Good Night, Sleep Tight

Sunshine turned 11 weeks old on Sunday.  She amazes me everyday with a newly developed skill or a finely mastered talent.  I am in awe how fast she seems to learn things.  I do not seem to remember how quickly Whirlwind garnered new skills.  I could probably attribute that to constantly trying to function in a sleepless fog.

There are minimal sleepless fogs this time around.  For the last two weeks, Sunshine has been sleeping for 11 hour stretches, wakes to eat and goes back to sleep for another 3 hours.  Fuzz and I are totally flabbergasted by this one.  We can only really speculate how this happened because we really did nothing at all.  Nothing compared to when Whirlwind was newbie and we were pouring through sleep method books trying to build the best one that worked for our family.  For those wondering, we did not Ferberize.  Mama would not have liked if we let him cry for long.  I usually just nursed him to sleep and carried him to his crib.  He would wake often.

We have theories for Sunshine’s love of sleep that range from sound to down right silly.  Theories include lucking out by having her bassinet aligned in the proper Feng Shui direction for sleep.  I actually do not know what that direction may be but hey, it could work.  Mostly I think it is because she is a routine baby.  She likes to know what to expect.  This threw us for a loop because Whirlwind would like something one night and another thing the next.  Although, having a routine baby shouldn’t be much of a surprise with Daddy Fuzz.  He routinely ate Cheerios every day for twenty years.  He now cannot eat too much of anything with grains or oats.  I’ll spare you the details on that one!

I have a friend that just had her first baby; three weeks younger than Sunshine.  Unfortunately, they are not as lucky in the sleep department.  Recently I described what we do with Sunshine.

  1. I used to try to put Whirlwind to sleep before Sunshine.  Whirlwind usually goes to sleep between 7 and 8.  Sunshine was after that.  She always had a fussy period between 5 and 6.  It would take forever to get her to sleep after Whirlwind.  So I stopped fighting it.  I started getting her ready for bed after we fed Whirlwind at 5.
  2. Bedtime routine became a quick bath.  We bathe her in Burt’s Bees soap two or three times a week but other days are just water and ground oatmeal.  Sunshine tends to have a sensitive bum that gets red frequently.  We dry her and allow her to lay out in the towel naked as a jaybird.  We dress her in a footed sleeper.
  3. I nurse her on one side, burp her, nurse her on the other side and burp her again.  The only source of light in the room at this point is her Ikea nightlight.  I then place her on my lap with her legs froggied against my tummy.  I cradle her head in my hands and rock my legs back and forth.  I know she is sleeping when her arms are splayed out and hanging.  I know I can put her in the bassinet when she makes a cute little snort.  I call it the sleep snort.
  4. I then place her in down and leave the room.  It is usually sometime between 5 and 6:30.  I then go into Whirlwind’s room where he is watching an episode of Spider Man on the iPad.  We pajama up, talk about the day, read a story and he goes to bed.  
  5. We go to bed sometime between 9 and 12.  Although Sunshine is sleeping in my room, our noise does not disturb her.  She does not wake until 4 or 5 AM.  I nurse her, burp, change and leg rock her in roughly twenty minutes.  She is back to sleep again until 8 AM. 

Notice how I said she is back to sleep?  Not we are back to sleep? Well you see, Whirlwind has not yet gone back to sleeping through the night.  I think there was only a short period of time where he did that since birth.  If he slept as well as his sister, there would be some well-rested parents in this house…well, I would be.  Shift work screws with Fuzz. 

I personally think that just likes her routine and she knew what time she wanted to go to sleep.  Once I stopped fighting her natural urge to retire for the night, we were golden.  I can only hope that she does not stray too far from her routine when things like teething and milestones arrive.  Other parents sometimes comment that we completely laid back parents, like Crush the Sea Turtle of parents.  You know, the sea turtle on Finding Nemo.  He tells Marlin to “kill the motor dude” when Squirt falls out of the East Australian Current.  Squirt makes it back and is proudly congratulated by Crush.  So if she does stray off the routine, we’ll just roll with the waves and carry on. 

So that’s it.  Tonight we will be putting her to sleep in her own room – messing with her routine.  It’s bittersweet for me because she is my baby and I would love to keep her with me forever.  But in the words of the 150 year-old sea turtle, “Coo-coo-cachoo, they’ll find their way back to the big ole blue.”


A Few of my Favourite Things – Breastfeeding Edition

This week, October 1-7, is World Breastfeeding week. I’m a proud breastfeeding mama so I did up one of my lists to honour the occasion.

Here are a few of my favourite breastfeeding things:

– not having to sterilize and mix bottles
– being able to leave home without food. I just have to bring myself
– knowing that I’m providing all the sustenance my baby needs and I’m setting her up for optimal health her entire life
– it’s FREE! No need for an added formula expense
– not having to “wake up” for night feedings. Fuzz hands her to me, she sleepily eats while I fall back to sleep. Fuzz burps her and puts her back in her bed twenty minutes later.
– the incredible bond we have. I love the quiet time we share when she needs to eat
– providing and receiving peer support from other Moms at our La Leche League
– not worrying about spit up because breast milk does not leave stains
– my super fancy Medela electric breast pump. My Mom bought it for me and it pumps milk by mimicking how a baby eats. I can pump milk without creating over supply
– I am feeding her how my ancestors fed their babies. Doodooshaaboo.
– baby poop does not stink (until solid foods are introduced, that is)
– no other person can provide what I can. Fuzz and others can feed the baby expressed milk but she still needs ME to provide for her
– knowing that I overcame one of the biggest struggles of my life: Whirlwind did not latch properly and we struggled with breastfeeding for over four months. We persevered and he self-weaned at 14 months.

Now because life is about balance, here are the very few things that I dislike:
– leaky boobs when the baby sleeps through a feeding or let down when the baby cries.
– not being able to enjoy a glass of wine without pumping and dumping. It feels like a waste to dump so I just don’t drink. I went 9 months, what’s another year or two?
– missing a glass of cold milk with cookies because of her intolerance

I feel that these dislikes are a small price to pay though. I really enjoy the time with my baby and providing peer support. It just works for me.

Enjoy your week!