Saturday, November 22, 2014

3 Months & 3 Stockings

...and about 3 minutes to blog. It's so challenging to find time, but I don't want to give it up!

Preston turned 3 months this week. Such a sporty little guy...

It's pretty crazy how much things can change in another month's time.
I remember when all I wanted was for him to hold his head up on his own. Such a small feat you might think, but a whole new world of possibilities opens up when babies can hold their head up unassisted.

He's now able to sit in his carrier facing outward and loves it...

He never liked his Bjorn (or any other carrier for that matter) much before, even though I have tried many. I think he has claustrophobic tendencies like his parents or something. Plus, even though it had been ages since he's breastfed, he'd start motorboating my cleavage anytime I tried to wear him towards me...even if he wasn't hungry.  It was funny to an extent, but not so productive an event for him or I. I'm thrilled he can now hang out facing the world and likes to be worn. We even vacuum the house together.

We've been doing a little special ops training in the mornings to strengthen his neck even more, and practice the art of rolling over...

Preston has also developed a love for books! Hallelujah! He showed little interest the first couple months when reading to him, but I just kept trying until he was able to focus on the images and hold his head up more to enjoy what he was looking at. All of a sudden he started really getting into story time. It's so fun to see the expressions on his face and the reactions in his developing's easy to tell which books and pictures are his favorites. He gives plenty of input himself, and I try to pause and let him talk during story time, so he knows I'm listening and involving him.

We're still on a tight budget while hubby's not working, so purchasing many toys hasn't happened. However we're slowly building our book collection however possible. The public library is limited on things his level and have very few board books, but we cleaned out their shelves this week.

I have a feeling the store Half Priced Books is going to be a popular place for us. They don't give you squat for trading in your old books, but their books for sale are pretty cheap, some on clearance for only $1. We traded in old books of ours and walked away with a small stack of few new ones for only $7! Crazy cheap!

Thankfully P has become MUCH easier to take out in public solo. Little to no screaming for diaper changes, and the weather has cooled off so he's more comfortable in his travel system. The past few times I've taken him out by myself he's been a breeze to manage. He barely mutters a peep and is quite content with car rides. He smiles whenever I go to put him in his car seat now. Lord, please let this last forever!

I've joined a few meetup groups for moms as well, and we went to our first outing together this inflatables bounce gym. Of course, he couldn't bounce, but I think it's good for both of us to get out and socialize. He ended up sleeping the whole time despite the ruckus that was going on... at least I know he can be civil if I take him out with groups now. ha!

Perhaps the best moment of the month has been decorating for Christmas. Yes, I know it's still early to be decorating, but the cold snap last weekend had us feeling festive! For the first time in years we hung stockings...and 3 of them, praise God! I had a momentary breakdown in the holiday isle when purchasing them, thinking back to the other holiday seasons, going through fertility treatments and losing pregnancies. Finally, we have 3 stockings!

One thing that sucks THE MOST when experiencing infertility is the holidays. You force yourself to decorate and give gifts. You try your best not to cry at every turn, but all you want to do is crawl into a hole and hide from the heart-wrenching stream of family cards that show up endlessly in your mailbox. I have not, for one second, forgotten about all of my sisters in infertility who are still on their journey to parenthood. Hang in there, because you will get your family eventually, and when you do it will change your entire perspective, I promise!

This is the first year in quite a while I've truly embraced Christmas and soooo much of the bitterness I had before is POOF, gone. It doesn't hurt that we now have a little help decorating...

I am just as much a bucket of tears these days, but it's for completely different reasons. Where I used to be overcome by sorrow every day, I'm now overcome with joy...and maybe still a few weird hormones left over after pregnancy? Seriously, am I going to be a hormonal mess forever? I'm going to become one of those old ladies walking around with tissues in my purse and a spare pack to hand them out in church.

Lastly, speaking of the holidays, we created a "wish list" on amazon for Preston, so that relatives who ask can see what he can use and can purchase gifts easily online. I'm noticing that practically everything runs on batteries these days. I have a few old school things like blocks and the "Farmer Says" toy, but would love any suggestions on good toys to get a baby under 1 yr. old that do not run on batteries. If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Mission to Sleep: To Crib from Rock 'n Play in 1 Day

If there's one device that moms everywhere have developed a love hate relationship with, it's probably the Rock 'n Play Sleeper. If you don't know what it is, here's a picture (complete with non-realistic well rested mom)...

Why Love? Only because it is the most versatile, portable, inexpensive, magically calming, life saving, miraculous baby device on the market! Seriously, if you are having a baby or giving a baby gift, this is THE ONE thing to have...the perfectly angled bed, the soothing vibrations at the mere touch of a button, the snuggly sides that keep baby cozied up and reassured anytime they wake themselves up with their startle reflex mid-snooze, and the fact you can tote it anywhere from bedside to shower side so you can make sure baby is safe at all times and actually get some shit done. The list goes on...

Then, why on earth Hate? This thing is like crack for babies! Unfortunately, with a 25 lb weight limit, they can't just sleep in it forever, and there's no shortage of horror stories from moms who've tried to transition their babes from RNP to crib. I don't blame these babies for rebelling when the switch is made. I mean, who wants to give up all the coziness of the RNP for a big ole empty flat boring crib?

A couple things I should state for the record. There is some controversy on if/how much you should allow your baby to sleep in a RNP. Among them, things like flat head, torticollis, and upper airway obstruction due to the inclined nature are noted by some doctors as possible risks. These are serious things to consider of course. On the other hand, the RNP is very commonly recommended by many pediatricians, especially to parents of kiddos with acid reflux, due to the exact same characteristics in design. So is it safe? My pediatrician said absolutely it's fine. In fact, she recommended not even attempting the transition from RNP to crib this early. I was shocked to hear her say that actually.

I am certainly not smarter than our pediatrician, but I will say that the bigger Preston was becoming the more I felt the urge to go ahead and transition to crib now. His feet and legs were becoming more scrunched at the end to where he was sleeping in a squat position. While this doesn't pose a risk, I didn't want him to get to used to that position. Most concerning was the fact he'd become so heavy (he's now over 15 lbs!), the support was starting to sag and I noticed his head began to slump forward during sleep more. I was having a hard time sleeping as well, because I was so worried about watching his breathing like a hawk when he was in it. It was time to make the move to crib.

And because there are so many horror stories out there about making the switch, I wanted to share our personal experience...It was not bad at all!
I really think it went smoothly because we didn't just move him into a completely different room, and throw him into a completely different "feeling" space to sleep. Some people may be able to do that with success, but I don't think our guy would have gone for it one hot minute.

Before the actual crib transition began, we moved his RNP into his nursery a month ago and kept it right next to his crib.
This way he became very familiar with his own room and the view he'd have from his crib. We used a portable mobile to hang above the RNP from time to time so that he'd get used to seeing that above his head as well. Then the time came to make the big move. So without further adieu, here's what worked for us...

1) Propped the crib up on one end using books.
This gave an inclined feel to his new sleeping space. While it wasn't quite as angled as the RNP, it definitely wasn't flat. Over time, we will remove one book at a time, so that he won't feel such a drastic transition to a completely flat mattress.

*We've already removed one book and will remove another tonight.

2) Made a "snugglenest" using a rolled up beach towel.
We placed this under the fitted crib sheet in the middle of the crib. This way, it wasn't such a big wide open space, and he still gets a cozy feel when he moves about. There are no loose blankets, so it's perfectly safe. Over time we can replicate with smaller (thinner) towels to lower the height of the snugglenest until it's taken away completely.

3) Placed a large firm throw pillow at the end of crib near feet. This way if he slid downward or kicked his feet, which he did a lot in the RNP, there would be something there to provide soft resistance instead of just crib rungs or empty space. We tied the pillow to the crib rungs firmly as well, so if he kicked, the pillow would not fall back onto him.

4) Put soothing vibration unit under crib mattress.
We took the battery powered vibration unit out of our Pack 'n Play (yet another baby sleeping device), which has only been used for diaper changes to this day and placed it under his crib mattress instead. This made the crib mattress vibrate, just like the RNP. This unit also happens to have an MP3 player you can play soft music from if you choose.

*I'm really not certain if/how much this element played a role, because the batteries were dying and after only a couple nights he went without any vibration just fine. We have now removed the vibration unit altogether...if he's fine without it, no sense in adding it back in and continuing the habit. If you're having issues transitioning, it might help, but you also might be fine without this step.

6) Placed mobile at center of crib hanging above his head. We used this mobile above his RNP prior, so it would be familiar to him.

7) Hung "baby shusher" in corner near his head. I have had more than one mom roll their eyes at me for using this thing, but I don't care. It works, both as a calming measure while mid-tantrum and also a preventative measure to prevent restlessness in the first place. It has one function and one function only. It goes "shhhhhh" to your baby at increments of 15 min & 30 min. You turn it on and it literally shushes baby to sleep for you. We had used this in the RNP prior with success, so figured we'd keep it in play in the crib. When I lay him down to sleep, I just turn the baby shusher on, lights off, and leave the room.

So, there you have it. Might seem like overkill just to get a baby into a crib. However, I would rather give him more than enough at first and then take away elements of comfort piece by piece, than to move to crib cold turkey with a not so pleasant experience for either of us.

The BEST part is that he seemed to sleep more restfully in his crib that first night than he even slept in his RNP. In fact, he is now going longer between feeds and has had a couple nights where he's only eaten twice throughout the night. It's been a week now, and he has slept as good or better in his crib every single night as compared to his sleep in the RNP.

First night sleeping in his crib! woo hoo!

We are probably still a long way from sleeping through the night entirely, but he is in his bed, in his room, and we are in our bed, in our room, on a completely different floor for the most part. It may not be perfection YET, but it's movement in the right direction!