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Posts Tagged ‘newborn’

If you are anticipating a newborn, I bet you are wondering how you can possibly juggle the needs are two different children. Here is my suggestions:

1. Write your current child’s schedule on paper. Then think about how you can incorporate the needs of your newborn into your older child’s schedule.
2. Write out two schedules: One schedule that is a 3 hour schedule and one that is a 2.5 hour schedule. The 3 hour schedule is the goal and the one you hope to maintain, but you might need to feed more frequently in the beginning and also you might have a few growth spurts where you will need to feed more often. It is helpful to have a game plan for either situation.

Here are the schedules that I kept. I hope you find them helpful.

1-4 week old & 19 Month Old
(3 Hour Schedule)

7:00 Nurse, Followed by one-on-one time with Molly
7:45-10:00 Nap
8:00 Wake Up & Free Play
8:30 Breakfast
9:00 Outside Play

10:00 Nurse, Followed by one-on-one time with Anna
10:00- 11:00 IPT
10:45-1:00 Nap
11:00 Structured Learning/ Play
11:30 Free Play
12:00 Lunch
12:30 Read Stories, Potty, Get Ready for Nap

1:00 Nurse, Followed by laying on the floor with Both Girls
1:00-4:00 Nap
1:45-4:00 Nap

4:00 Nurse, Followed by hanging out in bouncers
4:00 Snack & DVD in gameroom on blanket (Modified blanket time)
4:45-7:00 Nap
5:00 One-on-One time with Mommy
5:30 Outside Play/ Play with Daddy if he gets home on time
6:00 Dinner
6:30 Free Play

7:00 Nurse
7:00 Play with Daddy
7:30 Family Play
8:00 Bedtime
8:00 Bedtime Routine
8:30 Bedtime

8:30-10:00 Adult Time with No Kids
10:00 Nurse, Right Back To Bed (treat like a dreamfeed)

This is my 2.5 hour schedule that I used when the girls were about 6 weeks old. I did this for schedule for about 3 weeks when they hit a HUGE growth spurt. I also went back to this schedule a few times during other growth spurt seasons.

Twins: 6-9 weeks old, Cooper: 30 Months Old
(2.5 Hour Schedule)

7:00 Nurse & one-on-one time with Molly
7:50- 9:30 Nap
8:00 Wake & Free Play
8:30 Breakfast
9:00 Outside Play

9:30 Nurse & one-on-one time with Anna
9:30-10:30 IPT
10:20- 12:00 Nap
10:30 Structured Learning/ Play
11:00 Free Play

12:00 Nurse (I nursed in the room right next to the kitchen so I could see Cooper) & Hang out in bouncers in kitchen
12:00 Lunch & DVD
12:50- 2:30 Nap
12:50 Get Ready for nap (sort version)
1:00-4:00 Nap

2:30 Nurse & hang out on floor with both girls
3:20- 5:00 Nap
4:00 Snack & One-on-One time with Mommy

5:00 Nurse
5:00 Blanket Time in Game room with DVD (modified blanket time)
5:30 Sibling Play with Mommy in Gameroom
5:50- 7:00 Nap
5:30 Outside Play/ Play with Daddy if he gets home on time
6:00 Dinner
6:30 Free Play

7:00 Nurse
7:00 Play with Daddy
7:30 Family Play
8:00 Bedtime
8:00 Bedtime Routine
8:30 Bedtime

8:30-10:00 Adult Time with No Kids
10:00 Nurse, Right Back To Bed (treat like a dreamfeed)

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As a first time parents, I was desperately trying to figure out what my newborn son needed. What did his cries mean? I came across a great DVD that explains what your newborn’s cries mean- “Dunstant Baby” I rented it from the library. This DVD taught you how to recognize if your baby was crying because he was hungry, tired, had gas, or was board/ need a change. The DVD shows a number of babies make these particular cries so it is very helpful to see the different cries actually produced. My son Cooper definitely made these cries. The most helpful cries were the ones for hunger, tired, and gas. It helped me to follow my son’s lead when it come to feeding him and following his hunger cues. I was on a baby wise feeding schedule, but if my son let out a cry for hunger “neh” I made sure I fed him. It helped me to not over feed him because there would be times he would cry, but it would be for other reasons such as tiredness, and I would just put him down for a nap at that point.

Here is a quick clip of the DVD from utube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ehv5m9gnu0

Here is what Wikipedia writes about the program:

Between 0-3 months, infants make what Dunstan calls sound reflexes.[2] According to Dunstan, we all have reflexes, like sneezes, hiccups, and burps, that all have a recognizable pattern when sound is added to the reflex. There are other reflexes that all babies experience, and when sound is added to these, a distinct, preemptive “cry” will occur before the infant breaks into what Dunstan calls the hysterical cry. Dunstan claims that these preemptive cries can indicate what the infant requires (e.g., food, comfort, sleep, etc.), and they escalate to the hysterical cry if they are not answered. As the infant matures past 3 months in vocalization, the sound reflexes become replaced with more elaborate babbling.

According to Dunstan, the five universal words (or sound reflexes) used by infants are[3]:

Neh—I’m hungry – An infant uses the sound reflex “Neh” to communicate its hunger. The sound is produced when the sucking reflex is triggered, and the tongue is pushed up on the roof of the mouth.
Owh—I’m sleepy – An infant uses the sound reflex “Owh” to communicate that they are tired. The sound is produced much like an audible yawn.
Heh—I’m experiencing discomfort – An infant uses the sound reflex “Heh” to communicate stress, discomfort, or perhaps that it needs a fresh diaper. The sound is produced by a response to a skin reflex, such as feeling sweat or itchiness in the bum.
Eairh—I have lower gas – An infant uses the sound reflex “Eairh” to communicate they have flatulence or an upset stomach. The sound is produced when trapped air from a belch that is unable to release and travels to the stomach where the muscles of the intestine tighten to force the air bubble out. Often, this sound will indicate that a bowel movement is in progress, and the infant will bend its knees, bringing the legs toward the torso. This leg movement assists in the ongoing process.
Eh—I have gas – An infant uses the sound reflex “Eh” to communicate that it needs to be burped. The sound is produced when a large bubble of trapped air is caught in the chest, and the reflex is trying to release this out of the mouth.

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In the book, Good Night, Sleep Tight, the author discusses the idea that it is best to put your baby to bed drowsy but awake. This is important if you want your child to learn how to fall asleep on his own with out your help. If you child awakes in the middle of the night, he will not be depend on you to help him fall back to sleep. A very young baby (under the age of 4 months) will usually need assistance to help calm and sooth before bedtime. It is okay to rock, swing, and walk with your baby to help calm them down, but only do it to the point when your baby is drowsy.

The author also discusses the most common mistake a parents makes is to nurse their child to sleep. The key is to nurse your child only enough to the point where they are drowsy and not totally asleep. She writes:“When he stops sucking energetically and swallowing, and instead is sucking gently, a sort of fluttering motion on your breast (or bottle), he is past the ‘drowsy’ target. In fact, if you look, you’ll see his eyes are probably closed…If he wakes up as you are unlatching him and still seems hungry…give him one more chance. If he starts eating fine let him finish. But if he just goes back to that flutter sucking, you’ve been duped! He isn’t hungry, he just wants to suckle himself to sleep. (p.20)”

Your child may cry a little before falling asleep. It is okay. That is their way of blowing off steam. Some babies need to cry to help themselves fall asleep. My son will cry now, at 6 months, for about 5 minutes before falling asleep. When we first started putting my son to sleep drowsy there would be nights when he would fall asleep with no tears and other nights he would cry for up to 20 minutes. Eventually, the amount of time he would cry decreased and he became more efficient at falling asleep on his own. This was a huge help for when he would awake in the middle of the night on his own. He would fuss and cry for a few minutes, but eventually fall back to sleep on his own without our assistance.

Please feel free to share your stories and success with putting your babies to sleep drowsy!

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In the book, Good Night, Sleep Tight, the author write about the importance of establishing a good bedtime routine. This is not the time to be stimulating our child with a tickling war. Rather, this should be a calm, whine down time for you and your baby. The key is calm. Do activities that are not highly over stimulating and do the same routine every night. Doing the same routine every night will help signal to your child that it is now time to sleep (not play). Children thrive from routine and it is never to early to begin! Make sure you start your routine in enough time to get your child in bed at your chosen bedtime. For example, if you child goes to sleep at 8pm, make sure you start your bedtime routine at least 15-30 minutes before bedtime at 7:30pm.

My Son’s Bedtime Routine

Every night when my son Cooper was a newborn, we would bathe, nurse him (or bottle), turn on white noise (fan or white noise machine), swaddle, rock him a little (to the point of drowsiness), and put him in his crib.  As Cooper got older, our routine change a little: bathe, nurse/bottle, white noise turned on, swaddle/sleep sac, prayer, and put in crib. Cooper no longer needed the rocking to help calm and soothe him for bed. My son has had different bedtimes at different ages. Currently my son goes to bed at 7:00pm. We start our bedtime routine at 6:30pm so we can have him in bed by 7:00pm.

Suggested Activities for Bedtime

Read Books, Infant Message, Bath, Sing, Listen to soft music, rock/hold/ cuddle, nurse/bottle, walk with baby, gaze at mobile in crib together, rock in rocking chair

It should be noted that newborns often need extra help to whine down at night. It is important to give them extra time to calm and relax for sleep. Try not to put your baby in their crib asleep. It is okay to get your baby to the point of drowsiness, but try not to put her down for the night asleep. This will not help your child learn how to get herself to sleep on her own.

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In Kim West’s book, Good Night, Sleep Tight, she write about choosing the right time to begin sleep training. It does not matter if your baby is a new born or two years old. You must make sure that when you begin sleep training that you will not have a lot of disruptions or events planned. She recommends you block off 3 weeks and not have any plans, trips, or visitors that will disrupt your sleep training and routine that you are about to establish with your child. For instance, you would not want to start sleep training if it was the Christmas season and you knew there would be visitors or parties planned that would throw off your routine and planned sleep training. Also, do not start sleep training if your child is in the mist of teething, illness, or a growth spurt. They will only hinder your progress.

I have a neighbor with a baby. She started sleep training with her son right before Christmas and New Years. They started to see some improvement in his nighttime sleep but then traveled home (out of state) for the holidays. Of course that right there was a huge disruption to their sleep training. He went to bed late and all his relatives wanted to hold him and possibly keep him up late. When they returned from their trip, their son’s sleep was as poor as it was before they left. They has to start all over with the sleep training.

If you are starting out with a newborn, I recommend that you block out even more time to establish a good routine and sleeping patterns. Give yourself until your child is at least 8 weeks old. Your baby experiences rapid growth during the first 8 weeks and it will take longer for your child to ease into a solid routine. Don’t be come a hermit or stop allowing all guest over, just try to keep the disruptions to your baby’s schedule to a minim. Try to keep you baby at home for all her naps and nighttime sleep.

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“Inconsistently reinforced behavior is the hardest type to modify or extinguish. It takes the longest to change, and it often provokes even more of the tears we are trying to avoid.”
p.15 Good Night, Sleep Tight

I could not agree more with this statement! If you want your child to learn how sleep through the night or during naps, you must be consistent. Develop a plan of action and stick to it! With Cooper we decided to use the Cry-It-Out (CIO) method that is laid out in the book Baby Wise. While in the beginning of the CIO, I felt weak at times. Cooper would sometimes cry for a full hour before falling asleep at night, but we were committed to our plan. Finally after a week, his crying had diminished to 5-10 minutes of crying. Sticking to our plan had worked!

But I have had weak moments, particularly in the middle of the night. When we were trying to eliminate the middle of the night feeding (which I knew he no longer needed, but was waking out of habit), we started to implement CIO. The first three nights were hard, he cried for 45 minute to an hour. By the fourth night, his crying had decreased to only 30 minutes. However the 5th night, I caved in and feed him after he cried for 20 minutes because I was tired and I hated to hear him cry. It took me twice as long to get rid of the middle of the night feeding because he now expected me to come in a feed him. I learned early on that be consistent with our plan was important! Otherwise, I was going to spend more time trying to obtain our goal and with more tears!

What ever sleep training method you chose to implement with your child, make sure you stick to it. Don’t do most of the time, do it all of the time. Children thrive off of consistency! They need to know how to behave, but if you keep changing it up, they will never learn what type of response or action you are looking for.

Here are steps for staying consistent when implementing sleep training:

  1. Write your method/ strategy down
  2. Work on one goal at a time. Whether that is eliminating the middle of the night feeding or waking early from a nap. Just choose one thing to tackle at a time.
  3. Have support. Make sure you have someone who will support you weather that is your spouse or a friend you can call. Just make sure you have someone who can encourage you to stick with your decision and plan!

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