Life with a Third Child

Last weekend Ruth turned 4 months old, and again I am faced with the reality that “oh, my sweet, tiny baby will only be so little for so long.” She truly is such a sweetheart, and I’m trying to cherish this time as much as I can.

Ruth is a happy baby. If you need someone to lift your spirits look no further than this darling. Her smile is one of pure delight, and her cute little giggles immediately brighten our day. Lúthien loves to talk and sing to her, and Rainer calls her “Ruthie Ruth.” [He calls his stuffed dog and blanket that he sleeps with his “doggy dog” and “blankey blankey,” so it’s only fitting that his little sister gets a cute Rainer-ized nickname too.]

Life as a family of 5 has definitely been an adjustment in a zillion different ways (as I expected). I had some small idea of what to expect from observing my sister-in-law and friends with 3-4 kids, and now that I am a mother of 3 under 3.5 years, so much of what they have told me about their lives makes so much more sense. For instance, the most difficult part of mothering right now is not taking care of the baby, it’s keeping up with the big kids.

I’ll count my blessings and say that the during the first two months, Rainer and Lúthien adjusted beautifully to the family dynamic change. Plus, we were spared during flu season unlike our rockstar friends who seemingly all caught it. March and April have been a whirlwind as a family though for multiple reasons. Ross has been busier with work lately, so there have been even more nights where I go solo (difficult for the both of us, not just me). And we just got over our very first sick family epidemic (to be melodramatic).

Honestly it could have been worse, this wasn’t the flu or any of the icky viruses like hand, foot, and mouth. I have no idea what it was though, and it started off with a fever, then nausea, then a nasty cold. In total, we were all sick for two weeks. Lúthien ended up developing an ear infection from it, Rainer took awhile to get better, I was weakened quite a bit and it affected my milk supply, and even little Ruth caught it but praise the Lord, she didn’t throw up or refuse to nurse or anything. And again, praise the Lord, while Ross was affected by the virus, he did not get as sick as the rest of us and he’s the one with an autoimmune disease.

But yes, about the big kids, dearest Lúthien and Rainer. They love each other a lot. When the other wakes up from a long nap, they greet each other like they’ve been separated for two days (unless they’re super groggy). But goodness do they know how to drive each other (and me) crazy. We’re also running into a lot of behavioral issues lately, and I’m sure a lot of it has been because of the craziness lately.

I have a feeling that we will be on the other size of “survival mode” soon, however. I’m beginning to sleep train Ruth, which has actually been relatively painless and tearfree this time around (knock on wood). Once she can sleep better on her own, there will be more of an ordered sense to our days. She is also beginning to “play” more, and the big kids take so much delight in cheering her on through the next milestone.

Parenthood is this exhausting balance of giving of constantly giving of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I wouldn’t change a thing though. The joy always surpasses the sacrifice. Sure, it’s hard, but I am so grateful for this gift of motherhood. I pray for the grace to help form my kids, but goodness, they are definitely helping to form me too.

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Introducing Ruth Siobhán

I wrote the following while I was probably 4 days postpartum. Now little Ruth is 8 days old.

Welcome to the world, Ruth Siobhán. Birth story following…whenever I get to it. 😉

The last time I was able to write a full blog post and actually publish it was in…August?! (There are so many drafts in my WordPress files). Here I am once more after a whirlwind of a stressful and emotional but blessed autumn and Advent and Holiday season.

We are currently living with my very generous in-laws who just happen to be 2 miles away. They have a live-in elderly Aunt and Uncle, so this was the best solution until we can get back on our feet (my husband had to get back to work just 3 days after the birth). I’m currently trying to take it easy and be gentle on myself, and soak up any alone time I can get because I know things will get cray-cray once it’s just me, the kids, and the dog.

How am I doing? How are we all doing? Well. We are doing well. I am so grateful for how everything is working out thus far. I can sense that God is being generous with us to prepare for the weeks and months ahead. Ross, however, is honestly working the hardest between the both of us and bending over backwards to support us all. I won’t elaborate, but I will say that I have never been more honored and proud to have him by my side and the head of our family.

So far the transition to a family of five has been gentle and gradual. I don’t know if it’s the fact that this is my third newborn, and I am much more calm and confident in my mothering, or if Ruth is just extra darling, or both; but oh my goodness, she has been way more relaxed as a newborn compared to the other kids. I know, I know, this is JUST day 4, but I am so grateful. (I’m sure I’ll be laughing next week, but for now, I’m just thankful for the past few days).

The two other children are adjusting alright so far, and they are certainly keeping their Mimi and Paw Paw as busy as possible. Lúthien loves her little sister, and Rainer is mildly interested in her. I haven’t quite allowed them to spend that much time with her, only because they are getting over colds and right now in Louisiana cold and flu season is the worst (literally). Hopefully I’ll soon be able to confidently let them love on her (safely). As far as adjusting to the new family member goes, Lúthien wants her to “always stay little” and Rainer is missing his snuggles with his mom. He’s a bit of a mess right now, but he is still his usual goofy, sweet self.

Little Ruth is a darling. Compared to her siblings, so far she seems to be the most relaxed as a newborn. She doesn’t often cry, except when she needs a new diaper. Nursing was a little tricky the first few days, but we’re doing really well now. And to my delight, she loves to be swaddled unlike her siblings.

We are so in love with her name. As per tradition, we waited until she was born to name her. With Rainer and Lúthien we weren’t able to settle on a name until the next day, but with Ruth we gradually came to the name “Ruth Jeanne” or “Ruth Joan” during labor. Her first name was inspired by Old Testament Ruth. Each of our children, including our two in heaven (Charles Dominic and Lily Zélie), bear the middle name of a patron saint of ours. St. Joan of Arc has always been a favorite of mine and Ross since we were children. About an hour after she was born, Ross learned that the name, “Siobhán,” (pronounced shiv-ahn), which he had been drawn to throughout the end of my pregnancy, is the Gaelic form of “Joan” or “Jeanne.” He looked up, telling me with tears in his eyes, and I knew, this was Ruth Siobhán.

August Update: Pregnant while corralling two toddlers

I realize that I never actually officially announced (nay even written about) our pregnancy to the blog, though I alluded to it (aka blurted it out) via a photo caption mentioning a “baby bump.” But yes, we are expecting another little one around December 29th! I have a feeling this Advent will be the most meaningful one of my life so far. It won’t be the first time I’ve been pregnant during Advent, but nine months pregnant during Advent…totally new. 🙂 When people ask me when I am due now though, I usually say around New Year’s. Both Rainer and Lúthien came at exactly 41 weeks, so I’ve learned enough to imply that I’m due later than expected. And this time around, I’m going to do myself a favor and just “expect” to still be pregnant on New Year’s Eve. (Watch my water break at like 38 weeks…just kidding…)

So…here we are already at 22 weeks pregnant!

Side note: Ross took the photo because he is currently working on painting our kitchen grey and he realized my dress matched the wall, lol. It’s hard to tell by the picture, but they’re about the same.

We found out about lil bebe around the start of April, and after keeping the news to ourselves for a few days, we told our immediate family members and close friends specifically asking for the their prayers. My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, and in my pregnancy with Rainer prior to this child, we lost a twin early on. So needless to say, I was very nervous. Thankfully, my provider at the time was working closely with me in monitoring my progesterone levels every two weeks, while I also took progesterone from about week 7 until week 13. And if you were one of the friends or family members that kept us in prayer, thank you so much. It was such a comfort knowing that we were not in it alone.

The anatomy scan at the beginning of this month at 19 weeks showed a healthy baby girl, yes…a girl! We went back and forth between deciding whether or not we wanted to find out the sex. With Lúthien, we were actually told by the sonographer at 20 weeks that she was a boy, and we finished out my pregnancy believed that she was…until she was born revealing otherwise. With Rainer we decided to wait until the birth which was a such a profound and beautiful experience for me. This time around though, I’d almost prefer not knowing again. I loved the mystery last time around, plus I can’t help but doubt that she is a girl. After all, after my pregnancy experiences, who wouldn’t feel one hundred percent sure? But at least now I can be practically prepared with clothing, and we can begin to narrow down names. As per tradition, we will not name her until we meet her face to face. And I am SO excited for that.

My first trimester went along well. Again I was blessed with very minor morning sickness. I can be such a baby when it comes to food aversions and queasiness, but I know other women have it much, much worse that I did. Currently I am still in the sweet spot of the second trimester. I can feel the baby kick all the time now. I visibly look pregnant in public now and not just very bloated.  And while I am beginning to need to change the way I bend down or lie down, I don’t quite feel “large” just yet. Honestly though, this has been the most mentally and emotionally taxing pregnancy yet. Thankfully, Ross has been tremendously supportive and such a rock for me.

What I have been loving even more this time around, is the support of our community of friends here in Louisiana as well as others from out of state. In our circle of friends here at home, there is always someone who is pregnant. I think it used to be a joke, but it’s frankly become a fact of life and I love it. When we found out about this baby, a couple friends in the area had just given birth; and now I’m sharing in this pregnancy with a handful of other friends who have due dates a month or two after me. It’s wonderful not being the “odd family out” with three kids under 4 and doing this crazy yet beautiful family thing alongside friends.

As far as life with Luthien and Rainer goes, recently that have begun sharing a room, and surprisingly it is going pretty smoothly! Up until the middle of this month, Rainer had actually just been sleeping in a pack n play with a 5 inch spring mattress inside. (Technically it’s the same mattress as our crib mattress, just smaller in length). The baby crib had been left unused in Luthien’s room this entire time, we just didn’t want to take it apart and move it into the third bedroom.

Anyway, just two weeks ago I decided it was time to get Rainer out of that room and out of that pack n play and into the crib in Luthien’s room. I honestly did not expect it to go well because I sort of did it on a whim. We were supposed to be spending a week in Austin in a hotel room together though, so I figured it was time to make the transition. The first night, luckily Ross came home earlier than expected (half the time I put the kids to bed alone during the week), and we waited it out together. After many trips in and out because someone was crying or shouting or had to poop, they eventually both fell asleep within an hour. Every night afterward the time it took for them to fall asleep slowly decreased. Usually Luthien realizes she needs to use the bathoom again, or Rainer throws his blankets out of bed, but now it only takes 20-30 minutes for them to happily quiet down and fall asleep.

And let me tell you….it is SO freeing. Before we made this transition, I was still rocking Rainer with a bottle before I put him down. Now I just put him in the crib, tuck him in, and hand him his bottle. He loves the fact that his sister is just on the other side of the room. I realize that some kids temperaments just don’t work well enough for room sharing, but Rainer and Luthien really balance each other out so far. And it is so sweet to come in at the end of the night to check up on them in the same room. As far as naps go, Rainer sleeps in the kids’ room, but Luthien has begun to drop her nap. She might nap if she is extremely tired, but thankfully (again, this is totally her temperament) she is perfectly happy sitting in the playroom playing quietly alone. If she wants to lay down, we lay out her sleeping bag and she’ll snuggle in.

Also, remember how I mentioned Austin two paragraphs ago? We were supposed to spend the week there for Executive Council with New York Life for my husband (all expenses paid), but Hurricane Harvey came right in time and it was canceled. Please continue to keep all those affected by the flood in your prayers. Ross and I have several family members in Houston, and somehow none of them flooded even though a handful of them had to evacuate – praise the Lord!

Since Ross was going to be off work anyway, we decided to take a “stay-cation.” He puts in a few hours here and there, and with our spare time together we are going on outings around town and painting our kitchen (ok, Ross paints, lol not me). We hadn’t had any real family time together longer than maybe three days for the past….I don’t know…three years?? So it’s been wonderful to just soak it all in, even if we’re not in a new city or camping in the mountains.

Rainer, 13 months (AKA – breaking the radio silence) 

**I just found this really scatterbrained update on Rainer that I never published because I thought that wordpress accidentally deleted it. Here it is about a month late.**

I’m well aware that it’s been months since I posted last. Not that I ever post regularly, but c’est la vie. I needed to take a step back, but I’m back and ready to write about those topics I love most.
So, Rainer is now 13 months old. He is even sweeter than ever. 

This age is one of my favorites, where they are still very much baby and just barely a toddler. He still wants cuddles, even more than before actually. Remember that time I wrote about sleep training?? Hah. Well, I think he fell out of it by February…? Don’t get me wrong, we needed him to be sleep trained when he was. And having him sleep trained was glorious and very much needed for awhile. But then teething happened and a virus and then low milk supply, and this Mama just really wanted to rock her baby to sleep after awhile. It might not be as convenient as before, but it’s what I want now. I am only trying to gradually get him back in the habit of putting himself to sleep though.


Around 10 months old I began supplementing little man. He had stopped gaining weight and never seemed satisfied after nursing. And so with a lower milk supply (and counsel from his pediatrician), I began to give him formula several times a day coupled with nursing sessions. In the beginning I felt really sad. Supplementing was totally new to me, but I eventually felt much at peace once I saw how much happier and fuller he seemed to be. I think it’s safe to say that he is now officially weaned as of just a week ago. My milk supply has almost diminished. Honestly I’m trying not to dwell on the fact that we’re no longer nursing – because it would just be too sad to think about – so I’m just coping with cuddles at nighttime.


But really though, he is so much more affectionate now, especially with his dad! His favorite word is “Daddy.” Not “Dada,” but “Daddy.” He says it all the time. If I mention Ross’ name once, he will chant “Daddy, Daddy” over and over again. If he hears a car outside the window, he looks out babbling “Daddy, Daddy.” Once Ross gets home he’s just “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy.” You get the picture. It’s too adorable. Of course he will refuse to say “Mama.” If I ask him to say “Mama,” he will repeat “Daddy.” I guess it’s my turn, because Lúthien wouldn’t say “Daddy” for the longest time! The rest of his vocabulary (that he actually uses and doesn’t just repeat) so far just consists of “yummy,” “doggy,” and “hi.” He understands a lot more now though, and even though he knows the signs for “more” at the dinner table his favorite method of asking for more food is screeching.


Speaking of food, both of my children have decided to be picky at the same time! It’s become a bit of a problem with Lúthien all of a sudden, which I’m trying to curb by reducing snacks (and it’s been helping! along with some patience…). Rainer loves his protein. He’s all about his eggs in the morning and loves most meat. Avocado, blueberries, apple, and banana are among his favorites, but he shuns sweet potato and broccoli (Lúthien’s favorites when she was his age). And of course, he loves his carbs. And little man made it serious business to eat as much birthday cupcake as he could. Ok…so I guess Rainer’s not that picky. I was never picky as a child, so I guess I have a higher standard…lol.

By the way, we got a DOG. Probably not the most prudent decision, but it happened, and I’ve always dreamed about having a pet when the kids are little versus big kids. My husband is in love, and so is Rainer. Lúthien and I are pretty partial (lol), but he’s a great dog and Ross is training him very well. His intention is to bring him bird hunting and Brego is performing very well in the training sessions! He’s about 6 months old now.



As far as milestones go, Rainer is not quite walking yet, but I believe we are just days away! He has been taking his first steps little by little, and today he has his first few steps of 4-8 at once. I am so excited, because I was hoping he’d start walking before our trip to Virginia to see my family in July.

8 Months in (Crawling, Potty training, & a big girl bed)

I have been dying to write this post for awhile now, as I find these quirky little kid update posts thoroughly enjoyable. I’ve been temporarily without a laptop for a little while now, but I have one now, and let’s not get too distracted, shall we?

Last time I actually wrote an update dedicated to the two kiddies, it was back in October at the 5 month mark. Here we are at 8 months in, and with all these new changes I feel like we have now switched gears and are moving at a faster pace – figuratively and literally. To be honest, these past two weeks have been pretty rough coupled with Ross working long days and late nights. I am constantly humbled over and over again by my own flaws and struggles as a mother, but praise God, I am not in this alone. 

Crawling

Crawling truly changes everything doesn’t it? Before crawling you don’t need to worry too much about baby getting into anything because he’s pretty stationary…that is until baby learns how to roll across the room…but even then baby can’t quite move in a straight line, just a diagonal one. 😉 

Rainer first began to sit up unassisted around Christmas time at 7 months old, about three weeks ago. Little by little he gained strength and around New Years he began to scoot. Last week he progressed by the day and now I can. not. keep. up. He hasn’t yet transitioned from army crawling to “normal” crawling, but GOSH is he fast. I turn around for a second and he’s in the other room trying to put a dirty boot in his mouth or he’s ripped off the plastic screen on the fridge. Just a few hours ago I left the kids in Lúthien’s room to play while I put maybe two dishes away and then I heard Lu laughing and moving things around in the bathroom. And there they were both giggling in the middle of the bathroom, while big sister thankfully moved her potty and step stool out of his reach (go sis!).

Throughout these past couple weeks Rainer’s personality is truly beginning to shine. While Lúthien had more of a careful curiosity at this age, Rainer wants to explore everything and anything. The most intriguing objects to him are computer chargers, outlets, the plastic screen on the fridge, and our shoes. His sister is finally now being forced to learn what sharing truly is and how to best protect her precious tower of mega blocks. 

Growth


What’s hilarious is that they are starting to look the same size now because they are kind of almost the same weight…my petite little Lu is 24 lbs while her hefty baby brother is now 20lbs (according to my bathroom scale, who knows how accurate that is). At first I was alarmed at the difference, and felt quite worried for Lúthien’s growth, but she’s been on the lower percentile for a little while and it’s not like she’s skinny. She’s petite, but she definitely has pudge all over.

Little buddy had his first taste of solids around 6 months with avocado, but I didn’t start regularly giving him solids until the end of December in the middle of 7 months. My milk supply tanks a couple times a month now, and he works up a pretty big appetite. His favorites include sweet potatoes, apples, pears, bananas, and he’s even fairly partial to peas and broccoli.

Lúthien’s vocabulary and way of talking still continues to amaze me. But hey, she’s my oldest and she’s 2 and 1/2, this is my first time! She totally understands way more than we think she does. Just a few days ago we picked up lunch from Chick fil a, and she was playing with the little game cards that came in her kids meal. She brought one to me to read, and I read it aloud, “If you could do one nice thing for a friend, what would it be?” Though I didn’t expect her to answer, she responded “Pray for Miss Megan?” with her hands folded and a big smile. Miss Megan is her ‘sometimes’ babysitter, like a twice a year babysitter when the grandparents are busy. It was so precious.

Potty Training

We did it. We started it, and the worst is over! I planned on starting potty training soon after the holidays, and we held our breath and jumped into the adventure that potty training is about two weeks ago. Lúthien had been ready for a few months now, but I didn’t want to bother potty training with Thanksgiving and then Christmas looming in the background so I pushed it to January. We did a version of potty training boot camp, so we quit the diaper in the day cold turkey. The first day was predictably filled with many accidents, but she was already starting to rush to the potty when she felt the need to go. By the third day, she pretty much hard it, especially with dad to coach her along. Every now and then we still have an accident while she’s playing and distracted, but she has been accident free the past few days and we are going back on outings again with not much worry!

Big Girl Bed

Lúthien’s transition from a crib to a big girl bed has technically been lengthened by about 9 months, which was all completely unplanned. Last April, I removed her crib mattress from the crib and set up her sleeping area on the floor after she got her legs stuck in the crib slots. She slept on her mattress on the floor for a few months until a month or so after Rainer was born when I finally got around to removing the front wall of the crib. By the time she finally started sleeping in the toddler bed, she was already used to sleeping on her mattress without rolling off so the transition went smoothly. Her big Christmas gift from both sets of grandparents was her big girl bed and mattress. Her mattress arrived in time for Christmas, but FedEx actually lost the bed frame package and the second one (free) arrived last week. Naturally Lúthien slept on the new twin mattress on the floor, so by the time her bed frame was set up and ready, she slept on it just fine without falling off. 

Though we never planned on a gradual transition that this one, I’m really happy with how it turned out. Before Rainer was born, our pediatrician talked about how toddlers thrive on their routines and familiar environment – hence why they usually don’t take change well – so I’ve really tried to take that to heart with Lúthien. She has been so adaptable anyway though, so that makes things much easier. 

Anyway, you get the general idea…we’re all still growing over here for sure. Babies don’t keep! In the midst of the struggles and hardships of everyday life, thankfully the joys shed light on it all. 

Peace,

Dot 

Party of Four, 5 months in

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a baby update, and I’m due for another one. Lúthien’s been a little overshadowed by her brother on the blog though, so this counts for all of us, really.

Here we are 5 days in…

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And here were are about 4.5 months in…

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It has been such a natural fit, being a family of four. There are so many sweet, sweet memories of just the three of us, but Rainer just adds more depth, love, and joy to our lives. I still cannot get over just how much in love I am with this little guy.

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highlights

1. Sleep Training

One of the biggest game changers in our day to day life has been successfully sleep training Rainer, which was something new to me. When I add up all time it used to take me (by the end, around 4 months) to get him to go down for a nap and how long I would wear him, I have about an extra two hours to my day. Not only do I have extra time to get things done around the house, but there is a much ordered sense to our day now, which has helped me tremendously. Rainer sleeps much better now, more soundly, and longer. My friend, Ali, was instrumental in helping me feel confident and comfortable beginning sleep training.

2.  Lúthien turned 2

Lúthien turned two last month, and we had a long drawn out birthday celebration for her with multiple birthday parties. One little party was with her Mimi and Pawpaw, one tiny party with me and her because Daddy had to work all day on her actual birthday (we celebrated with cookies), one tiny party with the four of us (and leftover cake), and then one big party with friends. Whew! It sounds like a lot but the 2nd and 3rd were really just us sitting around the table singing “Happy Birthday” and eating sugar together. She can almost sing “Happy Birthday” by herself. Both sets of grandparents got her a playground and a picnic table for the backyard, because she previously didn’t have anywhere to hang out except for the backdoor stoop.

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She had two butterfly birthday cakes, one from each set of grandparents. She likes butterflies JUST a little bit.

And her big birthday celebration involved another butterfly, some sunflowers, and pumpkins.

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We kept the party pretty simple, and for some reason the weekend we host her birthday parties is always the weekend everyone is out of town (timing, I guess?), but it was still such a sweet afternoon.

 

3. Brother/Sister bonding

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These two have increasingly become cuter and cuter together. Rainer may have initially been a “surprise baby” but as the months pass by, I realize more how they really needed each other and I am so grateful. Lúthien is very much like me: introverted, sensitive, shy. Having a brother around as a companion, even if he’s only 5 months old, has been so beneficial for her. And the feeling is certainly mutual. Rainer takes such delight in his sister. He often has one out of two expressions on his face, either a look of fascination or joy. When his sister is around, the joy runs over. My heart melts when they giggle at each other. Rainer’s giggle is ADORABLE. It’s a loud, happy squeal.

developments

Rainer is a pro at rolling onto his tummy now. He started tummy to back, but now he really just prefers to roll back to tummy. He has yet to do multiple rolls though, that’s only happened maybe once. He also prefers to be on his tummy when you put him down, he will never last long on his back. A few days ago, she slept right on top of his hand leaving the most hilarious marks on his face.

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We’re still using our bouncer every now and then, but I think we only have a few weeks left with it. I moved Lu out of it once she tried leaning out and forward, and while he hasn’t tried that yet, he’s just getting so big! They are both in the same diaper now. Lu was in 4’s for a while, but she still fits well in 3’s. In fact, she almost fits better in 3’s, so I have them both in 3’s. It’s pretty hilarious. Rainer has huge thighs, so they are a perfect fit.

He is more and more social. He can spot me far away across the room. He will not take a bottle, but I’m hoping to work towards that before we have a night wedding in NOLA in November. He has become more deft with his hands and holds toys well. I feel like we are finally getting into a comfortable groove with nursing. He’s no longer overly particular about how/when to nurse, now he’s just trying to keep up with everything around him when he nurses. If sister or daddy are nearby and talking, chances are he’ll come up over and over again to watch them. What’s nice though – thanks to nap training too – is that he is becoming much more predictable with nursing times. Before then, it was almost always a guessing game with him.

As far as Lúthien goes, I’ll just say that she is a talker when she’s just home with Ross and I. She talks (I believe) quite impressively and clearly for her age, routinely speaking in sentences. One of the sweetest things to watch develop in her is her imagination too. Last week she was making “avocado salad” in the kitchen. She loves to put her baby dolls down for a nap and pretend to read to herself.

Growth

At his 4 month check up, Rainer was 16.6lbs but by now he must be pushing 17lbs. He’s over 25in tall. Overall he’s in the 75th percentile across the board, his sister on the other hand is in the 15th percentile (except her head is 95th!). I’m pretty grateful for that since now their size difference isn’t so huge.

As far as clothes go he is still wearing some 6mo onsies, but because of a lack of things to wear, I’ve moved him into some bigger hand-me-downs and new gifted clothes, and they are starting to fit him well. He’s wearing 6-12mo and 9mo regularly now. For pants, I can barely get 3-6mo over his insanely huge thighs, hahaha!

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sleep

Again, I posted about sleep earlier. For naps, he usually takes three 3o-45min naps during the day: morning, afternoon, and late afternoon. He goes down at 7pm at night, will generally wake up twice to nurse around 12am and 4pm, and then wakes up for the day around 7am.

Lúthien hasn’t changed much at all. She still takes a 1.5-2 hour nap and goes down for the night by 7:30pm.


Aside from the joys and the details, there are always old and new struggles in my boat. I wouldn’t change a thing though, honestly. These kids are forming me too.

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Peace.

From Co-Sleeping to Sleep Training | my story

*disclaimer: Because I am really not qualified to give any type of advice, I avoided not going into details. I’m just here to share my story!

thoughts 

Two weeks ago if you would have told me that I was going to sleep train Rainer, I would have laughed. We never did sleep training with Lúthien, and though I wouldn’t have called myself “anti-sleep training,” I did not believe that it was a good or beneficial thing for a baby to undergo. I had glanced at articles seen on facebook every now and then, reading about the risks of sleep training. My attachment parenting book that I used to refer to as a first time mom, put “cry it out” in a very bad light. And honestly, I probably judged parents who sleep trained a little bit, “How dare they let their baby cry!” However, in my head sleep training looked a lot like leaving your baby to cry for hours at a time until they passed out (which it does for some). I had also heard that there were different methods to sleep training, but I just dismissed them as silly and over-controlling. Little did I know that there were good reasons for parents to sleep train and sleep training can actually be incredibly beneficial!  I do not believe that sleep training is for everyone, but now on the other side of things, I can attest that sleep training is not as terrible or scary or cold as I thought.

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Early days with my first born

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When you are a first time parent, in many respects you have no idea what you’re doing. You learn as you go. With our firstborn, we really benefited from many aspects of attachment parenting and I do not regret anything in that regard. We co-slept from 1 month-5 months. In the beginning I had never planned to co-sleep, but it ended up being the best thing for us at the time. Once she had hit 4 month sleep regression, she began to wake up more frequently at night; and as much as I loved co-sleeping, I missed the alone time with my husband.

Once we transitioned her to her crib, she immediately began sleeping better at night, waking up only twice versus 4-5 times. It was as if all she needed was her own space. Our nighttime routine was just as long, if not longer, but I treasure those moments with her in the dark, rocking her to sleep in the rocking chair. Like many 5-7 month olds, she was not a very good napper (which often drove me crazy), but she eventually grew out of it. All in all, now she is pretty good natural sleeper.

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The first 4-5 months with Rainer looked about the same. We began co-sleeping at night pretty much from the beginning. I also wore him in the sling or the ergo for many of his naps, just as I did Luthien. And just like her, he hit the 4 month sleep regression and started to wake up more frequently at night. During the day, when I would try to rock him to sleep he actively tried to fight sleep – and boy did he fight it.

What eventually pushed me to consider sleep training was NAPS. When Lu was an only child, it was not such a big deal for me to spend 30 minutes trying to put her down for a nap that would only last 30 minutes. Yes, it was pretty frustrating at times, but fast-forward to two kids, repeating the same routine is not as realistic when there is a 2 year old with needs too. Though I tried to wear Rainer for as many naps as possible, I also have a legitimate neck/spinal problem that is aggravated by too much babywearing.

Last week I was eventually pushed to the limit and feeling pretty burnt out, so I reached out to my friend who has three children. Her youngest is the same age as Rainer, who they just started sleep training. I knew that they had had what seemed to be a positive experience with sleep training in the past. After doing some more research on sleep training – the benefits, what it looked like, personal success stories, I knew that I wanted to start but I was pretty anxious.

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My first experience with letting Rainer “cry it out” was almost accidental. I didn’t plan to start when I did, but things were so chaotic trying to get both kids ready for bed that night, that I just needed to leave him awake in his crib. (My husband is not always home during bedtime on weekdays, so I’m often solo). So…just like that, we started sleep training. I went in every few minutes to comfort him (but not pick him up) and I wouldn’t stay longer than a minute. He fell asleep just within 25 minutes. It was not easy, and it was pretty nerve wracking that first time, but Luthien kept me distracted for half of that. Because I wasn’t completely prepared though, and Rainer’s bed was still in our room, we co-slept that night beginning at midnight when he woke up to nurse and I brought him in bed. I usually don’t check the time in the middle of the night, but out of curiosity I did…he woke up every hour and a half that night. 

During that first night, I was able to have a great conversation with my friend, Ali, who basically coached me through what they do with their children. It was so reassuring hearing from someone who has come out on the other side three times. Now it has been four days since we first began sleep training and Rainer went to bed just within minutes of me putting him down drowsy but awake. The progress of the past few nights have looked like this (note, I differentiate between fuss and cry)

Day 1

Fussed/Cried 25 minutes

Coslept beginning at 12am, he woke up every 1.5 hours

Woke up around 6:30am

Day 2

Fussed 25 minutes

Up at 1am and 5am to nurse

Woke up around 7am

Day 3

Fussed 15 minutes

Up at 12am and 4am to nurse

Woke up around 6:30am

Day 4

Fussed 25 minutes

Up at 1am, 3am (I probably could have let him go back to sleep on his own), 5am

Day 5 

Fussed on/off for 7 minutes

Up at 10:30pm, made a little bit of noise, fell back asleep

Up at 12am and 4am to nurse

Up at 6am, made a little noise, fell back asleep

Woke up around 8:20am

Day 6

Barely made a sound

Up at 11pm, made a noise, back to sleep

Up at 12am to nurse

Up at 4am to nurse

Up at 6:20, he probably could have slept longer but he had a blow out (haha!)

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I should note that on days 5 and 6, I began nap training. Ali explained to me that the sleep consultant they worked with years ago said that we use different parts of the brain for nap and night sleep. Because of this, that’s why it’s a little harder for babies to nap long. Nap training has been a bit harder than our night training with Rainer, but today we’re going on our second day and already it has been positive. The first time we attempted nap training, he did not go down after 40 minutes, so we quit and tried again later. That has been the worst of it though. He has progressively been getting better and better.

If you’ve actually read this through, congratulations! I honestly just wanted to share my relief and excitement and amazement at how much better he is sleeping because of sleep training. Just like his sister, it seems that he loves having his own space. And in addition to that, just by giving him a little bit of independence, I am a little saner and he’s sleeping better too. It wasn’t the incredibly brutal and cold process that I pictured. I will confess though, I was pretty sad the first night I went to sleep without him in the room. It was basically our first night “apart” EVER. That didn’t last too long though, seeing as he woke up to nurse pretty soon after that. There’s my baby! 🙂

We’re still in the process, but I am looking forward to a new week of a more ordered, happier, and well-rested home. It’s pretty incredible how much more time I have at night now, and how much more time and energy I have to put into my day. I may come back and update this a little when we are through, but for those of you who are scared to sleep train and feel like you are interested…do some research, talk with people who have had positive experiences, and maybe modify as you see fit. I am not an expert by any means, I only have my own (so far) 5 day experience. And for those of you who are not drawn to sleep training at all, that’s totally ok! Do what is best for you and your family. ❤

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today

Peace,

Dot

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