Tuesday, June 30, 2009

11 hours

Last night Ethan slept a total of 11 hours and was up 3 times. He also napped VERY well yesterday since we were home all day. He took FOUR naps totaling over 3.5 hours of sleep. We were home all day though. I expected the 3rd nap because he was up at 5:30am but didn't expect the 4th one at all. He was cranky when he woke up from nap 3 and 2 hours later was eye rubbing and whining so we attempted a nap and it was successful. We'll see what today holds as he's back to daycare for the afternoon so I'm expecting much less sleep over the next few days. It's a vicious cycle. I hear that someday he'll learn to sleep through the excitement and sounds of daycare.

Some pic updates...

He loves his daddy. Father's Day post & pics to come soon.

Love his crazy hair!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Wheat & Sleep

I was SO excited to finally re-introduce wheat into my diet. I spent 2 days trying to decide WHAT I was going to choose to eat. First I thought about Sunchips. Then I thought about pasta (fyi, rice pasta is not so great). Then I decided on CEREAL and wondered why I didn't think of it first. I could eat cereal for every meal of the day. I probably eat 2-3 bowls a day and was growing tired of Rice Krispies after 2 months straight. Then came the choice of WHICH cereal I should pick. After reading labels and continuing to avoid things like high fructose corn syrup, tophocerol, etc. I came across plain old Life cereal and it seemed harmless. I knew that it was dairy and soy free. I was so excited to eat breakfast on Sunday morning only to regret it for the rest of the day. Ugh. My stomach was not prepared for change. It was a BAD choice to re-introduce something on an empty stomach. I felt sick ALL day. Nausea, stomach cramps, etc. Just a tip for those on an elimination diet- don't make the same mistake that I did. On top of being sick, the prior night was E's worst night of sleep yet. Those days as a newborn where he would wake every 2 hours were dreamy compared to this.

He followed that horrible night with a not so bad one. He woke 4 times but got a total of 9.75 hours of sleep. If you're attempting the No Cry Sleep Solution or any other sleep training I think creating a night-waking log like Elizabeth Pantley suggests in her book is a great idea. At first I thought, eh, I don't need to do that b/c I'll remember what times he wakes up. Yes, I might vaguely remember times but seeing
-what time he woke
-how he woke
-how long he was awake, what occurred
-time he fell back to sleep
-how he fell back to sleep
-how long he slept for that stretch
was very helpful. According to her book, a baby Ethan's age should be sleeping about 10-11 hours (she notes that it does not represent uninterrupted stretches of sleep). Seeing that made me feel relieved, sane, normal, and motivated.

I've also noticed that Ethan is itching his eyes less. He seems to itch/rub his eyes and head when he's tired and as a soothing technique when he's falling asleep. Sometimes it seems to wake him up more (when his eczema is bad or when he's having trouble sleeping) and other times he falls asleep with the back of his hands covering his eyes.

I look forward to the day when we can introduce a lovey (anyone have experience with this?). He seems to like to squeeze or rub something as he's falling asleep. One day he fell asleep repeatedly squeezing a crib rail. I think he needs a stress ball :)

I love those chubby little fingers.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

On Hold

Our sleep training efforts are pretty much on hold at this point :( We were in Phase 2 but Ethan's eczema is causing big issues. Nap time yesterday almost pushed me over the edge. He was tired, I was tired, he was itchy, I was hungry. After about an hour of me rocking him to sleep only to have him wake himself up SEVERAL times by itching his face as soon as I'd put him in his crib, I knew the nap wasn't going to happen. I have to say that naps are still an improvement from a couple of weeks ago when he was napping only in his swing. We have been very consistent with our nap routine and it has been working.

Last night we watched him on the video monitor. He stirs and can put himself back to sleep but then starts itching! Ugh. It's incredibly frustrating. If we get to him quickly enough and hold his hands down then he falls back to sleep. Are you picturing this? It's probably a funny site to see us sprinting upstairs to hold his hands down. If we let him itch then he's up, cries, and wants to nurse.

Thanks to commenter, Shannon, who shared this blog post. We're going to give the nightly luke warm soak a try. I think it will help his skin absorb the prescription lotion. The pedi suggested that lotion only once a day. The California Calendula cream seemed to help so we'll try that again during the day. I'm going to ask the pedi about this combo today while we're there for his shots. I'm dreading that appt this afternoon.

[Edited to ad] I linked the prescription ... wondering if anyone has heard reviews of it. From my searching I haven't found any negatives but just wondering.

So, we're standing still at Phase 1 and 2 of the No Cry Sleep Solution until we can get his eczema under control. Oh and I've also eliminated chocolate to see if that helps. It makes me sad not to have those Enjoy Life Foods chocolate bars and cookies after dinner but I'll survive. Someday I'll get to have a HUGE piece of GOOD chocolate cake again.

Monday, June 22, 2009

4 am is still night time in this house

I thought getting up at 5am on Sat and 5:30am on Sunday was tough. Ethan decided that 4am was time to party today. He was WIDE awake, talking, cooing, and smiling. Cute but we were not amused. We finally got him back to sleep by 5:30am and he was up again at 6:30am. On a better note, he only woke up 3 times last night. I'll continue to TRY to be as patient as possible and hope to see more progress with this No Cry Sleep Solution. Again, this method is not a quick fix but it's getting better. Watch, now that I wrote those words Ethan will be up 6 times tonight. We'll see.

Ethan itches his head and eyes like crazy while he's trying to fall asleep. I'm sure his eczema is bothering him but we're wondering if that is contributing to our sleep issues.

This is what we're dealing with:

Bad pics. He did not want to sit still.

He's wearing an Amber teething necklace in these pics, in case you were wondering. You can read about them here. We don't think he's in pain yet from teething but I wanted him to get used to it. He doesn't even notice it though, which is great. I figure it may help prevent some teething discomfort too. You never know when that will start.

I don't think I updated on here about my overachiever. It was not a tooth coming in as we thought. The pedi said that the white bump was likely a cyst that forms before the tooth breaks through. Still no tooth but I'm in no hurry for that to occur. I love his gummy smile. No matter where we go someone tells us that he is teething. He's always drooling and chewing. Some days he drools more than a St. Bernard.

Ethan seems to enjoy sitting at the table with us during mealtimes now.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Sleep training

This might be one of the most confusing topics I've ever researched. There are many methods, which is good because not all babies respond to one method, but figuring out which one is a fit for your family is tough.

I think during month 2-3 Ethan was only waking 1-2 times a night. It was fantastic. He would nurse and usually go right back to sleep. There were some nights where we'd have to sshhh and bounce him back to sleep after those wakings. He was also swaddled.

He went through that 4 month wakeful and he's been waking more often since then. There were a few nights where he woke up just 1-2 times but usually it has been more often, especially lately.

He's in his crib, in a sleep sack, currently uses a pacifier but loses it. He can sleep w/o the pacifier but sleeps better with it. We have an established bedtime routine, a comfortable room, and white noise. He seems to sleep better with the noise of the humidifier than the white noise machine (ocean or rain sound).

He's a very confusing child. He could put himself to sleep from an awake state. He would coo and talk until he fell asleep. We were amazed. In the middle of the night though, when he was half asleep (eyes closed but crying until he fully woke up) he couldn't put himself back to sleep. He needed help. Issue #1.

Issue #2 is napping at daycare. He goes to daycare 3 consecutive days a week. Sometimes he sleeps well there but most days he does not. There is just too much going on in the room and he doesn't want to miss out, no matter how tired he is. He has put himself to sleep in his crib at daycare a few times but usually he's either napping in the swing or bouncer. Anyone who has read about sleep knows that the better a child naps during the day the better they will sleep at night.

Issue #3 is eating at daycare. I think this has to do with everything going on around him too. He used to be able to nurse or take a bottle no matter what was going on. Now he has trouble nursing if I talk or if Matt is talking. Some days he takes 4oz from the bottle quickly while other days he'll eat a few ounces then loses interest. He plays with the nipple, looks around, talks to whoever is feeding him, etc. If he's not eating enough during the day then he's waking up all night long to eat. This is one of the main reasons I'm not sure we can do Cry It Out even after he is 6 months old. When we wakes to eat, he is really eating (sounds like he's chugging), not just nursing back to sleep.

I've read the No Cry Sleep Solution book by Elizabeth Pantley. I've used some of her discipline books/methods for work and have found her methods to be very effective. I'm hoping that her sleep training method works just as well. We're in Phase 1 and so far have seen some results. He's not waking AS often or for as long.

As with everything baby/child related ... this is a phase and could change at any moment. I've talked with other parents and it seems the majority have faced sleep issues and those issues change over time. Some have great infant sleepers but then have trouble keeping their 2 year old in bed. Some have done successful sleep training but any illness, period of teething, vacation, can set them back.

We're tired but motivated to make change. I'm not looking for a quick fix either. I can be patient as long as we're seeing progress. I think the only way we're going to see progress is if we're consistent. That is the tough part.

I can't end a post w/o a cute pic:

I love his little smirk here. Like he's telling me it isn't so bad.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sucking toes

is the cutest thing!!

Looks like he found them for the first time!

I distracted him so he missed his mouth.

Trying again

Nearly there

Tonight it seemed like he was using his big toe as a pacifier. It was hysterical!

Sucking his toes is not his only new trick. He uses both hands together to bring just about anything to his mouth. He is SCOOTING on his back too! He rarely ever stays still if you put him on the floor. Diaper changes are starting to get interesting. He's always been a squirmer but now he tries to scoot away from me! If you put him on his belly and put your hands on the bottom of his feet he can push off and move himself forward. I think that might be his favorite new game.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cupcakes - a year later

No, not year old cupcakes...just something I didn't follow through with until more than a year later.

Remember this post? Well, I FINALLY made them!! And I think they were the perfect favor for Ethan's Christening.

First, it was a lesson in self control. I couldn't taste ANY batter, cake, icing, melted chocolate, etc. It was TOUGH. That is where the Cherrybrook Kitchen chocolate cake mix helped out. My mother-in-law tried my 'allergen free' chocolate cake and I think she thought it was gross but I really liked it. My coworker commented that my taste buds must be dying off since I actually like some of these foods now.

Anyway, back to the cupcakes ...
I attempted to make them the way Bakerella did here and they turned out OK but I preferred this idea of hers instead.

Here are some pics of how mine turned out...

I heard they were pretty good. I would definitely make them again.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Our trip to Arizona

We went to visit my sister-in-law and her family for 5 days. Both Matt and I were nervous about flying with an infant but Ethan was a great traveler. The day we left he decided that he wasn't really interested in eating. This made me panic a little because I planned to have him nurse while we were taking off (it's suggested that the baby nurse/take a bottle/pacifier during take off and landing). Luckily, as soon as we were ready to take off Ethan decided he was hungry and tired. He nursed to sleep and slept for more than an hour. It was a five hour flight so he took another short nap later on during the flight. He only melted down a few times and each episode was brief. Flying is so noisy that our neighboring passengers said they barely heard him.
What helped us?
-We took this trip before he was mobile so he didn't mind staying in our seats for the entire flight. He loves when you help him stand so that kept him occupied for a while.
-We had a lot of his favorite books & toys.
-We also packed LOTS of pacifiers. Ethan just started taking the MAM pacifiers recently. He had been sucking on 2 fingers but refusing the Soothies pacifiers. We tried the MAM's again and I'm glad we did since they helped on this flight. He dropped about 5 of them so I was glad to be armed with a bag full of clean ones.
-Thanks to a suggestion from a friend I bought disposable changing pads. We have our changing pad but it was nice to not have to wipe it off before putting it back in the diaper bag. I cringe just thinking about the germs in the airplane/airport bathrooms.

The flight home was longer but Ethan was amazing during the entire time!! There were terrible storms so our flight was rerouted, we flew in circles, had to land in VA to refuel, then take a longer route to our destination to avoid more storms. It was about 13 hours of traveling (including drives to & from the airports). Ethan had very few breakdowns. He nursed A LOT that day though. I think he felt insecure from being out of his element for nearly a week. On top of that he was still suffering from a reaction to whatever I accidentally ate. A relative used butter/cooking spray when preparing chicken. We aren't sure which one and I didn't ask b/c I didn't want to make her feel bad about it.

We flew SouthWest and it was great. We were able to do family board (where they have you board between group A and B). We sat in a section with other families which was a HUGE plus on this flight. There were amazing mothers who were flying alone with their children. One of these mothers was flying with a one-year-old and a five-year-old. WOW. She was super mom! She had enough activities for each half hour of the flight for her five-year-old. Her son has a milk allergy and she packed plenty of allergen free snacks for him. It was neat to 'watch her work'. She kept those kids entertained and happy. She bought a seat for her one-year-old and brought his car seat along. It looked like a lot to lug through the airport (double stroller, car seat on top of it, big carry-on for her with the kids food & toys, etc) but it looked worth it to me. The one-year-old looked comfortable in his car seat and a plus that it was familiar to him so that he could sleep. He was cranky towards the end of the flight but I think we all were.

Some pics from our trip:
First time in a pool!

On the flight home

Of course I have tons more pics, including some really cute ones of Ethan & his cousins, but I'm not sure how my sister-in-law would feel about me posting pics of her children on my blog so I'll refrain. Trust me, they're cute!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ethan's Christening

My sweet boy was baptized on May 31, 2009. It was one of the greatest days of my life. It was amazing to look around the church and see the faces of our loved ones there to share this event with us. We are so blessed.

I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Allergy update

Ugh, poor Ethan. I've found myself saying that more often lately.

I introduced eggs. Ethan had a reaction. He was healed from that and I was looking forward to introducing wheat. I decided to wait until we returned from a vacation to Arizona.

Unfortunately while we were on vacation a relative must have used butter or cooking spray when preparing chicken :( That night Ethan woke up screaming and had terrible (mucousy) diapers. Ugh. I feel like we're back at square one. His diapers seem to be improving but his eczema is OUT OF CONTROL. I've read that as a child grows allergies start showing symptoms more on the skin. He has huge, red patches on his face and head. It looks incredibly uncomfortable. We have previously tried Aquaphor on his eczema and while it appeared to soothe the patches, it didn't clear them. Next we tried California Baby Calendula cream. That cream was working well to soothe and even clear some patches but I had to apply it more than 3 times a day to see those results. I'm hoping to find something more effective.

We met with a new pediatrician last week and are really happy with him so far. He referred us to a pediatric allergist who we'll see in July. The new pedi suggested just letting the air help heal E's eczema. So far it seems to be getting worse with that approach. The pedi also gave us a prescription for a non steroid cream. We will try that this week.

Other than his allergies, Ethan is doing REALLY well. My monster child is in the 90th percentile for weight, height, and head circumference. He is a BIG boy at nearly 18 pounds.

Some snacks/sweets that I've been eating recently:

Clif's Kids Organic Twisted Fruit, Real Fruit Rope. They are YUMMY! They have a serving of fruit, no allergens, and actually help me feel full. Fantastic to bring along for a snack on the go.

Stretch Island Fruit Co The Original Fruit Leather. Similar as above.

Yummy Earth Organic Candy Drops - great to have candy since I can't have mints/gum.

Cherrybrook Kitchen pancake and chocolate cake mixes. I used olive oil and real vanilla extract. Not as great as a regular choc cake but good!

Enjoy Life Foods chocolate bars. There is one with crispy rice in it and it's like a Nestle Crunch bar!!