Sunday, August 26, 2012

Baby Book Reviews

There isn't really anything more precious than a sleeping baby.  They are so peaceful and cute.  A bonus is, a well rested baby also makes for an adorably alert and happy baby during awake periods too.

Over the last 18 months I've done way too much reading on pregnancy and babies.  First it was books on getting pregnant, followed by books on being pregnant, books on baby products, books on labor and delivery, breasfeeding, post partum and infant care and now the main focus has been on baby sleep.  That is A LOT of reading folks!

Aside from taking charge of your fertility which I read when I was trying to conceive, in hindsight I should have skipped straight to baby sleep books.  I expected sleepless nights and just assumed it is par for the course.   Then 6 months into motherhood, I realized what sleep deprivation was and how hard it was on me and my family.  Educating myself through reading has been the one tool that has been priceless as I've adapted to life as Sammy's mom.  I have learned that no baby and book are made for each other, there is no manual or remote control (ha, 2 am mute button anyone?! jk..sorta), and that the best thing you can do is educate yourself on babies in general and trust your intuition aka a mother's sixth sense (God's best gift to moms).

These are the books I read in order from favorite to least favorite.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.
This was by far the most frequently recommended book by veteran moms.  Two different moms of twins even told me this was their go to sleep book.  I loved this book because it gave a clinical overview of sleep and it's importance.  Dr. Weissbluth offers three sleep solutions which involve your choice of full blown cry it out called extinction, some cry and no cry sleep solutions.  I consider this to be the bible of sleep books because it truly empowers parents through medical knowledge to make a decision to be your child's advocate for a healthy life through sleep.  Dr. Weissbluth analogy that we wouldn't let our kids eat junk food all day, but we allow them to have junk sleep (swing, car, stroller, quick naps, non consolidated night sleep) really hit home.

Until I read this book I was really getting irritated with everyone including my pediatrician for only giving me a cry it out solution to our sleepless nights.  Crying it out felt cruel and selfish and just plain disgusting to me.  I could barely let Sam cry for a minute without feeling like I was killing my son.  I realize now that no child ever died from crying.  What I liked about this book was that it taught me what effects of sleep deprivations were for infants (whom we all expect not to sleep well).  I had only been considering my sleep needs up until I learned about what the lack of sleep was doing to Sam.  Crying it out became more of a way to help him vs helping me.

This book also helped me to just trust my gut.  I realized that a lot of the things I had been doing and had begun to doubt because they went against some of the other books suggestions were A OK.   Nursing before sleeping, helping Sammy by going to him when he cried during naps, etc. 

We did the extinction method and within a week Sam was sleeping much better.  Still waking twice at night to eat, but that was far better than every 1-2 hours for hand holding.  

Happiest Baby on the Block
I wrote about this book and accompanying DVD being a life saver once Sam hit the peak of crying at 6 weeks.  The five S's (swaddling, swaying, shushing, side lying and sucking) were like baby crack for Sam.  They worked and worked and worked.  What a life saver.  My strong willed baby had a set of lungs on him!  Now that he is older what we really use from this book is the white noise.  Sam still sleeps with it every night thru an iPod playing in his room.

The Sleep Easy Solution 
This was the second book I read on baby sleep and it was helpful for teaching about putting baby down drowsy but awake as well as setting up sample schedules for each stage in a babies life.  I liked that it gave me a general time frame for how long a baby of a certain age should be awake and asleep for.  One issue though is that for me, it was hard to remember that the author isn't Sam's mother, I am.  Just because a baby Sam's age should be doing so and so, doesn't mean it is going to happen.  This is where you have to trust your gut and realize you know your baby best.

The Baby Whisperer
I liked Tracy's Hogg's no cry approach to helping babies sleep.  There were several things I liked about this book.  Her acronym E.A.S.Y (Eat, Awake, Sleep, You time), her advice to start as you'd like to go on (start doing what you know you should be doing in the first place, place baby in the crib for naps vs in the swing), description of personality types(angel, textbook, touchy, spirited and grumpy (sam is textbook/touchy), and her pick up put down no cry sleep solution.  I tried EASY and it makes great sense.  Unfortunately that wasn't how I started and it has been close to impossible to get a good nap without feeding him first.  I have waived the white flag of surrender on that one, it's just not that important to me since I doubt he will be 3 and wanting to nurse before a nap (hello time magazine cover).  I couldn't agree more with the start as you'd like to go on.  COMMON SENSE.  Maybe I was just too sleep deprived to think of it on my own.  Any no cry method that actually works, is my friend.  I do a variation of this is for naps and it works.

I honestly am not sure whether or not this book was really that helpful for me.  I liked that she had a feed/wake/nap routine laid out and explains the 45 minute intruder which plagued our house for two long months.  However Sam didn't do well on feed/wake/nap.  It not feeding him before going to sleep was almost what perpetuated the 45 minute naps.  Ever since I started nursing him before naps again, he is knock on wood, sleeping MUCH better for naps.

Also some helpful baby sleep websites:

Hope this helps!  Does anyone have helpful sleeping tips or books they'd like to share?  I'm trying to stay ahead of the game too, so any toddler books I should read now before I have an out of control two year old on my hands?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ten months with Sammy

Sammy, not sure how we are here already, but you my son have made it to the double digits!  Yahoo, Wowza, Yay! Tear...

Some Out takes (that is if you can actually consider the previous pictures good)

This month got off to a bumpy start when you came down with your first virus.  It took about a week, but I was happy and I'm sure you were too, to say sayonara Roseola, glad you are never, ever coming back again!

It has been incredible watching your brain start connecting all the things we've been saying and "teaching" you over the last 10 months.  Everyday is something new that catches me by surprise.  You babble up a storm.  It is quite cute to watch your mouth form words and watch you enjoying making sounds.  It also cracks me up to see people turning to check out where the noise is coming from as we walk down the street and you are blah blahing away during your daily stroll with me and Bailey.  More exciting, is you are clearly saying mama!!  We've heard you say hello and hi.  You also wave hello and goodbye and can do some things we ask of you like pressing the button to close the garage door.  You think that is the best.  You wave bye to the garage door as it closes.

Here you are in all your peek a boo, climb into your toy basket glory:
To enhance your cuteness, you are crawling at lightning speed now.  I turn around for one second and you are headed up the stairs.  Yes, you figured out the stairs in no time at all.  Good thing too, because we have 28 of them!  In an effort to tire you out, we had been letting you take all 28 up to your room before naps and bed.  You wizened up quickly though, and figured out that it really isn't your piece of cake and being carried is much easier.  Nice, Sammy, Nice.
I'm so thankful for Bailey for many things, but how he entertains, loves and cleans up after you eat are now on the top of the list.  You guys have been BFFs from the start, but you continue to fall head over heels in love with Bailey.  You take a bite of food and then hand him the next.  He doesn't seem to mind, he now even brings you his bones.  I also caught you red handed with his hand in his food bowl, kibble in your mouth.

 FYI Sammy: You guys really don't need to share everything

You also, really love Romie.  Here you are playing his favorite Ribbon game with him:
Playing Peak a boo with Romie
 One of the best things now is watching your face light up and seeing you race to me or Daddy when you haven't seen us for a while.

You are always walking around using your walker.  You also pull up and cruise on everything.  Put your hands up for us to pick you up.  Pull up on our pant legs to get you if we don't grab you within what you deem a reasonable amount of time, about 2 seconds.   You surprised us by standing on your own for a few seconds. 

I was having trouble remembering everything we did in the last month and then after about five minutes of being up from your nap, it all came racing back.  You've been getting into EVERYTHING.  You call it exploring.   You explore, I chase, making sure you aren't destroying anything and/or getting hurt in the process.  I'm pretty sure I've lost a few pounds and you are quite enjoying the thrill of the chase.  Everytime I catch you, you crack up.  We went to your 9 month well child visit and you gained the nickname the destroyer.  It looked like a cat attacked the examining table.
The cat...I mean Sammy visited the doctor's office
Note, that you are in the same outfit as it was the same day.  You were in an especially good mood!

So, that pretty much sums up the month.  You did a whole lot of talking, investigating and playing with Bailey, while I kept you from killing yourself and breaking 99% of the goods in the house.
Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Mama's heart

I've always thought about how awesome it is that so much of a baby's first year goes by gradually but quickly.  There is no way I would be able to handle 0-60 from newborn to toddler any faster than it already seems to be happening; hello college?! 

Sometimes when all you want is to relax and have your baby take a nap, it doesn't seem like the end of the day will come soon enough.  Yet in the next breath, you are hoping your baby wakes so you can go smell his sweet breath and feel his silky soft warm head.

Anyways, my three readers, already know that's how I feel. 

The reason for the post is this awesome poem found here on

The last nursing picture of me and Sammy (of course, bailey too!).  Jan '12, time to snap some photos, before this special time is gone!

I know I look so big to you,

Maybe I seem too big for the needs I have.

But no matter how big we get,

We still have needs that are important to us.

I know that our relationship is growing and changing,

But I still need you. I need your warmth and closeness,

Especially at the end of the day

When we snuggle up in bed.

Please don't get too busy for us to nurse.

I know you think I can be patient,

Or find something to take the place of a nursing -

A book, a glass of something,

But nothing can take your place when I need you.

Sometimes just cuddling with you,

Having you near me is enough.

I guess I am growing and becoming independent,

But please be there.

This bond we have is so strong and so important to me,

Please don't break it abruptly.

Wean me gently,

Because I am your mother,

And my heart is tender.

~ Cathy Cardall