Monday, February 25, 2013

Brielle's Development [1 Month Old]

Sweet baby girl is already 1 month old! Of course, time is flying... but I'm enjoying her and soaking up every minute with her. I'm so thankful that Sophie is transitioning so well to having a little sister!

So let's be honest... babies really don't do much in their first month other than eat and sleep, so there's not too much to note in the development category. She was 8lb 1oz and 21 inches long at her 3.5 week appointment, so she's gained some but is still a little peanut. She got her first bath, but that's not development- I do have to mention that she likes her baths much better than Sophie did as a baby, so I'm thankful for that!

She also has smiled a few times, but I haven't gotten any pictures of it yet, so I'll just post a picture of her sleepy smile because that's pretty cute too :)

She also is strong like Sophie was and has been lifting her head since the day she came home. If you hold her on your shoulder, she'll throw her head back a lot, so I have to be careful. She also turns her head from side to side during tummy time.

Otherwise, she is an excellent eater and nurses like a champ. She sleeps good at night and has consistently just been waking up once in the night to eat. She doesn't care for her car seat too much, but she does like to sit in our little rocker. Thankful that God has given us this little girl :)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mothering the Second Time Around: What I've Learned about Sleep

I read. I like to read. I like to be informed. So therefore, when it's time for me to do something new... something important... I read a lot. Motherhood was definitely not the exception. So before I had Sophie, I read books (or online material) on about every different subject to do with motherhood: Natural birth, breastfeeding, cloth diapers, sleep training, vaccinations, starting solids, discipline... Do you believe me now? I seriously covered all of my bases before I even had a baby in my arms. I probably overdid it, but at the same time, I hate to be ignorant on subjects that I have a choice to not be ignorant on.

All of that to say, while I DID read a ton, I didn't have all of the answers. I still felt overwhelmed many times as I had to make decisions for Sophie as a baby. Of course, I still don't have all of the answers, but I do feel much more prepared this time around. I've learned from mistakes as well as relished in victories.

I could talk individually about each of these topics (and I might in later posts), but mostly I want to focus on the sleep training one in this post as that is what Brielle spends most of her time doing these days.

Things I think I did wrong with Sophie:
-I overstimulated her: I didn't think babies needed as much sleep as they do, so I would keep her up way too long to the point where she would be overtired and then become cranky... and then when she started crying, I wrongly assumed that it meant she was hungry, which leads me to my next point...
-I didn't give her full feedings/I overfed her. Since I thought her overstimulation/tired cry was a hungry cry, I would nurse her when she didn't really need fed. This would either cause her to not each much (because she wasn't really hungry) or to be too full, which leads me to my next two points...
-Her small nursing sessions created bad sleep habits. One thing I've definitely learned from reading way too much as well as talking to friends is that one of the best ways to get babies to sleep well is to make sure that they get good, full feedings (as a breastfed baby this is especially important because the hind milk is the fatty milk... the front milk will not be as filling). Since I thought Sophie was hungry just an hour after she had eaten, I would nurse her again, which meant she didn't eat much, which meant that when she did fall asleep, she got hungry sooner.
-Getting too much food gave her an upset stomach. Sophie had bellyaches/gas issues... or at least I think she did, but I'm learning that I wasn't very good at reading her cues. I do think my guess in this area was probably at least somewhat correct though as I fed her when she was actually most likely just crying out because of tiredness/overstimulation. One way I know that I overfed her (other than that I sometimes fed her many times close together) is because sometimes I would feed her, and she would pull off crying. This is often a sign of babies being overfed.
-I nursed her to sleep. As a result of many of the above mentioned wrongs, I would often nurse Sophie to sleep. By 4 months, this was the only way I could get her to sleep. So I would nurse her. It was working, so I figured I would just stick with it even though the Babywise book said that I should give her "awake/activity" time after eating and before putting her to sleep. The problem came at about 4.5 months old when Sophie decided she no longer wanted to go to sleep after nursing... but by that time, she didn't know how to put herself to sleep any other way. So she would spend long amounts of time fighting sleep and eventually would just have to cry to get herself to sleep. This made my heart sad :(
-I didn't let her fall asleep in her own bed. Sophie often either fell asleep on my chest or Ben's chest, next to me on the futon while I rubbed her back and held the paci in, or while nursing. I would sometimes then carefully move her to her bed. I really believe now that it's good and important for babies, from a very young age, to learn to put themselves to sleep in their own beds for at least some of their naps!
-I didn't swaddle her. I thought Sophie hated to be swaddled. So I didn't swaddle her. I thought the same with Brielle, but I decided to stick with it anyway. I really do believe that it's helping Brielle to sleep longer amounts of time. Even though she fights it in the beginning, once she falls asleep, the swaddle keeps her from startling herself and therefore waking up too early.

So, as a result, here is what I am doing with Brielle:
-I try to make sure her day is a steady routine. When she wakes up in the morning, she eats. Then I make sure she stays awake (I talk to her, put her in a bouncy seat, give her tummy time, carry her around, have Sophie talk to her, etc). Then I lay her down for a nap. And repeat throughout the day.
-I give her full feedings. If she eats any closer than 2 hours apart (honestly, I think if she eats any closer than 2.5 hours), then her feeding isn't good. I can tell by how she sucks and how much I have to work to get her to keep eating. To me, this means that if she starts crying before this point, it's for another reason, and not because she's hungry (she needs to lay down for a nap, she needs to poop, etc).
-I put her down somewhere between 50-65 minutes after waking up. She often is still wide-eyed at this point (she is very much like Sophie was as a baby- super alert when she is awake). With Sophie, I thought this meant she wasn't tired yet. With Brielle, I've learned that she IS tired (I keep watch of her yawns- if she yawns twice, I make sure she goes down) but she just needs help. So I swaddle her, hold her for a few minutes while I pat her back and sing to her or "shush," lay her down, and pop her paci in. Occasionally I can avoid the pacifier part, but usually she needs it. She usually doesn't fall asleep for a little bit, but the time before she falls asleep is helping her to wind down (not be overstimulated), and when she does fall asleep, she sleeps well.
-I put her to sleep in her own bed. For most naps, and always at bedtime, she sleeps in her bed. This means I don't hold her or put her in a swing or rocker. Now, sometimes I will hold her, if I'm out or if she's having a hard time going to sleep (which happens often in the evening). But I'm letting her learn how to go to sleep in her own bed, and I think this will reap big benefits later.
-I swaddle her. Like I said above, she doesn't appear to love it, but once she goes to sleep, I think it helps her tremendously.
-I don't give her "props" to help her sleep. I don't rock her, I don't put her in a swing, I don't drive her around in the car, I don't put her carseat on a dryer, I don't nurse her. I DO give her a pacifier. I just don't want her to have to rely on all of those other things later on down the road. Of course, if a little baby occasionally needs rocked to sleep, I think that by all means, go for it. But if a baby is rocked to sleep for every nap, then they will expect that down the road at 6 months and at 10 months old... and I just want Brielle to know how to sleep without having to be rocked every time.

Can you see now why I devoted this post JUST to sleep? I have a lot to say! I'm still processing it all, and since Brielle is just 4 weeks, I'm sure that I will have to adjust and tweak things as we go. But I remember Sophie's sleep habits at 4 weeks fairly well, and Ben and I can both attest to the fact that she did not sleep as well. We had to pull a lot of tricks out of our sleeves to get her to sleep. And I think mostly the blame can be laid on me, because I didn't know how to help her sleep and didn't realize she needed as much sleep as she did! I definitely do not think it's because Brielle is an easier baby. Personality-wise, I see many, many similarities between the two girls.

One book that I've read recently that has really helped me in this sleep category is The Baby Whisperer. While I don't think everything about her approach is perfect (I think all mothers need to tweak the information they get to what fits them and their family), I learned a lot of helpful information as well as was encouraged.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sophie and Brielle: Side-by-Side Newborns

I love having two little girls :) Since Sophie was my first baby, it was hard for me to imagine Brielle looking different. But she looks quite a bit different! I do think she has a couple of similarities to Sophie, and my guess is as they get older, they'll probably look more alike than they do as newborns... but I love that for the most part, Brielle has her own look. It's fun that I really have no idea what Brielle will look like as she grows each month because she has her own unique look.

So for those who have been wondering if Brielle looks like Sophie as a baby, here are comparison pictures... :)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sophie's Development [22 Months]

It's been a few months since I gave an update on Sophie's development, so I feel like I'm long overdue to update with what she is currently doing.

Probably the biggest change since 19 months is that Sophie now talks in sentences. Of course, there's a lot of words she still can't say, so she doesn't always talk in sentences. But her thoughts are much more complete now, making is easier to know what she wants :). Her favorite phrase is: "Where'd ______ go?" (grandma, daddy, baby, and she likes to be silly and hide her hand and say, "Where'd hand go?" She also likes to turn off the lights and ask, "Where'd mommy go?" and "Where'd Sosie go?"). She also says, "Help me," which is really nice. My favorite sentence that she says is, "I love you."

She also is starting to learn pronouns. She still refers to herself as "Sosie," but she does now say "I," "mine," and "me." She usually refers to people that she doesn't know as "this one" or "that one."

While in Papua New Guinea, she learned the different between a car, a truck, and a van, and she does pretty good with telling the difference between them now.

She's very obsessive compulsive about things. She hates being messy and always wants to clean up every last little speck. She hates when her socks aren't perfectly on.

She's also very particular. She knows what she wants and she knows what she likes... she also knows, and will tell you, what she doesn't want and what she doesn't like. There's never much guessing with her.

I'm amazed at how well Sophie's memory works and how well she connects things. If she sees a tractor, she always says, "Papa" because she knows grandpa has a tractor. If Grandma was here visiting one day with cousin Brittany, the next time Grandma comes, Sophie asks where Brittany is. Just now she saw the picture I'm posting on this blog post which is the same picture on Ben's phone, and she said, "Daddy's phone." It's so fun to watch her connect and to see her remember!

She's also very polite, which makes me thankful! She says, "Please," "Thank you," "You're welcome," "Excuse me," and "Bless you." I have to remind her to say please a lot of time, but I am grateful she often says these words without being prompted.

Loves: Mickey Mouse, playing "pretend" with her kitchen and with her baby doll, "helping" mommy and daddy, baths, ice cream, cell phones

Dislikes: Being messy or making messes, having her hair done, bedtime and naptime

Of course, the biggest change in Sophie's life recently is having a little sister added to her family... she's been doing really well and loves her little sister, but we do see her enjoying her sister's things quite a bit :)