An All-Around Update

Anxiety:

It’s been 4 weeks since I’ve had a normal sleep. Sleep is still nowhere to be found in the Mama et Maman household. After 14 days of Cipralex/Lexapro, I was still sleepless and my anxiety was over the roof. My family doctor recommended that I stop the medication and has prescribed another medication- Remeron, which is often used for anxiety in people with eating disorders because it causes a significant increase in appetite and in fat storage. I’ve read that even in the short-term, and at low doses, people can gain upwards of 10-30lbs in a month. Obviously, this freaks me out. It freaks me out enough that I am considering not taking it even though the prescription has been filled. 

I’m currently dealing with the withdrawal symptoms of coming off the Cipralex cold turkey (as recommended by my doc). Headaches, heart palpitations, feelings of dread/anxiousness, insomnia, and a little bit of depression. I took an Ativan three nights ago and had a great sleep, but the last two nights, I’ve gone unmedicated at night and sleep is not happening. To make matters worse, my in-laws are over right now (which is normally fine) and there was a big fight last night. But more on that later…

Mochi:

Mochi’s due date is this Sunday (in two days!), and at yesterday’s midwife appointment, DW’s cervix is soft, but still closed. Mochi’s head also seems to alternate from being engaged to floating up near DW’s round ligament, so baby doesn’t seem to want to come out to play anytime soon. DW is super uncomfortable- with feet so swollen that they no longer fit into Crocs, and hands that are painful and feel like they are on fire all the time from the nerve impingement. She’s so uncomfortable lying down that she’s only able to sleep for about 3 hours at night, then spends the rest of the night with her hands hanging while seated watching British crime dramas on Netflix. She’s so ready to be done, so that unfavourable cervical status was heartbreaking for her. 

Yesterday, the midwives called us to discuss scheduling an induction, since DW is 40 years old, and unlikely to go into spontaneous labour anytime soon since her cervix is still closed and baby hasn’t dropped yet. They discussed the significantly increased risk of stillbirth after 42 weeks (2/1000), and explained how induction would be done after prostaglandin gels to soften her cervix. Since DW is so uncomfortable, we are thinking of getting the ball rolling sometime early next week…. So Mochi might be on this side of the womb before May, which is exciting and terrifying both at the same time.

We have a “to do” list of things we need to accomplish before Mochi arrives though, one of which is minivan shopping. We know we want a Dodge Caravan with 4 captain chairs, stow and go, and automatic rolling middle windows. We also intend to trade in our Subaru Impreza, since it is no use to us if we can’t fit the babies and the dogs both at the same time for drives to the cottage or to the conservation park. Right now we’re taking two cars whenever we need to have Dumplin’ and the dogs in tow. Also, I have two old disc herniations in my low back, so bending over to do up the kids in their car seats in the low Subaru is aggravating. Basically, it’s time to become a minivan family.

Dumplin’:

   
 This boy is my everything. He makes even the most sleepless nights bright in the morning. He is so smiley, happy, funny, and adorable right now. Our boy turned 6 months this week and I feel like this past month has been super sweet so far, aside from a weird week where he was super fussy and going through what I suspect was the beginning of leap5. He is very active, always rolling or wanting to Jolly Jump, so much that he’s actually lost weight this past month! He’s back down to 19lbs 12oz at last check. He sleeps happily in his own crib from 7pm-7am, with 2 or 3 nursings at night. He plays in his crib in the morning until we get him at 8am. We just started transitioning him from the swing to his crib for naps, and he still fusses a little bit, but will eventually fall asleep for a short 40 minute nap a few times a day. He loves watching and petting his dogs and front-facing in the Ergo360 during walks. He’s extra cuddly these days, which we love. We have started giving him “tastings” of food- chicken bone broth (loves!) avocado (loves!), peanut butter (loves!), butternut squash (unsure?), but don’t plan on really starting solids for real until Mochi has arrived and settled in a bit. It all just seems like a huge undertaking, and I’m a bit scared of what his poops are going to be like. He’s also super distracted these days (must be all the learning), so his intake of breastmilk has dramatically decreased, so I don’t want to exacerbate that either. Anyone delay feeding solids? Pros/cons?

The In-Laws:

I don’t even know where to start with this. Basically, my niece might have mono and her parents dropped her off at my MIL and FIL’s for a couple of days because she couldn’t go to school, and the next day my MIL and FIL at our house for a planned visit with Dumplin’. Being concerned parents, DW and I jokingly (but not really) said just “don’t be kissing him”, which seemed to set my MIL off on the meanest drunken rant I’ve ever witnessed from her. She was downright nasty, saying things like “well it’s not like your parents come and help” (my parents live across the country), and “how [we’re] such know-it-alls” regarding our concerns for Dumplin’s health, how “[they’ve] often complained about how taxing the drive is, and how [they’ve] commented on how [they] can’t keep doing the drive” as a sort of threat to say that they won’t be coming over to visit Dumplin’ anymore, how we “make it difficult for her to be with the baby”, how we are “hypocrites because he goes out into public and into daycare” so he’s exposed to worse than the potential mono that she’s exposing him to, and so much more. She also verbally attacked my FIL because he was trying to talk some sense into her (she was truly being irrational), and for the first time ever, picked on me. I was sitting quietly as she was ranting away, just listening to her, and she singled me out with personal insults for no reason. Her intentions were simply to be mean, and it took everything in both DW and I to respond kindly and with kid gloves because her mother twists the truth and has a tendency to go all emotionally unstable when criticized. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very appreciative of their efforts at coming for visits, and recognize that it is a 2 hour drive, but everytime they come over, she gets piss drunk and starts fights with DW. Last night my MIL and FIL polished off 2.5 bottles of wine and at least one beer in 4 hours. And the damage that her words have cannot be erased. Both DW and I spent the night talking through her insults, taking turns crying because we were so hurt by the mean things that she said. Neither of us slept, and both of us considered alternate childcare plans for Dumplin’ while DW is in labour at the hospital, since my MIL threatened to pull her support for us. It all made me really sad. Sad because the reality is that we really have no one. None of our friends have kids or the ones that do already have their hands full. We don’t have a village. We are alone. I even thought about possibly paying my massage therapist who is a doula to come over and stay with Dumplin’ when we have to go to the hospital. Or even one of the daycare workers at the gym because they know him. It all makes me want to cry. Anyways…. Today is a new day, and I just hope it’s better, but I still feel really wounded by the harsh things that she said to us, and in particular that I was singled out and picked on.

So yeah, lots of drama going on here. Just in time for Mochi’s induction. Ugh. 

Right now I need some reassurance- people that don’t have help with their kids- how do you manage? 

Treating Anxiety: Days 3, 4, and 5 of Lexapro/Cipralex

The past three days have been the worst so far. The medication has made it impossible for me to fall asleep at night, even though I’m so tired. Night 3, I didn’t sleep a wink. By 5am, I was a desperate wreck and finally took 0.5mg of Ativan (lorazepam) to help sedate me. It took a while to kick in. I laid it bed until 8am when I heard Dumplin’ singing, and then I went to join him and DW as they played in the living room. By about 10am, I felt groggy, so I laid down again and fell asleep finally. I didn’t wake up until 1pm, when we had to get going to a friend’s going away party downtown. 

Night 4, I decided to take the Ativan in the evening with my Cipralex so that I had a chance at sleep. It worked, and I slept okay, but not deep enough to not notice Dumplin’ fussing for his regular 3 nighttime feedings. But, unlike all other nights, I returned to bed and was able to fall back asleep fairly quickly. The next afternoon, exhausted, and feeling really flat, I decided to bring Dumplin’ into our bed for a nap. It was the best nap we’d had in a long time. It was the perfect combination of both of us being tired, and both of us needing each other’s comfort. I woke up from the nap before he did, which is always nice compared to being woken up by him when I’m still needing more sleep. However, that nap involved an all-you-can-nurse buffet for Dumplin’, which may have been confusing for his nighttime sleep that night….

Night 5 sucked badly. Since Ativan is super habit-forming, DW and I decided that I should try sleeping without it. Again though, with the Cipralex coursing through my body, I got zero sleep. By 8:30am, I called it when I heard baby boy playing in his crib, and got on with our day. We went to the gym, came home, and then everybody napped. Again, I could not fall asleep!!! It’s so frustrating. Tonight, I’ll be sure to take the Ativan. 

Some key points about this transitional period:

– it sucks balls

– my insomnia is worse, but I’m not laying in bed with my mind racing. I just can’t seem to fall asleep

– being super sleep-deprived, I haven’t been doing my regular workouts, which has been hard on me too. I’ve snuck in a run on the treadmill at home, and some quickie weights here and there

– Dumplin’ has been sleeping like crap too- he’s in leap 5, which is termed the “world of relationships”. He is noticing the distance between us, and just wants to be close all the time, especially bedtime. Last night he cried from 7pm-10:30pm (previously minimal crying at bedtime), and kept rolling into the crib bars, peering between them and looking longingly for us. During nighttime feedings, he’s clutching my back and my hands while he nurses, and when I unlatch him, he starts wailing like he’s been hurt. He just doesn’t want me to stop holding him. It’s heartbreaking.

  
– DW has been my rock, and has been super supportive throughout this transitional period. She’s been watching Dumplin’ despite her extreme 38-weeks-pregnant discomfort. She has a hard time getting around because her feet are sooooooo swollen (she can’t even cram her feet into Crocs!), and struggles to carry the 21+ pound Dumplin’ because her hands and arms are so numb and painful from the shoulder impingement and carpal tunnel. I am so glad Mochi isn’t here yet, since I’m not through this transitional period with the Cipralex. 

Warning: freaky pictures of DW’s feet below.

   
 

Treating Anxiety: Days 1 and 2 on Lexapro/Cipralex

I started the meds two nights ago, and I definitely feel different already. It’s not necessarily a good different, just different. The first night, I slept better, only waking to go to Dumplin’s room to nurse him three times. The next day, I felt like I do when I’m depressed- seeking comfort in cozy warm blankets and clothes, carbs, and quiet spots on the couch or in bed. I was so unmotivated to go to the gym, but I did. When I was there, I could barely muster up a 30% effort, compared to my usual 90-100% effort. I think my regular anxious state helps to push me to challenge myself physically. 

That night, we watched a little Netflix, and then talked about how we need to do our taxes. Clearly, that was a bad topic to bring up before bed, because I laid in bed for 3 hours, with my head spinning. I eventually fell asleep, but again, the hours added up were not many, since Dumplin’ wants to be nursed every 2:30-3hours. 

During the day today, I’m super tired and lazy. DW was willing to watch Dumplin’ so that I could go to the gym, but I opted to take my second nap of the day instead (it’s only 2pm). This is how tired this medication is making me.

So far, side effects that I’ve noticed are: tiredness, nausea, feeling cold (temperature), and a lack of motivation to do anything.

I’m not as anxious, which I guess is the purpose of taking this medication. But I hate feeling this way.

Like I mentioned in my last post, my day times are fine- minimal anxiety then. It’s just nighttime when I’m trying to go to sleep. If I weren’t breastfeeding, I would’ve opted for an Ativan at night as needed, rather than a whole course of antidepressants. 

Ugh. 

Now, I’m off to nap.

Anxiety Strikes Again

I’ve started this post about 3 times, but never finish it because something always seems to come up. 

It always starts the same way though: 

It’s been ____ days since I’ve slept more than 2 hours. 

Today it’s been 5. 

Why? Because my anxiety issues have returned, and with a vengeance. 

Dumplin’ is sleeping well. He still fusses 3-4 times a night to be nursed, but I don’t mind because I’m awake and because I miss him so much. It’s seriously excruciating for me not to have his warm little body snuggled up to mine all night. I know we wanted him to sleep in his crib in his own room because Mochi is coming,  because it was often uncomfortable being stuck in a breastfeeding position all night, and so that he could learn to self-soothe, but I miss having him close and smelling his milky face. I love that kid so much that it aches.

DW is also not sleeping, as her body continues to swell and her nerve impingement problems have worsened from just numbness to pain and lack of motor control. Sometimes I open my eyes at night and she is sitting on the edge of the bed shaking her hands out in frustration. She eventually goes downstairs to the living room to watch Netflix because she needs to distract from the pain and discomfort. 

So almost nightly, the two of us are awake and doing stuff around the house from 1am-5am. All while Dumplin’ and the dogs are sleeping soundly in their respective beds.

While the insomnia is kinda comical, it’s taking its toll on me. I’m so tired during the day, and so frustrated that I’m kicking my feet and throwing tantrums at night in bed. My mind just won’t shut off, and worries about everything under the sun. At first it was about the Diono Ranier convertible car seat that we bought for Dumplin’ that does not fit into our Subaru Impreza. We both freaked out and decided that we need to buy a minivan or something equivalent in space before Dumplin’ outgrows his car seat (his head is about 1.5 inches from the top). R who blogs at Started In the Belly (and is a totally awesome person) even came over to help us, as she’s a car seat installing whiz, but the only way to get the seat in was with a seat belt install, an angle adjuster, and in the middle seat. While Dumplin’ is ginormous for his age (must be around 21lbs now at 5.5 months), his sitting isn’t where it needs to be for him to ride in the Ranier safely, so bucket seat for a little longer.

The next thing I started obsessing about was Mochi’s impending arrival. I am terrified of the chaos of when Mochi comes, as well as the logistics of who is going to take care of Dumplin’ who is exclusively breastfed while DW is in labour. I had grand day dreams of just being able to babywear Dumplin’ in the L&D room, but the midwives say that the hospital won’t let Dumplin’ be with us until Mochi is born and DW is in recovery. I worry about him being away from me for a long time, and for overnight because DW will recover better at the hospital (no dogs). 

I also stress about my workouts- not getting them in, not making enough progress, my ball hockey season starting in a week and a half…. I’m 5.5 months postpartum, workout about 5 days a week, but haven’t lost a single pound since 1 week postpartum. I’m sure that some of my fat has been replaced with muscle, but I still have this poofy fluff above my c-section incision that looks and feels awful. I have days where I’m proud of my progress- my butt is rock solid and has zero pinchable fat, my pecs and shoulders look awesome when I’m lifting, my quads are starting to show a nice sweep… But I’ve always had a flat stomach, and the two rounds of IVF plus pregnancy and the c-section have made some unfavourable changes from my normal. I’ve heard the “it takes 9 months to put it on, 9 months to lose it” blurb, but I have body dismorphia issues to begin with, so couple that with a anxiety disorder and I’m just a mess some days. 

So. 

No sleep in 5 days + clear signs that anxiety is back + Dumplin’ to take care of + Mochi is coming + regular therapist appointments not helping with this –> time to see the doctor about those meds that I keep avoiding

So today, we cleared our schedule and drove downtown to see my family doctor. 

I am starting Cipralex/Lexapro tonight. 

Apparently, the meds can cause more anxiety in the initial 2-4 week period, so shit might get realllllly bad before they get better. I’m nervous about it for various reasons:

1. Cipralex will cross into my breastmilk, so Dumplin’ will be getting some SSRI, but I hope that he’s unaffected because he’s so big, and from my own research, a nearly undetectable amount reaches breastmilk.

2. What does this initial anxiety exacerbating period look like? What if I just can’t deal? I’m not suicidal, but what if it pushes me over the edge where I’m not able to cope safely? I’m starting at a 5mg dose for a week, then up to 10mg the next week, and up and up until I reach an effective dose.

3. What if I still can’t sleep- especially if things get worse? I can’t even describe what it feels like to not have slept in 5 days. I’m trying my best to keep it together for Dumplin’, and DW has been struggling with her own discomforts but trying to help me too. I feel like a failure as a mother and as a partner. I feel terrible that I “need” to sleep more than I am- how ridiculous does that sound! I know, I’m not making sense, but these are the thoughts going on in my head. Those damn cogs don’t stop turning at all.

4. Weight gain from the meds. IVF has caused me to gain about 10lbs that I have not been able to shed. I’ve lost all my pregnancy weight (all 40lbs of it), but those 2 rounds of IVF has pushed my body weight baseline up, and I can’t seem to get back to my pre-IVF weight. 10lbs makes a huge difference when you are sprinting and doing shuttle runs like we do in ball hockey. 10lbs makes me so much slower and my recovery more painful. Not to mention (again) my body dismorphia and how more weight will mess with my head even more.

5. I worry that I will feel weird. I generally like being an empath and experiencing all of the feels that life provides. I am afraid that these meds will make me feel like a zombie. 

6. I worry that the meds won’t work, and that I’ll be stuck in this hell that exists in my head, forever churning and producing worst case scenarios.

Wish me luck.

Dumplin’: Sleep Training Day 5

Yesterday evening was kind of a funny one. Baby boy was super fussy during the late afternoon, but wouldn’t take more than 30 minute cat naps. By about 5:30pm, he was yawning and clearly wanting to sleep but we didn’t want to mess up his nighttime sleep by letting him nap so late, so I strapped him into the Ergo360 and we took a quick 20 minute stroll through our neighbourhood with the big dog. I had him front-facing so that he could watch the comings and goings of cars, look at the houses, observe Juno (the dog) sniff and pee on things, and ultimately so that he wouldn’t fall asleep but was still having a good time. DW was really tired and had a nap while we were gone. Her pregnancy symptoms have gotten really uncomfortable lately. She’s 35.5 weeks pregnant now, and everything is super swollen, and her pre-existing shoulder impingement has gotten much worse. It causes severe numbness and now pain in her arms, and keeps her up. She’s also got that lovely pregnancy insomnia that I experienced towards the end too. It’s funny- we’re often both up at 3am enjoying another meal and having good conversation- me because breastfeeding while weight training has made me a hungry beast, and her because she’s in her third trimester. 

Anyways, another good night for Dumplin’:

Sleep Training Day 5: 

6:38pm start

Sleep wave in minutes: 11

Fussed at 7:25pm, 9:30pm, 2:30am

Total time until sleep: 11 minutes

Feedings: 9:30pm, 2:30am, 6am

Wake-up: sometime around 7:15ish?

He gave me a 5-hour stretch between feedings at the beginning of the night! Too bad I was up with DW watching Insurgent and not sleeping. He fussed at reasonable times, to which I responded by going in and nursing him. Our nighttime nursings have been so sweet and special to me because I miss him so much at night. Many times I’ve daydreamed about pulling him back into bed with us, but I know that that’s just for me, and he’s actually fine and better off in his crib. I think he’s getting more restorative sleep in his crib, and he was sorta waking up every time we rolled over or moved, got up to pee, etc. At nap time yesterday afternoon, I was tired and took him into the spare bedroom with the intention of nursing him to sleep for a nap. I knew it was kind of a bad idea in some ways, but I really missed the closeness with my boy, and I also wanted to see if we could have some flexibility in this regard, without messing up his sleep training. Interestingly, he nursed side-lying, but unlatched himself when he was done. He then just laid beside me playing with the top sheet, kicking his feet, as he does. It made me sad that my old strategy of boobing him to sleep didn’t work, but I was proud of him for having broken that association in 4 days!

This morning, Dumplin’ woke up at around 7-something, and when DW went to his room for his morning routine, he was swatting at the aquarium, trying to turn it on! Funny guy. He just melts my heart. 

 
Our boy with his little dog. 

Dumplin’: Sleep Training Day 4 

  
Lots of good learning happening in the Mama et Maman household! Dumplin’ fussed (no screaming or real crying) intermittently for only 12 minutes last night. I took the dogs out for an evening walk as DW put the little man to bed, and when I came home, all was calm and quiet. Apparently, right at around the 11-12 minute mark, DW watched Dumplin’ turn off his aquarium on the baby monitor! At around 2:45am, I heard him fuss, and went in to nurse him. After we were done, I went back to our bedroom and watched him on the baby monitor as he was waving his left arm in the direction of the aquarium repeatedly until he turned it on again! He then watched the aquarium as the music played, the lights flickered, the water bubbled, and the fishes danced. He soon fell back asleep and didn’t wake until 8am. That’s almost 5 hours! I’m so proud of our sweet boy for staying positive as we encourage him to self-soothe and look within for comfort.

Here are our stats from last night:

Sleep Training Day 4:

7:30 pm start

Only intermittent fussing, hit the aquarium to turn it off right before falling asleep

Sleep wave in minutes: 12 

Total time until sleep: 12 minutes

Feedings: 10pm, 1:20am, 2:45am (fussed before, and afterwards- turned on his aquarium on his own)

Wake-up: 8am

Now, I’ve had a couple of questions about what a “Sleep Wave” is, and I’m sorry that I haven’t explained it until now. It’s a term used to describe the check-ins that form the basis of the sleep training method described in The Happy Sleeper book. After putting babies down for the night, if they cry, you start timing and check in on them once every 5 minutes of continuous crying. Each cycle of (cry for 5 minutes–>check-in) is called a Sleep Wave. Now, we didn’t time our Sleep Waves the same way as the book recommends though, since Dumplin’ seemed to become more upset each time we went in, which made us think that maybe he needed more than 5 minutes to switch from looking to us to soothe him to looking inward for soothing, so we went with gradual check-ins, where the time you wait between check-ins increases. There are a bunch of different sets of times recommended by different sleep training methods. So technically, we weren’t doing the 5-minute Sleep Waves as prescribed by The Happy Sleeper, but I liked using the term because it nicely described how many “rounds” of checking-in we had to do.

Here’s a cute photo of our sweet and happy little boy, wearing his new ear muffs!

  

Dumplin’: Sleep Training Day 3

Last night went much better than the first two nights (which weren’t even that bad). I hope that we’re turning a corner here. He fussed minimally about 3 hours after each nursing session though, which might have been his way of telling us he’s hungry. At 5 months old, I thought he’d be able to last longer than 3 hours, but seeing as how he’s had an all-you-can-eat nighttime nursing buffet since birth, I accommodated his requests. I hope that he naturally starts to nurse more during the day though, and/or goes a little longer between feedings at night so that I can get a good chunk of continuous sleep. Right now, I’m sleeping in 2 hour increments due to these nursing sessions, and I’m soooo tired. I estimate that I only got about 6 hours of sleep altogether last night. This is less sleep than I was getting when we were bedsharing, and I hope that we find a way for me to get more sleep again. Waking up to feed him, then going back to bed and waiting to see how he settles just takes so long. Hopefully, with time, I can do the nursing sessions and fall back asleep quickly. 

Here are my notes from last night:

Sleep Training Day 3:

7:25pm start

Crying started right away

Sleep wave in minutes: 11, 14

Total time until sleep: 25 minutes

Feedings: 10pm, 2am (fussed, and required a sleep wave before), 5am (fussed, and required a sleep wave before)

Wake-up: 8am

Also funny was that at the 5am fussing, Dumplin’ had learned how to turn on his aquarium! I turned on the baby monitor and noticed that the lights were going and watched him repeatedly hit the on/off button at the front of it! 

  
The aquarium:

  

Dumplin’: Sleep Training Day 2

Not a lot of time to post, but last night was different than the first night. Here are my notes:

Sleep Training Day 2:

6:55pm start

Intermittent fussing/crying 

Sleep waves in minutes: 7, 8, 12, 14, 14

Total time until sleep: 1 hour 13 minutes

Feedings: 11pm, 2:15am, 4:45am

Wake-up: 8:30am

Unlike the first night, Dumplin’ didn’t cry continuously this night, but rather kinda fussed and cried on and off. He also fussed a number of times in the night, and DW had to sleep wave him once or twice. Now I’m not sure if it’s because we responded to one of his fusses (the 2:15am one) with a nursing, but from 4:45 until about 5:30am, he continued fussing.

Now, I really have to give props to DW for being the one who does the sleep waves with Dumplin’. We figured that as the milky mama, it would be more difficult on him to have me coming in to do the gradual checks, because we’re trying to break his nursing sleep attachment. So we did the beginning of his bedtime routine together- nurse, bath, coconut oil massage, and PJ’s, and then I took the dogs out for a walk while she put him to bed and did the sleep waves.

  
We are more tired today because last night was  a bit more challenging for us with all of the fussing, but we all went to the gym today (Dumplin’ went into their childminding for an hour to see some friendly faces and socialize with his friends), and then took him for his first swim in the pool! He was really good- didn’t cry, and was just taking it all in. We held him in different positions and DW showed me the proper way to bring a baby into and out of the pool (she used to lifeguard and also taught parent and tot swimming lessons as a teen). We start swimming “lessons” with the city in a week and a bit, so we thought it would be good to get him acquainted with being in a pool. He was super cute in his swim diaper, but sadly, I didn’t manage to get a photo. Maybe next time!

Anyways, here’s to hoping that swimming relaxed him a lot, and that sleep training tonight goes better. 

Dumplin: 5 Months Old and Sleep Training Day 1

Time flies! I can’t believe our sweet boy is already 5 months old. We’ve really seen a lot of new skills this past month, which I guess explains the “stormy” 4 month leap as per the Wonderweeks. This past month has been really challenging though- with him being fussier than normal, and his diaper patterns changing as well. He went from a pretty predictable every-other-day to now 3-4 times a day pooping schedule. We were using cloth diapers part time, and have taken a break from it due to the unpredictability of poopsplosions, but will start putting them back into rotation again. I love using the Applecheeks brand with my homemade bamboo fleece inserts. We will definitely be cloth diapering more frequently once the weather is warmer because we only have one pair of pants that will fit over Dumplin’s fluffy bum! 

We noticed significantly less spitting up about 2 weeks ago, and so I started reintroducing dairy again this week. So far, we’ve seen no reaction- no spitting up, no change in diapers!! I won’t be gorging on gluten-free cheese pizza anytime soon (or will I? Hmmm….) but we might be growing out of this acid reflux!! Woohoo!

Teething is still a byatch, and the little bugger has been biting me a lot when he’s at the end of a nursing session. 

He still won’t take a bottle, but we’ve had some success with introducing the sippy cup. He doesn’t know how to suck it though. He just bites at it and waits for the breastmilk to ooze out, which happens extraordinarily slow, so he gets frustrated. The little bugger also started reverse-cycling over a month ago. He only nurses maybe 3 or 4 times a day (because he’s distracted)- and not long ones either- and then sip sip sips his remaining calories all night when bedsharing with us. I didn’t realize this was a thing until recently. I guess that’s why he was even more clingy with nursing at night than previous months.

  
Things Dumplin’ can do now:

– sit unassisted, though not all the time

  
– sits in his high chair

  
– holds objects more steadily now

– grabs objects from you if you pass it to him

– can roll onto his sides, and has rolled from tummy to back ONCE

– has found his thumb, and enjoys sucking on it!

– has started forming an attachment to his lovey, who we’ve named “Forrest”

  
– enjoys his playmat and bouncy chair again, enjoys the exersaucer, but LOVES the Jolly Jumper

  
– has the best giggles, and crescent moon eyes when he smiles and laughs

At 4 months, Dumplin’ was fitting into 9-12 month clothes, but we had these footed Carter’s PJ’s that just seemed to have ridiculously long and skinny legs. He’d fit them in the torso, but his feet would only reach the ankles of the legs so it looked like the jammies had broken ankles. Well, it seems that our boy has had a major growth spurt over the past month, because now he fits the jammies perfectly. I’m kinda sad because he’s less chunky now. His muffin top and pot belly are gone and have been replaced with abs (no joke- the kid is starting to show off some really good muscles), his leg are long and his thigh rolls are less voluptuous, and believe it or not, he actually has a neck now! His cheeks are slowly disappearing too… So sad. Baby boy is growing up.

Here are his stats for 5 months old:

Weight: 20.0 lbs (up 14 oz from last month) 

Height: 72.5 cm or 28.5″ (up 6 cm from last month) 

  
Sleep Training 

So we had planned on starting a week ago, but I got sick, and was worried that he was sick, but he miraculously didn’t get what I still have. Yeah, it’s been almost a week now and my throat is still itchy and sore, I have a nasty postnasal drip, runny nose, and now a productive cough. I feel like shit and have had to skip the gym a couple of days this week. Sleeping sucks because I’m gagging from the coughing. I haven’t been sick in so long and had forgotten how much it sucks! 

Anyways, the week went by and it seemed like Dumplin’ was fine, so last night we started sleep training him for bedtime. Daylight savings time kicked our ass, so it wasn’t until about 8pm that we started his usual bedtime routine: bath, coconut oil massage, pj’s, and then a nursing. We wanted him to be tired, so we let him Jolly Jump before we started his bedtime routine.

Then we turned on some white noise, wound up his mobile, turned on his aquarium, and placed him in his crib with Forrest.

Then we waited in the living room, watching him through the baby monitor linked into both of our devices. 

We both timed his cries, and DW went in to do the sleep waves following a gradual check-in process of increasing wait times.

Here are our the notes that I took from last night: 

Sleep Training Day 1:

9pm start

Sleep waves in minutes: 5, 7, 12, 12, 12, 12, starting to slow down… 6… Quiet

Feedings: 11:45pm, 3:45am, 6:45am

Wake-up: 8:44am

Total minutes of crying: 1 hour 6 minutes

Total time until sleep: 1 hour 20 minutes

Of course we (DW and I) didn’t sleep last night. I have been so used to my 8pm bedtime with him, and we were both glued to the baby monitor that we couldn’t settle easily. We watched Scandal and the Mindy Project so that we weren’t focused on his crying, and sat in the living room together to talk it all out. 

Reciprocal Love and Hound Mamas were awesome supports during the evening, and texted with me to keep me motivated. At 11pm, we got ready for bed, because it had been quiet in his room for a while. Then I snuck into the nursery and dreamed him. I hated waking him up, but we decided that it was better to wake him up than respond to his cries because we’re trying to get him to self-soothe more and break the dependence on the cry-we-come-fix-it association he currently has. So I woke him to feed every 3ish hours to make sure he wasn’t hungry, I changed his diaper, and then put him down awake. I tip toed out of his room, so nervous that I’d start hearing screaming soon, but I didn’t. He didn’t cry at all. I was shocked.  

In bed, I missed my little snuggly boy. I missed his warm little body pressed up against mine, his smell, hearing him breathe. It was weird having space back in our bed. I hugged a pillow tight and curled up around it like I would my baby boy. I also only half-slept, because I wanted to be aware enough to hear him if he cried, which he only did once in the night- at 6:45am, which was probably due to hunger because he quieted down and went right back to sleep after I nursed him. At 8:44am, we heard whimpers, so it was time to start the day. 

Overall, it was a lot less painful than we had both expected. I am so grateful for the support from Reciprocal Love and Hound Mamas, and the Happy Sleeper for explaining how important it was for Dumplin’ to learn to self-soothe. 

Day 1 down. I hope day 2 is even better, though I’ve read that sometimes it’s worse because of the extinction burst effect. Fingers crossed that day 2 goes well….

Stay tuned!

Dumplin’: Sleep Training

So the countdown to Mochi is on! DW is just over 34 weeks now, and things are looking good, but starting to feel uncomfortable all the time now. The 3rd trimester insomnia has started for her, and she’s got terrible numbness down her arms from a previous shoulder impingement issue that has just gotten worse with pregnancy. Mochi is head down and has reached his/her birth length already, and is just fattening up now.

  DW at 33 Weeks.

We are still currently bedsharing with Dumplin’ sleeping between us, and we have good nights and bad nights. Some mornings I get up and think “Thank goodness for bedsharing, because I just have to roll over and give him the boob when he fusses”. Other mornings I’m cursing and super sleep-deprived because he thought it was fun to play and chew on my nipple. Little turd. 

Nursing him to sleep has allowed us to survive this long, but it’s now starting to lose its effectiveness as a way to get him to sleep. I can see him frustrated at night because he too, expects the sleep elixir to work. Fact of the matter is that my child doesn’t know how to fall asleep on his own, sans motion (car rides, swing), or nursing. By continuing to nurse him to sleep, I feel like I’m taking away opportunities to let him hone his self-soothing skills. Also- Mochi’s coming, and our little queen-sized bed can barely comfortable contain the three of us, let alone another baby that is even more fragile. We plan on having Mochi in the bassinet, but that’s what we planned for Dumplin’ too, and well, yeah, here we are talking about sleep training.

We dabbled in the modified cry-it-out method mentioned in the Happy Sleeper a couple of weeks ago for naps, but it failed pretty miserably for us, mostly because we weren’t consistent with it for more than the two naps, and also because naps are harder to sleep train than bedtimes apparently. His cries just escalated every time we came in the room and he cried for over an hour straight before we called it both times. So we think we will have to go the extinction route and just let him cry it out without doing the sleep waves.

We were going to start sleep training bedtimes last night but him and I have a nasty cold right now, which we seem to have caught from a friend’s kids. So we thought we’d wait until him and I are both well, to avoid second guessing ourselves like “Wait- is he quiet because he’s sleeping or quiet because he’s stopped breathing because mucous is clogging his lungs?!”. 

So we will wait, but in the meantime, I thought I’d see if any of you have tips for sleep training using a cry-it-out (CIO) or modified CIO method. I’m not looking for arguments against sleep training, since we’ve decided that this is best for us as a family, and it wasn’t an easy decision to make.

Thanks in advance!