[info_box]This sleep miracle was brought to you by Angela Aitken, who first shared this book with me on THAT Mom. Angela is just one of the many women here that have inspired, taught, and encouraged me. Thank you! [/info_box]
In a previous post I wrote about the disastrous results of attempting the 90 Minute Baby Sleep Program without, ahem, actually reading the book. Well, when the book FINALLY arrived I decided not to bother with it. My baby couldn’t stay awake for 90 minutes, so the theory was just another unhelpful fad . . . end of discussion, right?
After being clued into a possible cycle, I couldn’t help but notice that it kept popping up in real life. Micah would wake, fuss about one hour after being awake and fall asleep around 90 minutes. Nothing consistent, just some patches of pattern here and there with the occasional meltdown (his and mine).
Finally curiosity got the best of me. I picked up the book. Five pages in I was hooked. Dr. Polly Moore’s advice goes against much of what I was doing and most of what I’ve heard, but her research and reasoning is very compelling.
Specifically, she discourages the practice of waking babies up from long daytime naps to keep them from getting their “days and nights mixed up.” Baby’s neurological network is running a “system check” while they sleep, she says, adding that baby must be allowed to complete this task in order to achieve quality sleep. According to her research, the profound neurological benefits of uninterrupted sleep are worth the temporary day/night confusion.
I decided to give it another try. Disaster AGAIN. Micah was doing reasonably well up to that point, why couldn’t I just be happy with that? Why did I have to tweak things and mess up our routine?
Simply put, because I prefer to let nature take its course wherever possible. If there is an innate rhythm to babies sleep I want to know about it!!! But after that second meltdown I decided I was out on any more experiments.
As Dr. Moore explained her theory in more detail I began to reconsider whether those miserable two attempts were really failures. Apparently there is often a recalibration period that can be pretty messy. Maybe those miserable days were the beginnings of a transition to something better, so I decided to give it another shot.
WORST. DAY. EVER.
Followed by three days of bliss. It could have been five, but I’ll get to that. On the no good, very bad first day of the program Micah fell asleep every 90 minutes as predicted. However, he only slept for ten to twenty minute intervals all day long. By evening we were both on the verge of hysteria. As the sun set I laid down in bed with him, desperate for some rest after a day of non-stop nursing, rocking and walking. To my surprise, we both fell asleep.
He woke up a different baby. I have gone whole days with barely a whimper at naptime. I nurse, I rock. He stares lovingly up and me, smiling until his lids close and he goes limp in my arms. He sleeps deeply for long stretches.
It’s freakin’ beautiful.
I will say this, though: The first chapters extremely helpful, but I do not agree with later parts of the book in which Dr. Moore recommends teaching baby to “self soothe’ around the six month mark (she is pro “cry it out”). Fortunately, the 90 minute approach works without that aspect.
And boy does it work.
The other night I was rocking Micah. As his lids drooped closed I said to Daniel “It’s 6:10 isn’t it?” He looked at the clock behind me. “Yep. How did you know?”
“Because that’s when I predicted Micah would fall asleep.” Pretty cool, huh? The best part about discovering this rhythm is that I know where to focus my efforts. When Katie was a baby, I sometimes carried her for HOURS before she fell asleep. It would seem she was almost asleep and then her eyes would pop wide open for another hour of misery. Now when I soothe Micah I can see why. At the end of his wake cycle he gets a little fussy. He begins to squirm and whimper. With Katie I would take this as a sign that what I was doing wasn’t working and I needed to try something new (swaddle, unswaddle, change diaper, etc.).
Now, if Micah begins to fuss right before the 90 minute mark I don’t change a thing. Swaddling or changing him during the few minutes his body is most receptive to sleep wastes a precious opportunity. If I know I am in the sweet spot I just continue to soothe him. There have been times I thought, “This is not going to happen. He’s four minutes from the 90 minute mark and he’s wide awake.” But, believe it or not, he somehow settles down and sleeps. Here’s an example of how it went today:
1o:50 a.m. – Awake. Check time and determine the next sleep interval should be around 12:2o p.m.
12:10 p.m. – Smiling and cooing
12:15 p.m. – Body stiff while I walk with him, eyes WIDE OPEN
12:17 p.m. – Body more relaxed, sucking fingers
12:22 p.m. – Asleep
12:27 p.m. – Transfer from my arms to bed
I promised to share my experiences in real time, so here they are. However, I’ve only been doing this for about five days. What happens on day six is anyone’s guess.
I will say this: I went against Dr. Moore advice and tried to get Micah to nap “on the go” while Katie had a few playdates. His sleep during those two days was more disrupted than previous days. For now, I have decided to plan short play trips for Katie that don’t interfere with Micah’s naps. Hopefully when his naps fall into a more predictable cycle (around 3-4 months) I will try to push the boundaries again. For now, though, I think it’s worth it to stick close by.
These past few days have been incredible. My stress level has plummeted. I make scheduling decisions, like when to get Katie ready for a nap so we all fall asleep together, with confidence. It’s not perfect, but it’s better.
Again, big thanks to Angela for telling me about this book!
Back in the ninth grade I was nominated for Valentine Sweetheart. Glitter covered cans popped up everywhere, ready to take in the loose change that constituted as votes for one nominee or another. My besties rallied like grass roots radicals, shaking hands and kissing babies (in this case, 7th and 8th graders) . . . whatever it took to get another penny in that pot. It was all for naught, though. Some girls mom stuck a hundred bucks in her can and called it a day. Boo.
Where were we? Oh, right. I’ve been wanting to ask for your vote for two days now (Not just mention the nomination, but actually ask). But you know, I wasn’t sure I would vote for me, so how could I ask you to?
“Will success change me?” I worried. “Will I be too busy hanging out with Oprah to chat with folks in the comment section?” Ha!
I wasn’t sure, but now I am. I would totally vote for me. Not to stroke my ego, but to grow our community by connecting with other eco-minded moms. I promise not get a big head if I win. If you don’t believe me keep reading.
Oh yes, the lovely H1NT. Craved by fashionistas around the world.*
That’s right, the H1NT is your “Mommypotamus Don’t Get Too Big For Your Britches” insurance policy. And yes, I will leave the house. I will go to the park, the gas station and even the grocery store on the posh end of town. I will wear my H1NT with my head held high, without a hint that my outfit is anything other than the hottest frock in SOHO. And of course I will discreetly videotape it for you.
So there you go. With one little click you can bring me one step closer to a steaming bowl of accolades with a side of humility. Sounds good, yes?
So go vote now You don’t have to vote for me, but exercise your voice and all that. And if you want, you can leave a comment telling me where you’d like to see me wear the H1NT.
*Note: When poking fun at a baby shower gift it’s usually a good idea to make sure it was not a serious gift at one point . . . and that the original gift giver does not read your blog. However, if this does happen, it’s always good if the giver possesses a well-developed sense of humor! You rock, Mrs. B.
Congratulations, Lucy! Your new home will soon be filled with the warm glow and joyful scent of a handcrafted candle.
If you didn’t win, Heather at Sawgrass Candles has kindly offered to sweeten the pot on all new orders. Just use the word “SAMPLE” in the comment section of your order and she’ll send you a surprise gift. Thanks Heather for donating your yummy candle to this giveaway!Read More »
For your grownup party AND something your toddler will gobble up like a turkey prepping for Thanksgiving? Look no further. These elegant little appetizers are a real crowd pleaser . . . at least they would be if Katie and I would stop eating them all before the crowd arrives.
Special thanks to Daddypotamus for bringing home the wrong figs that resulted in this happy accident . . . er, recipe.
Read More »
The other day my mom opened an email. As she tried to read it to me, gasping for breath between whoops and chortles, I gleaned a few basic facts. First, she inadvertently misdirected an email meant for the local worm lady (don’t you wish that was your nickname ?!?) to a woman in her prayer group. Second, that woman is unflappable.
My worms are outside. My garage is crowded, but should I make room and bring them in? I don’t want them to freeze.
This is an awfully strange email Barbara.
But since you are asking, I think you need to make up some nice little worm beds in your bedroom for them so they can stay toasty warm.
Oh yes, vermicomposting is just one of science experiment-esque things we have going on here. Looking back on the difficulty we had selling our house I sometimes wonder if they peeked in our cabinets and found the hidden kombucha (which kind of looks like moonshine), scobies, sprouted grains and kefir grains. If I really liked a house I wouldn’t let a little moonshine stand in the way, but I can see how the worms would be a deal breaker. Fortunately, they keep a pretty low profile.
Doing things outside of the mainstream often means that a lot of energy goes into explaining our choices. Where to begin? There’s co-sleeping, allowing our son to remain intact (no snippy snip), choosing not to vaccinate, home water birth, extended breastfeeding . . . in the right environment, each of these topics can create a firestorm of debate. And while that’s good for public discussion, sometimes I find myself getting a little too worked up, a little too defensive and (eek!) perhaps a “bit” judgmental.
When that happens, I like to play a little game called Look at YOU lookin’ at ME! While I take my lifestyle very seriously, it’s fun to try to put myself in the mainstream mindset and look at how downright silly/odd/excessive some of my choices seem (because of course none of them are actually silly/odd/excessive, LOL!). Here are some of the duties and odd things you might learn about me on any given day:
Update: Thanks to your hilarious lists I’ve thought of a few more:
Whew! That was refreshing . . . kind of like running through a sprinkler on a hot summer day.
YOUR TURN. Whether you’re mainstream or not, tell us what outsiders find funny about you! Or tell us what you find funny about me. Or just tell us something funny!Read More »
I think there is something to the whole “teaching your baby how to sleep” thing … but always gently.
Comment from Whittney on THAT Mom
I’ll bet some of you were star athletes before becoming a mom. It’s hard to find time to stay in training mode after kids, I should know. I was among the elite. I was a marathon sleeper.
I could sleep. for. ever. And a day.
With all the sleeping I used to do one would think I knew a thing or two about the mechanics of it. Nope. My first attempts to teach Katie to sleep made painfully clear my ignorance on the subject. Fortunately, in her No Cry Sleep Solution Elizabeth Pantley gives a well-researched overview of basic sleep biology.
Most babies awaken two to three times a night up to six months, and once or twice a night up to one year; some awaken once a night from one to two years old. A baby is considered to be sleeping through the night when she sleeps five consecutive hours, typically from midnight to 5:00 A.M. While this may not be your definition of sleeping through the night, it is the reasonable yardstick by which we measure Baby’s sleep.
The No Cry Sleep Solution, p.50
For me, this simple fact was a revelation. I realized that my objective should not be for my babies to “sleep through the night” without waking at all. None of us really does that. My goal is that they learn to fall asleep on their own after a brief awakening, just like I do when I roll over, fluff my pillow and drift back off to dreamland.
I strongly believed that what they began needing to fall asleep, they would continue to need. I wanted my children to have the security to fall asleep without my breast. We mixed it up – rocking, snuggling, walking, nursing to a sleepy, cozy place but not sound asleep, etc.
Comment from Leah on THAT Mom
Following Leah’s advice, I try to mix up how Micah falls asleep as often as possible: nursing to a sleepy state and then drifting off, in the sling, walking, rocking, etc. Note: If this seems impossible because your baby has a strong nursing-to-sleep association, check out the Pantley Pull-Off as described here.
I also vary how he sleeps. Sometimes rhythmic music plays in the background, other times white noise. He sleeps swaddled on his back, cuddled next to me or on his belly. * Hopefully this will help him be more flexible in his ability to take naps away from the house.
According to Elizabeth Pantley, where he falls asleep is almost as important as how. She gives this analogy:
Imagine this. You fall asleep in your nice, warm, comfy bed with your favorite pillow and your soft blanket. . . What if you woke up to find yourself sleeping on the kitchen floor without blankets or a pillow?
Could you simply turn over and go back to sleep? I know I couldn’t! You would probably wake up startled, worry about how you got there, fret a bit, go back to bed, get comfortable and eventually fall asleep – but not too deeply, because you would worry about winding up on the floor again. This is how it is for a baby who is nursed, rocked, bottlefed or otherwise parented to sleep. She falls asleep rocking, nursing, sucking a pacifier, and so forth and wakes up to wonder, “What happened? Where am I? Where’s Mommy and Daddy? I want things the way they were when I fell asleep! Wahhh!”
Makes sense, huh? That’s why once a day I soothe Micah until he is very sleepy but still awake and then place him in the co-sleeper. Sometimes he falls asleep, but usually he raises his head and makes an expression that says “What the heck? I was comfortable!“
When he starts to fuss I pick him up and soothe him until he is sleepy again, then put him back in his bed. I do this as many times as I need to until he is so tired that he just decides it’s not worth the trouble to protest and falls asleep in bed. It’s a pretty lengthy process (which is why I only do it once a day) but I think it helps him recognize that although mommy’s arms are best, beds are also cozy places to sleep. By decreasing the “startle factor” of waking up in bed I ***hope*** he will eventually feel comfy enough during his brief awakenings to fall back asleep without my help.
Speaking of babies falling back asleep on their own, a huge mistake I made with Katie is never letting her try. If she woke up in bed I picked her up immediately even if she wasn’t crying. With Micah, I wait to respond. Although it’s rare, I celebrate the times he falls back asleep without intervention. It doesn’t save me any hassle right now (after all I am hovering over him ready to help if needed), but as he develops this skill over time we will both be much happier.
Sleep experts agree on one thing: Overtired babies do not sleep well at night. Unfortunately, determining if a baby is tired is not always as easy as it looks! It’s easy to attribute crankiness to so many things: hunger, wet diaper, being cold, etc. I found this chart from Elizabeth’s book to be really helpful and I hope you do, too. Things are going really well with Micah right now, but if they weren’t I’d be tracking his hours to see if he’s logging enough zzzzz’s.
|Age||Number of Naps||Total lengthof naptimehours||Nighttimesleep hours*||Total of nighttime and naptime sleep|
|1 month||3||6-7||8 ½ – 10||15-16|
|9 months||2||2 ½ -4||11-12||14|
|12 months||1-2||2-3||11 ½ -12||13-14|
|3 years||1||1-1 ½||11||12|
|4 years||0||0||11 ½||11 ½|
From six weeks old on Micah has been sleeping six consecutive hours each night (7pm – 1am) and then waking up only twice for feedings (1am and 4am) . . . usually. He rarely has meltdowns as a result of overtiredness and is very peaceful and content while awake. I, however, am still fairly sleep deprived because I’d rather blog than nap.
*I’m not concerned about SIDS because I don’t vaccinate. Although belly sleeping has been named as the culprit, there is some research indicating that vaccines, specifically the DTP, may be the real cause. Besides, studies show that an infants breathing patterns tend to stabilize when they sleep next to an adult.
A change in seasons is worthy of celebration. Winter has it’s snowmen, gingerbread houses and families curled up next to a crackling fire. There are spring picnics and summer swim days. And then there is fall.
It’s hard to decide what to be more excited about, the relief from a blistering hot Texas summer or the joy of preparing for the holiday season. Or maybe it’s how the early setting sun resets my children’s biological clocks to go to bed earlier. Whatever it is, fall always sends me into full nesting mode: baking, handmade gifts, candle lit baths (ahem, when baths happen at all). If you like the sound of that last part as much as I do there is someone you should meet.
Heather J, owner of Sawgrass Candles, opened her virtual shop doors just over a year ago. “Who knew I’d be doing THIS!!!” she told me. “I’ve got a marine biology degree from UNC Wilmington but I met my husband before graduating, fell in love, got married – so long Jaques Cousteau dream!! Did I really want to be in a shark cage in the middle of some sea on a boat where I was the only woman…..ummm, turns out, no.”
I first met Heather while shopping for my birth kit luxuries. Endless googling for inexpensive soy candles led me to Etsy, which surprised me since I consider Etsy an upscale boutique. Her custom inscribed tealights were definitely boutique quality: Handmade from non-GMO soy using pure essential oils and cotton wicks. Her prices, however, were not.
When I asked her about it, she replied “I started making candles as a way to earn money and still be a SAHM. I was also really tired of crappy candles! I wanted to make an all natural candle that burned evenly, smelled wonderful, was scented with essential oils, AND – was affordable!!!!!! Most of the essential oil candles out there are marked up sooo much! Don’t get me wrong – I so want to jack my prices up AND be able to sell them and make a fortune…but, that’s just not me. Turns out, I have a huge honesty issue and I find myself wanting to give them away more so than sell them…not too great for business I suppose huh :} But, at least I can go to sleep at night and feel good about what I’m doing!”
She should. Whether it’s Ginger Lime, Lemongrass or a minty soul-lifting fragrance, Heather’s candles make my home a better place. A healthier place.
I would love to buy only organic, sustainable and fair-trade products. But for me that’s just not affordable. I have to decide when to compromise. Food? Sometimes. Clothing? Yes. Candles? No.
Why? Conventionally manufactured candles have the potential to damage your health. You may be thinking, “Is she paranoid about everything? We’re talking about candles, not antifreeze!” No, I am not paranoid about everything. Just about chemicals in my food, water and air. LOL!
With candles there are two main reasons for concern. First, although U.S. manufacturers stopped using lead core wicks in the 1980s, imported candles often still use them. Burning these candles releases lead into the air and can cause learning disabilities, kidney damage, seizures, behavior problems and poor muscle coordination.
About ten years ago a local mom noticed her son’s grades dropped drastically after she purchased and burned some candles. Testing revealed elevated levels of lead in his blood and he had to be removed from the home temporarily. You can read her story here.
A more common concern is the paraffin wax most manufacturers use:
Paraffin wax is a by-product of fuel refining – specifically, Paraffin is basically the “bottom of the barrel” even after asphalt is extracted. Paraffin is the final byproduct in the petroleum refining chain.
Even “food grade” paraffin contains several known carcinogens (cancer causing agents) identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – such as benzene and toulene, which are released into the air as a paraffin candle burns. Some other air contaminants in paraffin fumes include methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), and naphthalene–substances found in paint, lacquer and varnish removers.
Research suggests breathing paraffin fumes from a burning paraffin candle in an enclosed environment, has much the same detrimental effect as inhaling significant second-hand tobacco smoke, or even the exhaust fumes of a small diesel engine! The state of California, under its Proposition 65 Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, has identified at least seven major toxins in paraffin wax.
My point is, don’t assume that something’s safe just because it’s on store shelves, yada yada yada . . . you get the idea. Okay, enough about that. Now for the good part! If you’re interested in making the switch to natural wax candles (or already have), here’s a chance to stock up! Heather is giving away an 8 oz Christmas Memories candle (spicy orange, cinnamon, frankincense, myrhh, and vanilla, oh my!) to one lucky Mommypotamus reader.
For a chance to win, just leave a comment below about which room and for what occasion (if any) you’d use your brand new fresh scented candle. I’ll draw a name and announce the winner soon!
[info_box]This contest is now closed. :)[/info_box]Read More »