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.
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.
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.