Seventeen Weeks of Lydia

Lydia is seventeen weeks old today!

It was another pretty big week for us, and I had an aha moment that changed a lot of things at once, so I’ll start there with that. I figured out that, at least recently, I’d been over-soothing Lydia. As in, not just responding to her cries right away and trying to meet her needs, but doing everything I could to manage her state so that she didn’t cry, and then cutting her off mid-cry with motion or something else as soon as I could tell what was going on. This came from a good place, obviously. I still think it’s right to respond right right away, even if she’s just fussing, but I’ve realized that sometimes what she wants is actually to cry!

It was reading this linked from some post here that set off the lightbulb in my head. At first, when I read the article, my reaction was that the author was advocating CIO but staying nearby and euphemistically calling it empathy because she was saying some comforting words. It also mentions a baby possibly crying for up to an hour, which sounded pretty awful to me. But, at the same time, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Something rang true to me.

Adults need to cry sometimes, which I know very well. It’s true of me, my friends, and my coaching clients. It’s a great release, and we sometimes end up feeling permanently lighter and better across the board in a way that distraction and fixing the situation don’t. At first, I was skeptical that it would be the same with a baby. My processing usually has a large verbal component.

But I pretty much couldn’t sleep thinking about how there seemed to be something to this idea. The model predicted that if I let Lydia cry in my arms while I comforted her without trying to distract her or fix the situation, she would be happier about pretty much everything and go to sleep much more easily. I woke Will up in the middle of the night (sorry Will!) to ask him what he thought and inform him that I wanted to try changing my approach.

The next morning, I started with the plan to be really present and focus on Lydia more than usual, and pretty much use my intuition to take it from there. She woke up happy, as she usually does, and we just played for a while. Then, as she started to fuss more, I stopped anticipating her cries and trying to dodge them by moving her around. She would usually squawk pretty loudly for up to a few seconds. It felt surprisingly okay to let this happen. In the past, even little cries from her had caused a stress response in me, but, oddly enough, that wasn’t happening any more.

Fully attending to Lydia’s discomfort without judgment, and without trying to resist it, eliminated the suffering on my part. Just like it works when I attend to my own discomfort that way!

Eventually, she started to get tired, but she was doing the thing she does where she’s obviously resisting sleep. Moving her to a horizontal position, even in my arms, was setting her off, as was trying to nurse her to sleep. So I allowed her to cry about these things, usually for a few seconds at a time, while gently rocking her, talking to her, and making eye contact. Sometimes I would go back to changing positions and moving her in the way that I used to, when I sensed that she had had enough for the moment. This went on quite a while, but eventually (maybe forty minutes later?) she drifted off to sleep. 

Then, when she woke up, she was fussy about feeding, often turning her head away and squawking (I think I’ve mentioned her doing this before). This time, I decided to try to let her work through whatever was bothering her, and she ended up crying quite a bit. She cried pretty hard for maybe a few minutes a few times. But then she started eating, whereas before she hadn’t seemed to want to! So that was different.

And I also started to get a sense of how much she wanted to be crying to release her emotions. She would cry for a bit, then nurse, then pull off and cry more, then nurse. Sometimes she soothes herself by sucking her fingers or thumb too. She seemed to have a perfectly good idea of when she wanted soothing, so I felt very happy to not impose my own ideas.

There are a bunch more details I could include, but they’re all sort of in the same vein. The one other thing I made a point to do, was an infant form of the strategy I’ve heard described in Playful Parenting and referred to here as playlistening, which is basically physical play where the parent takes the less powerful role.

I noticed that Lydia seemed to really like taking my finger (and my extension my hand) and waving it around, so I made a point of letting her do this. I think this was helping too. 

And now it’s like she’s a different baby. Or rather, she’s acting as relaxed as she did when she was a tiny newborn most of the time, but with the skills of a four-month-old. It’s awesome. She still gets upset sometimes, of course, but:

  • She doesn’t fuss as much in general.
  • She’s gone back to being relaxed about EC.
  • She doesn’t seem to hate the carseat anymore.
  • She will fall asleep at the drop of a hat when she gets tired, no matter where she is.
  • She’s started eating much more often and much during the day, and less at night!
  • She sleeps more deeply (won’t rouse much if there’s noise or something).
  • Her body is less tense, and she feels floppy again.
  • I feel much closer to her and relaxed about parenting.
Big win!
In retrospect, I see how things people said and a few things I had read were telling me exactly what I figured out. Oh well, hindsight is 20/20, and I’m glad I had this insight now instead of when she was a teenager.


As of last night, I decided to stop tracking her sleep or attempting to influence it any way other than putting her in a comfortable position or place when she’s tired. The reasons I was worried about it before are gone. She now wakes up happy even after short naps, and stays mostly happy until she gets tired again, at which point she goes to sleep. She doesn’t need to be constantly in motion or nursing to remain asleep.

Right now, she’s sleeping strapped to my back as I’m writing this. That wouldn’t have worked a week ago, probably not even if I had been bouncing her a bit and standing as I wrote this.

Sometimes she sleeps 45 minutes, and sometimes she sleeps much longer. (I have updated away from the theory that sleep associations matter when the baby is happy and relaxed.) Sometimes she gets woken up before she’s done sleeping. But I don’t care anymore because she seems happy!

She’s now happy to fall asleep on my lap when I’m sitting around talking to my friends. I can move her upstairs when I go to bed and she won’t wake up much.

The nighttime shift I mentioned was pretty dramatic. I think she’s feeding twice a night now, instead of what felt like constantly. I am perfectly happy with that, since I barely wake up for feeds anyway. Sometimes she’ll pull off the breast before she’s fully asleep and drift off on her own, which I had been trying to gently encourage earlier. Sometimes not, in which case I’ll usually remove my breast once she’s asleep.

In short, now she’s acting the way I thought babies were supposed to! The way she was before! She sleeps when she’s tired, wakes up when she’s done sleeping or when something wakes her up. 

I’m much less inclined to just let her sleep on my body now, since I can actually get work done without waking her up. I figure the extra contact is probably good for her, all else equal, and I love that she’s once again more portable.

For now, it seems like she’s falling asleep for the night around 9, and waking up around 8:30, but that’s not enough of a pattern for me to be at all confident that it’ll be that way next week. That’s also fine with me!

For now, I’m checking baby sleep off my list of things to worry about. 


Now, Lydia eats and eats and eats all day, just as she did when she was a tiny newborn. She seems to be interested in comfort eating again, but not particularly reliant on it. She’s still fine hanging out with Will for a while and not feeding. 

As I’ve said a few times now, she only eats about twice at night!

I suspect her total number of calories is similar, since I figure she was probably doing what she needed to get them the whole time, but I definitely prefer this pattern.

She’s still clearly working through some sort of feeding-related trauma (that I’m sure I unwittingly inflicted on her… naturally I have my theories about this). When I leave her near my breast she’ll feed some, pull off, maybe fuss, feed some more, wave my finger around a bunch, feed some more, cry a lot for maybe ten seconds, feed more, repeat. 

I’m happy to let her do this.

Elimination Communication

Lydia has almost entirely stopped resisting going to the potty. I did take her once while she seemed sort of awake but wanted to go back to sleep. She didn’t like that, so I won’t try it again. This is good news!

Not sure I’m excellent at reading her signs though, so I’m going to refocus there, now that I have some extra parenting energy. Sometimes I know her fussing means potty, and she still wants to go right after she wakes up, so that’s a pretty big percent right there. But she simultaneously seems to be able to hold it for longer and be inclined to go about five minutes after she just peed a lot. 

Actually, I think I’m reading her signs just fine, but dismissing them because “she just went”. I’ll stop doing that.

She’s more clear about poop. Oh, and this morning she totally limited my cue! I said “mm mm”, and she said it right back to me, just about the same way I said it to her. I’ve thought she was doing this a few times, but this was much clearer. 

Finally, we started using the mini-potty this week. She totally understands what it’s for, and she seems basically indifferent about using it or the sink. I’ve moved the potty into the bedroom, so I can take her when I don’t feel like getting up. I almost always then end up going to the bathroom anyway to dump it out right away, so it’s not clear that it’s actually much easier, but I like having the option. It’ll be even more convenient when she can sit on her own without me holding her up. 

It’s harder for me to see exactly what is coming on when, and therefore micromanage her elimination situation, which is probably a good thing. I’ll just need to get better at learning when she’s done.

Not sure if I’ve mentioned this, but I’ve been using baby signs with her around pottying. I take her hand and sign “potty” before we go, and I sign “all done” when she seems done. I don’t expect her to do this herself for a long time, but I figure it can’t hurt.

I think she’s peeing less at night now than she was, but not confident it’s actually a pattern. She still pees a bunch in the early morning before she’s quite ready to get up.


Now that she’s more chill, and doesn’t need to be in motion all the time, I’m even more inclined to wear her around a bunch. She still requires some attention on my back when she’s awake, but not much. And almost none when she’s asleep now. 

The back carry (so far we use the Rucksack Carry) has gotten pretty natural these days, and I feel quite confident throwing her up there. It’s a lot faster than using the Front Wrap Cross Carry, and I can do more with her on my back than my front.

When we’re out walking around with diaper bag, I still tend to have her on my front, since I wear the bag on my back. But if we’re just taking a walk, I skip the bag and put her on my back.

I want another woven wrap that’s shorter, since the one I have now has a ton of extra fabric for the carry we’re mostly using. Not sure it’s really reasonable to get one, but I might anyway.

Motor Skills

I don’t think I’ve noticed any totally new skills this week, more just her being somewhat better at everything, especially grabbing. She can pick up Sophie the giraffe and quite intentionally put different parts of her in her mouth to suck on. 


Once again, she’s happier now!

I’m cautiously optimistic that she’ll be happier going out in the evening and also having babysitters, but we haven’t tried either of those things yet, so it’s hard to know.

She’s making much more clear laughing-type noises these days with a big grin on her face. I think I’ll officially say that she laughs. She’s also gone back to cooing more than grunting or squealing, which I definitely prefer. Her coos sound more adult now, in a way that it’s hard to put my finger on. More different consonants? Longer strings, with more varied inflection too I think.

She definitely likes to greet people who come over and coo at them a bunch, and I am more confident in my prediction that she will not be shy. 


I ended up getting the cold that Will had for real this week, unfortunately. I also had some late nights. Even so, I feel better rested than I have in a while, and I’ve felt okay on sleep for a while now. I did take some naps this week to make up on sleep when I missed it, but I think I feel better in a way that isn’t just about hours of sleep.

I’m more relaxed about parenting, more confident that I know what to do with Lydia, and clearer on what she needs me to do for her.

I still haven’t been working on the (non-parenting) goals I set much. It’s understandable, since I’ve had other stuff on my mind and then been sick, but I want to change it. Mostly I want to be writing more, but there are some other things too. I do seem to be happier when I socialize regularly, which I’ve actually been doing a good job of this past week, despite not going out much.

Sixteen Weeks of Lydia

Lydia is now sixteen weeks old. As I am writing this she is waving around her one toy that makes noise when you move it, and squirming around on her playmate quite a bit. 

This week has been somewhat crazy, since the first five days of it included being at a seminar, so Will, Lydia, and I were at a hotel most of the day. Lydia’s usually happiest sleeping in a carrier, so it was fine for the first few days, but by the last day she was pretty much done. The good thing was that after that, I’d blocked off almost two weeks on my schedule to try to stay home with Lydia and tinker with her sleep. Which leads me into the next category…


Lots of updates here this week!

So, after some wavering on whether to bother, I decided to follow through on my plan to get Lydia sleeping on our bed more of the time instead of just in the carrier. She already slept there all night with us, but I wanted her to do it more during the day, mostly because it’s been getting increasingly hard to get things done with her sleeping on us. I can strap her on the front or back, and she’s not that heavy, but it seems to be increasingly the case that she wanted us standing and preferably moving steadily, which is not so convenient.

I also liked the idea of moving towards putting her down drowsy but awake, so she could eventually fall asleep on her own. At least some of the stuff I’ve read seemed to indicate that babies can be more flexible around this age than they are later. I figured that for all I knew, Lydia would be basically happy to nap on the bed once I somehow communicated to her that I wanted her to do that. But I knew that without some sort of tweaks, she wouldn’t even have any idea what I wanted her to do if I lay her down there during the day.

(We cosleep at night, and I have no current plans to change that. It’s working fine.)

My plan had a few components.

First, I would at least track when she was asleep, so I would have a decent sense of what was going on and see if there were certain times of day she was consistently asleep or awake and how much variation in wake-time length she had. I didn’t really plan to influence her nap patterns, rather to understand them.

Second, I would implement a pre-sleep routine, both for naps and bedtime at night. Currently, I hadn’t been doing much of this. 

Third, I would try to aim to move things gradually more in the direction I wanted them to go in a variety of ways. If Lydia got upset, I would comfort her pretty much right away. If one or both of us got too frustrated with making changes, I’d go back to what was most likely to work and try again later.

My plan was also to reevaluate the whole thing after the two week block was over. My prediction to Will was that I thought we could make substantial progress towards my desired scenario in that amount of time.

So far, it’s been working much better than I expected! 

The routine I started doing was potty her, feeding her if she wanted it, reading her a book, then putting on white noise and laying her down on a blanket on the bed.

Then, if she complained, I would try to feed her and see if she would go to sleep that way. I know I’d heard that sucking to sleep is the strongest and hardest to break sleep association, but for her movement has been much more of a consistent desire of hers, and it seemed like the easiest way to get her to go to sleep on the bed at all. If she cried even when I offered my breast, I would pick her up and try to soothe. If nothing seemed to be working, eventually I would give up and either walk around with her then to get her to sleep or decide that she wasn’t tired enough and try again later. The plan was also to transfer her to the bed any time that she did fall asleep on us. 

I also planned to do the Pantley Pull Off to try to get her to stop feeding before actually drifting off if possible.

If she woke up during sleep transitions, my plan was to attempt to get her to sleep more if she still seems tired by soothing, including feeding. It’s pretty easy to slide onto the bed next to her to do this.

I’ll try to refrain from giving every detail about the last few days. As I said, it’s been going well. There have been a few hard times where she was pissed, I was trying and failing to comfort her, and I probably should have just given up on that nap sooner. Also, yesterday I wasn’t very successful at soothing her back to sleep at transitions, so she ended up tired from short naps and quite upset in the evening until she went to sleep for the night. She was up for a >5 hour stretch, which is way too long for her to be at all happy :-(.

She seems to hate swaddling now, and me trying to do it what the source of some unhappiness, unfortunately. Swaddling and feeding will still calm her down if she’s very distressed, but it seems counterproductive to use it to get her to fall asleep otherwise.

But mostly, it’s good! She seems to understand that I want her to sleep on the bed. This evening, I had a failed transfer from my back to the bed, but she was mostly happy and cooing for quite a while, maybe half an hour? I went in a few times to nurse and comfort when she complained, but mostly she was happy just lying there (and squirming all around). That was very new!

And just now, after I did the sleep routine she mostly put herself to sleep. I walked away over to the desk when she was awake and happy. After a few minutes she squawked, so I nursed and she fell asleep within seconds and pulled off.

I’ll share more updates about this next week, but right now I’m feeling quite optimistic. The sleep association theory predicts that if Lydia does move towards falling asleep on her own, she might wake up less to feed at night. I guess I’ll see if that happens…or maybe not, since I don’t have a great idea of what goes on at night. After I get into a new routine with her, I’m also thinking about shifting her sleep earlier. She’s currently doing around 10:00pm-9:30am, with a decent amount of variation, but all the books seem to say that it would be more consistent with her circadian rhythms to move it up two or three hours. Evidence in favor of this hypothesis is that by around 7 she starts peeing a bunch and her sleep seems more fitful. I can keep her asleep by nursing her, but it seems more fragile.

If she is more okay with sleeping in the bed without me, it’ll be easier to play around with her bedtime without changing mine.


I haven’t noticed any changes in eating this week. Because of the sleep plan, she’s been nursing to sleep a bit more than before. I don’t offer my breast for random fussing much these days, because she’s usually not interested and will squawk.

Elimination Communication

Not a great week for EC. Lydia would sometimes go in the toilets at the hotel, but she would also resist and get upset pretty often. When that happens, we would just not take her, but she would still fuss from having to pee, then fuss more that her diaper was wet once she had peed. Sometimes I can get her to calm down and pee by nursing her while pottying her, which is somewhat of a complicated maneuver. And it doesn’t always work. 

She’s been resisting more at home too, so I’ve been less inclined to take her. And, there’s been a bunch of peeing during the process of trying to get her to sleep on the bed. She typically doesn’t pee much while in the carrier, but she’s happy to pee while I’m trying to put her to sleep or when she wakes up in the middle of a nap, and it’s both hard for me to realize what she’s fussing about and not a great time to potty anyway, since it wakes her up more. So we’ve been going through more diapers, but still catching a bunch.

She’s also a bit sick right now, and has been having looser stools more often, so that’s thrown things off a bit too.

I’m not too worried about it. I think we’ll get better again once she’s not sick and the sleep has stabilized. Maybe then I’ll work on the mini potty for real :-).


Lots of it earlier this week at the seminar, then less the past few days with the new sleep plan. I still wear her around a fair amount when she’s awake though. It’s pretty much my goto plan if she’s not interested in playing on the ground, which she’s often not.

Motor Skills

She’s been grabbing her feet a bunch when she’s on her back. I don’t know if that’s an entirely new thing this week, but I’ve at least noticed it happening a lot more. 

When Lydia was happily cooing on the bed, I left the room to see if she would put herself to sleep. Eventually, I heard her noise-making toy on the monitor, so I came up to find her face down on the floor next to the bed. Now, the bed is on the floor, so this is a pretty minimal drop, and I didn’t hear her cry about it or anything. In fact, she seemed possibly asleep. I put her back on the bed. It happened one more time before. I moved her way further away from the edge after that, but if this starts being a pattern I may have to come up with a more definitive solution.


As I mentioned, she’s been a bit sick the past few days. Her mood doesn’t seem too affected, but she’s been sneezing and coughing a bit more, and also having loose stools.

Despite her protests at our attempts to leave her with babysitters recently, she seemed quite happy to be social at the seminar. She will talk to people when they approach her, and is usually happy to be held by strangers. I predict she will not be a shy child. 

She continues to be more into playing with her toys. Sometimes I wonder about whether to intervene when she gets frustrated playing and complains, but doesn’t seem to be asking me to pick her up or anything. I try to use my best judgment, but I assume she’ll get clearer about what she wants as she gets older.


Will had her more than I did while we were at the seminar, so I had much more non-baby time than usual this week. It was nice in a lot of ways to think about non-baby stuff and interact with a bunch of people (I forget that I am more extraverted than Will…), but I think I’m also glad it’s over.

I actually had two separation anxiety dreams about Lydia during that time period, where she was crying and I couldn’t get to her, and other people were taking her away from me. She was only inches away from me when I was having these dreams, but I think I felt weird about being apart for her so much during the day. And I wasn’t even that far apart from her! When Will had her instead of me, he was right outside and I could come within about a minute if she needed me.

I’ve been feeling pretty well rested for a while now, and while I’m spending fairly many hours in bed to get that way, I have no real complaint there. I think if Lydia starts napping on the bed I’ll be able to get more writing done, which I’m excited about.

I seem to have a very mild cold-type-thing, as does Lydia. Will is more sick with what I assume is the same ailment. I woke up last night and felt pretty crappy for a little bit before I went back to sleep, but I think that was the worst of it.

Fifteen Weeks of Lydia

Lydia is now fifteen weeks old! (This summary is posted late because my blog seemed to be down.)


I know last week I said that I was going to try to encourage her to fall asleep on her own. I haven’t done any of that, and I’ve somewhat retreated from that intention. I talked to my friend Dee (who’s had four kids), and she’s never tried to influence their sleep habits and it’s always worked out fine and they’ve moved towards more adult sleep patterns over time. I do hear plenty of stories about kids who don’t seem to do that, but I also know people are more likely to be vocal about sleep patterns that aren’t working.

It does seem to still be true that she’s not happy being up and about in the evenings, so I’m going to try to limit doing that with her. I also do still have time that I had blocked out on my schedule to try to figure out her sleep better. Regardless of sleep, I think I’m going to try to keep that time pretty unscheduled. That will be nice for me!


Not much more to report here. I’ll say more about this below, but Lydia didn’t like our plan to get babysitters, so I didn’t really pump more. 

Her eating patterns seem pretty similar.

Elimination Communication

No real success with the mini potty yet. I have tried a few times, but she doesn’t seem to be a fan. Sometimes she’s refused to go in it, but then gone in the sink afterwards. Sometimes it can work to put the potty in the sink, but even that is sort of iffy from her perspective, it seems. I’ll keep offering it occasionally.

She’s also not crazy about random toilets that I take her to when we’re out, but will sometimes use them anyway, especially to pee. Sometimes I’ll get her to do it by nursing her at the same time so she calms down. She doesn’t seem to like to poop when we’re out much at all, which I’ve heard of in adults but wouldn’t have expected from a baby. I guess she’s not as relaxed?

Nighttime EC strategy continues to be confusing. Lydia will go a pretty big stretch at the beginning of the night without having to pee. But then, before she has to bee she will squirm and squirm, and want to suck. However, she has reacted pretty badly to me trying to potty her at this point. So usually I’ll just wait until she actually pees, then change her. Because she also has more fussy sleep when she’s wet. It seems as though she’s more amenable to being potted after around 7:00 or so (sun is starting to come up), and will sometimes go right back to sleep afterwards.


Still good. She gets heavier bit by bit, but I’m probably getting gradually a bit stronger too. She loves sleeping in carriers, and that’s usually how she takes her naps. Recently though, she’s been falling asleep directly on the bed at night more often.

Motor Skills

She’s rolled from front to back a few more times recently she definitely hasn’t forgotten how.

She can roll from her back to her side, but has never gotten to her stomach from there.

She can also squirm quite a bit, so if I put her down on one part of her playpen, she get over to the other end of it. Her toys also end up very far from where they started, kind of all over the room, which I’m pretty impressed by.


She hasn’t been quite as drooly this week, I think because she’s been swallowing more of the drool. Maybe a little less fussy than last week, but hard to know.

She seems to have separation anxiety, or something similar, anyway. We tried leaving her with babysitters a few times, but it didn’t last long because she got upset. The first time, I had a hard time believing she wanted us specifically, since I thought that wasn’t supposed to happen until around six or seven months, but it wasn’t subtle. She would calm down noticeably when Will or I entered her visual field, and then immediately more when we held her. It would be nice to have some babysitting sometimes, so our current plan is to spend time with the people who would be watching her all together, letting them hold her until she starts to get upset, comforting her, and trying again.

On a happier note, I think she’s leveled in playing! The other night she played pretty much continuously in her playpen for a very long time–I think more than half an hour. I don’t think she’s even been that interested in her stuff for more than ten minutes or so before. It was very fun to watch, and one of my most fun parenting moments so far.

Watching her play and play like that was also a nice reminder than babies learn new stuff totally on their own, and she’s changing really fast no matter what I do one way or the other.


I was looking forward to having some babysitter time, but it’s also not that hard to accept that it won’t work yet. Will does quite a bit of childcare, so I do get time to do some of the things I like to do that it’s hard to do with a baby.

I’ve also been feeling more well rested lately, which is really nice, even if I’m not sure why I am. I don’t really track these things, but I think I’ve been getting about the same amount of sleep, and that Lydia has been feeding about the same amount (a lot!) during the night.


Fourteen Weeks of Lydia

Lydia is now fourteen weeks old, and it’s time for another summary.


She’s doing about the same as last week. She got up early one day, and I was thinking that would be a pattern, but then she’s back to doing around 10-9:30 or so (with feeding in there).

The biggest change is that she seem even less willing to just go to sleep wherever we are, even in a carrier. We had her out last night in the evening, and she didn’t nap for hours. Predictably, she was quite fussy. She calmed down and went to sleep pretty much as soon as we left and started heading home on BART, even though we were doing much the same thing at that point–carrying her and walking around. It’s pretty tempting to start reading intentionality into her behavior and saying that she wanted us to go home, then calmed down once we did. But that might be ridiculous.

I’ve been feeling ready for a change in her sleeping. She’s less portable, sleepwise, and definitely fussy when she’s not well-rested. I think I need to go out less. I also like the idea of doing the whole putting her down drowsy but awake thing, to get her able to fall asleep on her own. Sort of wishing I’d been trying that before, at least once a day or so, but I also think it should be fine to start now. I’ve blocked out some time on my schedule to experiment here.

I’m also wondering about debugging co-sleeping. It seems good on most counts, but I think I’m getting into weird positions nursing her at night. My back has been hurting, and I think that’s it. Our bed isn’t huge. Doubt I’ll make any changes in the next few weeks, but this is going to be at least in the back of my mind.


This week I tried pumping. I only have a manual pump, and it wasn’t particularly fast, but it worked fine. I could do it while reading. Then I tried feeding her from the bottle. She only drank about two ounces, but I don’t think she was all that hungry at that time anyway, so I think is good for now. 

We’re going to try some longer periods of babysitting next week, which was the motivation to have pumped milk. 

I also think Lydia’s current preference is to feed all the time at night and not as much during the day. I may try to influence this pattern. It also could just be she’s having a week of not being very hungry, or that she’s eating even faster. Not sure. I got a little paranoid about her consumption when I saw how long it took me to pump, but my understanding is that babies are much faster than manual pumps, so I think I should just put it out of my mind.

Elimination Communication

EC has been going pretty well this week. She’s pees a bunch of times in relatively quick succession in the morning, and then more regularly throughout the day. I’ve been meaning to get her used to going on the mini potty, but in practice haven’t been pushing it. Maybe next week.


Babywearing is still going well, but I think for the first few times the past week she’s actually seemed to want to get out of it and play on the floor more. Fine with me! Long walks still seem to be her favorite activity.

Motor Skills

Nothing big here, but she was very cute and intentional seeming about grabbing Sophie the giraffe today. No rolling recently.


I might be imagining it, but I think she’s been fussier this week. My latest theory is that it’s related to teething, but I don’t have much evidence for this, and I think parents blame all sorts of things on teeth that probably aren’t that. She drools a LOT, and she’s pretty into gumming stuff, which is where I got the idea. But I don’t feel any swollen spots on her gums or see anything obviously going on. 


Being well rested is still the most important thing. Last night I got up and couldn’t go back to sleep easily, so this morning was really hard. Then I napped for two hours while Will had her and I feel like a new person. I’ve blocked out some time on my calendar with the intention of scheduling as little as possible and just staying home with Lydia and getting into more of a routine. 

Will and I have our first date night with a babysitter tonight, which I’m very excited about!

And we’re going to be spending some time at a conference next week. Increased non-baby time may feel good and rejuvenating, but I’m not sure yet. Depending on how it goes, I’ll try to plan accordingly.

Thirteen Weeks of Lydia

As of today, Lydia has been outside of my body for thirteen whole weeks!

Tomorrow, she will be three months old, which feels like a pretty big milestone. It’s already getting hard to remember what the early days were like, so I’ve decided to start the tradition of writing a weekly summary of how she’s doing every Wednesday. I’ll try to include pictures too.

This summary will touch on the past three months, since it’s the first one.


From the beginning, based on the books I read, my plan was to get Lydia onto more of a regular sleeping schedule by around three months. At first, she could sleep just under just about any circumstances, and she would just drift off all the time. We never knew how long she’d sleep for, and some days she slept quite a bit more than others. She slept on us, either on the bed or in the wrap. Near the beginning, she’d pretty consistently wake up if I got up when she was sleeping.

We went through a rough stretch when we were visiting my family in NYC, sleepwise. I’m not sure if it was the time change, six-week fussiness, or that her day/night confusion was exacerbated by my walking around with her in the wrap all day even more than usual, since that’s been her favorite place to sleep, but around 7 weeks old she would be awake for really long periods at night. Usually a few hours. Sometimes she didn’t go to sleep until six in the morning. It was a pretty good time for it to happen, since Will and I could trade off soothing her and sleep in shifts, but it was still kind of brutal.

It didn’t last long though, and by the time we got back, she was back to going right back to sleep after feeding when she woke up at night.

Since then, we’ve been settling into more of a pattern. Lydia usually falls asleep in the wrap, though sometimes she falls asleep nursing lying down in the bed. Sometimes I swaddle her, but usually not. Her schedule is somewhat irregular, but getting more and more regular. I suspect she would be more predictable if we stayed home all the time, but we usually take her to do things at least a few times a week.

She doesn’t sleep much in the carseat anymore. She will eventually go to sleep in there, but mostly she just stays awake, pees on herself, and complains :-(. Early on, she would fall asleep in the carseat pretty much immediately, so that’s too bad. I’m assuming the carseat situation will get better eventually, and I am looking forward to that day!

Lydia usually gets up pretty late, mostly because I usually get up pretty late. This morning, she got up at 8:00am to feed only, then slept to 9:30. That was an early morning for her. I think the day before that, it was 11:30am, but that was a late morning. I think I noticed her squirming around more once the sun is up, but I can’t be sure whether it’s that I’m more awake by then or that she is.

I’ve been trying to get her down for the night the first time she goes to sleep after around 8:00pm or so, with the vague plan to move than up to around 7:00pm if she seems amenable. The easiest way to get on a regular schedule is probably to start the day at a consistent time, but so far it’s seemed best for my sleep not to wake up to an alarm. I may change my mind on this.

Lydia’s usually awake for less than an hour in the morning before she goes back to sleep. Her first nap is longer the later she went to bed the night before. Assuming no disruptions, she’ll probably nap a total of three or four times, with evening naps often but not always being shorter than morning ones.

I think she wakes up a few times a night to feed, which has been similar since the beginning. Hard to know for sure, since she sleeps with me and I don’t always fully wake to feed her. I think once she went about seven hours, but that’s definitely the exception. She sleeps longer stretches when she’s swaddled.

Walking around in the wrap is the best way to get her to sleep, and she usually transfers to the bed pretty easily, especially if I nurse her once she’s there.

I think she’s just starting to have the more adult pattern of going into Stage 1 sleep as she’s falling asleep, instead of going directly into REM.


Lydia has gotten pretty fast at nursing, and she does it a lot less often than she used to. She used to like to nurse pretty frequently, and I used to offer her the opportunity most of the time when she was crying. Now she’s pretty rarely interested, unless it’s right after she’s gotten up, or she wants to nurse to sleep. She doesn’t always nurse to sleep though, since walking works for her too.

I haven’t tried pumping yet, or giving her a bottle, though I keep saying I want to get around to that.

We’re not planning to start solids until six months, so there probably won’t be any interesting news on the eating front for a while.

Elimination Communication

It’s been up and down. We didn’t do as well when we were visiting Will’s mother in Oregon, and when I’m hanging out with people I’m sometimes distracted and miss more. But in the last 24 hours, I think she’s used only two or three diapers, including at night. Today was a good day!

She definitely understands that when we hold her over the sink, we want her to pee and poop, and she’ll almost always pee at least a little. Lately she’s been resisting a bit, but then going after a few seconds of complaining.

She’s down to pooping a little less than once a day, on average. She pees a lot more often than that, but I haven’t counted how many times recently. I’ll take her at least every 20-30 minutes or so when she’s awake.

Lydia doesn’t pee when she naps, and always has to pee right when she wakes up. These days she doesn’t usually need to nurse immediately upon waking, so this works out well. At night, she’ll usually squirm for a while when asleep if she needs to pee, then half wake up before peeing, then complain until I change her diaper. She doesn’t usually like it if I try to take her to pee at night, and will cry, so I don’t do that anymore much. My heuristic is to take her if it’s light outside. Some nights she won’t pee at all until morning, but that’s rare.

She very rarely pees when I’m wearing her, though it’s not unheard of.


I’m so glad we figured out how to nurse in the wrap! It makes life much easier. I mostly use the front wrap cross carry with the Girasol woven wrap. For Christmas, I got a hybrid stretchy wrap that I can use for back carriers too, and a water wrap.

I have tried showering with her in the water wrap, which was fun and worked pretty well.

The most recent development here is that I’ve worn her in the rucksack back carry a few times. I like it. My back muscles are clearly still working up to it, and it’s obviously impossible to nurse that way, but my arms are even more free. I expect I’ll only use the back carries more as time goes on. I’d practiced a bunch before it seemed easy to get her on my back, but now that’s not an issue.

Motor Skills

Lydia rolled over front to back just before turning two months, which was pretty cool! She often rolls a few times a day. I tend to give her tummy time first thing in the morning and right after her first nap, since those are her happiest times. It used to be she would only roll then, when she was really well-rested, but now I’ve seen her do it in the afternoon too.

For a while now, she’s been putting her hands together a bunch, and the latest development is that she’s been getting much better at getting her hands in her mouth to suck on her fingers and thumb! We’ve never used a pacifier, so I like knowing that she now has something to suck that’s totally under her control.

Head control is basically perfect, and has been for a while now.

She grabs stuff a bunch, and seems to get smoother and more intentional with that over time.


Lydia has been pretty smiley recently! I still don’t think I really have any sense of what she’ll be like as a person. She’s happier in the morning, and happier just after she’s woken up from naps. Then she pretty much gets progressively fussier until it’s time to go to sleep again. I like how she reacts to faces and will smile in response. She also enjoys her own image in the mirror.


Sometimes I have a particular thing I’m worrying about with her, but not so much this past week. I’ve been trying to move her bedtime up, and get more consistent there, but I think the more important thing is actually my bedtime, not hers. Parenting ranges from fun to a little tedious when I’m well-rested, and more like neutral to miserable with moments of cuteness when I’m exhausted. I don’t have too many non-Lydia commitments, and she sleeps in pretty late when I do, so it’s pretty easy to sleep enough if I go to bed early. But then sometimes I like to hang out with people, or talk to Will, or get work done, and I end up going to bed late. I don’t have too much of a cushion of well restedness, so I can’t do this multiple nights in a row and remain happy.

I’m very glad I have Lydia, and I think I’m doing a good job of remembering to enjoy the baby moments, because every parent I meet tells me how quickly it all goes by. That being said, I do expect to enjoy having a kid more than a baby, so it should get better, if not easier!



Parenting Advice on Sleep

Yesterday, I finally checked in with my friend Dee, who is now on her fifth baby. I trust her quite a bit on everything related to kids, so I wanted to summarize her advice where other people could benefit from it. Here it is:

  • Her kids have had pretty different sleep patterns from each other. One, for example, had a 48-hour schedule where she slept most of the day on one day, then not much at all the next day.
  • What she thinks of as “standard” baby sleep would be a big chunk from around 7pm-8am (waking upf or feedings every few hours) and two or three naps during the day.
  • She thinks travel will mess things up, because babies can sense that they’re not at home and may not like it.
  • Her experience has been that babies have pretty short sleep windows where it’s easy to get them to sleep, and that it’s much harder if you miss them. She hasn’t found the clock to be very helpful in determining when her babies are tired, and she recommended that I watch closely and figure out Lydia’s cues. She said yawning and droopy eyes were late indicators–signs that I’d missed her window.
  • She never wakes up her babies when they’re sleeping.
  • She finds that taking baths with her baby in the evening, including nursing in the bath, have worked quite well to relax her kids, and that white noise from the shower and vacuum worked, and that white noise generators didn’t work for her. (She reported some risk that the baby would poop in the bathtub.)
  • She never had success with baby swings, but said many of her friends did.
  • It has been harder for her to catch the sleep windows in the evenings because she tends to be busier getting dinner together.
  • She thinks that early on, every month gets easier, and reminded me that my current worries would soon be a distant memory. The advantage, she says, of this period, is that I can pretty much go about my normal life while doing baby care. Lydia is, after all, asleep most of the time. She said everything gets more involved around when they start crawling and then walking, but then gets easier the more the kids can actually communicate to us what they want.

What Attachment Parenting Overlooks and Baby Schedulers Get Right

Watching for nap cues and paying attention to optimal waketime length.

At least, this has been true of the books I’ve read so far. I’m all for wearing Lydia most of the time during the day and co-sleeping with her at night, but after the first weeks where she would just fall asleep when she was tired right away no matter what (at least, it seemed as though that was what she was doing), I’ve found that the single most important thing I can do to make sure she remains happy is make sure she doesn’t stay up for too long of a stretch. 

Against the recommendations of books like Babywise and the Baby Whisperer books, I’m fine with walking and nursing her to sleep, but I’ve found that it’s very helpful to start that process before she’s too tired, which can actually happen kind of quickly. I carry her a lot, but sometimes she’s having tummy time, or I’m talking to and flirting with her, or having her practice using her leg muscles, or pottying her. And these days she can’t usually fall asleep while I’m doing those things, so I run the risk of letting her get overly tired, at which point she’s upset and it gets harder for her to relax.

Our current rhythm is that Lydia usually has two naps that are about two hours long between around 9 or 10am, when we both get up for the day in earnest, and around 7 or 8, after which point I mostly encourage her to go right back to sleep after feeding if she gets up. That seems to work okay, and is getting increasingly to the point when it’s stable enough that I can actually schedule around it, which is also very convenient!

Pros and Cons of the Baby Carriers I’ve Tried: Month Two

Lydia is currently eight weeks old, and Will and I have recently returned from a two-week trip to New York to see my family, where we did a substantial amount of walking around almost every single day. I also finally acquired a german-style woven wrap (in purple, naturally) from Metro Minis, the baby store on the Upper East side that has all the sorts of things that I love.

I’ve spent a bunch more time with each carrier than I had a month ago, so I thought I’d check in with some thoughts about each one.

Moby Wrap

I think I’ve used this once since I got the woven wrap, and it was when the woven wrap was in the wash. I had gathered from my reading that stretchy wraps were considered easier than woven wraps, but I basically disagree. It’s true that you can get the wrap tied better before you put the baby in. So, if you had a baby who hated being involved in the tying process, but was okay either being put down somewhere or held by someone else while you got the Moby tied, that could be an advantage. The Moby does get droopy after a while, and Lydia’s only around twelve pounds, and I find it comparatively difficult to get the fabric nice and straight so that it’s very ergonomic to wear. 

I’ve started to prefer the Kangaroo Hold to the Hug Hold, mostly because it’s a lot easier to adjust the wrap so I can nurse.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the Moby wrap is a useful item, just almost strictly inferior to my newly-acquired Girasol. If you’ve been dying to own a used Moby wrap, contact me and I’d probably be up for giving you one of the two that I own. I’ll keep the other one around, at least until I get a second woven wrap to use while the Girasol is in the wash.

Maya Wrap

Ring slings do have some advantages over wraps. The main one I see is that it’s faster to get the baby in. Will has been using the Maya Wrap more than any other carrier these days. I find it relatively easy to nurse in (not in the cradle position, but with Lydia upright, as she would be in a wrap).

But my shoulder hurts when I wear her for even a pretty short amount of time. Maybe I’m doing something wrong, because I know some people happily walk around with toddlers in these. Jane Austin, who taught my homebirth prep class and has a Mommy & Baby postnatal yoga class I’m planning to attend next week has offered instruction in optimal ring sling use, so I might take her up on that.


Lydia fits into this carrier better every day, and I’ve switched to putting her legs out. Like the ring sling, it’s quite fast to get her in, and I find it easier to adjust once she’l in there. Unlike the ring sling, I’ve found it pretty comfortable to have Lydia in there for hours at a time. It’s also been pretty easy to nurse in the Ergo, by just loosening it and shifting it down a little. It took me a while to get used to fastening the back strap myself, but I’ve gotten the hang of it by now.

As I write this, Lydia is currently nursing in the Ergo. She was fussy earlier this evening (as far as I can tell because I took a phone call instead of soothing her to sleep when she first got tired), and I didn’t want to put her down for the relatively short amount of time it would take to get my Girasol on, so I put her into the Ergo, positioned her for nursing, and fed her as I paced around. When she’s really upset, nursing while walking is one of the most reliable ways to calm her down, but without a carrier I can’t sustain it for long.

She slept for about an hour, I pottied her when she woke up, and now she’s nursing in the Ergo again, this time as I’m sitting here writing this. Taking her out and putting her back in were both easy and uneventful.

4.7m Girasol Wrap

My new favorite baby carrier, and I’m still only using the Front Wrap Cross Carry! It’s snuggly, fits perfectly (because I can adjust everything), and is the most comfortable carrier I’ve used yet. Most of the days we were in New York, I had Lydia in the carrier all day. (She loves to sleep in it, so doing so probably contributed to her temporary day/night confusion. That and jet lag–poor baby :-(.)

This was also the first carrier I figured out how to consistently nurse it. It’s a lot easier to retie than the Moby, so I could pretty easily just shift Lydia down a bit, and then move her back up when she was done. She has really good head support now when she’s awake, but rolling a prefold diaper into the top rail helps her head stay up when she falls asleep.

I also find this wrap to be prettier than any of the other carriers I’ve had, though I might not be saying that if I had a Sakura Bloom ring sling :-).

I have various practical reasons to love woven wraps, but I’m willing to admit that I probably prefer them in part because they’re, well, geekier. They’re touted as the hardest carrier to learn how to use, and then even when now that I have the basics down, I can keep geeking out about different carries and modeling the differences, aesthetic and practical between different brands. I already want another one, as you might imagine. 


My favorite thing about babywearing in Lydia’s second month, as compared to her first, is that nursing while wearing her has gotten much, much easier. I feel much closer to my romantic ideal of the Kung! San mother who wears her baby all the time, and feeds her as often as every few minutes without much disruption. I’ve gotten in a bit of a routine of wearing Lydia around the house in the woven wrap without a shirt (this isn’t particularly revealing) for some extra skin to skin time for the first nap she takes every day, while I do things like eat breakfast, unload the dishwasher, and do some laundry.

Next, I want to learn more carriers to use with my woven wrap. I’ve tried the kangaroo carry (not the same as what the Moby wrap mean when they say kangaroo carry), but I don’t see much reason to use it unless I have a wrap that isn’t long enough for the front wrap cross carry, or just want to mix up the way things look.

I’m more motivated to learn at least one back carry, since that seems useful to have in my repertoire. I’ve been practicing with Lydia bit when she’s in a patient mood, and is willing to put up with it, but haven’t had much luck yet.