Sleeping milestone! 

My eldest son, Josh turned 3 years old and he is considered a Big Boy now. However, he has never slept through the night. Yes, he had the worse sleeping habits and he sleep talks and cries every night without fail!  

I partly blame myself for his bad sleeping pattern.  You see, I got pregnant when he was only a year and 5 months. He was not ready to wean from breastfeeding, but we had him move to the bottle. To wean him from breastfeeding meant that he had to also stop co-sleeping with me. It was a terrible time for Josh. He had to cope with all the adjustments…including sharing his world with a new baby.

 
From that time he took comfort on the bottle and he started rubbing his ears as one of his new habits to sleep. At night, Josh would wake 3 times each night and on each time he was given a bottle to make him go back to sleep. His style was to cry so he can get a bottle. Now, taking care of Josh was no joke and was really tiring. He would also dream and sleep talk or sleep scream. The nanny however, does not know much of the difference if he is awake or just sleep talking. So she would get the bottle just to keep him quiet. 

As he turned 2 and half, I was already trying to coach the nanny on lowering his milk intake at night. She did her part and just lowered the milk intake, but the waking in the middle of the night still continued. The nanny could not administer what I instructed because Josh would cry. It was not the crying that they were worried about, but daddy who slept in the same room because he would complain of Joshua’s noise. So they continued to give him night feedings.  

So, when Josh turned 3, I told the nanny that if Josh cries at night she should just give him water in a bottle. I also explained to Josh that ” you are older now and a big boy… You need to drink only 1 bottle to sleep and then wake in the morning already”. We got daddy on board with this transition. 

So Josh would take a bottle at night before bed and then when he asks in the middle of the night, he only gets water. In the beginning he cried and throw the bottle with water. Then, when we were on Christmas vacation and we all slept in one bed, it was where he mastered it. I would patiently talk to him when he would cry for milk and tell him, there is no more milk. He then learned to go back to sleep and there were nights he was upset about it.

  
But now, he has been sleeping straight from 10:30pm till 8 am. No more waking in the night to ask for milk or water. He is finally sleeping through! 

No more going to the Internet for me and seeking answers. No more going to a developmental Pediatrician because I was worried that this would go on forever. Lord, thank you! A prayer answered! 

I also love this stage where Josh actually prays before he sleeps and his prayer goes like this: 

Dear Jesus, please bless me, bless daddy, bless mommy, bless Anna, bless Yaya. Give us good sleep, keep us healthy, give us good dreams. We love you Jesus. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

 

Momzilla attack

For about weeks, my schedule has been so hectic… From Elections, traveling to Manila for work,attending Nick Vujicic’s event, Sarbay Fest, and the other activities that come in between. I really sometimes don’t know how I do it… When I tell other people, it seems like they feel stressed for me.

Rest is so important for a nursing mom. When this is violated, certain personality changes happens. I must admit I do feel embarrassed to share this story. Well, this will be an example of what not to follow…

It was the last few days of elections, we had family and friends over. They were so kind to not bother me so much, but I cant help myself, because I want to entertain. During the day, I would nurse and work (so I dont get to nap). At night, when Joshua is asleep, I try to make myself available for my husband too. I make time for us to catch up because he would come home late from campaign. Then, my son’s schedule. I have to make myself available for him because he is still asking for milk around 3 am and wakes up at 5 am everyday.

The evening before election, my son woke up wide awake at around 1:30 AM. It was my time to catch sleep because I was still up around that time. Everytime I would put him to sleep, he would cry. When I lift him up, he would smile and hint he would want to play. Usually this did not bother me. But that evening, I was tired. I wanted my sleep. My son wanted to play. I kept telling Joshua, “Josh, mommy is tired, please go back to sleep.” The response I get is his playful smile. He would try to talk too by cooing and he would smile. But mommy, was not happy. I felt physically too tired to play. So I tried to rock him back to sleep. My son would complain and cry because he was unhappy to go back to sleep. Grrrr….!!!!

Suddenly, I felt upset with the situation. So I sat my little boy by his toys and I told him, “Since you don’t want to sleep, you and I are going to stay up till 5 AM. Do you understand me?” I suddenly lost it. My mind just snapped and I turned into the “mother-no-child-would-wish”. I was upset that I took out my anger on the toys and with all of what is left of my strength I took the Dinosaur toy and played all the music and shook the toy up and down, side-to-side hoping this would make Joshua dizzy. At first he enjoyed it. I kept on saying, “we are not sleeping. We are not going to sleep”!” After playing for about 20 minutes, I saw Joshua wiping his eyes. I knew he started to feel sleepy. Instead of letting him sleep, my anger took over me. I brought him to the bathroom and let him play with his squeaky fish toys. I still kept chanting, “you are not sleeping until tomorrow!” For another 20 minutes Joshua obliged to play. After a while, he started to wipe his eyes and yawn. All the more, I chanted, ” you are not sleeping, do you understand?”… Like a crazy woman I brought him to his lighted drums and insisted he plays with it. The poor little boy again tried to play but this time he was moaning and started to cry because he was tired. But still I forced him to play.

I later started to feel guilty and caught myself. What on earth am I doing? Im making my son suffer because Im too tired to care for him and so I’ll make both of us miserable. Ohhh myyy…

I saw Joshua was really tired from my Momzilla episode, he actually fell asleep after a minute of nursing. He was that tired! As I was putting Joshua down in his crib, I started to pray. I asked forgiveness from God for my unbecoming behavior. I laid my hands on my son and asked God to protect my son from any consequence of my temper.

Im just so thankful God is full of mercy and grace, and they are new every morning! My son wakes up and looks at me with his big, loving eyes without a grudge.

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I never want to see Momzilla attack ever again. I have learned my lesson! I need to discipline myself to rest. This is a season in my life to slow down. I can catch up with the world later.

I shared this story with my other mommy friends and they cracked up laughing at how I lost it. Truly, its funny now… but what a sobering event for me. I pray God to help me be less childish and be a good mommy that Joshua can love and respect…

Peer Pressured

“Not everything are found in books, leave room for mother’s instincts!” — This is golden advise I got from one of my baby showers.

My friends and family know that I am the type of person that likes to research. Google, baby center, whattoexpect.com, and many other resources have been my guide in caring for my baby. Of course, there are also advises from friends, family, my pediatrician and other mommies. These become your support system as you rear your child especially if you are a first-time mom. I particularly enjoy knowing if my little boy is meeting his milestones. So far, he is pretty smart little guy and advance for his age. For that, I really praise God.

At four months old, some babies have slept through the night (6-8 hour sleep).This means, they are able to sleep through without nursing. Many moms I know have that experience with their babies. Unfortunate for me, Joshua is not sleeping through the night just yet. We would prepare sleeping time at 8pm by bathing and he would be in zzzz land by 8:30pm. When I shared this schedule with other mommy friends, I learned my baby slept the latest. Theirs would be sleeping by 6:30pm or 7pm! Hmmm… could there must be something wrong with my style???

You see Joshua developed his sleeping pattern and it was led by him. Usually he would wake around 5 am then would sleep again around 7 am for 30 mins. Then after bathing he would sleep around 9am until 11 am or 12 noon. After, he would take an afternoon nap by 1:30pm until 3pm. And another last nap at around 5pm before the night time sleep at 8:30pm. But even at 8:30 pm his longest stretch is really until 12 midnight (so only 3.5 hours). After that he asks to be nursed every 1-2 hours until 5 am. You can tell, I still don’t get a lot of sleep!

Now, I’ve been seeing these write ups on Sleep Training… also using CIO (Cry it Out) method to get the baby to self sooth and he will eventually sleep. I began to really feel pressured that Joshua was not sleeping through the night and that maybe I should start being strict with him and applying the CIO method.

For about 2 nights, I applied what was in the books to get him ready for sleep training. That included bathing him, getting the room suitable for sleeping, nursing him and putting him down. I actually get to achieve this. The difficult part is his first wake… it was suggested to just leave him and he will just put himself back to sleep. If he cries, just let him cry. Moms can talk to their baby and pat them gently and leave them. So I tried this method. Man, I have to say, my son can cry longer than 20 minutes! He was also using his very modulated loud cry with tears and all! He really was not happy. I could not help myself from carrying him and he would still sob and it took a while for him to get over it… But I really believed, I have to start training him or else he will never get this milestone! He might be the only kid who does not sleep through the night at 4 months!

Two nights I attempted this. Then on the third day, we noticed something wrong with Joshua. His voice became hoarse. He was losing his voice from all the loud crying and grunting. Worst part is, on the fourth day, his hoarse voice was accompanied by him being fussy and crying a bit more than usual. Of course I attributed this to his daddy who had the sniffles (hehehe).

I continued with the so-called “Sleep training”. However, I began feeling that this whole idea of training my baby is just too much for him. Instead of me getting rest, I was getting more tired because Joshua was crying more, and requiring more of me! That evening, Joshua started developing a low grade fever and was really needy of me. I started to pray and asked God to restore my son’s health back. I also asked God to guide me on how to care for my son.

God gave me an insight to let go of that milestone checklist. Joshua will sleep through the night in his own good time. No need to rush him. He is just an infant. He will get there when he is good and ready. As a mom, I should not feel pressured with what the books says, or feel inadequate when sharing notes with other moms. That night Joshua slept in my embrace. I wanted him to feel secured and comforted, and that his mommy will not leave him alone until he is ready.

I was really comforted to read some online community discussions, where other moms like me, have babies that dont sleep through the night. In fact, the discussion encourage moms to just continue nursing their babies at night if they dont sleep through. The rationale is eventually this stage will pass, and all children will wean from night feedings. All children will get their “sleep through the night” stage.

So, for now, I am adjusting the night sleeping time of Joshua to an earlier time of 730pm. But I am not going to let him cry it out anymore! Im just going to wait, and prayerfully watch the day he will be ready to sleep longer, to nurse less and to reach his milestone!

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“For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay. (Habakkuk 2:3 NASB)

Personal Picks – Mamy Poko

One of the things you stock up with before the baby comes are diapers. The moment you room in with your baby, diapers become your accountability. I had to ask what to buy from family and friends.

It was my cousin Paolo and his wife Michelle who gave me advise. Paolo, who is pretty hands on with his son, guarantees a diaper that can absorb his baby’s wetness all throughout the night… “Try Mamy Poko”. When I first heard it, I was not sure. I never heard of Mamy Poko before. I know Huggies, Drypers, Pampers, EQ… (Ok that’s all the brands I know)… But “mommy what was that again?”

So off I go to purchase a Mamy Poko newborn diaper pack. It’s more costly than most diapers (up to 2 times more in price). It is a Japanese brand made in Indonesia.

As I tried it, Paolo was true to his word. The Mamy Poko is super absorbent. It can absorb wetness maybe approximately up to three pees or 30 ml of urine. It keeps the baby’s bottom dry keeping it from diaper rash too. I also like its reattachable tape so you can check wetness and reuse when necessary.

You may think its quite expensive (about P12.85/pc) but in my experience I change diapers more often with the other brands. Effectively, it will come out the same rate but with less changes using the Mamy Poko. There are also other options to make diapers “price-friendly” to our pockets. You can buy other brands and use it for day time and use the Mamy Poko at night. I can now attest that when Josh uses his Mamy Poko at 830pm, the next diaper change will be at 3 am. That is 7 hours leak protection and absorption making it easier for me to sleep longer too.

Oh, another thing! Don’t over stock on diapers… Babies grow faster than we think. They soon outgrow the size. Josh outgrew the newborn diapers before he hit 2 months! If your baby gains weight at a healthy pace, then purchase diapers as you need. You would not want to have a stock of diapers that you cannot use!

I’m really happy with Mamy Poko. With the other brands, I get so frustrated because they leak and does not have the super absorption of Mamy Poko. With other brands diaper change means a total wardrobe change! It can be time consuming, more detergent for soiled clothes, and more diapers! So for me I pick Mamy Poko– less diaper change, less leaks, and less stress!

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Sleep, where art thou?

I can hardly believe that I’m actually alive with the sleep I’m getting. When my date of delivery was nearing, I read about new-born baby sleeping patterns. However, I don’t remember reading up what happens to the mother during this period. Either I missed it completely, or every mom was just too tired to write an account of what happens to them.

At 0 to 1 month, the baby just loves to sleep but would wake up in 2 hour intervals to drink milk. If you are a breastfeeding mom, like I am, then you would be feeding your baby every 1-3 hours round the clock! Just when you think you got your child satisfied and sleeping, and you heading for zzzz land, then that’s when you hear another cry for the baby’s next meal time.

This period I can guarantee that mothers are at their worse looks (eye bags and messy hair), worse moods (easily irritated and cranky) and worse source of normal intelligence (Hahaha! That’s what happened to me!). When my husband would ask me the simplest question, I could not give him an answer. I was too tired to think! I felt so sorry for him because at that stage of my 2-3 hour sleep a day routine, I was really too exhausted to do anything!

I have to thank God for His grace in sustaining me. I can really see why some women do fall into a postpartum depression after birth. You are physically tired and if you can’t soothe your crying baby, a mother can feel frustrated, unfit and discouraged. I know that apart from God, I can’t have the strength to go on with joy in this journey.

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My daily multivitamin to overcome these negative thoughts is prayer. Every time I try to rock my son to sleep, I call unto God to help me. When I feel so tired that I may not have enough milk supply, I declare God’s truth, “I am sufficient in Christ Jesus”. When I feel down, I am reminded to praise and thank God for the gift He has given me.

I am encouraged when mothers tell me, “Enjoy this time, enjoy your baby”. They are speaking from hindsight that this time shall soon pass. It is true, my baby seems to be changing and growing every day. I would not want to miss every milestone in his early life.

Definitely, this sleep-depriving, mind draining, and physically fatigued occupation as a parent is HARD. It can be so difficult because it requires sacrifice and commitment. In exchange there is joy to see your baby sound asleep, comforted, and growing.

I miss my sleep and wonder when I will get my 8 hour sleep schedule back… but for now, I’m going to take other moms advise — I’m going to enjoy this time and enjoy my baby!