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…

Sleep glorious sleep!

Let’s talk about sleep and newborn babies. When my friend told me her newborn boy, who is not much older than Aviana, was sleeping for 7hrs straight and Aviana was waking every 2-3hrs, I was insanely jealous. These are the things that went through my head….

  • I’m not feeding my baby enough, my boobs aren’t enough for her
  • She is going to be a nightmare forever
  • Is my baby a freak?
  • We are bad parents

Sleep is such a contentious issue with babies amongst parents. Everyone swears by this method, that method, blah blah blah. Well, here is what I believe.. every baby is different, so chances are each baby will behave differently with different sleep patterns. For example, Chris doesn’t do mornings and I don’t do late nights, so why would we expect our babies to be any different for having a preference for when and how long they sleep for?

However, as a new parent, babies and sleep is something I have very little knowledge of, so, I did buy a book. The ‘baby solution-a proven program to teach your baby to sleep twelve hours a night’ book.  I bought this book months before Aviana arrived. I liked that it was gentle and incremental sleep training, it kind of jibed with our parenting style (what ever that is!!!). By 12 weeks old it promises you your baby will be sleeping through the night. It sounded amazing, I had read the reviews online and there were many positive stories.

In this book by Suzy Giordano, there are three requirements that baby must meet before you start the training: 1. Baby must be at least nine pounds; 2. Baby must be eating at least 24 ounces of milk or formula in 24 hours; 3. Baby must be at least 4 weeks old or 8 weeks if a twin.  This apparently usually comes around the same time and is typically around the 8 week mark. Aviana is now 10 weeks and has only just hit nine pounds so we waited knowingly it would be a while before we could start this program. BTW – I am not convinced she is eating 24 oz of breast milk yet.

There are four stages of training:

  1. change to four feeds during the day every four hours for twelve hours. Not sure I will be able to achieve this whilst breastfeeding. Lots of comments on Amazon saying this is very difficult for a breastfed baby, which I’m inclined to agree with. This would mean Aviana consuming 4-6oz of milk in one sitting. I know that even if she emptied both my boobs that would be a challenge! Maybe every three hours we could achieve.
  2. change to eliminate all night feedings for twelve hours.  Aviana has almost done this by herself already (more on that to follow…)
  3. change to sleeping or resting quietly in the crib for twelve hours at night.
  4. change to sleeping or resting quietly in the crib for one hour in the morning and about two hours in the afternoon. To me this seems quite a challenge for an 8 week old baby, but assumably if you were to follow all the steps in order then this would come almost at 12 weeks old.

Sounds simple right?  Well the book does provide you with ways to achieve this, gently and incrementally over a four week period.  Also the book provides you with some tips for priming your baby before the 8 week point. This includes creating a good sleep environment (in cribs in their own room) and routine for when baby sleeps.  BUT…we haven’t started this program yet.
However, we have established a night time routine for Aviana…. 6pm bath time, with relaxing music and dim lights.  6.30pm last feed of the night, dim lights and relaxing lullaby music. 7pm, lights out, swaddled and in crib.  The first week was a little tough keeping her awake and not letting her nap after 4.30pm, we tried all sorts of techniques to keep her awake and entertained!  Plus she has the witching hour where she becomes a grumpy moose, usually around 4-5pm.  Tricks include going for a walk, carrying her, playing and dancing to nursery rhymes.  The routine worked well for her and she has been going to sleep like clockwork at 7pm for almost 4 weeks now.  Sometimes, she even doesn’t mind just lying in her crib kicking around for a bit before she falls asleep.  Then when Chris and I go to bed later on we carry her from her crib downstairs to our room into her pack and play crib.

A couple of weeks after starting the routine Aviana did a magical thing. I woke up at 4.30AM and I hadn’t fed her yet!!! Whaaaat?  She had slept for 9.5hrs straight.   Over the last week she has been sleeping from 7-9hrs straight and only waking for one feed during the night until she wakes up at 6 or 7AM.  This is AMAZING! So she is sleeping for twelve hours now with just one feed in the night.  Having to wake for only one feed has been rejuvenating for me.  I feel vaguely like a human again – even better than when I was pregnant because then I was still waking up every few hours to pee!  Plus Chris doesn’t need to do a bottle feed and so she is less stressed (because she is impatient she works herself up when drinking a bottle at night!).  The other good thing is that we get a couple of hours to ourselves before going to bed.

I am still doing on demand feeding (except for the 6.30pm feed) and her days don’t have much of a routine yet.  The only routine we try to use is the baby whisperer’s method of Eat, Activity (for baby), Sleep and Yourself time whilst baby sleeps (EASY).  How long that ‘EASY’ routine takes is currently on her schedule.

So….do we need to start trying sleep training?  I’m not inclined just yet to start it. First she has done really well so far pretty much on her own schedule, I’m afraid to regress! And secondly because of her weight.  I don’t want to disrupt her eating and enforce a routine that she doesn’t like because I am worried about her losing weight if we move to just four/five feeds a day.  If I was formula feeding her I would definitely try it.

Now another of our friends who has a boy a couple of weeks older than Aviana is asking me how we managed to get Aviana to sleep for so long.  I actually have no answer.  The truth is, it is a bit of luck.  To begin with we had bad luck – we had hell to begin with having to do 2 hour feeds and supplementing in her first few weeks of life and she had a hell of a time with silent reflux (well we had a hell of a time too!).  Now we have good luck…she is sleeping well now in her own way…will it stay like that?!? Who knows which way our fortune will go!

Ultimately, I like what the pediatricians here say about how to get through parenting in the newborn stage ‘you can’t spoil a newborn baby’.  I think that is something I feel comfortable with and looking back the past couple of months has worked for us.  The question is, when is she no longer that ‘newborn baby’?  When does she stop ‘training us as parents’ and when do we start training her?  I am hoping that in time that will become a bit more apparent with Aviana, but many sleep trainers say it is around the 4-6 month mark.  Only time will tell……in the meantime Aviana is napping in her new Baby Hawk Mei Tai carrier and is probably going to wake up soon so I will stop blabbing, but will continue this another time!

Happy sleep my friends X