May 22, 2013

5 Months Old!

I totally forgot to write on Andrew's 5 month birthday- oops.  So here it is, a little late.

5 months.  I can't even believe it.  My little man is so big!  About 16 lbs. and wearing 3-6 month clothing.

Andrew is sleeping through the night!  And I mean all the way though the night!  We usually start the bedtime routine (nurse, bath, bedtime songs, sleep) around 6:30-7:00pm and he's up for the day around 7:00am, sometimes even later.  It is amazing.

He is definitely learning to crawl.  He can do what I call the inchworm crawl, and he can actually make it pretty far.  His favorite incentive (to crawl) is our cable remote.  Probably because it's black with white buttons, and it's a nice contrast from our light carpet.

Andrew has mastered his sound machine.  We keep it in the corner of his crib and use the rain sound effect.  When he wakes up he immediately crawls over to it and messes with the volume dial and changes the sound to thunder or the ocean.  I love listening to him play with it before I go in and get him.

He has really discovered his voice.  When he is playing (or just in a good mood) Andrew will babble and make a screeching sound.  It's SO loud but so cute too.

Andrew loves to stand up so we decided to buy him a jumper.  He loves it.  Now he can play while standing and we don't have to be helping him 100% of the time.

So far Andrew has tried rice cereal, carrot puree, and peach puree.  His favorite is the rice cereal so far.  He likes the peach too, but I think the flavor is a little strong for him.  And he hates the carrots.  We tone down both the carrots and peaches with rice cereal and then he likes it.

He really is a happy baby, despite his lack of smiling in most of these pictures...

New things for Andrew this month:
Inchworm Crawling
Forward-facing in the stroller
Sleeping though the night
Solid foods

May 14, 2013

Rocking Chair Redo

A few years ago, I bought a glider rocking chair and ottoman off of Craigslist.  It was only $10!  The fabric was worn and old, but it worked just fine.
Remember this?  Worn out green fabric and a lumpy/flat seat cushion.
When I was getting Andrew's room ready for his arrival, I came up with a plan for the glider.  I was going to recover the cushions with much better/cleaner/newer/prettier fabric!  As I thought about it though, I realized that I needed help.  I also realized that the seat cushion needed to be replaced completely- it was just so flattened and flimsy.  Also, I didn't think my sewing machine would be able to handle sewing through the foam on the back cushion.  And I needed a staple gun.

Well, it just didn't happen before Andrew was born.  In March, there was a sale on home decor fabrics so I went fabric shopping with my mom and sis-in-law while Aaron, Austin, and my dad stayed home with the kids.  We found the perfect one for my glider and it was super cheap too- if I remember correctly it was under $30 total.

Over General Conference weekend, my mom and I tackled the project.  We ended up buying new foam for the seat, as well as some more foam to supplement the back.  We also decided not to sew though the foam, like it had been on the old cover.  Anyway, we finished the cushions that weekend, so all I had to do was make straps with velcro for fastening the cushions to the chair, and the ottoman.  I borrowed Dad's staple gun and brought everything home to finish up.

Well it took me a few weeks.  I decided to make the straps by hand because I didn't want the hassle of getting out my sewing machine for such a quick job.  It turned out to be not such a quick job because of it.  Sewing by hand takes a long time!  But finally I finished the chair, after watching a lot of Netflix during Andrew's naps while sewing with a needle and thread.

I was always afraid to use the staple gun while Andrew was asleep- I didn't want to wake him up and that seemed to be the only time I had to work on projects like this.  Eventually I sucked it up and did the ottoman after he was in bed for the night.  I listened carefully to the monitor for the first few staples, but he didn't stir at all.

So FINALLY my project is done- just in time for me to not need it in the middle of the night anymore...  of course.  I still use it occasionally, but most of the time during the day I nurse Andrew in the living room.  Oh well, it is much more comfortable now and much more attractive too!

Total cost for this project: about $55 for chair, fabric, and foam.  I already had the velcro and thread, and I borrowed the staple gun and my mom's skills :)  I think that's pretty great, considering these chairs go for over $100 new.  And I even have a bunch of fabric left over, so I think I'll be making some throw pillows, or maybe a big floor pillow to match.

May 1, 2013

Our Sleep Solution

Ah, sweet sleep!

I have always loved sleep, but I have never appreciated it as much as I do now.  When I was younger, I had a lot more energy and (somehow) survived on 5-6 hours of sleep per night.  When I was pregnant, I had already quit my job and had the luxury of taking a nap whenever I got tired.  No big deal.

And then we had a baby.

To be honest, the first month or two were actually really easy, in terms of night sleep.  Andrew would wake up pretty often to eat.  But once we were in bed for the night, he would come into our bed too, as soon as he woke up that first time to eat.  It was super easy to nurse him in bed and fall back asleep. And because I was nursing him back to sleep, we usually wouldn't even get up for the day until around 9:00am!  Co-sleeping was wonderful!

We eventually decided that it was time for him to move into his own room.  He was getting close to the weight limit on his bassinet and Aaron and I were ready to have our room back.  We had never planned to co-sleep, and we had only planned on Andrew being in our room for a couple of months in the bassinet anyway.  Poor Aaron had a hard time getting ready for work in the mornings because he was afraid of waking the baby, and we were both ready to be rid of the diaper smell that had taken over the room.

We started with naps to get Andrew used to his crib.  I still nursed him to sleep, but Andrew was only napping for 30 minutes at a time.  After a couple weeks of napping in the crib, we decided to move him at night.

He had no problems being in his crib.  Hallelujah!  The issue was that he kept waking up every couple hours just like he had when he was in our bed, but now I had to get up, stumble to Andrew's room in the dark, feed him, and then hope he didn't wake up again as I put him back in his crib.  And no more nursing him back to sleep in the mornings either, so my day started two hours earlier.

I was a bit of a zombie.  And I couldn't take naps either, since Andrew's naps were so short.  It was rough.

So I checked some books out of the library and we got started with sleep training.

Step 1- Stop nursing to sleep.
  • We used the Baby Whisperer method (mostly) to accomplish this.  I can't handle cry it out (CIO) methods, and I knew that from the beginning.  So this one fit the bill.  The basic idea is that you comfort the baby and as soon as he calms down, you put him back in his crib to go to sleep.  If he cries, you pick him back up, comfort him, put him back down.  You repeat this as long as it takes for the baby to get the idea.  (The book says not to bounce or rock the baby- only shh and pat them on the back, but I find that a little bouncing goes a long way and I don't mind bouncing him for a couple minutes.)  I think it took us about 40 minutes the first night, 25 minutes the next night, and 10-15 minutes for a few nights after that.  Now if I get the timing right, it takes less than 5 minutes to put him down for a nap and I don't have to pick him up once I put him down.
Step 2- Lengthen nap times.
  • I didn't do anything here.  Once he started being able to fall asleep on his own, he started taking one long nap (2 hours) pretty much every day. His other naps were still only 30 minutes, but at least he got that one good nap and I got one break during the day.  Now he usually takes 2 longer naps and a couple short ones.  He's still working on this one, but he's starting to get more consistent.
Step 3- Eliminate night feeds.
  • This change was pretty recent.  At Andrew's 4 month pediatrician visit, the doctor told us that he (based on age and weight) should easily be able to sleep for 12 hours without getting up to eat.  I was still feeding him when he woke up twice a night and she told me how much happier we would all be if we could stop those feedings.  So we went back to the Baby Whisperer who says that you can basically eliminate extra night feeds by giving them a pacifier instead of a bottle or breast.  She also recommends doing a dream feed (you feed the baby in his sleep around 10:00-11:00pm) to help them last through the night.  Well, even with the dream feed, Andrew was waking up and crying for me twice in the night.  So that was a fail.  Andrew stopped taking a pacifier even before we started all of this sleep training so that definitely didn't work.  Another fail.  So we tried the pick-up/put-down that had worked so well before.  But he never calmed down.  We tried this for 3 nights, and each time we were up for several hours with a baby who wouldn't calm down because he knew he wanted to eat.  We were even more exhausted and so was Andrew.  And I was an emotional wreck.
  • We switched gears.  I knew I didn't want to do cry it out, but it couldn't possibly be worse than being in there with him while he wailed.  So I did a dream feed.  We went to bed.  When he woke up, I knew he couldn't really be hungry because I had given him the dream feed.  We turned off the baby monitor and set a timer for 30 minutes.  If Andrew was still crying when the timer rang, I was going to go in there and comfort or feed him.  But when we turned the monitor back on, there was no crying!  I sent Aaron in to check on him but Andrew was asleep, safe and sound.  It happened one more time that night with the same result.  The next night he woke up once, and stopped crying sometime before the 30 minutes was up.  The third night he woke up once, let out a single cry and went back to sleep.  Not even enough time for me to set the timer and turn off the monitor.  And ever since then, I've been sleeping through the night!  I've even stopped doing a dream feed, and he still sleeps until at least 7:00am.
People keep asking me, "How is he sleeping?  Are you getting any sleep?"  Now I can finally smile and answer that yes- we are all sleeping!  And what a happy family we are because of it!