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!

Why Are Babies Fussy in the Evening?

Everyone knows that some babies, at least in the modern Western world, have times during the day where they’re fussy. They’ve been fed, their diaper is clean (and they don’t want to be taken to the potty, if they’re doing EC), and they’re either crying or would be crying if someone weren’t soothing them. In some babies, the problem seems to be caused by gas, reflux, or other digestive issues. Most if not all of us are eating a diet these days that’s well outside ancestral parameters. Dairy and wheat especially seem to cause problems for some babies. 

The Kung! San supposedly don’t report evening fussiness in their babies, but it’s not clear to me it’s because their babies don’t get fussy–maybe they’re just better at soothing them. Lydia has never been inconsolable, but has occasionally required fairly substantial intervention (breastfeeding while swaddled while I’m walking and shushing her). My (very likely naive, largely informed by a handful of books) understanding of hunter gatherer populations is that they’re emotional systems are less inclined to fight against reality than our modern-day ones, so it’s that they take the extra soothing effort in stride. Plus, there are a bunch of people around to help, and they would have had experience caring for babies since they were pretty young themselves, and are likely to be better at it.

My current leading theory for Lydia’s fussiness is one that’s mentioned in a few books, including Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child: she gets overly tired. She does have gas pretty frequently, but the timing just doesn’t seem to fit. I wouldn’t expect any sort of digestive problem to cause fussiness for a few hours at a time, often in the evening. From what I can tell, Lydia is happiest just when she gets up, then she gradually gets more inclined to be fussy until she sleeps again, at which point the cycle repeats.

Lydia has never been fussy right when she woke up. And I’m pretty sure she’s never been all that calm after having been awake for several hours. Fussiness decreases when I’m good at soothing her, but it pretty much always ends with her falling asleep.

I initially found myself blaming artificial lights, but I’m actually not sure how much that matters. My understanding is that babies don’t produce much melatonin in the first few months, and fussiness decreases around the time they start producing more. Maybe the problem is that we try to get babies to sleep for longer periods during the night in the first place. My experience, common sense, and baby books seem to agree that, while being too tired can interfere with sleep, babies also can’t sleep more than a certain amount throughout the day. The usual situation is that parents don’t like it when babies sleep “too much” during the day and not enough at night. 

I wonder whether more of a true polyphasic schedule would eliminate baby fussiness. Maybe we could eliminate long wakeful periods by eliminating long sleep periods.

I have pretty low confidence in this prediction, but at least it’s easily testable.

What Do I Say When Someone Compliments My Baby?

When someone compliments me, I often feel the impulse to downplay it or deny it, but I mostly just say “thank you.” Or, at least, that’s my plan for what to say.

But when someone compliments my baby, I don’t have a plan; I’m confused about what response to give. If someone tells me how cute my daughter is, I feel uncomfortable saying “thank you” because I don’t think I’m all that responsible. I usually end up saying “I think so too,” but something feels off about saying that.

Downplaying or denying it seems obviously wrong, but sometimes I’ve done that too. Someone will tell me how calm she is and I’ll say something about how she isn’t always that way, out of a combined desire to correct inaccuracy (not sure why I particularly care) and get some recognition for the fact that taking care of her can be difficult sometimes when she’s less calm.

My NVC heuristics tell me to either empathize or express my own experience honestly. So maybe I could reflect back something about how peaceful it can feel to look at a baby, or whatever else would apply? Or say something about how it feels good to hear the compliment, because it usually does?

I’d love advice here.