Search Results for: sleeping babies

Everything you ever needed to know about sleeping babies

I’ve posted quite a bit about sleeping babies in the past, but this short essay sums up everything I ever learned.  I didn’t write it myself, but I could have.  Maybe I did write it myself, in the course of all my posts.  I can’t remember because I’m a little short on sleep.

Sleeping babies Q & A

I received the following questions from Cari, and thought that others might want to add their own advice.  I didn’t ask, but assumed she had already read my old post about training babies to sleep through the night.

Q. Do you put your newborn on a feeding schedule?  (I have never done this, but am reading Managers of Their Homes and they schedule their newborns nursings and sleeping…)

A. I don’t schedule my newborns, but I do find that they generally settle into a loose schedule on their own after a few weeks.  I also try to avoid the opposite end of the spectrum – I don’t feed every single time the baby fusses.  I feed when they are hungry, and put them to bed when they are tired.  This is what has worked best for us, and all of our children have been very good sleepers from a very young age.

Q. You say that you encourage ‘thumb-sucking.”  We haven’t done this with previous children, although we are open to new ideas.  Our concern is that the baby/toddler won’t give up thumb-sucking.  Have you found this to be true and how do you get them to stop?

A. All of ours have given up the habit on their own, usually by 2 or 3 years.  A few persisted to 4 or 5, mostly when they were very tired.  In general, once they mature past the desire to suck (nursing babies/toddlers) we think it’s often a security issue. Every child is different but in our own experience, confident, secure children tend to quit on their own with minimal help; shy or insecure children need more encouragement.

Q. How do you comfort a baby in the middle of the night?  It seems that our babies are up quite frequently.  I have usually nursed them or tried to comfort them.  Do you let them cry if you know that they have been fed, changed, etc.?  I guess letting them cry is very difficult for me, but I also know that I need to be sane for our growing family!!

A. When our babies wake in the middle of the night, I wait for a good solid cry before I respond.  I wait longer for older babies.  I don’t generally let them “cry it out” but I just want to make sure that the baby needs me and isn’t going to fall right back to sleep on her own.
If the baby still wakes up regularly for feedings, I keep it short, quiet and dark.  No diaper changes unless absolutely necessary, no playtime, no socializing, no rocking to sleep. I also try to keep the feeding itself as
short as possible in order to begin to train the baby’s digestive system to wait for morning.
If the baby typically sleeps through the night, I go to her but leave the light off.  I talk softly and soothingly, and I might rub her back, but I avoid picking her up. Usually she will quiet down and go back to sleep.  If not, I will go back once or twice.  If  the baby is older and I’m sure she has no needs (diaper is clean, ate a good dinner and shouldn’t be hungry now, not sick…) then I might let her cry herself to sleep.

Q. Do you have any other tips or books that you might recommend?

A. [I’m afraid I totally left Cari hanging here.  Anyone have a suggestion?]

I think one key to raising good sleepers is simply consistency.  If you don’t want something to become habit for your child, don’t start it in the first place.

I’m working through it once again with our newest baby.  She’s a new puzzle for me: sleeps fabulously at night, very little during the day and is an utter crank by afternoon.  But we’re figuring each other out, and settling into a schedule of our own.  Every child is different.  🙂

4 Moms Q&A: overwhelmed, clingy toddlers, TV syndrome, co-sleeping, ovarian guilt

4moms35kids 4 Moms Q&A
My real-life friend Lori asked, 

How do you keep from getting overwhelmed? I have 5 and feel like I’m constantly being pulled in 5 different directions… someone needs help with a toy, someone needs a snack, someone is smearing poop on the wall, etc all while I’m trying to load the dishwasher. My stress quickly elevates and I end up yelling. I have 2 bigs that are very helpful but I feel really guilty when I’m constantly asking them to assist me. How do you manage the chaos and keep your sanity?

Lori, parenting a big family is hard.  Sometimes it’s all happiness and lollipops, and some days you really do want Calgon to take you away.  Usually I have enough big helpers to keep things under control these days, but it hasn’t always been that way.  Even now, my Bigs often go five different directions in the morning so it’s just like old times – just me and the teeming hordes of Little People.

When it seems like everything is falling apart at once and I can’t put out the fires fast enough, I sometimes just put everyone on a brief impromptu quiet time.  I tell them, “This is not punishment or naptime; we just need to be quiet for a few minutes because our attitudes (or mom’s attitude) is suffering.  Everyone get ONE BOOK if you want it, pick a place, and plant your bottom.  Don’t sit near anyone else, and no talking until the timer beeps.”

While the little ones are neutralized, I either enjoy the quiet or use the time to get ahead of the messes.  I might even enlist the help of one or two willing and able-bodied volunteers who want to feel big by avoiding quiet time.

About getting help from your bigger children: I used to feel guilty, but I have realized two things over the years:

  1. They don’t feel oppressed when we require them to help unless somebody tells them they are oppressed.  That is to say, our own feelings of guilt may lead to a bad attitude in our children.  If it’s clear that I am asking for help when I don’t feel I should, they are likely to agree and resent having to help.  Be clear in your conscience.  Is it sinful to require the amount of help that you do from your older children?  Unless you’re watching soap operas while they do all the housework, I don’t think so.  If you are watching soaps while the kids do the work, then maybe the guilt is appropriate.  🙂   If you are being a good steward of your time and theirs, don’t feel guilty.
  2. Children like to feel valued, and being able to help is one way to do it.  Make sure you praise them lavishly and openly, and they will enjoy helping.  You are teaching them valuable skills for later in life and building good memories right now.  Someday they’ll be thankful for the skills and work ethic you are instilling right now during these busy days, and others will praise them too.

And above all, remember: this season in life is short.  It may feel long today, but one day you’ll blink and find that you are 20 years older and your little ones are grown.  I don’t know how it happens, but it does.  And those poop stories will finally be funny.

Trisha asked, 

My twins are turning 2 this week. One of them wants to be held ALL THE TIME! He has never been clingy in the past. I’m going crazy. Should I indulge him – does he just need some extra love and attention right now? Or, should I not indulge him so he can get over it. Please help!

Trisha, I don’t know your children or your parenting style, so I can only guess.  My first guess is this: teething.  Is he getting his 2yo molars?  Teething can make children just uncomfortable enough to be not quite themselves: extra whiny, clingy, ornery, etc.  I try to remember to check for new teeth whenever one of my younger ones gets especially difficult for no particular reason.

My next guess is illness.  You didn’t say how long his clinginess has been going on, but if it’s only been a few days or even a week, it could simply be a mild illness.  My younger ones often act up for a week or more after a bug, and while I don’t tolerate bad behavior, I do remind myself that they still may not feel well and extra naps may be in order.

If it’s not a physical issue and it’s been going on long enough that you don’t expect it to stop, I would definitely give some extra love and attention, but not always on his terms.  When my toddler does this, I might hold him for a minute or two, give him a hug and a kiss, and set him down.  If he complains, I gently tell him, “No, I love you but your holding turn is over.”

When they want to be carried around, I often laugh at my toddlers as though they are pretending to be babies and tell them, “You have legs.  Use them!”  When he asks to be held too much, I might make a game of it and cradle him like an infant, cooing at him and offering to nurse him.  More often than not, he gets the point and squirms away on his own.

You know your son, and I’m sure you can improvise.  In all of these examples, the idea is to encourage him to be just a little more independent without making him feel rejected.

Heather asked,

While I was recently pregnant I was extremely tired due to repeated episodes of false labor during the last two months. My coping skills were next to nothing, and as it was the middle of winter, my kids couldn’t go outside. I resorted to A LOT of TV, just to be able to get naps so I could have enough energy to stay on top of dinner and laundry. Now that my baby is almost 5 months old, my oldest two kids have gone back to their normal activities, but for my two year old TV IS his normal activity. I have tried everything to get him to stop asking for television, but that is all he ever wants to do. Almost all of the time I say no, and then he follows me around whining. Getting rid of the tv is not possible (wish it was) because my husband uses it in his work. What can I do to break this horrible habit of his?

Heather, it’s hard to break a firmly ingrained habit, and 6 months is a long time in the life of a 2yo.  He probably doesn’t know what to do or how to entertain himself without the TV, and he’s going to need help to form new habits.  I see this on a smaller scale every time we have a virus in our home and let the little ones watch videos to pass the time.  Once they feel better I have to keep reminding them: No, today is not a movie day.  They know the answer even before they hear it, and eventually they stop asking.

I think you are on the right track by consistently saying no about TV, but you’ll need to invest some extra time and energy (because new moms have plenty of that, right?) in teaching him to play without the TV, because right now his to-do list looks like this:

Playtime Options:

  1. Watch TV
  2. Ask Mom if I can watch TV

Why don’t you make a list of things he can do, and spend a little time working and playing with him?  You don’t need to play with him every moment of the day, but you could spend a few minutes to help him get interested in an activity.  Definitely enlist your two older children to help!

And since you are raising a future adult, make sure to give him plenty of “work.”  He can follow you or his siblings around, helping with whatever you are currently working on.  Have him fold washcloths as you sort laundry, put away silverware or “organize” a cabinet while you do dishes, carry the dustpan around for you while you sweep, hold the baby’s hand out of the way while you change a diaper…you get the idea, right?  Now he needs to get the idea.

Karen asked,

My youngest of four is 4 months old. The older three were swaddled in a cradle and slept well through the night early on, but this one had lots of feeding problems, so I have kept him with me at night to increase his feeding opportunities, skin-to-skin, etc. Now we love co-sleeping and will continue at least until baby is robust and gaining weight well. How do you make co-sleeping “work” with your husband (kwim)? My husband is supportive, but this is our first time having a baby stay with us.

Karen,  co-sleeping doesn’t work well for me because I don’t sleep well that way.  Nonetheless, I often fall asleep while nursing in bed and end up co-sleeping by accident. The way to make it work – if I understand the gist of your question – is just to let the baby sleep in his own bed for the first shift.  Then when he wakes to eat, let him stay with you for the rest of the night.  This way he’s not in your bed the entire night.  If he has trouble falling asleep in his own bed at night, try having him nap there during the day to make it a more familiar and comfortable place.

Diana asked,

How do you handle/combat ‘ovarian guilt’? My boy was sick this last week and I just felt so guilty! He is almost never sick and my husband kept reminding me that getting sick is just part of life, but I couldn’t shake the blame and worry. I also struggle with feeling torn between spending time with him (our son) and other things that need done (housework etc.).  While I’m doing one I feel guilty about not doing the other.

I’m hoping this will balance when we have our second (due in 4 weeks), but I’m afraid it will get worse.

Diana, I understand how you feel and I think it’s very common, but I’m afraid my answer is going to sound a little like this.  Don’t be offended – it’s a running joke in our house!  For some reasons we moms are prone to feel guilty about things that are not within our control.  I think there must be sin buried somewhere in that feeling.  Is it lack of faith on our part, because we are worrying about things that are not within our power?  Is it pride, in thinking that we should be able to control things that are not within our control?  At any rate, we just need to stop.  We need to pray for discernment to use our time wisely, do the best that we can, and trust God for the outcome.

To answer your question more personally, the way I handle it is by making a joke of it.  If I don’t make a joke of it, my family steps in and does it for me.  🙂 Yes, I sometimes feel guilty about things outside my control, or for not being able to simultaneously appear in two places at once, or for not possessing 6 arms.  But I know it’s silly of me to feel this way, and I laugh at myself for it, and don’t let myself dwell on it.  I’m a mom.  Guilt is what we do, but it shouldn’t be who we are.

Your turn: How would you answer the questions above?


See what questions the other moms are answering today:

He’s sleeping like a baby

Our only son, our darling boy, our new little man. For the past 5 nights he has slept 9-10 hours straight. He wakes up frantic and famished and I wake up in a puddle, but that’s OK. I’m doing the happy dance.
In his honor and in hopes of sharing my bliss with other moms of babies, I will repost our tips on helping babies learn to sleep through the night with minor edits and updates.

Since this can be a hot topic for some, let’s start with the standard disclaimer:
I’m going to share another of our methods for maintaining general sanity in the form of sleep patterns. This is not a principle, that must be obeyed lest ye fall into sin. This is our account of how we accomplish a goal that, we think, ultimately aids us in ordering our lives and maintaining a good attitude – something that is pleasing to God. Your mileage may vary; your childrearing style may make other methods more suitable for your family; you may think we’re callous nuts who hate our children (in that case, we’re right and you’re wrong; go read someone else’s blog).
All of our babies but one have slept through the night by 7 weeks. That one was reared under very different circumstances where we could not apply our method, and thus we saw very different results.
Here are some factors that we believe help our children to sleep for a 7 hour stretch from a very early age:

  • I always nurse our babies on waking, and self-consciously do not nurse them to sleep.
    Our babies sleep near us, but not in our bed. I rest better this way, and the baby learns to sleep well without depending on snuggling or nursing constantly – this also translates to better daytime naps, when Momma can’t necessarily lie down with Baby.
  • I nurse on demand, but I do not use nursing as an all-purpose pacifier; I try to distinguish between a hungry baby and one who just wants attention – which is a perfectly valid request on its own. Know your baby. Learn to recognise her different cries when she is hungry, dirty, lonely, etc. and respond accordingly. The breast (ok…or the bottle…) doesn’t answer every need in the best way.
  • We also do not rock, pat, or otherwise “entertain” a baby to sleep. When the baby is clearly tired, we lay her down; she may fuss a little, but not much if we do this from the start.
    We encourage thumb-sucking [ducking]. We think that babies who know how to pacify themselves fall asleep much more easily and are generally more content. This is especially nice when they wake up in the middle of the night and don’t *need* Momma to get back to sleep. Many people use binkies for this, but if the baby loses her binky during the night, she often can’t get to sleep until someone finds it for her. The thumb is conveniently attached, and is standard equipment with every baby.
  • When babies wake up during the night, we don’t let them “cry it out,” but we do make sure they work up to a *real* cry. We don’t rush to rescue a whimpering baby who may fall right back to sleep on her own. For a newborn, this may mean 30 seconds of real crying. For an older baby who usually sleeps through the night, maybe 5-10 minutes for us. This is not cruel. Babies can learn from the start that Momma will take care of them, but does not have to obey them instantly.
  • When feeding a baby during the night, I keep it dark and quiet, and I make it brief. This is not a social engagement or playtime. I do not lie down with the baby, and I often will stop them before they’re quite finished. No lingering about at 2 A.M. Our middle-of-the-night feedings usually take 10 minutes or less, and baby is ready to go right back to sleep. I think this trains their systems to eat more in the morning and evening, so they are less likely to wake up at night due to genuine hunger. Then, when they wake out of habit, they go back to sleep more easily.

Again, this is just how we do it. We like to sleep all night, and we like our children to sleep in their own beds. Follow your husband’s lead.
Also, consider the season in your life and your own parenting style. Some people just don’t see a problem with waking up every hour and a half with a new baby, or waking up once or twice a night with an older baby. If this suits you and your husband, then keep doing it cheerfully.
As our helpers get older and my job gets a little more flexible, I don’t wait quite as long to pick up a crying baby during the night. It’s not such a big deal if I’m a little short on sleep because I can nap during the day now. When we had many Littles and no Bigs or Middles, nighttime sleep was essential for me to hold things together during the day.

Sleeping like a baby

Since this can be a hot topic for some, let’s start with the standard disclaimer:
I’m going to share another of our methods for maintaining general sanity in the form of sleep patterns. This is not a principle, that must be obeyed lest ye fall into sin. This is our account of how we accomplish a goal that, we think, ultimately aids us in ordering our lives and maintaining a good attitude – something that is pleasing to God. Your mileage may vary; your childrearing style may make other methods more suitable for your family; you may think we’re callous nuts who hate our children (in that case, we’re right and you’re wrong; go read someone else’s blog).
All of our babies but one have slept through the night by 6 weeks. That one was reared under very different circumstances where we could not apply our method, and thus we saw very different results.

Here are some factors that we believe help our children to sleep for a 7 hour stretch from a very early age:

  • I always nurse our babies on waking, and self-consciously do not nurse them to sleep.
  • Our babies sleep near us, but not in our bed. I rest better this way, and the baby learns to sleep well without depending on snuggling or nursing constantly – this also translates to better daytime naps, when Momma can’t necessarily lie down with Baby.
  • I nurse on demand, but I do not use nursing as an all-purpose pacifier; I try to distinguish between a hungry baby and one who just wants attention – which is a perfectly valid request on its own. Know your baby. Learn to recognise her different cries when she is hungry, dirty, lonely, etc. and respond accordingly. The breast (ok…or the bottle…) doesn’t answer every need in the best way.
  • We also do not rock, pat, or otherwise “entertain” a baby to sleep. When the baby is clearly tired, we lay her down; she may fuss a little, but not much if we do this from the start.
  • We encourage thumb-sucking [ducking]. We think that babies who know how to pacify themselves fall asleep much more easily and are generally more content. This is especially nice when they wake up in the middle of the night and don’t *need* Momma to get back to sleep. Many people use binkies for this, but if the baby loses her binky during the night, she often can’t get to sleep until someone finds it for her. The thumb is conveniently attached, and is standard equipment with every baby.
  • When babies wake up during the night, we don’t let them “cry it out,” but we do make sure they work up to a *real* cry. We don’t rush to rescue a whimpering baby who may fall right back to sleep on her own. For a newborn, this may mean 30 seconds of real crying. For an older baby who usually sleeps through the night, maybe 5-10 minutes for us. This is not cruel. Babies can learn from the start that Momma will take care of them, but does not have to obey them instantly.
  • When feeding a baby during the night, I keep it dark and quiet, and I make it brief. This is not a social engagement or playtime. I do not lie down with the baby, and I often will stop them before they’re quite finished. No lingering about at 2 A.M. Our middle-of-the-night feedings usually take 10 minutes or less, and baby is ready to go right back to sleep. I think this trains their systems to eat more in the morning and evening, so they are less likely to wake up at night due to genuine hunger. Then, when they wake out of habit, they go back to sleep more easily.

Again, this is just how we do it. We like to sleep all night, and we like our children to sleep in their own beds. Follow your husband’s lead.

Also, consider the season in your life and your own parenting style. Some people just don’t see a problem with waking up every hour and a half with a new baby, or waking up once or twice a night with an older baby. If this suits you and your husband, then keep doing it cheerfully.

As our helpers get older and my job gets a little more flexible, I don’t wait quite as long to pick up a crying baby during the night. It’s not such a big deal if I’m a little short on sleep because I can nap during the day now. When we had many Littles and no Bigs or Middles, nighttime sleep was essential for me to hold things together during the day.

Q&A with the 4 Moms: competitiveness, pregnancy and newborns, Bible for little ones

I know, I know.  It’s Thursday and the other Moms are way ahead of me.  I hope you already visited all 3 of them to see their Q&A while I was still sleeping  taking care of a newborn.

I put a last-minute request on Facebook for some easy questions that wouldn’t reveal the effects of sleep deprivation.  Here’s a sampling of what I received.  I may or may not have picked the easiest ones.

Savannah Perkins-Berniquez um…what’s 2+2?

Bless you, Savannah.

Savannah Perkins-Berniquez This might have been covered before, but in what ways do you purposefully spend quality time with your kids? right now we have 3 (soon to be 4), and the baby doesn’t really need mommy or daddy dates yet..but I’m curious how those with BIG families do it..i guess also just looking for ideas

Oh, I see, Savannah.  You were just buttering me up for the hard question!  Fortunately, the 4 Moms posted on that topic already, so I don’t have to think of a new answer.

Kimberly Rivera How DO you get those babies to sleep through the night??

Well, first I’ll confess that Parker is still a little hit-or-miss when it comes to sleeping through the night.  He was a high needs baby and was high-strung long before birth.  I felt him startle in the womb at every loud noise that came along, and in our house that’s a lot!

Now if you still think I might be a good source of advice, I’ll recommend my previous posts about how I got my [other 9] babies to sleep through the night from an early age: Sleeping babies Q&A and Sleeping Like a Baby are good ones to start with.

Elizabeth Clouser Sacks I’ll ask you the same one I asked Raising Olives: How on earth do you handle homeschooling after having a newborn? Do you take time off? How much? How does everybody else get along? Esp. the little ones? I am SUPER interested in your answer, because we are expecting no. 4 in March, and our other 3 (6, 4, 22 months) might need more of a transition than I expect. I’m looking at taking a month off possibly, just so everybody has time to adjust. But I’ve never done this before, so both of your perspectives will be wonderful help!

Elizabeth, we school year-round and take time off whenever we need to.  Even when nobody is sitting at the table with pencil in hand, learning happens, so I have learned too: I have learned not to stress over the particulars of the school schedule and just make sure their brains are getting plenty of exercise.

Since your children are so young, I would especially encourage you not to stress over missing school time.  Just do a little informal review every now and then to make sure they don’t lose what they have already learned, and pick things up again when you feel ready.  You may find that relaxing your school schedule can make it an enjoyable passtime for the kids rather than a source of guilt and stress for you.

Just read aloud to them (Bible and other books), engage them in discussions, and encourage them write, draw, etc.  If they are reading at all on their own, have them read with you a little each day.  If they can sit next to you on your bed while you rest and nurse the baby, everyone will be happy.

Katelyn Ahlgren How many months/years between each of your children? What’s the most important thing you have done/eaten to maintain your health through childbearing and nursing? Will you post pics of how you organize your new house, once you’re happy with it!

Our oldest 6 are about 19 months apart.  After that, our spaces are closer to 2 years.  Our last two are 28 months apart.  I know it could be due to declining fertility in my 30’s, but honestly I think it’s because my later babies have nursed longer than the first several.  In the early days with so many littles, it was harder to find time for nursing so our babies tried more solid foods at an earlier age and nursing tapered off sooner.

The most important thing I have done to maintain my health?  I know diet is important, but I have heard that exercise is even more vital to health.  While I loudly proclaim my hatred of exercise, I have tried over the years to stay in reasonably good shape and I think this has helped prepare my body for so many pregnancies as well as helped me recover from them afterwards.  Now Perry is after me to start fitness class in 6 weeks.  He seems to think that just because he is working out regularly, I should do the same.  Pbbbt.  [I really appreciate his encouragement and I know I need the extra motivation because – did I mention this? – I hate exercise.]

Kelley Dennis How do you deal with jealousy or competition in your teen girls? I have two that are 14 months apart, and though their Dad and I greatly discourage it, they are always competing with each other with everything from friends, clothing, school….ugh! I dread the day that boys are thrown into the mix!

Kelley, I do agree that competitiveness can become very unhealthy and think you and your husband are wise to watch and mediate, but I don’t feel the need to completely discourage.  Instead, we make sure our children’s interactions are governed by Scripture.  Competition can encourage both parties to work harder and do better, or it can discourage and tear down others.  When we see unkindness, we correct it as such.  When we see healthy competition, we encourage it.

Instead of competing directly with each other, they need to set their goal on honoring God with their best.  With the right goal in sight, some friendly competition can provide good motivation and encouragement.  When the competition itself becomes the end goal, then there is a definite problem.

I think in your example, it can be dealt with as selfishness.  Does one child want to succeed only so that the other won’t?  Does she want to buy/wear that particular blouse because she knows the other really wants it?  Does she want somebody to be her best friend because she knows that person is her sister’s best friend?  That’s a lot like a toddler who only wants a particular toy when she sees somebody else playing with it.  It’s coveting, and God forbids it.

Once these patterns are established it’s much harder to change them (ask me how I know!).  Change can be painful, but the sooner you can do it, the better.  Especially if you do it before boys are thrown into the mix.  🙂

Andrea Garlach How do you start introducing the Bible to little ones? Any tips for starting a Bible/worship time for kids who have never had one? We go to a bible study where they have their own lesson, but as far as doing stuff as a family, it’s something i want to incorporate, but feel at loss as to what to do since I didn’t grow up in a religious home and don’t have an example to follow

We talk about the Bible every day in every imaginable context, so even if our little ones aren’t part of the conversation they are being exposed to the Bible.  They are listening and learning that the Bible is the foundation of our thinking.

When it comes to reading from the Bible, I love the Golden Bible.  It is heavily based on the King James Version of the Bible, only lightly edited to simplify, and includes far more of the Bible than the typical children’s collection.  The illustrations are beautiful and reverent (no silly pop-eyed Jesus), and there are no additions to the text as far as I can tell.

We also read to them directly from the Bible, and have them read from the Bible as soon as they are able.  Psalms make a good starting point since many are short and may be familiar already.  The book of Jonah is another good one for beginning readers, again because it is short (just 4 chapters) and tells a familiar story.

We often read a daily chapter of Proverbs together.  There are 31 chapters, so you can do this every month.  You might be amazed at how soon your children begin to recognize their favorite verses and are able to complete sentences as you read.

Whatever you do, be sure to allow plenty of time to discuss.  Don’t be frustrated if you have to stop OFTEN to answer questions and don’t cover as much material as you had hoped and planned.  Just be happy that they are engaged and thinking, and follow the rabbit trails!

Heather Bunting How do you survive the first trimester when you only have littles?

Heather, I had terrible morning sickness with my first 8 pregnancies, so I feel your pain!  I learned to pare down my activities to the absolute minimum during those difficult times.  We ate a lot of cereal for breakfast, peanut butter & jelly for lunch, and very simple dinners.  My kids watched a lot of educational DVDs because I simply couldn’t crawl off the couch some days – or if I did, it was only to run for the bathroom.  I changed the toddler’s diaper, did dishes and laundry, and picked up the toys at the end of the day.  Everything else could wait.

I learned to let go of the guilt and took comfort in the knowledge that I wouldn’t be sick forever, and each time there was a great reward at the end: a new eternal soul in my care.  🙂

Lela Smith Erthein How do you deal with playmates from outside your family /church.

Lela, we lived in the country for the last nine years so all of our kids’ playmates were from church, family and work.  Now that we’re in a neighborhood with actual neighbors, I’m wondering the same thing.  How do you deal with them?

Amanda Hartung How to get littles to be kind even when they’re frustrated?

Amanda, I have a little mantra I repeat to my children: Don’t let others lead you into sin.  Then I might elaborate, depending on the situation: “I know she wasn’t nice to you, but is it ok for you to be rude because somebody else is rude to you?  Did you like it when she was rude to you?  Are you treating her the way you want to be treated?  No, we’re not talking about her sin.  We’re talking about yours right now.  I’ll talk to her about her sin…”

If it’s somebody too little for that, I simplify even more: “No, you be nice.  Love your sister.”  No need to discuss the sins of others with others.  I deal with them individually, based on their own actions, and remind them each, on their own level, that the actions of others do not excuse their own bad behavior.

Anna Aho How do you teach little children to take care of books?

I don’t, but I’d love to learn how.  Paperbacks are consumables in our house, in every sense of the word.  If they’re not destroyed by a toddler within the first week, they are typically eaten by the baby in the second week.

Shalayne Lammiman Do you sleep your babies on their front, sides or back?

I’m a victim of ovarian guilt.  While I personally believe that the dire warnings against letting your baby sleep on his [pick your time period with its accompanying sleep position: side, belly, back] are mostly nonsense based on scare tactics, poorly executed studies, and faulty logic, I could never deal with the guilt if my baby succumbed to SIDS while sleeping in a non-AMA approved position.  Until they can roll over and thwart me and the AMA, I currently put my babies to sleep on their backs.

Mary Jo Murch What do you do with babies who want to be held all the time and won’t sleep in their beds? My 16 day old is like this and I’m not sure what to do. Cry it out? Just enjoy snuggling him and not worry?

My general practice has been to let them work up to a good solid cry before picking them up, and if I want them to learn to sleep in their own bed I just sooth them a bit, check for needs (diaper? hungry? too warm or too cool?) then put them back in bed.  You might want to read my posts on getting babies to sleep through the night, linked above in my answer to Kimberly.  I do let an older baby cry longer than a very young one, though I wouldn’t say I let them cry it out.  So far, 9 of my 10 babies have developed very good sleep habits from a young age.  The other one contributed heavily to my personal sanctification, so it’s all for the greater good.

 

The other moms are taking questions too:


Upcoming topics for 4 Moms:

  • October 11 – Introducing kids to technology
  • October 18 – Food preservation
  • October 25 – How do you keep the car clean?
  • November 1 – Q&A

Recent topics:

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4 Moms Q&A on breastfeeding

4 Moms Breastfeeding Q&AThis week’s Q&A is a special topical edition focusing on breastfeeding.  I have nursed all 10 of my children so far, but not without a few bumps along the way.  I learned a lot from my mom’s experience – she nursed 14 children, though her twins required supplementing.  I’m hopeful that my own experience can help some of the other mothers out there.

1. Heather makes a good point that I want to start with: How about posting about not judging mothers who can’t breast feed because they survived breast cancer. I hate when other mothers assume I’m lazy.

The last thing I would assume about a mother who chooses to bottle feed is that she’s lazy.  I think it’s much harder than breastfeeding, and often wonder why so many mothers choose to feed their babies the hard way!  But you are not talking about a choice at all, are you?  If a mother is incapable of breastfeeding for physical/medical reasons, then of course she must bottle feed – or use other methods that are even more difficult.

The real issue here is when we jump to conclusions without information, especially when it’s not our business to begin with.  Is it sin to bottle feed a baby?  Is it sin to bottle feed even if your breasts are perfectly functional?  I don’t think so, and while I might look for a way to tactfully inquire about a friend’s decision to bottle feed, I would not jump to conclusions about the motive and character of anyone who popped a bottle in her baby’s mouth.

2. Michelle’s question makes a good follow-up to the last one: If, for some reason, you were unable to breast feed, what would you do? Formula, make your own, donor breast milk?

I have not yet faced this question, though I thought it might come to that with Bethany.  While I have not done any research at all, I probably would have turned to an inexpensive commercial formula first, then learned about alternatives based on how my baby reacted to the formula.

3. Lois suggests, I think you should share what is hardest for you about breastfeeding, and how you overcome whatever that issue is.

Generally speaking, I have become quite used to breastfeeding, so I don’t think of it as hard at all now.  In the earlier days, I did find it a little frustrating to have my wardrobe limited by near-constant breastfeeding.  Since I have always nursed into the first trimester of pregnancy, I am literally always breastfeeding, pregnant, or both.  I own very few dresses because they are nearly impossible for me to wear.  My wardrobe is skirts and tops.

A very different sort of issue is that of training little ones while nursing a baby.  Almost without fail, the toddler will wait just until a desperately hungry infant latches on and will choose that very instant to test boundaries, make demands, or otherwise act up.  There’s no way around this problem, so I try to face it head-on: requiring consistent, first-time obedience even (or especially) when it’s least convenient is the only way I have found to deal with this, and it does work.  If the 2yo knows that you will lay a hungry, wailing infant on the couch to answer his challenge, you are on your way to more peaceful nursing sessions.  Of course having older children around makes this scenario infinitely easier to deal with.  🙂

4. How did you manage the home while nursing a baby?  How did you manage nursing a baby while keeping an eye on other small children?

Like above, I simply resolved to do what was necessary.  Sometimes the baby had to wait a few minutes or tolerate in interrupted feeding.  I think it was good for the baby to learn to wait a minute or two rather than training her to instant gratification.  I also learned to hold a nursing baby in one arm while I wandered about the house with one free arm to put away dishes and toys, hold a book that I was reading to the others, wipe a dirty face, and start the VCR.  Yes, VCR.  These were the old days.

5. From Ashley, Not strictly bf related, but wondering about those post partum cramps that bfing seems to intensify. (I know they’re good bc uterus is shrinking faster, etc) have you found they are worse with subsequent pregnancies? Any tips on relief?

Ashley, I call those afterpains.  I had them worst after my fifth and longest labor, even though most of the labor itself was very mild.  Those nightmarish pains sent me into tremors that wracked my body every time I nursed, almost worse than labor itself.  My midwife at the time explained that a long labor can seriously deplete your calcium stores, and she recommended liquid calcium.  That magical elixir has become my post-partum drug of choice ever since: a tablespoon or two at the beginning of each nursing session for the first few days after delivery does so much more than ibuprofen or tylenol!  I never take painkillers after delivery now, because I simply don’t need them.  I know I don’t need it anymore when the cramping becomes so mild I forget to take the liquid calcium.

6. From Josalyn, How long it took to become pregnant while exclusively breastfeeding.

I have never become pregnant while exclusively breastfeeding, although I know a few people who do.  I think I’ve read that exclusive breastfeeding reliably prevents pregnancy for about 97% of women.  I have always found that my own fertility returns when two things happen consistently: the baby sleeps through the night without waking, and the baby is eating more than she nurses.  Of course this varies a lot from one person to the next, and having your cycles return does not necessarily mean your fertility has returned with them.

7. Jennifer wants to know, Were you able to nurse while pregnant? My milk dried up really quick. I was fine with weening before the birth of baby three, but not as soon as it happened! I was not emotionally prepared!!!

I always get pregnant while still nursing, although the baby has begun eating a fair amount of solid food by then.  I try to continue nursing as long as I can, because it takes the edge off the nausea for me.  It also makes me even more tired and I do find that I have less milk, so weaning happens naturally at some point during pregnancy.  I think the longest I nursed into a pregnancy was 4 or 5 months.  I wish I could say I had experienced tandem nursing, but I’ve never done it.  Now that the intervals between my pregnancies seem to be lengthening, it looks unlikely that I will ever add that particular notch to my maternal belt.  Joking,  I’m joking!  I don’t have a maternal belt to notch!

8. Angela wants to know, Do any of you find you have less milk as you get older/have more kids to keep up with, especially as you start solids?

I definitely find that my milk supply reflects my own health, diet, water intake, and current level of exhaustion.  Age is probably a factor, too, although it could just be that I’m more prone to exhaustion as I get older.

Starting solids is probably the single biggest factor, though.  As baby becomes aware that there is an alternative to Mom, demand can very easily drop off and supply drops off accordingly.  This can happen gradually without anyone noticing at first, and then one day I stare at the rest of the family and say, “When is the last time I nursed the baby?!”  Of course it depends largely on how long you wait to start solids.  I don’t bother at all with baby food, so solids are introduced directly from the table as the baby is ready for them.  This means that baby is old enough to depend heavily on those foods, and it’s very easy to wean informally and unintentionally at this point.

9. Janelle has a list of questions: If you’ve ever had supply issues…as someone else said, how long does it take for your fertility to return while exclusively breastfeeding? How about how you handle discipline with your other littles WHILE breastfeeding? How long do you typically breastfeed for?

Janelle, I think I have answered most of your great questions already except the first and last:

Aside from Angela’s inquiry about supply, I also had trouble one other time.  Bethany was, I think, slightly tongue tied.  She didn’t latch properly when she was newborn and didn’t get enough milk in the first 2 weeks.  This wasn’t strictly a supply issue since I probably had the milk available for her, but she wasn’t getting what she needed and my supply probably decreased in response.  The answer for us was nipple shields, which guided her into a proper latch while allowing me to heal from the extremely painful damage she had done already.

And you ask how long I typically breastfeed: All have nursed for at least 12 months, but I find that my babies are nursing for longer as I get older.  I think this is probably because I have more help now and am able to nurse more often, in a more leisurely fashion.  When it’s easier to find time to nurse, it’s also easier to keep it up for longer.  My last baby, Parker, nursed just over 20 months.

10. Diana has a list, too, but I’m going to eliminate the ones I already answered: How long do you exclusively BF/ what cues do you follow to start solids? Baby who slept 8 plus hours for months has suddenly started nursing two time through the night and hard to get down, any ideas? Is this common as he hits different milestones?  How do you handle BF at home, especially around your sons? Do you use a cover? Go in a different room? Or just explain that’s how Momma feeds the new baby?

As I mentioned above, I don’t bother with baby food so I exclusively breastfeed until baby is strongly interested and able to handle foods directly from the table, usually around 6-8 months.  They taste food before that, but don’t really eat much.  If they handle it well (swallow easily, no constipation, excessive spitting up, or other signs of discomfort) they gradually get more and more.  Usually by 12 months they are eating lots of solids but also still nursing heavily and regularly.

I shared tips a while back for getting babies to sleep through the night, and several of the ideas relate to nighttime feedings.  This Sleeping Babies Q&A also talks about how I handle an older baby who wakes during the night.

To answer your question about whether and when I use a cover to nurse: Away from home I nearly always use a baby blanket as a cover for nursing.  To be honest, the cover is mostly to a courtesy to avoid making other uncomfortable, if that makes sense.  I have enough experience nursing babies that I can nurse without a cover pretty modestly so it’s not as though my anyone is going to see my exposed breast.  I think many onlookers would assume that I was exposed and (hopefully) avert their eyes, so they wouldn’t realize that my shirt was a sufficient covering.  Rather than make them uncomfortable, I use a cover that is probably otherwise unnecessary.  You can also make the case that the cover draws unnecessary attention to the fact that breastfeeding is happening, and I wouldn’t argue with you.  I used to nurse in public without a cover, and had many people admire my babies without ever realizing they were nursing.  If you tuck your shirt around your baby’s cheek, it really does look as if they’re just comfortably snuggled onto mom’s chest for a nap.

At home, I nurse with or without a cover, taking care either way to keep my breasts covered.  The cover is mostly to keep the baby accustomed to the cover so he/she doesn’t fight the cover when we’re in public.  My sons know how moms feed their babies, so there is no mystery there.  🙂

11. Lauren asks, How to get a bf baby to take a bottle if you try introducing it past 3 months or so. None of my bf babies would drink from a bottle. We just went straight from breast to straw sippy cup, but there were some stressful days at around 6 months when my kids would refuse a bottle.

For my first 7 or 8 babies, I kept a bottle and an unopened can of formula just in case of emergency.  I have never once needed them, so I finally gave up the practice.  If an emergency like that does arise someday, somebody will just have to make a trip to the store.

I’m curious why you were stressed that your 6mo babies refused to take a bottle.  Why was it a problem to just use the sippy cup if you were gone or felt they needed more fluids?  None of my children have taken bottles as babies; they just sip from a cup if they need something other than the breast, and it has worked perfectly.  They have all run into bottles at one point or another as toddlers – usually when someone else’s baby hands them one – and they know exactly what to do with it.

12. Rebecca says, My husband is military and will be gone for the birth of our 4th child. our 3rd is 2 yrs old and VERY attached to me especially since his daddy left. Any suggestions on how to not make my 2 year old feel replaced or neglected while I’m nursing our new little one in a couple months?

I have found that those feelings often don’t originate with the toddler.  Instead, they can come from helpful friends, family, or even mom.  “Is he feeling replaced?  Oh, he’s acting up – he’s jealous, isn’t he?”  So my first suggestion would be, don’t worry about it and ask others not to comment in that direction.  Your 2yo will probably be just as excited about the new baby as you are.

Share the excitement with him, and let him interact with the new baby as much as he wants.  Don’t worry about germs.  Let him touch the baby, hold the baby, show the toys to the baby, help you change the baby’s diaper.  Let him kill 15 minutes trying to put a sock on the baby.  It will thrill him and keep him out of trouble.  It’s a great way to keep him near you and under your supervision so you don’t have to go find out what he flushed down the toilet while you were busy getting the baby dressed.

An added bonus: his learning curve will be significantly shortened.  The more you let him interact with the baby, the sooner he will learn what is appropriate and what is not.

I don’t want to suggest that toddlers never feel replaced or neglected, though.  A common cause of genuine feelings like these is overprotective adults who won’t let the older child near the baby for fear the baby will get hurt, scared, or germy.  Again, just including your toddler as much as possible is the easiest way to avoid this.

13. Leslie wonders, Why do my armpits tingle/itch when I let down some times?? Just me? Common?

I get the same thing, so I googled your question and learned that milk ducts extend into the area under your arms.

14. Lori asks, Any tips for that lovely time when baby starts sleeping for longer stretches at night, you wake up ENGORGED, and baby GORGES herself, only to spit up all over the place?

Deanna was a wonderful sleeper from a very young age and did that very thing All The Time.  Maybe you already know this, but I learned that one very helpful factor was feeding her in an upright position.  If I fed her while we lay in bed, I think she swallowed more air and the resultant turbo-burp was enough to bring up the entire meal with it.  Along similar lines, just stopping a little more frequently to burp the baby could help.  If baby is extra hungry because she slept extra long, and if you are extra full so the milk flows extra fast, she’s just going to need a few more breaks to get rid of extra pressure or something bad will happen – like projectile vomiting of fresh milk that requires a full sized bath towel and a new set of sheets for the bed.  Trust me on this.

15. From Elizabeth, How and when do you wean?

My weaning method has evolved naturally, and I’ve never found it difficult or traumatic for me or the baby.  I’ve shared my weaning procedure here.

16. Amy asked, I started weaning my 14 month old a few weeks ago and cut her bedtime feeding 4 nights ago. She’s been waking up the last two nights around 3:30 w/ a fever & out of habit & sleepiness I just nursed her. Realized today she’s cutting molars… Am I crazy for trying to wean her now? If not, do you have any suggestions for helping her at that early hour w/o nursing her?

Crazy is a strong word, but if it’s bad enough that she has a fever I would probably relax a little about weaning for right now.  If you can easily get her back to sleep without nursing, by all means do it.  A cup of milk, or water?  A quick snuggle?  A back rub to sooth her back to sleep? A dose (or a half-dose) of ibuprofen, if she’s really miserable?  But if she’s really uncomfortable, you and she might both be better off if you wait and try again a little later.  That doesn’t mean you need to go back to full-fledged breastfeeding if you don’t want to; just ease in and out of it enough to keep you both happy. I have found that simply breaking the routine works wonders: if you already phased out the bedtime feeding, a 90 second feeding in the middle of the night could be very relaxing to her and won’t be a big setback in the weaning process.

And of course, this is just what I would do.  I don’t know you or baby, so I can hardly tell you what would work best for you.  If you take free advice for what it’s worth, you can probably get your money’s worth out of it.

Q&A from the other Moms:


Upcoming topics for 4 Moms:

  • July 19 – What did homeschooling look like when your oldest was 5?  How much time?  What subjects?
  • July 26 – What do you do when the children need to learn things you can’t teach (a foreign language, dissecting, trig, etc)?
  • August 2 – How do you handle bossy older sisters
  • August 9 – Q&A

Recent topics:

About 4 Moms, including a complete list of all past topics

 

Giveaway and round-up of baby posts

This giveaway has ended.  The winner was Kate McKinney!

This week’s giveaway is baby themed for a very good reason, and I’m celebrating that reason with a round-up of some of my past baby posts:

  1. All About Parker – Parker’s first birthday post, with updates on his development, personality and lots of photos.
  2. Sleep? What’s that? – In which I desperately long for sleep.
  3. Sleep training: a 10 day log – In which I futilely try to get a full night’s sleep.
  4. Car seat training – In which I enjoy rather more success, though I don’t get any more sleep than before.
  5. 13 uses for receiving blankets – Because I never knew what to do with all those receiving blankets, and maybe others shared my bewilderment.
  6. Something fun and crazy that happened to me when I was expecting our first boy after 7 girls.
  7. Two related polls about how early and how late your babies have started walking.
  8. Video posts highlighting my crazy crawlers, Bethany and Perry.  Parker did it too, but we must have forgotten to get him on video.
  9. Sleeping babies Q & A, because before Parker came along I was really good at this.
  10. Birth stories, which make up an entire category.
  11. And finally, the fun way we announced a new pregnancy to the kids, long ago when we were expecting #8.

So…do you know why I chose this particular theme for this week’s giveaway?  Did you spot any of the clues I planted over the past week?  Or were you already on our mailing list, so you got The Newsletter?

THE GIVEAWAY

Babies, Adoption, and Family LogisticsWe’re going to choose one winner to receive Babies, Adoption, and Family Logistics, 24 audio messages from the 2010 Baby Conference!

As always, there are several ways to enter.  Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry!

  1. Leave a comment on this post.
  2. Leave a second comment on this post about a clue or hint that you spotted.  This entry will only count if you’re the first to mention that particular clue, so be as specific as possible, and please mention just one clue to leave more chances for others.
  3. Post about this giveaway on facebook, twitter, and/or your blog. Each counts as a separate entry.
  4. Post about your favorite Vision Forum product on facebook and/or your blog.
  5. Like Vision Forum on Facebook.
  6. Use the little Facebook button to recommend Babies, Adoption and Family Logistics to your FB friends.

I’ll take entries until next Friday, then choose a random winner.  Unless I’m too busy throwing up by then.  In that case, I’ll be busy taking this advice.

 

 

 

All About Parker

my handsome little manSince today is Parker’s birthday (and since Suki asked), today’s post is all about Parker.  This is my substitute for a baby book and will serve as my memory in years to come, but we hope you’ll enjoy it too.

Today is National Chocolate Ice Cream, and it’s also Parker’s first birthday.  Please don’t think I’m a bad mom because I put the ice cream first.  After all, it’s chocolate.  Wait, I meant to say that I was going from least important to most.  That’s what I meant.

We can’t believe it’s only been a year since we met Parker.  He’s such a personable little guy, he makes everyone feel like his best friend.  I mean that quite literally.  I can’t count the number of people who have told me, “I think I’m his favorite person!”

His charm puppy dog eyes

He’s quite popular everywhere we go, and it’s not just because he’s a baby.  He’s also a shameless flirt.  I often catch him scanning the crowds, trying to catch someone’s eye.  It’s always a girl or woman, and when she looks his way he flashes his brightest, sweetest smile.

My sister told me his smile looks like when Squints smiles at Wendy Peffercorn in the movie Sandlot, and I can’t deny it. In the store, in the parking lot, in the fast food restaurant (who? me?)…every time I take him out I hear the ladies around us giggle and whisper.  “Look – he smiled at me!  He likes me!  Did you see him?  He’s so cute!”  It’s like being Justin Bieber’s mom.

At large gatherings of people we know, he’s passed around so much I have to hunt him down for feedings.  “Ladies,” he tells them in a svelte voice. “There’s plenty of me to go around.”  At a recent wedding I asked Mother Hen’s hubby if he knew where Parker was and he replied, “Oh, he’s off body-surfing the crowd somewhere.”  That’s my little rock star baby.

Personality

He is a very pleasant guy, always ready with a smile, but it’s unbelievably hard to make him laugh out loud.  The only reliable way to get even a chuckle is to eat his ribs.  A backup method that sometimes gets good results is to help him punch and kick his brother.

Nothing pleases him more than to understand and be understood, and he loves to be in the middle of everything.  As a tenth child, he can sleep through anything but silence, and he gets nervous and clingy when not surrounded by a crowd of loving family and friends.

At first glance many people think that Perry Boy takes after his dad, but in reality he looks like his dad now. He looks nothing like his dad did as a little boy.  Instead, Parker is the spitting image of his dad at this age.  From what I’ve heard, the personalities of our two boys work the same way.  Parker is friendly but quiet and laid back like his dad was as a little guy.  Perry is gregarious, fun and just a little bit crazy like his dad is now. 🙂

Transportation

As of his first birthday, Parker is not crawling and it seems safe to assume he won’t until he’s old enough to do it in play.  His primary mode of transportation is the butt-scoot just like his older brother did.  It’s just as fast as crawling and even more efficient since it can leave one hand free if he wants to carry something with him.  It’s not completely hands-free like Bethany’s mode of transportation was, but it works for him.

He cruises around the furniture with ease, and loves to cling to our legs and tug at our skirts.  Elastic waistbands, beware!

He can stand unsupported for a few seconds at a time, and his sisters are convinced that he could walk if he just tried hard enough.  He objects vociferously when they try to force him to take steps on his own, but I’m sure he’ll be walking very soon.

Communication

I seem to remember that a baby has an average of 20 words on his/her first birthday.  Some of our children have hit the average, while others were far more verbal.  Deanna regularly used over 150 words by her first birthday.  She was my first, so I have the actual list.

Parker is bright and observant, but I don’t think his list of words is up to 20 yet.  His people skills outweigh his verbal skills, which is fine.  We enjoy his charm. He tries to say many of his siblings’ names, but here are the words he uses unprompted:

  1. mama or mom (he uses both)
  2. dada or dad
  3. boo (when he wants to nurse)
  4. dog
  5. this
  6. that
  7. hi
  8. bye
  9. outside
  10. guys (our term for siblings, as in “Where are your guys?”  I think it’s a north-western thing left over from my first 13 years in Oregon.)
  11. thirsty (he learned to say this very soon after he learned the sign)

Parker does the sign for "more"I love to teach my babies sign language, and Parker has quickly picked up a few of the most useful signs when I remember to introduce them and uses them with enthusiasm.

If we count sign language he’s much closer to 20 words, and he’s very good now at making his wishes known, something he thoroughly appreciates.

  1. no
  2. please
  3. hungry
  4. thirsty
  5. more
  6. yes
  7. poop (our made-up sign resembles the letter P and he added some appropriate sound effects)
  8. thank you (just beginning to get this one)

Stats

  • weight: 21 lbs.
  • height: 28.5″
  • teeth: 7 (4 on top, 3 on bottom)
  • shoe size: 3
  • clothing size: 6-9 mos

Obedience

I loved and used blanket training for some of my older children back when I didn’t have so many helpers.  Now Parker has eyes on him everywhere he goes, nearly every minute of the day so he has learned his boundaries differently.

He knows that there’s one cabinet he is allowed to play in – the one that holds all the plastic bowls, containers, lids, etc. – and he knows not to eat the dog food or play in the dog water.  Well, at least in theory.

He understands and obeys when we tell him no, and he even tells himself no (in sign language) if we catch him where he shouldn’t be, doing what he shouldn’t do.  Then he smiles disarmingly (“See?” his eyes say.  “We agree!”) and scoots away.  Oh, he’s a charmer, he is.  This houseful of women is in trouble.

Sleepbeautiful sleeping baby boy

Parker has just begun reliably sleeping through the night.  This is utterly unheard of in our household.  Rachael occasionally woke up during the night after the age of 6 months, but all the others have slept 7-9 solid hours starting somewhere between 6 weeks and 4 months.

I think at least two factors have contributed to this:

  • I’m getting soft in my old age. One of my basic principles for teaching a baby to sleep through the night is to let them work up to a real cry before I get them out of bed.  This doesn’t mean I let them cry it out, but it does mean I don’t pick up a baby who is just fussing and might easily fall back to sleep.  In Parker’s case, he fussed and fussed and fussed…never a real cry, but just enough to keep me awake for a long, long time.  I don’t know if I would do it differently now, but after a while I just started getting him up as soon as the fussing began.
  • He’s always been a scrawny guy. Several of my babies have been very wiry and were very good sleepers, but when a baby is on the small side we all want to play it safe.  If he woke up during the night and said he was hungry, I didn’t make him work to convince me.  I took him at his word much more readily than I would a chunkier baby.

Now he’s eating a lot more solid food, and while he still looks more like a spider monkey than a chunky monkey, he has begun sleeping for longer stretches.

Nicknames

His name is Parker Cromwell, named after my dad Stephen Parker Brown who passed away just over 2 months ago at the age of 58. We’re big on nicknames and I can’t begin to list all of his.

His most commonly used nicknames include Pickle (from Bethany’s pronunciation of Parker), Buddy, and Doodle, which he has nearly outgrown.   I’ve also called him Milkman, Monkey Boy, Booby Boy, and Poop Monster when it suits the occasion.

Favorites parker loves outside

He loves to play the keyboard, ride his brother’s pedal car, play in the plastics cupboard, watch movies with his guys, share earbuds with his sisters, read books with or without a narrator.

Our huge 11yo cat, who should be old and cranky by now, is strangely tolerant of his attentions.

He loves to be outside and is fascinated by wind, trees, the moon and all the other wonders of creation. And he loves me.  I think I’m his favorite person!

Day 18: Pizza & Craigslist

button1 Day 11: A few random photos, and we attend a bridal shower

How do you tell about a day when it’s a blur?  We have a tendency to stay up too late, and I have to confess that it has caught up with me.  To make things worse, my back is keeping me from sleeping well at night.  No bubble in my personality today.  No person in my personality.  I am a zombie.  A zombie, slogging with a bad back.  drool. growl.

But in spite of my complaining, we did have a good day.  I took Kaitlyn, Lydia, Natalie and Becca to help set up for the potato wedding.  Calvin went along as a mascot, and I was the driver.   Thanks to my back I wasn’t good for much else, but I did get to meet some delightful ladies whom I had hitherto only known through the grapevine or the internet.

Megan stayed home with the rest of the little ones, teaching them important life lessons like how to glue their hands together with Elmer’s glue.  If I were my dad, I would make Megan write a paper about the properties, chemical composition, and manufacturing of Elmer’s glue.

On our way home, we stopped in to take care of a friend’s cats while she was out of town.

I dropped the kids at home to start making pizza, then left to meet a Craigslist seller who brought me the WRONG item.  Argh.  He agreed to go home for the right stuff and bring it all the way to my house later in the evening, and I ended up buying what I originally wanted plus the wrong stuff.

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Then I rushed home to meet two separate Craigslist buyers.  One asked to reschedule at the last minute – again.  The other went off without a hitch.

When I got home, I found an ironing board propped against my house.  As it turns out, it belongs to the family of tomorrow’s bride.  Perry is on his way to take it to them right now.

A few minutes ago, some friends dropped off two precious babies for Megan to watch while the parents are out.  One is a little girl.  I think Calvin is twitterpated.  He entirely ignored the little boy who is just his age, and sat next to the 8mo girl with his arm draped casually around her shoulder.

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OK, actually he divided his time pretty well, but two boys are far more active than a girl and a boy, so all my pics of the boys turned out blurry.

Next on the agenda: Take a whiny Calvin upstairs for his bedtime snack, and then it’s early bed for this tired mom.  If you know me, you’re probably laughing, but I mean it.  Yes, I’m taking my phone to bed with me.  What’s that you’re saying about electronics and poor sleep habits?  I can’t hear you. I seem to have a small piece of fluff in my ear.

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