottle, but didn’t do the last bit of rocking to get her fully asleep. As expected, I put her down in the crib and her eyes popped open and she began to cry. I repeated “Shh, it’s night night time” and she lost it again. This time, it took me a little over an hour and 63 times of pulling her away from the side of the crib before she went to sleep. When she woke up a few hours later and AGAIN didn’t get taken out of the crib or given a bottle, she really lost her shit. It took me 90 minutes of patting and shushing again. But after this, she didn’t wake up again.

Night Three:

Was interesting. It still took me a while to pat her to sleep after putting her to sleep awake, but rather than pull her from the side of the crib immediately, I let her stand up a little while and cry while I sat beside her crib repeating “shh, it’s night night time”. I would pull her down occasionally, and after 45 minutes, she still was not calming down, so I left the room. 10 seconds later she started crying, so I came right in and pulled her from the side of the crib and said, “shh, it’s night night time”. I left the room again, she cried, I came in again, etc., I did this about 5 times until I finally patted her to sleep. She woke again 5 hours later with a soaking/leaking diaper which I had to change which was a definite wrench in the plan. I took her out of the crib, changed her quickly,  not saying anything, and then put her right back in the crib. This was a tough one because she thought she was coming out of the crib to be rocked, and when she was put back in the crib, she wailed. It took me 45 minutes to pat her back to sleep.

Night Four:

The interesting night. I put her to bed awake, and fully expected her to cry. She did not. Instead, when I tried to pull her from the side of the crib from standing, she calmly let me, and treated it like a game. So, I backed away from the crib and let her do her thing while I watched. If she got too riled up (and started jumping or crying) I would lay her back on her tummy repeating “Shh, it’s night nighttime’. After doing this about 20 times, I got bored, and I left the room, fully expecting cries. I checked her on the monitor and all she did was roll around in the crib and “play”. And then…wait for it….wait for it….SHE FELL ASLEEP ON HER OWN. I thought I was hallucinating. My husband couldn’t believe it. And guess what? She remained asleep for 10 HOURS.

SHE SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER!!!!!!!!

On subsequent nights of this “training”, I am now able to rock her while giving her a bottle, put her to bed sleepy, leave the room, and have her roll around in her crib for about 10 minutes to get comfortable with no more crying!!! On the rare times she does cry, it’s for about 10 seconds until she goes back to rolling around in her crib, but I don’t even need to go in and pat her anymore. She has slept through the night ever since, and I am knocking on every piece of wood available that I’m not jinxing myself.

Obviously every child will handle this type of sleep training differently, but I have to say…it’s been absolutely amazing to watch my little girl who used to wake up 4 times a night sleep through the night and put herself to sleep. I don’t think there is any such thing as a “No Cry” sleep solution, but I feel good about the way this panned out in that I was always at the side of her crib when she was crying, and was able to pat her and reassure her.

I remain cautiously optimistic, and fully prepared for this to go to shit at any moment, but after about 2 weeks of having a full night’s sleep, I am feeling soooooooooooo much better about life in general. I may just plan on dusting off my PCOS literature and seeing if I’m ready to “try” again. And by “try”, I mean what you think I mean. Like many before me, the musings of #2 are creeping up.   But more on that in another post :)

 

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