Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone had a lovely weekend! I have said this a few times on here but I think it is absolutely the best thing EVER to see everyone's photos from weddings and birthday parties and new babies on Facebook and Instagram. It really makes me happy when I see others having a blast-- so, keep sharing those photos, please!
While Jesse, Lillian and I stayed in the city this past long weekend, it still felt like a party. Since we are going to be in Sonoma the next couple of weekends we thought it would be fun to stay in our empty city. Between Burning Man, Bart closures, and the long weekend the city was soooooo peaceful. Honestly, I hate to say this, but that is the San Francisco I remember from my childhood; the streets aren't crowded, you can find parking or get a seat at your favorite restaurant, everyone is in a good mood, and life is good. Poor Jesse, every time we left the house I would say something like, "this feels like the good old days!"-- he's probably sick of me saying it!
It was a great weekend: Caitlin and Niall hosted a great 3rd birthday party for Camilla, we went for a hike, cleaned, ate great food, and had a ball. A lot of people might think that Jesse and I have gone into complete seclusion mode because we have a new baby. That might be partly true, but we mostly are so busy because we work so much. Honestly, there has not been a weekend in our entire relationship that one of us has not had work to do. We both rarely leave the house without a laptop, especially Jesse in case something pressing comes up with BuildingConnected. A lot of times people will think we are crazy for working, but when you have passion for work it is enjoyable rather than a burden.
In regards to our Little Miss Lillian, she is such an amazing baby and the light of our lives. Hard to believe that she is thirteen weeks. I did not realize it until Jesse pointed it out, but our Lillian is a light sleeper. Some parents love taking their newborn with them every where they go, but it's in Lillian's best interest that she naps at home, mostly so she can get uninterrupted sleep. Transferring her from the carseat to the crib sometimes wakes her up and she'll only nap for forty minutes instead of the hour and a half that she needs.
Jesse and I often laugh how our attitudes have flip-flopped since having Lillian. For years we tried to make one another change; he wanted me to be more methodical, patient, and consistent, while I wanted him to be more flexible and go-with the flow. Well it honestly feels like we've gotten our wish and then some! I'm more insistent about certain things, while Jesse is much more open-- we really laugh about it.
I'm not sure how this turned into a post about my daughter's sleep but since it has I think I can go with it. My philosophy and approach to sleep is that newborns need it, love it, and actually crave it. It's our job as Lillian's parents to create a comfortable environment so that she can go to sleep rather than get overtired and fight sleep. Sometimes when we're out at parties I look like a crazy new mom when I step outside with Lillian or ask Jesse to put her in the carrier so she can fall asleep. Doing this from the very beginning has made her happier, healthier and a great sleeper.
Wow- this post really turned into a full sleep post. Again, I'll just go with it. I've been wanting to share this because I've learned so much from Day One Baby and also because I want to come back and read it when we have our second child and I have forgotten everything. I don't think of myself as an expert at all, but I wanted to share some things I have found helpful from personal experience, advice from other moms (especially Kathleen and Rachael), and from reading. Here we go!
Newborns: Babies who are newborn to 3 weeks love to sleep and you can really take them anywhere. You have to wake them up to feed them, especially if they are not gaining weight. Lillian slept about twenty hours a day and I was able to write, clean, shower, do yoga, go to Target- everything. They put themselves to sleep every time- no need for parents to soothe them, unless baby is colicky.
3-4 week olds: Babies start "waking up" to the world and are more alert which means they need help getting back to sleep. White noise, dark room, and comfortable bassinet is all you need.
5-7 week olds: This is a crucial turning point. Babies love to be awake! Someone said that the excitement you felt on your wedding day is how babies feel every day at this stage. If you want a good sleeper you have to start early- it helps baby but it also really helps parents practice a night time routine and learn self-discipline in putting baby's sleep health first when they get older and it is harder. We followed the approach of Dr. Marc Weissbluth and always put Lillian to sleep in 90 minutes or less- it works wonders and kept her happy! We could honestly put Lillian in her crib and she would fall asleep, not a single tear.
8-10 week olds: I remember this time-- it was the first time our angel baby started crying and I learned that from about 6pm-10pm is the "witching hour" -- a period in the day when babies are just tired and want to be held. I would just put Lillian in the carrier and go for a walk or even walk around the house and cook and clean and write. I wish I had known about the witching hour before because all of a sudden it appeared and I got scared because I thought she was sick or something.
11-13 week olds: We are in this stage now and it is really fun! Lillian can be awake for a little bit longer than 90 minutes-- she is closer to two hours in the middle of the day and she is so alert and so active. This is where I think people think it is better to keep your baby awake. We've found that it is best for all of us when we let her stay awake for an hour or so and then turn on the lullabies and let her know it is time for sleep. We are going to put her on a timed schedule after Claire's wedding.
Some of my thoughts on sleep for babies:
1) Never make it about you. I have never thought to myself I wish Lillian would sleep so that I could get a full night's sleep. I honestly think that jinxes you and your baby will be up often. Make healthy sleep a priority for your little one.
2) Value sleep as much as your value feeding/ nursing your baby.
3) Each night is a new night. I take each day and night one at a time because it is dangerous to think, "well she slept 10 hours yesterday" or "she went down so easily for her nap".
4) Listen to your baby. When they are tired or worse, overtired listen to them and help soothe them immediately.
5) Be flexible. Sure, I would love for Lillian to sleep well every day but when we have a party to go to and family and friends want to snuggle her than I remind myself that it is good for her to learn to be flexible and for her to be loved by others.
Products you will love to help your baby sleep! Credited to personal experience and from other mom friends:
Halo Swaddle Sleep Sack-- my favorite is from Pottery Barn. The cotton is thicker and softer.
Merlin Magic Sleeper Suit-- Lillian didn't like this but a lot of moms love it for their babies.
White Noise-- I love the one album on iTunes "Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night"
Hope this helps and happy sleeping.
(Note to self when you go back and read this before baby number two: you probably won't remember getting up every two hours for the first couple of weeks, but you did.)