Releasing The Dreaded Bottle

At Mila’s 12-month doctor’s appointment we were told that now is the time to get Mila off the bottle. By 15 months, she should no longer have the bottle at all.

Not only was I flabbergasted by this bomb that was dropped on my reality, (add to that the fact that I’m processing the fact that my baby is now a toddler), I was also told that I wasn’t giving Mila enough calcium. I thought that eventually I would have to ween her off the bottle, so I started to drop the number of ounces I was giving her. Big mistake. I was giving her 9 ounces a day when she should have been getting 16 to 24 ounces. Whoops.

So, I’m determined to correct my error and progress my baby into toddler-hood – kicking and screaming* if need be. I gave Mila a sippy cup full of milk the first few days and she denied it. A big ol’ fat FAIL. She wouldn’t take milk out of anything but a bottle. I tried a different kind of cup, separated her cups, even – juice in sippy cups, milk in cups with straws, but still she wouldn’t bite.

Pffft to bottles!
July 26, 2012
One year, 12 days.

I upped the amount of milk I gave Mila and kept trying to get her to drink out of anything but a bottle. Then one day I cheated. I added a little chocolate powder to her milk. Holy smokes, you’d think it was golden milk! She gobbled it all up. Ok, win one mom.

Great, now I had Mila down to a sippy cup of milk in the morning and a bottle of milk at night – totaling 16 ounces, (she was also getting yogurt for breakfast and cheese snacks to add to her calcium intake). I admit, I wasn’t too anxious to get her off her nighttime bottle. It was part of our routine and I was scared of the consequences: Would she go to sleep? Would it take me an hour to get her down?

So I passed on this and at Mila’s 15 month check up, I confessed to the doctor only that she was still on her bedtime bottle. He urged Mila (uh, me) to get off the bottle completely. So starts the next phase of the dreaded bottle…

Day one: Dan attempted a sippy cup of milk at bedtime. Mila took one sip and tossed it aside. She went down to sleep easily, probably because she was so tired.

Day two: I gave Mila her final milk of the day just before dinnertime. Probably not the best idea since she didn’t eat much during dinner. I gave her a bath and when Dan went to put her to bed, I suggested reading her a book to make up for those few minutes she would have been drinking a bottle. My intention was to calm her into sleep. It seemed to have worked, (knock on wood). It wasn’t quick. It took Dan almost a half hour between reading the book and getting her to finally relax enough to drift off.

What I’ve learned is that everything leading up to this point is what really matters. Getting Mila used to falling asleep by herself really helps when you don’t have a bottle to fill her and drift her off to sleep.

Hopefully this all gets easier. The real challenge will be when Mila’s not with us and we can’t see if she’s getting a bottle of milk or juice.

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*Mila didn’t kick and scream. I did. I may still be kicking.  

Late to bed or early to rise?

Mila curled up and laid her head on the pillow next to me – all on her own – and watched TV.
May 24, 2012.
10 months, 10 days

Mila’s been all over the board when it comes to sleeping, so I asked myself the other day:

Which would you rather have, early rise with nice naps during the day or less napping and more time available at night?

I thought about this a lot. If Mila took a morning and an afternoon nap, totalling even 2-3 hours, I could actually clean parts of the house. This would mean that I would have to be in bed by 9:30 pm because she would be up at 6 am.

If Mila didnt nap much during the day, I would have tiny breaks that wouldn’t allow me to do much at all until evening, BUT I would get to sleep in…possibly.

What a dilemma, (ha! as if I could really choose). Which would you choose?

Don’t Wait!

I’m so glad we lowered Mila’s crib last month, (February 28th, really – at 7 and a half months). We didn’t want an accident and with her moving around so much and it was just a matter of time before she figured out how to sit up on her own or pull herself up and out of the crib entirely.

This morning, as is our typical routine, I got out of the shower and went into my room to dress. Mila is usually asleep still, and this morning I saw her on the monitor wake up and begin to move around. She wasn’t fussing, just moving around on her belly. I watched her as she sat herself up, (oh my goodness – that’s a first!!), leaned over, grabbed a stuffed bunny and stuck it in her mouth. She sat there, (as I sat in the other room watching), playing and talking to herself and waving to the dim and quiet room. I thought it was so cute I couldn’t tear myself away from the monitor to get ready!

When I was ready, I went into her room to get her ready. She still wasn’t crying or fussing at all – just sitting there playing. This is what I found:

My good little girl…

Sleepyhead

Mila’s 8 and a half months-old now.

Breaking The Habit

Mila never really wanted to be in our bedroom and for that, I’m thankful. At about 2 weeks-old, Mila fussed until I moved her from the little cradle next to my side of the bed into her crib. Once in her crib, she gave me no problems. I think it goes back to her not liking to be strapped or confined into anything. Either way, I’m happy that wasn’t a problem. Getting her to sleep, on the other hand…

It’s been one week since I started an attempt at breaking Mila of her sleeping habits. She’s used to getting a bath, a bottle and then being rocked to sleep before she goes into her crib. Her naps are sporadic and are usually on the couch or on us. Now that Mila rolls over very easily, we can’t just lay her on the couch and walk away.

I’ve written about it briefly before: Mila doesn’t like to nap, especially in her crib. Since last Saturday, (March 25), I’ve been trying to get her to nap in her crib or in the pack n play downstairs.

Licking the pack n play. Guess it's better than screaming!

I’ve also been trying to get her to sleep at night without rocking her. I don’t want a 7-year-old that I still have to rock to sleep!

So, I read an article about breaking sleeping habits and decided to put it to the test. First, and foremost, I had a lot of convincing to do to get my husband on the same page. His biggest offense: holding Mila while she napped. He would spend an hour or more sitting on the couch holding her while she slept. BIG no-no.

Next, I tried the crib for naps. I already have heavy curtains on the window to block the sunlight and I put on her radio, since we usually have this on at nighttime, too. I rocked her just enough to calm her down, then laid her in her crib. She, of course, cried and fussed because it wasn’t bedtime, darn-it! I soothed her for a bit, then left the room.

The hardest part with this tactic is letting her cry. She got hysterical and attempted to climb out of the crib, using her bumpers to lift herself. As a new mother and never having experienced this before, I was a little freaked out.

After 5 minutes, I came back in, soothed her and tried again. This went on so often that I finally gave up and brought her back downstairs.

Mila 1, Mom 0.

That night, I gave Mila her bottle then rocked her for just a bit while I burped her. Once she was good, I put her in her crib. She screamed, I soothed, then after 5 minutes, I left. I let her cry for 5 minutes, then came back in and soothed her. I did this, on the first night, 3 times until she finally fell asleep.

The next night, I did this routine and re-entered her room twice until she fell asleep. On the third night, I didn’t even have to go back in! I didn’t want to jinx this, so I kept the results quiet. As the days went on, I have not had to go back in to calm Mila and in fact, she’s getting to sleep faster and calmed down within 3 or 4 minutes instead of 5. I was shocked. I think she’s just so tired come 8pm that she doesn’t have the energy to fight sleep. She may cry a little after I first leave the room, but she’s asleep after only a minute or two.

Mila 1, Mom 1

On the nap front, however, we’re still working on that. Dan has gotten Mila to nap most often in her pack n play. I’m ok with that. He’s also getting her used to it by letting her play in there. She even fell asleep on her own one day!

I’m excited this is going so well and I really hope I don’t jinx it now!

Newborn Lesson #65: Schedules What?

August 25, 2011: Putting baby on a schedule allows mom to have a schedule again. You know, like bathing and sleeping and cleaning. haha

Day 2 of schedule: Mila slept a glorious 8 hours last night! Woohoo! Now, I’m adding in a scheduled nap. After her 1:45 feeding, she fell asleep…so I put her in her crib and this will now be her afternoon nap.

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Update, October 6: As mentioned in the previous post, Mila hasn’t liked this scheduled nap – no matter what time of the afternoon. You’ll see as I go along that this will become the bane of my existence.

The Start of a Schedule

August 23, 2011: We started a schedule today: feeding, bath, bed. By 9pm. Lets see how this works…

August 20 - 1 month, 6 days

Update, October 6: This routine is still going strong! It gets adjusted according to Mila’s daily feeding schedule and in recent weeks, she’s actually been in bed before 8:30. The one important thing I keep telling Dan (and reminding myself) is that Mila still determines the schedule – we have to be flexible and stick to the routine.

We’ve tried many times to add in a scheduled nap in the afternoon, to no avail. The bedtime schedule though, has really stuck.