Preparing for daycare

EEEEEEEK Aviana starts daycare next tuesday.  How are we here already?  The past few weeks Aviana has really been starting to enjoy playtime, and I have been enjoying playtime with her too.  She is really quite mellow and happy being independent playing on her own, but I have been having too much fun playing with her. This has meant that the past few weeks I have had little time to myself, but that is what maternity leave is all about?  Spending time nurturing your little one??!

A month ago if you asked me about whether I would miss maternity leave, I’d have said no, I was actually quite looking forward to going back to work. Now if you ask me, I’d probably be a bit hesitant.  I’m actually having a lot of fun with Aviana now and I love seeing her develop.  Just the other day she sat up on her ownfor the first time…it was fascinating to watch her figure it out! And just by coincidence I managed to video record it! I know there are many other firsts to come that I will miss now, but I am glad I have been lucky enough to have at least a few with her.

Having said all of this I’m looking forward to work.  Luckily I am easing myself back into it gently.  Here is the daycare transition plan:

  • Next week, the first week, Tuesday is her first day.  We will head there after her first nap of the day at home.  Arrive at daycare at about 9.30AM, I’ll breastfeed her there, play with her a bit, then I will go on the advice of the daycare staff what is the best way to do this transition!  But the plan is for her to spend just mornings there for the rest of the week.
  • Second week, plan is to arrive 9.30AM and pick her up 3PM-ish.  So shorter days.
  • Third week, plan is to put her in full time 7.30AM/8AM to 5PM-ish.
  • Fourth week I start work and travel to Brussels so Chris is on his own with Aviana!

Aviana has been good at taking the bottle and doesn’t seem to have a problem with it, and she still likes the boob, so no fear of a nursing strike just yet.  But it is a genuine fear I have.  I am also nervous about her overeating.  We still have yet to figure out how we are going to do a routine once I am properly back at work, but hopefully we will get a feel for it in the third week.

Right…now all I have to do now is go and label all her clothes!!!

Do you have any tips for transitioning an infant to daycare?  What was your experience? How did you feel?

The baby sleep solution days 8, 9 & 10

Day 8: So I left you all on tenterhooks after day 7’s schedule all went out of the window.  I just knew it was going to be a bad night when Aviana woke up at 9.30 PM, just 2.5hrs after we put her down for the night.  At first we were confused where the crying was coming from because she has never woken up this early since she was 6 weeks old!  I panicked, not knowing how to handle this, especially as I had literally just finished pumping – the boob soothing option was pretty much out of the window.  Could she really be hungry?  Well she hadn’t eaten much that day, so it was possible.  Or was this the start of the 4 month sleep regression?   For some reason I crazily decided to try and soothe her back to sleep by shushing her and putting my hand on her tummy.  Unbelievably – it worked!!  Phew!  However, knowing that she wasn’t in a deep sleep we decided not to do our usual thing of what we do just before we go to bed: pick her up out of her crib in her room and transfer her to the pack and play in our room.

We decided that we would leave her in her crib for the night for the very first time. YIKES I was nervous about doing this. Why?  Because I was afraid I wouldn’t hear her cry or the monitor would break – her bedroom is upstairs and ours is downstairs so we wouldn’t hear her cry through the walls.  Of course this is also prime time for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) , so I worry about that all the time.

Anyway…needless to say I was right.  She woke up at 2.15AM.  DOH.  Then she woke up for the day at 5AM. Double DOH.

Despite the early start, Aviana nursed to schedule, still every three hours, and napped well, with me putting her down in her crib with little to no crying. WINNER!

Day 9: Aviana woke up again at 2.30AM  for  night feed and then woke up for the day at 4.45AM. UGHHHHH.  OK so there goes the theory that a schedule with few feeds with more milk helps her to sleep through the night!  But remember we are only on step 1 of the baby sleep solution.  Today was nanny day!  I got to take a break and Aviana was on schedule with the nanny.  She even drunk 5oz of milk at bed time!  She is taking the bottle much better now.

Day 10: This time Aviana woke up at 3.15AM, a little better, but not like the few days she slept through.   The schedule went completely out of the window because I went to a baby wearing meeting in the morning and Aviana decided to fall asleep in the car in both directions.  Then I got a call from friends who needed some help with something which meant I had to leave the house, so Aviana missed her afternoon nap completely.  Today was a day that made me realise that Aviana likes a schedule because she got a little grumpy with it all, which made me a little grumpy too.

Days 8, 9 & 10 summary:  No more sleeping through the night, those two days seemed to be a one off.  But Aviana seems to be a much happier baby with a schedule and goes down for naps easily.  I think we may be able to stretch out her feeds a little more next week now that I know she can drink 5oz in one feed.


The baby sleep solution day 7

She slept from 6.45PM to 5.30AM again. Whoop whoop!!!! But…..the rest of the day didn’t go quite as planned.

Well she went down to her first nap of the day with just a little whimper and then slept for 1hr 20….yey she made it through two sleep cycles!  She nursed well when she woke up and then it all went to pots after that.  I went out to a little play gym with a friend and her two children, I thought I had timed it well for Aviana to fall asleep in the car on the way there, then I would feed her when we got there and then she would play! Ummm No. She fell asleep 2 minutes before we arrived. Ughhhh.  She woke up after 10 minutes.  So we played.  She had lots of fun and so did I! (Except for when she had a melt down because she couldn’t put a big whirly ball in her mouth – this is becoming a thing that she gets frustrated over, it’s kind of funny!)

But then it was food time and she would not nurse in the play gym. She was too distracted.  I should have just fed her in the car. My bad.  Instead I thought I’d wait until we headed out for lunch.  She then fell asleep in the car again and had a proper 40 minute nap whilst I ate lunch (Yey eating with both hands!).  So this meant she was completely off schedule for feeding and napping. Oh well, let’s go with the flow.  When she woke up she just snacked again.  We drove home and she fell asleep AGAIN just before we arrived home.  The cleaners were still in the house making a lot of noise (I know….first world problems) so I took Aviana for a walk and she had her afternoon nap in her buggy.

But hey – I don’t want to live my life or hers by a strict schedule…so we just deal with it and be flexible.  She was happy, I was happy.  What were the consequences of crappy napping and snacking through the day?  Ha….you will find out tomorrow!

They say that the first nap of the day is the most important for baby, so we nailed that one at least.  And after Chris gave her a bottle of breast milk (high fives all around for her taking the bottle still!), as usual she went to sleep at 7pm in her crib with no fuss.

Day 7 Summary.  Aviana goes down for one nap in crib with little fuss, no crying.  But because we went out in the car all other naps and feeding schedules go out the window.  She definitely didn’t eat enough throughout the day as the baby sleep solution requires.

The baby sleep solution day 6

I had the best day EVER with Aviana!  I was nervous because Chris went back to work and I wondered if she would miss the bottle and how she would be at nursing.  But I had nothing to worry about.  She nursed beautifully.  We kept to the rough schedule of feeding every 3 hours.

Oh I forgot the most important thing!  She slept all the way through to 5.30 AM…YES!  She stirred at 1.30AM and when Chris got up to go to the toilet at some point around 3.30AM, but didn’t wake up completely.

Naps…first nap of the day – NO CRYING, just a few whimpers when I put her down in the crib.  Second nap of the day, 1 round of 3 minutes of crying, same for her third nap.  She stayed awake from 3PM to 6.45PM.  No crying at bed time when she went down in her crib!

The best part of the day was how fun and happy she was playing.  My favourite part of the day was when she got super excited at the musical cow and wanted to put it in her mouth, she tried but it was too big so she got upset.  She also has started to lean forward and try to bounce herself in the ExerSaucer bouncer and grip onto the toys.  She is getting really strong at standing up too, her balance is getting better and can now stand just holding onto my fingers.  I basically had the perfect day with her on my own!  (Apart from the poo explosion in the shops but that’s just OK, I’m getting used to handling these!)

Day 6 summary.  Aviana nursed calmly, went down easily for all her naps, kept to the 3 hour feed schedule.  Slept for 10.5 hrs through the night.  This is really starting to work.

The baby sleep solution day 5

Aviana slept from 7pm til 4.10am again!!! She went back to sleep after her ‘night time’ feed for just 20 minutes.  Doh.  Oh well. Perhaps this is part of the process! Then she snacked at 6.30AM because she had fed at 4AM she wasn’t hugely interested in eating.

She was on schedule perfectly for the rest of the day.  She went down at 8.15AM after one round of 3 minutes of crying, again at 11.45AM, similar.  This time she actually took an afternoon nap at 2PM!  Little fuss. It was tough to keep her awake between her 3.30PM feed and her 6.30PM feed, but she stayed awake, Chris did a great job.  We had friends over so we had lots of ways to distract her!  She fussed a little after bath time, but Chris coped well and she took the bottle after about 5 minutes (I’m sure it felt longer than that for Chris!).  She fell asleep at 7PM after just one round of crying…although she cried for 2 minutes, stopped, almost fell asleep by herself, then a few minutes later cried for 3 minutes, then Chris went into reassure her and she was fast asleep.  So she is almost at the brink of soothing herself within a few minutes.  But not quite there yet!

She is taking the bottle well from Chris!!!! She took between 3oz to 4.5oz at each feed.  I was pumping just before so she had fresh milk in the bottle, and at one feed I had to use milk left over from the first pump of the day (I pumped 6oz she took 4oz), so I hope my supply can keep up.  I do have a cold so may be my supply has dipped a little.  Just got to keep nursing and pumping!!!

Day 5 Summary: Aviana is on schedule with her feeds, with little fuss at nap times, extending her night time sleep already, perhaps Day 4 wasn’t a coincidence after all?

The Baby Sleep Solution Day 4

It’s the weekend!!!! Whoop whoop!  So Chris can help out 🙂

Aviana slept to 4.30AM….I woke up thinking it was 3.30 and was pleasantly surprised that it was actually an hour later.  wooohooo! Unfortunately, she did not go back to sleep after this feed. Boooooo.  But her sleeping 7PM to 4.30AM is not bad at all and have nothing to complain about.  Chris took her from 5.15 to 6.30 so I could get a little bit of sleep in, but I only managed to fall asleep at 6.20, and then…..

I fed her at 6.30AM as per the planned schedule.  The plan for the weekend was for Chris to bottle feed her my expressed milk in preparation for her going to day care in 1.5 weeks time because she was hating the bottle!  And so she completely skipped her next feed that was due at 9.30AM.  I was starting to get worried that she would never take the bottle.  But she finally took it at 12.30PM without any fuss.  That was a huge relief!  And she took the next bottle at 4PM and then again before bed at 6.30PM.  LIKE A CHAMP!

Naps…I put her down for her early morning nap and she cried for 3 minutes 2 times. Progress!  She napped in the car and in her buggy whilst we were out at an easter event on a farm.  We got home and she would not go down for a nap in the afternoon at all.  Nope.  Somehow she managed to stay awake all afternoon.  We were thoroughly confused! Then she went to bed with zero fuss, no crying…unsurprisingly she was zonked!

Day 4 Summary…may be there is something in this baby sleep solution?  Something is changing.  Is it a one off or a coincidence?

The Baby Sleep Solution Day 3

Remember I said it takes 3 days to create a bad habit and 7 days to break one in an infant???! Aghhhh is it over yet???!!!

I literally lay down next to Aviana’s crib and cried. Why does this girl fight napping so much?? She is yawning and dozing off but then screams and kicks til she is red in the face! May be she is like me after all, I can’t nap during the day unless I’m ill.

So Aviana kept to the 3 hour feed schedule nicely throughout the day. I think we are winning on that front. She generally seems much happier at the boob. I even managed to feed her in public- in a Panera Bread, so not exactly the quietist of locations, I was prepared to get into the car, but she was just fine in the end.

As for napping??!! She’s a little messed up, I suppose it will take a few more days. 

Nap 1 – 4 rounds of 3 mins of crying and she was asleep. Not bad!

Nap 2 – 3 rounds of 3 mins of crying, she then kicked around in her crib for 10 mins on her own quietly, then cried for 3 mins one last time, I went in to reassure her again and then she went to sleep. 

Nap 3 – nope. She was not having it. She was full of food, clean nappy and YAWNING – this girl was just crying and crying and would not stop. I spent 20 minutes with her and she would not stop, I even picked her up and cuddled her, I had to but she was still inconsolable. After I lay her back down again, She fell asleep. But just for 5 mins, she woke up and just cried and cried some more. And then I cried because I really could not read her, I had no clue why she was crying so much. I tried everything. I just felt like a failure! How could I not fix it for her? I wanted to quit this baby sleep solution! None of  he usual tricks would soothe her. Eventually one hour later she was finally hungry and so I fed her and all was right with the world. I thought she might fall asleep at the boob because she was so tired, but she didn’t! So there was no nap 3 in the end. No nap all afternoon.

And so then she stayed awake for the rest of the afternoon until it was bedtime!   She obviously went out like a light as soon as she went into the crib.But who could blame her she had been awake for almost 6.5hrs (with just that 5 minute nap). Do almost 4 month olds do that???!

Day 3 Sunmary – I felt like quitting after all that crying in the afternoon, fortunately I didn’t and neither did Aviana. But we made good Positive progress on moving to 3 hour feeds.


Day 2 in the big brother house and we are still all friends…just…

I thought Day 2 was going to be a challenge, but actually it wasn’t all that bad.  Our nanny comes from 1pm – 9pm so we knew that it would be a bit disruptive, but our nanny is great and she was supportive of what we were trying to achieve.  My biggest concern was that Aviana hasn’t been taking the bottle since I got back from the UK.  However, she took both bottles (with a bit of fighting) and our nanny managed to stick to the schedule.  The nanny needed to use some of the distraction techniques to get there, but she did it!  (AND we managed to get a date night in – whoop whoop!)

Day 2 Summary: Aviana’s first day of being on a 3 hour feed schedule with a bit of distraction….! Yey! Was it a fluke or is this a sign of good things to come??!?!

The baby sleep solution Day 1

Aviana sleeps quite well at night and has done now for a while.  I really can’t complain.  We have been able to get her down around 7pm after a bed time routine for almost two months now and sleeps through to 6-7am with one or sometimes two night feeds.  However her napping is not so great.  She requires us to help her get to sleep mostly by swaddling and rocking. Occasionally she uses a pacifier.  And she FIGHTS nap time sleep.  You can tell she is tired, but she cries until she has been rocked to sleep.  It’s exhausting.  Sometimes it takes just 3 minutes, other times 30 minutes. In addition, recently, for her night time routine I have been nursing her and she has fallen asleep at the boob, if she isn’t fully asleep when I put her down she screams, whereas before she was good at going down without needing to be nursed to sleep.  I think part of that is my fault because I took the easy route when I was travelling in the UK because I was on my own.

Realising we are encouraging some bad ‘sleep associations’ we thought it’s time for introducing some good sleep habits.  So we took out the baby sleep solution book again and decided to give it a go.  I already wrote about the 4 stages here and what I thought about this book.

Today was Day 1.  The first stage is to get the number of feeds during the day down to 4 – i.e. every 4 hours.  Aviana has been demand feeding every 2-2.5hrs during the day, so I decided that my goal is to get the number of feeds to 5, i.e every 3 hours.  The book suggests a number of ways to stretch out the feeds – incrementally, mostly today I succeeded in feeding her roughly every 3 hours.  It was hard work distracting her after she woke up from her naps because she is so used to being fed after waking, but we only waited 15-20 minutes.  Hello Little Miss Grumps!  But we did it!  She has also been less distracted whilst nursing because she is actually hungry and wants to eat, rather than snacking.  Well, this is just my gut feeling because clearly Aviana can’t tell me!

We also started to try the good sleep habits…and it didn’t go quite as planned because I screwed up a bit.  The first time I put her down for a nap I started with a semi new routine: change diaper, read story, close curtains, sing a lullaby, put on sleep sack, switch on white noise machine, lay her in crib, give her a kiss and leave the room.  The book suggests limited crying of 3-5 minutes before going back into the room to reassure Aviana that I am there for her, calm her down, pat her, but not pick her up.  I did this 3 times and she went to sleep the third time I came into the room.  Score!

Then I royally screwed up the next nap.  I thought I would be able to get to the shops and back again to put her down in her crib, but she fell asleep in her car seat 3 minutes out from getting back home.  I made the mistake of trying to get her out of the car seat, into her sleep sack and put her in the crib.  She woke up and cried.  So I tried the 3 minute thing and used the ‘toolbox for distracting’.  After the third time of going back in I could not stop her crying.  I stayed with her and tried shhh-ing, talking to her in a calming way, patting her and she just would not stop crying.  Minute after minute passed and I thought to myself how much longer do I wait until I pick her up?  It was awful, but it had worked earlier so when should I give in? Aghhhh??!?!  I decided to pick her up as soon as she was due her feed. That was it. She had gone from being pissed for being woken up after 7 minutes of being asleep to being pissed because she was hungry and I TOTALLY missed the cue.  It was rough and I felt bad for missing the signs, 45 minutes of intermittent crying, to get no where. Ughhhh. 

For bedtime I didn’t nurse her to sleep and nursed her in a different room rather than in her room (apparently a bad sleep association), and I made sure she was still awake when I put her down, I kissed her good night and left the room.  She fell asleep almost straight away with zero fuss.

Day 1 Summary – positive progress in stretching feed times, but mixed progress on introducing a good nap/bedtime sleep routine.  But that’s OK, Rome wasn’t built in a day.  The book says that bad habits take three days to make and seven days to break.  And so it continues…

3 month weight check & distracted nursing

After some issues with Aviana taking the bottle when I went back to work (High lipase issue) and Aviana becoming more and more distracted at the breast I was worried that she was not putting on enough weight.  When I took her for her weight check at 3 months I was fully prepared to be told to supplement her again.

Aviana weighed in at 10lbs 12oz (4th percentile) at 3 months and 13 days old and 23″ tall (14th percentile).  Although she is still off the charts for her height/weight ratio, the pediatrician was pleased at her continued weight gain along the curve so told me she wasn’t concerned.  Looking at Aviana she is getting some nice little fat rolls on her thighs which the pediatrician was happy with.  We count her rolls of fat!  So no more weight checks until her 4 month wellness visit!

Aviana has become distracted and fussy at the breast noticeably since she has learned how to grab things…it was like she has become awake to the world.  Sometimes she latches and pulls off quickly to look up at me, then re-latches, pulls off, smiles at me, re-latches etc.  Which is actually sometimes so darn cute, I’m trying really hard not to encourage this behaviour!  But of course she pulls off hard sometimes and that hurts!!! Then she gets frustrated she can’t re-latch quick enough and cries. Also I have not been able to feed her in public because she gets distracted and pissed at noise.  I have resorted to feeding her in the car or under a nursing cover (which she HATES and I equally hate!).

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Aviana’s weight progress  – she is following her own curve nicely 🙂

I went to my local la leche league breastfeeding support group to ask about all of this.  Apparently this is very common at this age – it’s called distracted nursing.  There is no telling how long this will last for, but many of the women in the group have experienced this!  Phew…so it’s kind of normal! Their tips included: nursing in quiet places (ok i got that one!!), using a comfort toy or blanket at the breast to distract them from the distractions, singing to her and rocking. Yesterday I was out and about and needed to nurse in public, I sat outside in the shade and I tried rocking/bouncing, that seemed to work quite well.  I really hope this is just a quick phase because I want her to be able to feed anywhere! I feel soooooooo guilty and bad when she won’t nurse properly.  She is not the kind of baby to make up for it at other times, she will easily skip a meal if she isn’t happy.

It is good news that the doctor is happy with Aviana just following her own weight curve.   I enjoy breastfeeding Aviana (when she isn’t distracted) and I hope I can keep it up for at least 6 months is my goal – my stretch goal is 12 months.  But this distracted nursing issue and having her low weight on my conscience has made me feel like giving up at times.  They say to never give up on a bad day…and I’ve kept that in mind, it’s helped me to keep going. Plus going to the support group meetings and being a member of a facebook breastfeeding group has also kept me on the path to my goal.  Breastfeeding is not easy, and I have had a pretty easy time of it compared to some people I know.