Monday, May 28, 2012

Time to sleep when baby sleeps. For real.

 Sometimes, I think I get so busy and wrapped up in the things I 'have' to do, I make myself believe that I simply don't have time to take care of myself completely. I can't do five minutes of something calming, I have to do the dishes. I can't stop and enjoy the moment right now, I am in the middle of doing something. I can't sleep when baby sleeps, That's the only time I have to get stuff done, or put my feet up. I am so silly sometimes!

 I tend to mix up things that are actually relaxing, rejuvenating, and over all better for my well being, with things that let my mind turn to mush. For example, when I get downtime in a day I tend spend it doing things like checking social media or watching mindless television. My body might be resting, but my mind is processing and thinking and generally just doing a whole lot of not so relaxing stuff.

Today, however, I took the time to actually relax. I took a nap. I slept when my baby slept. Now, napping isn't that extremely rare. Sometimes, this mama gets tired... really tired, and when I am at the point where I can  hardly get my but off the couch or speak proper English, I give in and collapse in an exhausted heap while Cody takes over for me. When I wake thirty minutes to an hour later, I don`t feel extremely well rested. Sure I`m not as close to walking into walls, but I am typically sort of cranky, lethargic, and bummed that I only got to sleep an hour and not a full nights worth of rest. That`s why I try and avoid napping and just try to tough it out until bed time. Back to today though, Mackynzie had been napping for about an hour while I read a book. I felt the familiar drowsy feeling wash over me (a feeling I would usually shake off and go on. Often due to being distracted on my phone or watching something.), and I was about to brush it off, when I stopped to think about it. Could I use a nap? Always. Was I doing something that was extremely important and could not be left for any period of time? Of course not. Having just been reading and my mind being far more relaxed than if I were doing something of the usual, I was more in tune with myself and my instincts (amazing what taking a technology break can do.) I really wanted to just snuggle my baby, so I decided I would go upstairs to do just that. I doubted I would sleep, but I figured just resting in bed would be beneficial. I crawled in beside her, snuggled her close, and closed my eyes. When I awoke, I looked at my  little girl smiling and stretching at me and thought it must have been at least an hour later! I felt like I had solidly slept for two hours! When we did everything that is needed to get out of bed and go downstairs, I was extremely surprised that only a half hour had passed. Clearly, I needed to take advantage of when my body started to show signs of sleepiness more often.

 For me, it is really hard to pry myself away from whatever I am doing and meet by basic needs sometimes. I have programmed myself to just ignore my body and push through for so many years, I have forgotten what it's like to respond and care for myself. That one is an odd realization.  Caring for everyone else, and then discovering you have been neglecting your own needs. Especially when I had thought I was taking care of myself. In reality, I was just cheating my way around it. Shoving all my stuff in the closet and shutting the door if you will. I did my hair sort of, I got dressed, I ate food, I showered, I went to bed eventually... That was all I needed, right? Well let's just say It's a work in progress, but my eyes have been opened to the fact that it's time to cut it out and take care of myself for real.I am no good to anyone if I am only sliding by.

 And with that, I think I will crawl into bed for some beauty  body sleep.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What's This? A Quiet House?

  We just had a wonderful play date with two super cute little friends and their mama. Now, Cody and Mackynzie are at music class together (without mama!). It feels really weird to have a quiet house... This is the second time Mackynzie and I have been apart for a period of time the first being a hair appointment a couple months ago. I love to see her and Cody together, and I am really glad we get to do things like this. It fills my heart and calms me to not have an ounce of anxiety about her leaving me. I thought maybe some of the people who have had comments about how we will never be able to leave each other, and how we will be mentally destroyed yada yada, could maybe be right and I would freak out or something.  Not to worry though.   They left smiling and giggling, and I retreated to the couch to an evening of a book and a yummy snack!

 A friend just brought over Beyond the sling, written by Mayim Bialik for me to read. I'm super excited. I have heard nothing but wonderful things about it, and the more I find out about her, the more I like her! 

Has anyone read this? What did you think?

If you would like to keep in touch with me and see what I am up to, you can follow me on twitter here, and on instagram (just search 'rainbowmiller').

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Our Journey Into Night Weaning: Night 7

If you haven't already, you can read about our decision to night wean 19 month old Mackynzie, with Dr. Jay Gordon's method of changing sleep patterns in the family bed,  and how night 1night 2night 3, night 4,  night 5, and night 6 went.

 Night 7 was good. It was not as good as night 6, but it was still good.

Mackynzie went to bed easily at about 8:15. I went to bed around 10:30. She woke up twice during the night, but only needed me to lay her back down and she rolled over and went to sleep. Nothing more, that was that. She woke up shortly after 6am, and after nursing she slept until close to 8.

This morning, we did our usual Saturday morning thing; going to the bakery for breakfast and then we stopped at the library to get cards. We hit the grocery store before heading home. We were all well rested and happy. This is so nice.

Night weaning was a really good idea for our family. I am really glad I just went with my gut and we did our own thing, instead of worrying about how anyone else felt about us doing what we needed to do.

We are going to keep doing what we have been doing, and I will come back for a one month update on how everything has gone/is going.

 I never imagined something like night weaning could have such an impact on our lives, but it has. I am very grateful for this experience.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Our Journey Into Night Weaning: Night 6

 Continuing with our decision to night wean 19 month old Mackynzie, with Dr. Jay Gordon's method of changing sleep patterns in the family bed, we are now on night 6 (about to go on to night 7 tonight.). You can read about night 1, night 2, night 3, night 4, and night 5.

 Oh night 6... You surprising, wonderful night, you...

If you have been keeping up with our night weaning experience, you will know that yesterday I was concerned about how night 6 would go. Mackynzie had had a really late nap (she didn't wake up until 3:30pm and she usually has her nap around 10:30am.) and before all this, that meant bed time was basically going to be a big flop.

 It actually went quite well! She was sleeping by something like 8:30, and didn't wake at all between the time she went to bed and I went to sleep. I even had to change her entire outfit, and the bed because she was sleeping so heavily she had an accident. She hardly flinched with me moving her around and even sitting her up to change her shirt! I came to bed later then usual, at around 11pm, and had a hard time falling asleep. Go figure. She sleeps like a log and I am restless... haha  I think I fell asleep somewhere between 11:30 and midnight, sort of dreading the thought that she would most likely be up in an hour or so and i was so tired. I laid my hand on her chest to make sure she was still breathing ( Yes, sometimes I am still ridiculous like that.) and must have closed my eyes, because that's all I remember. She woke up calmly and sat up and made some random noises to get my attention. When I opened my eyes, I was surprised to see it was very light out through the blinds. I glanced at the clock and had to do a double take. It was 6:38! We slept through the night! For the very first time in our entire life together! I asked her If she would like to nurse then, and she giggled and said 'ya!' with a little bounce. She cuddled against me and nursed. We had done this every morning since she was born, but this time felt different. She rubbed my belly and chest, and unlatched to smile at me a couple times. I combed my fingers through her hair and made humming noises at her. Maybe it is because I am finally getting some sleep, that I can now fully appreciate this, but I felt like our relationship had grown stronger, and onto its next chapter. I didn't have the itchy, icky feeling I had been getting so many times before when we nursed. I was just enjoying her in that moment, and she was enjoying me. Everything felt right again and the past few weeks of us feeling disconnected through all the chaos that our life has been, felt as though it had never existed. I watched her in that moment and breathed a heavy sigh of relief. We weren't lost. I wasn't a bad mom who was loosing her daughter already. Though our bond had always been there, it was stronger than ever now. It is stronger than ever. And it's this beautiful new chapter of our relationship, where she is expressing her feelings and love right back to me, in ways besides nursing.

I feel good.

She fell asleep again, and we slept until about 7:45-8am. We woke up and started our day with a really great fresh start.  Tonight might be the complete opposite of last night, who knows. But that doesn't matter. We needed that night and we got it. Things are getting better and we are sure to have some less than perfect nights ahead, but I bet we will have some pretty great ones too.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Our Night Weaning Journey: Night 5

 Night 5 already?! It Feels like we just started this journey, but at the same time, it feels so normal it's like we have been doing this forever.

 Don't misinterpret that last statement as 'this is going so smoothly it feels like air' or anything crazy like that. No, it has not been completely smooth sailing thus far. Take night 5 for example, last night was a little more like our nights before we started night weaning 19 month old Mackynzie.

 Bedtime went smoothly. We did our routine as usual, had a good walk together (we even got caught in the rain), and she went to sleep at about eight o'clock. I went to bed at 10:30, and was hoping for another one-night wake up. She ended up waking up 3 times, with one potty break. The last wake up at about 5am was probably the most challenging. She was really angry with me this morning and was trying to flop off the bed.  Picture me lunging around trying to prevent her from flying off the bed into the miscellaneous objects that have yet to be unpacked... While half asleep... Not much fun. I finally got her to settle by laying her on my chest, but the goal of these next few days is to lay her down awake, so every time I would lay her down she would freak out again. She fell asleep a few times, but would wake only a few minutes later and we would have to start from square one. This went on until 6, when I nursed her and she fell asleep. When I tried to put her down (At this point, I was pretty eager to get my last little bit of sleep.) I couldn't. she would clench up and suction her little body against mine. I waited until she was more soundly asleep, and was able to lay her beside me. She ended up sleeping until 9am, so that was a perk.
 It WAS really hot yesterday, so our house was uncomfortably warm at bedtime. I am thinking that could have had something to do with the extra wake ups.

She woke happy, but because of the late wake up, she wasn't tired for her usual 10-11am nap. A friend of mine came over to visit for the day, so she wound up passing out at the breast at about 2pm, and sleeping on the couch until I woke her at 3:30.  I am a little nervous for tonight because of the late sleeping, but she didn't go to bed too difficultly. It took me about 20-30 mins to settle her and nurse her to sleep. I will be heading to bed in an hour or so, so I guess we will all know tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Our Night Weaning Journey: Night 4

We survived the transition into the second set of 3 nights! It actually went quite well!

She went to bed fairly easy and Cody went to bed about half an hour before her, so I got a nice evening to myself. I didn't even let myself clean haha. The dogs woke her up around 9:30, but she went back to sleep quickly at the breast.  I went to bed at about 10:30. When she woke me up, I was shocked to see that it was around 5:10am. She has never slept that long without waking. Ever. She wanted to nurse and got a little upset and smacked away the cup of water I offered, but once she calmed down and I told her she only had to sleep a little more before she could have 'boobie' she went back to sleep. It probably took maybe 15 minutes. Maybe. She woke up again around 6:30 (I only glanced at the clock.), nursed, and went back to sleep until approximately 7:45.

It. Was. Glorious.

I woke up feeling refreshed and happy, and it was obvious that she was in a better mood too. We woke up smiling and giggling with each other, then went downstairs for breakfast.

I thought that last night would be the worst night, but maybe these next three nights wont be so bad after all?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Our Journey Into Night Weaning: Night 3

For some odd reason, I am having a really hard time remembering last night. I have no idea why. Maybe it's because we had a busy day and I was really tired when i went to bed, so my memory of last night is just heavy with sleep.

We woke up from night 2 and scurried around to get ready to spend the day at the zoo with friends. It was a hot day, and it was also our first time going with no carrier or stroller. Mackynzie is now old enough to walk the zoo on her own (when did that happen?). When we got home, we had lots to keep us busy and with the dogs being home alone all day, they needed a big walk in the evening. Mackynzie didn't get her typical morning nap, but she slept in the car both ways. All of those things combined left one tired little girl come bed time. Over tired. To the point where she didn't think she was tired anymore.

After doing our night time thing, I brought her into bed after I read her some stories (Cody had a really hard day at work, so he went to bed at about 6. that didn't help because when she couldn't get comfortable she wanted him to come help her.). I nursed her, but she just couldn't settle. we spent an hour switching from breast to almond milk, rubbing and massaging her back and feet, laying in every possible direction and position on the bed, moving to her own bed, moving back to our bed where she finally said yes to nursing and fell asleep. For the past few weeks (before the move) she has been saying no to nursing sometimes, when I offer at her usual nursing times. Last night was the first night (as far as I can remember) that she had said no to nursing at bed time after her first session. Cody woke up to grab something to eat, we talked for a couple minutes and I went to bed a couple minutes before 11pm.

 I don't remember looking at the time when she woke up, but i assume it was between 12:30 and 3am. from what remember, she woke up kind of grumpy, and got pretty mad when she asked, and I said "boobies all done.".  After refusing water or cuddles for a couple of minutes, she drank some water and I was able to bounce her back to sleep on my chest within what I can only assume was about 20 minutes. She woke shortly after 6am again, and nursed back to sleep until about 6:45, when she nursed again and then woke up.

  Not a bad night. I think we were both just really tired from our long day and we also got a lot of sun, so when bedtime came, we slept really solidly, but at the same time it wasn't the most restful sleep. I am tired today. Its one of those heavy tired's though. Like when you fall into a solid dreamless sleep and wake up feeling like you are wearing body weights.

The first 3 nights have past, and we are on to the next set of 3 nights. Honestly, I am a bit nervous for tonight. Part of me is confident though, since I haven't had to nurse her at all during her night wakings, so that's just one less thing to remove tonight. All in all, I am just planning to go enjoy the beautiful day ahead and the hot weather, and take advantage of the amount of sleep i have had under my belt from the past three nights.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Our Journey Into Night Weaning: Night 2

 After night one of our night weaning journey, I had a sneaking suspicion that the one wake up was a fluke, and I would be paying for it on night 2.

 Well, I was wrong. Which leaves me more suspicious, because there is no way I can actually be this lucky is there? Or is It because I have been so sleep deprived that any amount of extra sleep at this point is leaving me thinking I've struck gold? I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Night 2 went well. Better than night 1 even. Here's the break down:

 We went out for dinner with our family for mother's day at 6:15pm (A perfect example of us needing to be flexible with our schedule. We like to keep dinner between 5:15 and 6pm.). It was really busy due to the holiday, so service was slow, and we weren't home until about 7:45. We decided that since our routine was still new, we would keep to it despite the time. We put Mackynzie in the bath as soon as we were home, quickly got her ready for bed, so Cody and her could sit down with a story and her almond milk. I took her to bed to nurse her and I am pretty sure she was asleep by about 8:30.

  Cody and I parted ways and I crawled into bed at about 10:30. Mackynzie was fast asleep, I had a dog snuggled at my feet and I quickly drifted off. At about 12:30-12:45 Mackynzie woke up coughing a bit (she is getting the rest of her teeth, so when she teethes she gets a horrible runny/plugged nose which makes her couch at night sometimes.) So I went downstairs to to grab her a drink of water (normally I keep a water for myself, and Mackynzie on the night stand, but i forgot.). She met me at the stairs as I was going up, so I carried her with me back to bed. She drank her water thirstily, then let me lay her on my chest. She sat up and asked for 'boobie' and again, I responded with 'boobies all done.'. She whined a tiny bit but laid back on my chest and was asleep within a minute or so. I say the entire episode lasted 10 minutes tops.

The next time she woke me up, it was 5:50am. She asked for 'boobies' but since it was not yet 6 am (the hour we chose to end.) I cuddled her instead. She fussed for a minute, but flopped down and laid still. At 6am, she was still awake (we are early birds, so we wake up for the day between 6 and 7.) and I knew she was up for the day. I asked her if she would like to have 'boobies' and her little face lit up while she exclaimed 'Yes!' and clapped her hands. We nursed for about 20 minutes and were soon joined by Cody who gave us each a kiss goodbye.

This morning I woke up with more energy then I can ever remember waking up with. It was glorious. Perfect timing too, because we had a full day at the zoo!

Our Journey Into Night Weaning: Night 1

Yesterday, I talked about how we have decided to night wean 19 month old Mackynzie, using Dr. Jay Gordons method on changing sleeping patterns in the family bed in this post. This is how our first night went.

 I prepared myself for a long night.  I fully expected to get very little sleep, and braced myself for the possibility of a mama-baby melt down. Much to my surprise, it didn't go horribly.

 We got Mackynzie down at about 8pm, and I crawled into bed a little after 10:30. When she woke up for the first time, I glanced at the clock and was surprised to see it was already 2:30 (Of course, the night we are prepared for an all-nighter she sleeps, right?). I laid her on my chest and she imidiately asked for 'boobies'. I told her 'boobies all done.' and laid her back on my chest. She cried a little, but laid down anyway. She moved on and off my chest for a little bit, and I rubbed her back while she laid on her pillow. This went on for what I can only assume was 40mins to an hour, at which point she fell asleep and so did I. She didn't wake again until 6:38. I nursed her then, and she feel back to sleep until 8am.

I woke feeling much more rested than I have felt in quite some time. It made me both hopeful and cautious of night 2.

We didn't just decide to do this and wing it. We did have a plan, and made some preparations to ready all of us.

The Plan

 After talking about it for a bit, we decided it would be best for us if Cody slept downstairs (Don't worry, he wasnt banished to an uncomfortable couch.) and I took on the first couple of nights on my own. Then when I felt like Mackynzie was doing well, Cody would come back to the bed and we would both take on comforting her if need be. We mainly decided to do it this way because Cody has to be up for work early in the morning, and deals with machinery at work that would be unsafe to operate without a good nights sleep. We also decided that the most important 7 hours for us was between 11pm and 6am. That way, it flowed well with our natural sleep and wake up times. Mackynzie and I are early birds, so we wake anytime between 6 and 7.

The Preparations

 We have always known our bedtime routine wasn't the strongest (it wasn't the weakest either.), especially with the last month or so being super busy due to our move. So naturally, the first preparation we were going to make was defining our bedtime routine. We figured out what made sense, how our nights typically go, and developed a routine from that. We now start the bed time preparations with dinner, which is between 5:15 and 6pm (Flexibility is important for our family, because we often have things come up, or have evening activities, so a wide time frame is what we need.) We do our best to make sure Mackynzie eats a high healthy fat, high calorie meal to try to help her sleep a bit better. Right after dinner and clean up, we take the dogs for their walk (If Mackynzie didn't eat much dinner, she takes a snack and some water with her on the walk.), which is typically a half hour. After our walk its bath time, which we keep in the time frame of 6:30 and 7:30pm. Bath time is followed by stories with Cody and a cup of almond milk between 7:30-8pm. Finally, at 8pm, I take Mackynzie into bed and nurse her to sleep.

 I think our new schedule has helped a tone already. Not just for Mackynzie, either! We are much more productive in the evenings now and my stress level for little things like having the house clean for the night, has been greatly reduced.

Back to night one though, I am skeptical. It was so much less than what we had both anticipated. Like when you're watching a suspenseful movie and you're sure the bad guy is about to pop out but he doesn't... Maybe it was a random fluke, or maybe this is just the right time and we are on the right track. Too bad we can't whip out that trusty parenting manual.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Longing For Sleep

 You can read about how the nights following this post went here, with  night 1night 2night 3, night 4 night 5,  night 6, and night 7

 I am tired. Seriously tired. downright crazy exhausted. It has been this way for a while and the thought of being well-rested seams like a far away dream. A very far dream, since you need sleep to dream.

  Our nights start off with me nursing Mackynzie to sleep, then laying her either in our bed or her bed (until the move, her bed has always been beside ours. It's currently in 'her room' until we get things organized.). Our bed time routine is casual, but pretty solid and it has worked well for us at bed time. Staying asleep, however, is another story. Mackynzie still nurses throughout the night and wakes often to do so. In fact, she would be happy to just stay on the breast all night and have that be that. Night nursing is getting hard though. I have never been one of those people who can latch baby, close their eyes and go right back to sleep. I am lucky if I doze off lightly for a few minutes. It also becomes extremely uncomfortable to nurse in the night time position. My back aches and clenches and I start getting a claustrophobic, panicky, itchy feeling. But she insists on nursing several times per night, even though she is hardly suckling, and most definitely not drinking milk. This routine has resulted in a very tired mama.

 We have tried a few things that are in our comfort zone, like having her in her own space, in her own room, giving her a drink before bed, giving her a snack right before bed, tiring her out like mad, and many others. Some nights seemed like things may start to shift, and we would be sleeping soundly soon. It wouldn't take long for things to go back to normal again, though, and for us to realize our longer stretches of sleep had been from factors outside our normal routine.

 I am finding myself often stumbling through my days. Not paying enough attention to conversations to catch even the last sentence. Unable to muster up enough energy to do simple things like go to the park or take the dogs for a walk. My creativity has flown out the window. I have a sad amount of patience. And admittedly, I have found myself to be cranky and irritable. That last one really bothers me. Mackynzie has been tired too, and often joining me on the cranky bus due to lack of rest.

 Night weaning has come up in the past. We gave it a gentle try, but it didn't feel right, so we stopped.  I know saying something doesn't 'feel' right is a very unscientific term, but we believe very deeply that our instincts need to be what drives our family, so we can do what is right for us.

 Mackynzie is 19 months old now. She is showing some major signs of being ready, and everything feels right now. It's not an uncomfortable thought anymore, and neither Cody nor I leave a conversation about it with feelings of guilt or uncertainty. Since first thinking about it, we had been looking at different ways to go about this delicate process. I had been introduced to an article some time ago, when night weaning was a far off thought, by Dr. Jay Gordon. I loved his gentle, yet honest approach, and how his methods really matched well with our beliefs to respect our baby's night time needs.
  While heavily considering night weaning again with Cody, I sought out to find his article, and read it with a mind that was now ready to absorb and consider it's information, seeing as we were in a place that it was instinctively comfortable for us.

We talked it out, laid out our goals, concerns, and anything else we were unsure of, and decided that this was the right method for us, and that we would give it a try.

 Tonight, we begin night 2. I have every intention to share this journey, and will go over night 1 shortly. I can't say that some nights may not be a one word post, but I will do my best. We really need sleep. I am hoping that with this experience, we can bring back our normal selves and get things back on track.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Did we move yet? ...Nope...

 It rained last weekend. A lot. So our move got postponed to this weekend. I am actually thankful for the date switch, because if you were reading before, we had nothing packed! Now, we are almost completely packed and ready to go. It hasn't really hit me yet, but i am expecting that it will, and I will probably cry like a big baby.

We had a garage sale 2 weeks ago though, and got rid of literally half of our belongings, so there really isn't that much to move. I can't tell you how nice that is!

 There are so many things going on, I can't wait until we are just in our new place, and can start getting our routines back, and just relax!

 I swear I have more to update, I am just going to attempt to write them all in smaller posts so its not so random haha. Don't worry, family, we are not ignoring you!