Friday, February 26, 2010

I'll take some oatmeal with a side of milk, please.

I thought I'd record how frequently Oliver eats for my knowledge now and in case I ever need to know in the future. This is from yesterday:

2:30am - Wake up for middle-of-the-night feeding

6am - Wake up, nurse

9am - Wake up from nap, nurse

12:45pm - Nurse

3:15pm - Wake up from nap, nurse

5pm - Nurse

6:30pm - Nurse

8pm - Nurse and then to bed!

Starting last week, we've given Oliver some baby single-grain cereal on occassion. Surprisingly, he eats most of what we mix. Still, it doesn't push back any of his feedings. Today, for example, I gave him some Gerber oatmeal cereal mixed with breast milk around 10am. He nursed about an hour and a half after that.

The rice cereal we gave him last week made him constipated. We fed him last Thursday, February 18, and he didn't poop until Saturday. I figured that was OK, so we gave him more rice cereal on Saturday. Then, he didn't poop until Tuesday! We didn't give him any more cereal until today, when I gave him the "oatmeal" (it's from Gerber... oat flour that I mix with my breast milk). The rice cereal we'd kept very, very liquidy. This time, I let the oatmeal be thick enough to coat the spoon. Oliver loved it. He started opening his mouth in anticipation and diving forward in his high chair. He also helped me shove the spoon in his mouth (that maneuver he'd also done with the rice cereal). It was so cute!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Oliver Exercises at 5am

Oliver started sleeping unswaddled on Friday. By the end of the weekend, every time I'd go to his crib, he'd be sleeping in a different position. His head would be where his feet were, or he'd be 90 degrees from where I'd left him with his legs hanging through the crib bars. It's weird just seeing the end product of a lot of work from my little man.

Today, I caught him in action.

It was 5:30am. I woke up to grunting sounds coming from Oliver's room. I laid there a while, waiting for the grunts to start transitioning into cries. After about fifteen minutes, he still sounded OK. I got up to peek at him.

Oliver was practicing trying to roll over! I watched as he rolled his legs up to his chest and flung himself to the side. He didn't get over the shoulder hump, but he'd fall back down, he'd move a bit. He did this again and again, with me cheering him on from the side of the crib.

It won't be long until I come in and find him on his tummy!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mommy, Pass Me the Nipple Cream

Now that Oliver's sleeping unswaddled, he's sucking his thumb and fingers double time. Both of his thumbers and pointer fingers got completely raw, as well as patches of his middle fingers (see photo). Then the skin started to split. Poor baby must have been in pain. I didn't know what to do for him. I wondered if vaseline was safe to swallow. Or lotion? Neither of those options sounded particularly good. I went online and finally found a solution that was agreeable to me. Use nipple cream! The type that is safe for baby, of course.

Luckily, the hospital had given me a few sample tubes of nipple cream that I'd never used. I slapped that sucker on his hands last night and the night before, and there's already an improvement.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sweet Dreams, Little Bunny

Oliver fell asleep completely on his own (unswaddled) tonight. OK, so maybe he was mostly asleep when I laid him down. Still!

However, he woke up an hour later, crying, so we had to do our nightly routine of coming into his room, patting his tummy, and whispering sweet words. It took about 15 minutes, but he fell asleep again.

He's really getting pretty good at sleeping without a swaddle. I never thought I'd see the day. Seriously, I had visions of myself swaddling up a walking baby. AAahhh, this much better.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Oliver's Going Pro

Last night, it took Oliver a mere 15 minutes to sleep unswaddled. He fell asleep around 8pm. I crawled into bed at 10pm, and just as I was falling asleep, I heard him cry. I tip-toed into his room, pat his tummy, and told him how much I loved him and how proud we were of him. Just as I was sneaking away, I got a wiff of pee. I decided I couldn't just leave him laying there in his pee, so I picked him up, changed him, gave him a little milk, and set him back down in his crib. He fell asleep on his own, unswaddled! Hurray!

Oliver goes about 5-6 hours at night without eating. So, when Oliver woke up at 2:30am, I thought he was probably hungry again. So I picked him up, nursed him, and then changed his diaper. I put him back down, and he cried a little. Andrew came in a few minutes later and whispered loving words to him. Oliver fell asleep shortly after that, and he slept until 5:15am.

Andrew watched Ollie this morning for me until he had to leave for his hike at 6:45am. Then he set Oliver on the bed next to me, smooched our heads, and headed out into the snow (it's a good thing he has Yak Tracks!). I talked to Oliver as I tried to wake myself up. He just sucked on his thumb, and then he closed his eyes. What was happening? I checked his breathing. Everything was OK. That meant he drifted off into a nap all on his own! Oh, man!

Oliver napped for 45 minutes, which is a very, very good nap for him. Two hours later, he started to get droopy-eyed again (it's typical for Oliver to nap for about 20 minutes after being awake for two hours). I laid him in his crib and tip-toed downstairs to get a cup of coffee. I didn't expect it to work. Oliver has never napped in his crib. However, after a minute of whimpering, he fell asleep in his crib. I already did the dishes and laundry this morning, so I'm relaxing over a cup of coffee and enjoying my 20 (or could it be 45?) minutes of relaxation while my big boy sleeps upstairs.

Oliver Explains it All

Words of wisdom from Oliver:




I must say; I'm very impressed with the question mark because he must've hit shift at the same time to get it!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Unswaddling Mission = Completed

I'm ecstatic! Oliver did it; he slept at night unswaddled for the first time, ever. It wasn't even that difficult.

At 7:30pm, Oliver started to fall asleep in Andrew's arms. Rather than push him to 8pm, I took him upstairs, nursed him, and put him down in the crib at my parents' house. It took a minute for him to start crying. Once I heard his first cries, I set the timer for three minutes. When it went off, I came upstairs, walked to his crib, patted his tummy, and I told him how proud I was of him and how much I loved him. He quieted for a moment, but when he realized I wasn't picking him up, he started crying again. I told him good night, and I left.

I set the timer for five minutes. Oliver's cries would intensify and then turn to only whimpers, intensify again, and then start to quiet. At five minutes, I went upstairs, I patted his tummy, I whispered to him and told him I loved him. I whispered good night, and I left again. Ten minutes later, I repeated the same process. I set the timer for another ten minutes, and right before it went off, Oliver fell asleep. It took 28 minutes.

I tip-toed upstairs to peak on him. Was he OK? Yes, he was! He fell asleep with his arms straight out like a cross. I giggled and left.

Oliver only slept for an hour for that first stretch. He woke up around 9pm. I waited three minutes before going up, patting his tummy, and whispering sweet words. I left. I waited five minutes and repeated the process. Then, right when the timer was about to go off for the ten minute period, he fell back asleep. It took only 18 minutes for him to fall asleep that time!

For the next couple of hours, I'd hear him fuss just a little off and on, but no cries. He didn't cry again until 1:15am, when I decided to feed him and change his diaper. He cried a little when I put him to bed, and so I waited three minutes before coming back and soothing him. When I left the room after that 3 minutes, he fell right asleep.

At 2:30am, he woke up again. This time, Andrew got up to calm our little man. I heard him over the monitor whispering, "Shhh, we love you, shhh." He came back downstairs. We heard Oliver continue to cry for about five minutes. Right when Andrew was about to go back upstairs, Oliver stopped crying and went to sleep. It took 8 minutes.

Oliver slept until 6am. Hurray! I couldn't believe how successful the night was. I sprinted up to Oliver's room, flipped on the light, and announced proudly, "You did it!" Oliver smiled and cooed. My mom came in and cooed to him as well. We changed his diaper and smooched him. He was so happy! I was so happy! Oliver slept unswaddled!

At 8am, Oliver fell asleep in my mom's arms. She laid him back down in his crib, and he went to sleep with no fussing. It's currently 8:38am, and Oliver is still napping. Actually, he's napping like an X, arms and legs spread, enjoying his new freedom.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tonight's Mission

Well, I gave up on Oliver crying it out after 30 minutes. However, he still hasn't slept. I decided to read on different methods. One method, one that's supposed to really work, is kind of a cry it out method. You leave the room for 3 minutes, come back, say soothing things for 1-2 minutes (do NOT pick him up!), then you leave and come back 5 minutes later if he's still crying. Say soothing things for another minute or so, then leave. Then come back every 10 minutes.

Every night for a week, you do this, and every night, you extend the time you come back in. The only thing is, you canNOT pick him up. Urg.

This is going to be very hard. I emailed my mom to see if she'd let us occupy her basement for the night so we don't piss off our neighbors at our townhome!

The Shattuck Revolution: Crying it Out

Oliver's upstairs, crying his eyes out, and I'm down here, blogging.

This is the accumulation of the sleepless week from hell. Scratch that. Weeks from hell.

For a couple of weeks, I've been trying to wean Oliver from swaddling. Nothing I've tried has worked. I have tried putting him in a sleep sack with the arms knotted shut. I have tried loosely swaddling him. I've tried putting him to bed completely asleep, unswaddled. Nothing worked.

It's not that I have a problem with him being swaddled, exactly. It's simply a safety and sleep issue. He's getting close to rolling over from back to front. If he rolls over swaddled, I'm afraid he'll get stuck face down. Second, he's getting bigger and keeps unswaddling himself throughout the night. This means I've been getting up most nights every hour-and-a-half to reswaddle him.

Andrew and I decided to put it off and not worry about it until after Texas. However, while in Texas, we met the Klassens (see previous post). They had a similar problem with their daughter, Murphy, only Murphy needed to be swaddled and sucking a pacifier to go to sleep. Finally, after nothing else would work, they decided to deal with the issue by having Murphy give up her sleep vices cold turkey and letting her cry it out.

It worked.

When we got home from Texas, I thought it would be the perfect time for Oliver to learn to sleep unswaddled. I couldn't deal with the prospect of letting Oliver cry it out completely, though. So, instead, we let him cry for one minute. I settled him down, put him back in the crib, and I let him cry for two minutes. Then three. I was close to having a break down. I decided to give him four minutes, and then I'd get him. He sobbed and sobbed, and I gave up and swaddled him and put him down. He fell right asleep.

The thing is, swaddled, Oliver can fall asleep on his own. Unswaddled, he can't fall asleep, stay asleep, nothing.

I decided I'd just let him sleep swaddled. He wouldn't sleep more than a minute unswaddled, so what other choice did I have?


Ever since that traumatic night, Oliver has refused to nap anymore outside of my arms. Anyone who has been following my blog knows how it took me months to teach Oliver to nap outside of my arms.

These few days have been awful. He falls asleep, I put him down, he cries. I pick him up, he falls asleep, I put him down, he cries. I finally give up and let him sleep in my arms.

Well, this morning, I decided I wouldn't back down. I decided it wasn't good for Oliver or me for him to always get his way. At some point, he'd have to learn. At 8:45am this morning, after trying to get him to nap for 45 minutes, I decided to let him cry it out.

Mind you, he was exhausted. He fell asleep the moment I picked him up, but he'd wake up crying as soon as I set him down. I set him down at 8:45am, and I went outside to scrape the car. Ten minutes later, I came back, and he was still crying.

I went upstairs, and called Andrew in tears. He supported me. I sat on the phone with him for ten minutes as Oliver continued to cry. Then I read for 15 minutes. Still, he cried. I made the bed and dusted everything upstairs. Oliver continued to cry. I called Andrew for more moral support, and Oliver continued to cry. I scraped off some of the caulk in our shower while Oliver continued to cry.

This, my friends, went on for two hours and fifteen minutes (the last half hour of which, I was upstairs sobbing as well). Finally (finally), my will broke. I went downstairs and picked up Oliver who was covered in his spit up. He shushed immediately. I took him upstairs, changed him, played with him, fed him, played with him some more.

Now, it is 3:30pm. Oliver needs to nap. He is so very, very tired. He kept falling asleep in my arms. I'd put him down, he'd cry, I'd pick him up again. I decided to keep him awake. This way, I wasn't giving up, but I wasn't making him cry it out, either.

Poor guy couldn't stay awake any more. I set him in his crib, unswaddled, and came down here. It's been fifteen minutes, and Oliver is still sobbing.

I don't know what to do. I don't know how to teach him to sleep unswaddled.

Swaddling seemed like such a great idea in the beginning. In The Happiest Baby on the Block, Dr. Karp suggested it. So did the hospital. It worked. Oliver slept like a champ. However, a few weeks ago, when I started to worry about him rolling over, I didn't know how to teach him to sleep unswaddled. I consulted the Happiest Baby. All Dr. Karp said was that, at 3-4 months of age, babies will simply allow you to put them to bed unswaddled. I consulted the internet; that is not the case. Most parents have a really, really hard time. Some mothers put them in sleep sacks that have the arms knotted or sewn shut. That didn't work for Ollie; he cried instantly. Some mothers put their babies in looser and looser swaddles. Oliver broke out instantly and started sobbing. There don't seem to be any more suggestions out there.

And so it comes to this, a parent's last-ditch effort: crying it out. It's 3:35pm. Oliver has been screaming for twenty minutes after screaming for more than two hours this morning. It's not working. It is not working.

I'm going crazy. I'm so tired and stressed. Oliver must be so tired, stressed and confused.

I just want this to be over with.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pleased to Meet You. My Name is Oliver.

Oliver met two babies while in Texas. It was so fun to see! The first was his 9-month old 2nd cousin, Karsen. Karsen is Andrew's cousin Casey's daughter. Karsen was able to pull herself up into a sit and play with animated toys. She also crawled and stood. It's exciting to see how independent and mobile Oliver will be in a few months. Oliver was in awe over her and mostly sat gaping at her. We took a few funny shots.

Later, we went to Austin and met Andrew's brother Zach's friends. They have a baby girl named Murphy who is two weeks older than Oliver. I giggled the whole time they were together because Murphy babbles exactly like Oliver. The two of them struck up multiple conversations, much to my amusement. Oliver kept grabbing her hands, which I thought was so cute.

It's hard not to compare babies when they're together. I was very pleased to see how similar Ollie and Murphy were. It made me feel like Oliver was normal, that I'm not completely messing up this parenting thing. Murphy was stronger than Ollie. She liked to stand (while being supported by her parents, of course). Ollie has just started putting more pressure on his feet when we hold him in a stand, but he can't support himself in that position at all, really. Oliver's very good at holding his head up, but it still bobbles. Murphy had her head held perfectly. Oliver, however, was so much better with his hands. Murphy is just learning that her hands do things, and her parents are just starting to hang items from her carriers and such. Conversely, Oliver is able to zero in on his hanging animals and grab them and pull them. When he's on his back, he grabs anything and everything that's around him--toys, blankets, diapers, used wipes, whatever. It was good to see the contrast.

Enjoy the photos of his first experiences meeting babies.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Experts of Nothing

In an age when there's so much information readily available to us, it amazes me how much people don't want to say about babies. Scratch that. There are millions of articles available on the internet, but all they really ever say is, "Every baby is different."

It's frustrating for a new mom who knows very little about raising babies. I'll think to myself, "I wonder if Oliver feeds too frequently," because he's three months old and feeds every 1.5 to 2.5 hours. I often think he's probably not supposed to feed an hour and a half after his last feeding, but I'm not sure. I look online, and the first dozen articles I open say, "Every baby is different; feed him when he wants."

That's great, but I'm still wondering if my baby's appetite is normal. Surely, someone should be willing to say something like, not wanting to eat for 8 hours during the day is abnormal. Or, perhaps, wanting to eat every 45 minutes is abnormal. But, no, I can't even find that in any article. For all I know, some babies do eat every 45 minutes, and perhaps that is normal. Or maybe it's abnormal, and some poor mom out there has raw nipples for feeding her baby on demand.

Somewhere along the line, I finally decided his feeding schedule must be normal. Then, I went to Babies R Us last weekend to by some more bottles for storing breast milk. The only bottles that come with the size 3 nipples he uses are 11 ounce bottles! Eleven ounces?! Oliver drinks 3-4 ounces. Does he not drink enough for each feeding? Should he be drinking more, less frequently? How does a breast hold 11 ounces of milk? I look online. How much should breastfed babies drink? The experts say, "Every baby is different!" There are absolutely no normal or abnormal ranges listed anywhere that I can find. None. Apparently, your baby can drink a gallon of milk or maybe just sip half an ounce, and that's just fine with the experts.

I swear, baby "experts" really frustrate me. No one wants to commit, to say what's normal.

Baby books are pretty much useless. Every book I opened said you can't spoil your baby for his first three months of life. That seemed reasonable. I picked him up whenever he cried, fed him whenever he wanted to be fed, never left him alone for more than a minute (perhaps to grab the laundry to bring it upstairs to fold while he played on his mat). Now Oliver's three months old, and I wonder, do I need to be careful of spoiling him? Should I try to soothe him in other ways before picking him up? Should I try to get him to soothe himself? Well, guess what? The experts say, every baby is different. Some might be ready to calm themselves, but others might still need your help. I still don't know what I need to do to prevent spoiling him. I'm sure most people who read this will say, "Don't worry about spoiling your baby." Well, then those useless experts out there should say a mother can't spoil her baby for his first six months, or year, or whatever it might be. And then, perhaps, they can tell you what to do to not spoil your kid.

Now that Oliver's starting to get closer to rolling over, I've been worried about him being swaddled at night. However, he won't sleep unswaddled. I wondered what's a good age to stop swaddling, and what I read was that every baby is different, and when they're ready, they'll sleep unswaddled. I read I should try to put him down unswaddled every week or so, and at some point, he'll just let me. It could be at two months, it could be at three months, it could be at four or six months or a year.

What the hell? What is the point of having baby experts if they're not going to tell you anything? Why am I wasting my time reading books and articles, only to learn after finishing them that there are no answers to my questions? Do people really need to write entire books just to say that?

To any new mom out there, I'd like you to know the following. My baby is three months old. He drinks 3-4 ounces of milk every 1.5 to 2.5 hours during the day. In the morning and in the evening, he seems to want to drink more frequently than the middle of the day. At night, he'll often go 5 hours with no feedings. He seems healthy. I'm willing to guess his schedule is normal. He drank from size 2 nipples when he was less than a month old, even though the box said the nipples were for 3 month old babies. Maybe it's normal for a baby to like a heavier flow, but I don't know since there's no information available to say what is normal or abnormal. He stopped drinking from a bottle for a while, but when he started again, he'd only take size 3 nipples. Again, maybe that's abnormal, but he seems OK.

Maybe now I'm the expert. I think even just that little bit of information would have been helpful to me as a new mom. So, there. I'm sitting here, typing to tell you, 3-4 ounces of milk is normal for a three month old baby. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think any of those baby experts would ever say so.

And Then There Were Tooth Buds

Oliver is teething big time! I'm not sure if it's good or bad that he's teething early. On the one hand, I'd pretty much always prefer to get the hard stuff over and done with. On the other hand, he's not really able to chomp (although he's getting better) or hold teething toys to his mouth for more than 2 seconds at a time.

I can see a couple of tooth buds on his bottom (see the photo!). They've been visible for a few days, but I don't think they're getting any bigger. The last week (since 5:30pm last Friday), he's been very cranky from them, but I think they've been bothering him off and on for a month or so.

Colleen came over on Wednesday and brought about a dozen different teething toys for him. He likes the one that vibrates, but he doesn't bite hard enough to make it vibrate himself. So I hold it up to his mouth and press down for him! Ha. He also has a teething book, a teething blanket, a teething elephant (that he loves, but not for teething), and some cute little teething animal toys. It seems to help. He was in a great mood Wednesday evening and only got up twice that night. Thursday morning, he stayed in his good mood, but by the afternoon, he was freaking out.

I busted out the frozen washcloth from the freezer. He hates it so much at first, but then it must start numbing his gums because he starts sucking on it. Oooh, and my knuckle is working really well. He'll really chomp on my knuckle.

I really hope his teeth pop soon. It's very, very hard to see him in so much pain. Yesterday, he would shriek as he'd chomp on my knuckle. It went as follows: Chomp, chomp, shriek!, chomp, shriek!, chomp, chomp.

Last night, after crying for about two hours straight, he went to sleep. He only got up once at night!!! Well, I guess he got up again at 4am. I woke up to him crying softly, and it brought tears to my eyes. I went to his room. He was wiggling a bit, but he'd stopped crying. I watched him as he fell back asleep (he didn't even need me!).

This morning, he was in a great mood for about an hour, but he started crying again. Now, I'm not one of those moms who can listen to her baby cry and think, "That's his hungry cry." Almost all his cries sound the same to me, except his cries of pain. This morning, he started doing his pain cry. I cry, too, when he does that. I just rubbed his gums (which, by the way, is hard to do because I know it hurts him more at first before it starts making him feel better). Eventually, he fell asleep from that, and now he's napping away.

My poor, poor baby. I wish his teeth didn't hurt him so much. I hope so badly they pop through very soon.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Stop Singing, Mommy!

I'm sure you all have seen those videos of the dogs who howl at their masters when they're singing or playing the piano (the people, not the dogs). Oliver decided to start going "woooouuuhhh" over me as I sang to him today. Hilarious.