Oct 5, 2012

Disneyland, cute kids, and sleep training

 Not a super cute picture of Riley, but I was trying to capture his big blue eyes.  With me and Ryan's blue eyes, I think all our kids will be getting them as well.
 I used to put Ty in this shirt quite often, esp with a little vest.  With Riley- wow, is he growing fast?!  I put this shirt on, took a picture and took it right off :)  Once I got it on I realized he was too big for it.  I am sure Tyler wore it more because I spent a lot more time dressing Tyler.  Ty wore several outfits a day.  For Riley, poor second child (or shall we say lucky second child in this instance)- he doesn't get to be "barbie" as often as Tyler was :)
 Tyler is playful, but serious and cautious.  Ry seems to have a different personality where is he even more laid back than Tyler was as a baby and more smiley than Ty.  We will see how their personalities differ.  I am excited to see!
 Isn't he just so precious!?!
 I love pictures of me with my children.  Usually I am the one taking the pictures, but when I get to capture me in with my little loves I just love to look at them.  Being mom is the best thing!

 I have been trying to "spoil" Ty more often as a lot of my attention goes to the baby.  I know it is good for Tyler to share me as mom, but sometimes I feel badly for him as it is a hard thing for a little guy to learn.  I have brought him on the train at the mall twice now.  It is cheap and he loves it.  He also got spoiled and got to be the controller of the hose.  Wow, was that fun for him!

 I re-did our living room and family room.  I have been reading on Monessori playschool play at home.  I am really interested in it.  It focuses on learning at home and setting up the home where the children can explore and learn in an organized manner.  I am working on setting up a routine that would resemble a Mommy and Me preschool that I can practice it in the home.  Ty and I attend a Mommy and Me playschool Monday's and Tyler has really benefited from what he has learned and I can see how the structure helps him get into trouble less because activities are rotated quickly enough, but he is not left to too many options or time that makes him overwhelmed.  If any of you mom's have done anything like this I would love to hear advice and pick your brain.  I am also thinking of potentially homeschooling (or partially homeschooling) my kids and I think it is important to start the learning and structure in the home early so that when kindergarten age approaches the learning environment will already be familiar.  Might try it and not like it, but for now, that is what I'm up to.

 We went to Disneyland with the kids, without help.  Suggestion- don't go unless your kids are older, or go with help! :)  Tyler was overstimulated and he is a type of kid that too many unfamiliar people or places make him nervous.  We wanted to bring him to bring a smile to his face, but we discovered that the simple things like a train ride at the mall, making a fort at home, or a simple ice cream cone treat lets him be relaxed, yet feel special.  .... but, hey we tried.  Next time we will return without the kids.  To note though, he loved the rides - just not he heat, crowd, lines, all day in the stroller or holding our hands not able to run free.  When he is 7 or 8 years old he will be a blast bringing on the rides.  He kept signing more each time the ride was over.  I did enjoy the part of being on the rides with him.  It is so sweet as a parent to see the pure joy and exhilaration on your kids face.  

 Ryan gets the credit of this one.  With sharpie marker we wrote this on his leg.  It would still be terrifying to loose our children, but at least we would know we would be quickly contacted.  I would recommend this to all families with children.  
 Riley is 3 Months:

 Isn't he so cute, smiley and fun to look at.  Okay, maybe just because he is mine, but we sure love him being in our family.  I am sure you are thinking, why did you post these two pictures (above and below), they are pretty much the same.  But, guess you can tell I am the mom because they are different to me (and, okay, my parents will appreciate them probably just as much as I do, esp. since they are in England and missing my children like crazy).
 He is growing up so fast.  He is getting stronger, although, he really doesn't like to use his legs and stand much.  His neck is getting a bit stronger, although, still wobbly.  
 Riley at 3 months:
- schedule:
8am wake, bottle.
        nap: 9:30-12.
12pm: bottle.
       Nap: 1:30pm-3:30.
3:30 bottle.
       Nap: 5-6.
6 bottle.
      7pm Bath with Ty.
7:45/8pm Bottle and put to bed (both boys).

For all feeds he gets 5.5-6oz of Enfamil Gentlease formula.
He usually sleeps through the night.  Although, he is a baby and no baby is perfect.  All these times are of course approximate as I follow his cues and what he needs according to the day.

- He is a pretty good sleeper.  I am pretty strict on naps. If it is time to nap, it is nap time.  If he wakes up during a nap, I work with him to fall back asleep.   Luckily he usually goes back to sleep.

- He loves his brother.  When Tyler is around he watches him and smiles.

- He loves his bath time and for the last two nights he has been bathing with Ty.  I love this as I am getting both the kids on the same schedule and life for Ryan and I is becoming so much easier!  Both kids wake up about 8am.  The both take naps around 1 or 2pm.  Riley wakes up while Tyler still sleeps.  Riley and I play. Then Ryan comes home and Riley is ready to nap again and Tyler is ready to get up.  This gives me a solid chunk of time during the day to myself, which is amazing!  And this gives Ryan cuddle time with the boys when he gets home.  He gets to cuddle both his boys as one falls asleep and one wakes up.  - We sure have it made!

- Ry doesn't really cry much.  He is a fusser to fall asleep, but that is just him learning to soothe himself.  It takes him no longer than 10 min, and that is a long time, and he falls asleep.  While awake he is calm and happy natured.

- He likes his binky after he eats or while he is soothing himself to sleep.  But once he is almost asleep or out, he spits it out and doesn't want it.  We will see if this changes, but I really like that he uses it, but doesn't necessarily need it all the time.

Sleep Training:
I have sleep trained both my boys from pretty much the beginning.  And I love it!  I feel very strongly about it as I am a girl that needs my sleep!  Some have strong feelings against sleep training, but every person needs to do what they need to do.  Ryan and my philosophy is that our relationship will always be most important.  We as parents need to stay connected and strong so that our children can have confidence and comfort that they will always have a solid "team" to rely on as they grow.  With that comes our philosophy that we "control" our children rather than them controlling us.  Many people become parents and they become all about the children and loose their ground in their marriage and lives.  As babies and children, they need direction from their parents to help them instill good habits.  One of these, among many others is their sleep habits.

So from the very beginning I set boundaries and limits with my children.  There are expectations that I expect them to follow.  It doesn't mean that I expect perfection, nor don't listen to their needs.  This comes much into play and allows me to define what direction I want to take (with babies- naps, feeding, ect.).

Babies and children grow, so their care also changes.  I have become aware and sensitive to their cues of - hunger, over stimulation, sleepiness, ect. With the knowledge of knowing their cues with it comes knowing when their schedule needs to change.  Feeds can be pushed out, naps can be cut or longer, or growth spurts come and feeds need to be added.

By knowing their schedule and the optimal times to put down to a nap (and keep them napping for the appropriate length) and when they need to feed, I have been able to maintain a fairly stress free, consistent schedule with our children.  Of course they are always changing and I am having to adapt to their needs, but once we figure out their growth and needs, a new routine is created and we are back to consistency.

Also, I am a big believer and advocate at night.  As adults everything is restored while we sleep.  We produce all our hormones, etc.  I really believe in my child's sleep and believe I am doing them a huge favor in helping them to sleep at night.  They need continuous sleep just like we do.

Each day looks about the same to us.  Although feeds are not the same time every day and naps are at different times or places.

These is the main guidelines that have helped me sleep train my children:

- Full feeds (no snacking):
Bottle feeding is easier to accomplish this because you can see how much they are taking.  But babies cues are the same if they are bottle or breast feed.  A baby likes to relax and fall asleep at a feed.  In my house this does not happen (at the beginning this is something that we work at).  My babies finish their meals.  With a breast fed baby a mom can switch sides often and can tell by the draining of breasts.  With a breastfed baby you can also offer a bottle after a feed (not always, but to gauge what is going on).  If a baby guzzles lots of milk after he has been breastfed, most likely he is not getting a full feed and is still hungry.  There are many different ways to increase milk supply, I won't get into that right now.

By doing a full feed I can help maintain a 2.5/3/3.5/4 hour schedule (what ever is appropriate for the age).  By maintaining a floating (ex. 3 to 3.5 hour schedule throughout day) schedule throughout the day allows me to be aware of my child's needs.  If the child took a full feed and an hour and half later he is fussy.  I know he is not hungry. He is bored, gassy, or tired.  Without full feeds I would always be guessing what is wrong and the needs of my child.

Also the benefit of full feeds is the napping.  Because I am aware of the schedule (3 hour or what not) I know that if it isn't approximately the time to eat, I work to get my child back to his nap.  I believe that a child that naps well sleeps well at night.  This takes work but pays off a ton.

- Feed/wake/sleep routine. Other than the bedtime bottle, I never put my children asleep with a feed.  After a feed it is time to play.  Even if they are young, getting them to stay awake during a feed and only a few minutes after is where we begin.  To help my children fall asleep quickly I am aware of the time they are to fall asleep for their naps.  I put them down to play and kick before I pick them up to put them to sleep.  This way they feel "rescued" and cuddle up quickly to fall asleep.  For some reason this helps in the going to sleep process.

In a nap, if they wake up and it is not time to eat (and they don't appear hungry), I will work with them to get them to sleep.  I don't pick them up.  I pat them and give them a binky if needed.  Sometimes they like a blanket cuddled around their head.  If that doesn't work I cuddle them or switch them to a swing or other place to sleep.  I don't like them getting used to a sleep prop, but I believe the length of nap is more important.  Once they are taking the right length of nap, then I work with them to stay asleep in their crib.  This is a process throughout their babyhood as sleep problems are always arising with what is going on - teething, ect.

- Waketime 'timing': I am aware of their wake time.  Such as, right now Riley likes to be awake for about an hour and a half.  This will get longer as he gets older.  By knowing the time from when he woke up to when he needs to go down allows me to find  him in his optimal "drowsy" time to fall asleep quickly and get the best quality of sleep.  If I catch my kids past their tired stage, they get overstimulated and take too long to fall asleep or wake early from their naps.

- Fall asleep on own:   When Riley is drowsy, I put him down.  I don't have him fall asleep in my arms (well, I do allow myself to be spoiled once in a while as every mothers loves this).  By doing this it allows him to put himself back to sleep if he wakes and it not ready to wake up.

- Wake up happy:  around 4 months or so babies start developing waking up happy.  If they don't, they are not ready to get up, or did not get a quality nap.

- Morning and bedtime the same:  Their biological clock sets and they know when to go to bed at night and when to wake up in the morning.  Just like as do as adults.  This helps them sleep through the night faster.  So if my child wakes up at 5am to feed  I still wake him up at 8am (his normal wake up time).  I adjust either the 6am or 8 am feed (amount).  I let this time float within a half an hour.

- Create bedtime routine: You can't tell a baby with words it is time for bed, but you can create a routine everyday for naps and bed time that is the same to "tell" them it is time to sleep.  This is obvious and common.

- Decide when naps end:  if you need the child to wake and eat at a certain time to maintain a night time routine, wake them up.  Such as right now it is 6pm.  We put Riley to bed at 8pm.  We need him to take his 4th bottle now, so we can have him hungry and ready for bed at 8pm.

Also, babies love to sleep during the day and and eat at night- at least if you let them.  I am aware at how many feeds a day they should be having by knowing what schedule they are on (ex. a 3 hour schedule, ect. - this changes with age or growth spurts).  I wake my babies up to feed them at the appropriate times so they get their feeds in during the day and not as many at night.

- Define last feed of night so middle of night feeds can naturally drop off:  When Riley was younger we would put him to bed and then "dreamfed" him at 10pm.  He might technically be hungry at 11pm or 12, but really that doesn't matter and we would like to feed him when convenient for us.  By feeding him at 10pm we would then let him wake up naturally at night.  He woke up 2am and 5am.  Then those combined to one night feed at 3am.  Then the 3 am moved to 4am, 5am, and then till the morning.  Once he was sleeping 10pm to 8am we then started pushing back the 10pm feed to 9:45pm, 9:30pm, 9pm, till it met the time we wanted.  Which for us the boys go to bed 7:30pm.  Although, we are still working on pushing it back to that early.  We still feed him 8pm or 8:30pm. This will come as we work at it and he gets older.

So with all those combined I don't need to do "cry it out" session or anything.  I just am very consistent at those things.  By following these steps, naturally the night time feeds drop off and they create habits of taking good naps.

 Any thing else that people do that they like, I'd love to know!


Brianna & Kyle said...

If you'd like to know more about homeschooling or partial home school, my sister-in-law, Rebecca, has done/is doing this with all of her children. She can probably give you a good idea of what you'd like to know about it and when to start, etc.

Brian and Michelle said...

I've made picture schedules for Camden. They've changed as he's gotten older and adjusted to include Nate's schedules. As far as structure goes, Camden seems to be happier when he can go look at what we've already done and see what comes next. Many days, there are variations, and then I just tell him what's going to happen.