Tuesday, June 30, 2015

My Second "Non-Babywise" Baby

My sweet Chloe was born on December 6th 2014. She was my second homebirth (you can read about my first homebirth here). The birth went as expected: lots of pain followed by lots of joy :) oh and p.s. this was the first time I didn't find out what I was having and it definitely was NOT all it's cracked up to be. Not doing that again.

Oh my goodness! How cute is my Chloe bug?!
I had decided when I was pregnant that I would do a "non-babywise" thing again with this baby as I had done with Charis. Now truth be told I was terrified (slight exaggeration) that I would change my mind... because... well... I do that A LOT. But yeah! I didn't change my mind and I am loving having my sweet Chloe bug on what I call: a go with the flow sleep training schedule. 

Now "go with the flow" and "schedule" don't usually go together. But I believe I have found a happy balance. Here are my tips on how to not have your baby screaming their head off periodically while also not losing your mind. 

#1. NEVER sleep with your baby. Alright, so I totally just lost half of you right there. But try it out! Sleeping with your baby trains your baby to sleep with you. Duh. But sleeping with you also means lots and lots of nursing and that can often mean no sleep for you or daddy or baby. Now, hey, if you want to sleep with your baby and that's what your husband wants (mine definitely didn't) then by all means go for it.

#2. Have a transition plan. My babies when they are first born are placed in the little bassinet and placed next to my bed. When they start to become more aware of their surroundings I transition them to a more private place like a bathroom or closet (big closet with good air flow) that is still close to my bed but far enough away that they don't see me. Around 6 months I transition them to the crib. Chloebug (her nickname) is almost 7 months so has been in her crib for about a month and it's going great! Now, by great, I don't mean: sleeping through the night. That, unlike babywise moms, is not my ultimate goal. I'll sleep later in life. I am able to nurse and go back to sleep and so it's not a big deal to lose out on sleep in 10 min. increments knowing that I am still in my own bed without a baby about 7-8 hours a night. Chloe usually gets up around 1-2 times in an 8 hour period. I nurse her in the dark and lay her right back down with her pacifier (I LOVE THE PACIFIER). Which brings me to number 3.

#3. Use a pacifier. There are so many oppositions to the pacifier that you can start to fear it's use. I didn't use a pacifier with my third and fourth child and they both still suck their finger (one is 2 and one is 5). Pacifiers can be taken away. Chloe has never shown "nipple confusion" and it never has hindered her nursing. Lastly, I taught her how to take it in and out of her mouth on her own so that I don't have to go in constantly and put it back in. You just practice when they are awake. Pacifiers have also been shown in helping preventing sids. Speaking of that, this is the first baby I have put on their back. I was not too excited about that but my husband insisted that I did and I was petrified of one of our babies dying from sids and us having to live with that if we had them on their tummies. One of my friends is a NICU nurse and she said she has never seen a baby come in who died from sids that was on their back... every single one was on their tummy... put that bit of info together with the fact that our friend's neighbor had just lost a baby to sids and they had the baby on their tummy. So I put Chloe on her back and swaddled her with one of these. It went fine and now she is swaddle free and rolling all around in her crib. I still lay her down on her back and she often chooses to sleep that way now anyway.

#4. Try feeding your baby whenever they wake up. This idea actually did come from babywise with it's: feed, wake, sleep routine. Chloe wakes up, I nurse her, let her "play" and then lay her down WIDE AWAKE. Now here's the deal though, for the first three months this rarely happens as planned and I am okay with that. I wore Charis (my first non-babywise baby) a lot the first three months and I did that a lot with Chloe as well. I was so afraid to wear my first "babywise babies" and was so pleasantly surprised that they could still sleep by themselves at night and that I wasn't training them to only sleep on me like I had feared. I never let Chloe and Charis scream like I did with my first three. I would do a "go with the flow schedule/routine" of: sleep, wake, feed, play, sleep. But sometimes I nursed them to sleep and sometimes I would wear them to get them to sleep during the day. By the time they were almost four months old I wasn't wearing them anymore and they were going to sleep happy! I never watched the clock but instead prayed that God with give me motherly wisdom to nurture, love and train my babies as He would have me do, not as man says I should. How did Eve survive without Gary Ezzo telling her what to do?! In fact, she didn't even have a clock! Oh. my. 

#5. Don't stress. Easy right? Ha! Yeah right! Stress is something we as people, especially a Christian people, have to combat daily. Stressing usually is due to a lack of trust in God but in the case of being the mama of a new baby it's often due to just not knowing what to do! It's hard to meet the needs of a little one that can't talk yet! It's hard to know why they are crying again and again. Mothering seems like something that should "come naturally" but just like many things in life, it is a learning process. For some of you though the learning curve isn't as severe because you were raised around babies, I wasn't. But I have found such a profound difference in mothering my fifth baby verses my first. Oh that I could go back and tell myself to chill out! I remember sprinting through the house as fast as I could to pick up Rhea (my firstborn) because she was crying. Now I understand crying is part of life. It's a part of my life as an adult and for a baby. I don't believe in letting my baby cry for long periods of time because frankly that's what "crack moms" do. Sounds harsh. But it's true! Crack moms don't tend to their babies needs and nurture them. Crack moms leave their babies to cry for hours. I have learned to enjoy this season more. Not freak out about crying and not let it go on and on. Now when I lay Chloe down I recognize which cry means: "I'm not going to sleep" and which one means: "I'm sleepy and need to fuss a bit". I enjoy my "go with the flow" mothering so much more than rigid scheduling! Life doesn't always happen on schedule and so pray and ask God to help you to not stress when things don't go according to your plan. Stressing totally takes your joy and prevents you from loving the baby season!

#6 Have a "security blanket" for them. I love my pacifiers and blankies. I pick out a soft blankie, preferably lighter so that it isn't too hot in the summer, before the baby arrives. I nurse them with it and lay them down with it. These come in so handy in the car when they need to settle down, at church, when they are upset and best of all at nap and bed time! 

Those are my 6 simple tips on how to "train" a non-babywise baby to sleep. Thoughts? Questions? Be sure to leave them in the comment section! Thanks for stopping by!