Lesson #141: Parenting is Hard on The Knees

The other day I fell over a baby gate attempting to climb over it and get into the next room. Yup, smack! Right on my knees. I assure you it was no laughing matter, however it must have looked great because my cousin wouldn’t stop laughing.

Since my knees are now all beat up, I notice every time I use them or am on them: giving Mila a bath, rocking her to sleep, sitting her on my lap and trott-trott-trotting, crawling on the floor chasing her, kneeling down to play with her, and so on, you get the picture.

Lesson #117: UhUhUhUh, Staying Alive!

Having a baby makes you a dancer. For better or worse, you’ll dance: when you have your baby in your arms and a good song comes on the radio or when you look down and your baby’s reaching up to you, you grab her hands and swing her around or…

When you’re ever so quietly attempting to exit her room, backwards, while she lays peacefully almost asleep in her crib. You reach back with one leg, crossing over the other leg, keeping your knees bent as you gently place your foot over the spot where you think the floor creeks. Repeat until you’re in the doorway slowly pulling the door closed in front of you, being ever so careful not to make any noise as you click the latch into place. Then you step away from the door – in the same manner – and walk down the hallway and down the stairs avoiding every spot of the hardwood floor that squeals in rebellion to your weight shifting from step to step; gently placing your feet on parts of the steps that aren’t normally  walked upon, until you reach the bottom and sigh with relief.

And after all of this, only to have your baby shuffle, roll over and scream her head off. So, you turn around, walk up the steps lightly and do it all again.

The Music of Sleep. Or, The Sleep of Music.

“You might just as well say,” added the Dormouse, which seemed to be talking in its sleep, “that ‘I breathe when I sleep’ is the same thing as ‘I sleep when I breathe’!”*

August 16, 2011.
1 month, 2 days.

While in the womb, it’s been said that music has a wonderful, calming effect on a baby. Studies have made connections between brain development and music, dubbing this as the “Mozart Effect”. There are critics for everything you go searching for, so I’ll just tell you my results. (Dan thinks it’s hogwash that if you play Mozart, your baby will be smart, however, he kept urging Mozart for my baby playlist.)

I made a playlist of different music, (all mellow sounds), and played it to Mila by placing headphone speakers to my belly, every night as I lay reaching for sleep. Most of the time, this playlist put me to sleep. I mixed happy songs and sad songs, since I figured it didn’t much matter since she didn’t know the words. It’s the vibrations that become the baby’s lullaby.

Fisher-Price World Baby
Peaceful Celtic Lullabies

Once Mila arrived, I played this playlist on repeat throughout the night and it seemed to send her into a calm and restful sleep.  When the CD no longer worked, (I’m noticing a trend here with Mila boring of things), I switched it with this — a CD I was given by a friend. –>

I instantly fell in love with this CD. And so did Mila.

To keep things interesting – and Mila to sleep – I would switch between this CD and my original playlist. At some point Dan put the country music station on and we added a third to the mix. It never fails – when Mila is fussy and wont sleep, I change the style of music and it really does help her drift off to sleep.

We have a few other CDs in this collection but they don’t seem to do the trick the way this one does. I highly recommend this to mothers of newborns – or even to those playing music to their unborn child. And definitely, for your sake, keep a radio/CD player in the nursery. The music helps drown out other noise in the house and it gets baby used to sleeping through noise.

August 20, 2011.
1 month, 6 days.

Another item I found very useful at getting Mila to sleep is the glow seahorse or some variation of that. I used this when Mila was really little and actually just started using it again. There are nights that Mila just refuses to close her eyes. The light from this distracts her, gives her something to focus on and between the glow and the song, she falls asleep in no time.

*Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, (1865).

Don’t ask me what any of that had to do with this – I just liked the quote.

Lesson #96: A Long Lost Post

This was originally “newborn lesson #7”. It got lost, so now it’s 89 lessons later.

June 5, 2012
Sleeping in daddy’s arms.

“Sleep when the baby sleeps” is a crock! I can’t fall asleep on demand or have an hour worth of sleep do anything but make me cranky for more. I just learned to go to bed earlier and work with what sleep I actually got.

 

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!

The “Aww” Moments

From the time I went back to work up to just a couple of weeks ago, I’ve had to cradle Mila in my arms to put her to sleep. She used to lay on my chest and fall right to sleep. When it was no longer just me watching Mila, I guess it was easier for others to cradle her. And that’s how it went…

Not too long ago, I gave Mila her bedtime bottle and lifted her up to burp her on my chest, (something I always do before cradling her down and rocking her). She instantly laid her head sideways on my shoulder and fell asleep. Needless to say, I ate it up. I loved and savored every moment thinking it wouldn’t come soon again. I was wrong. For the last two weeks, I have rocked Mila in this fashion and she’s fallen right to sleep. Hopefully writing about this won’t jinx it.

Tonight, before I could even get Mila up to burp her, her head bobbled over and plopped on my chest. Poor baby was exhausted! It didn’t take long to get a burp and for her to fall asleep on my shoulder. I can only hope this lasts a while longer, because I’m a happy mama!