Baby & Mama

The Magic of Sleep.

Yesterday I was singing praises for Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit.  In the effort of full disclosure, Lord Fussington screams bloody murder when I am zipping him up into it!  But the moment I get him zipped and scooped into my arms he’s calm and falls asleep within 2 minutes, and during said 2 minutes it’s as if he’s thinking: “I want to hate this, but it feels so good…”  Up until the introduction of this sleep suit, Lord Fussington was only happy in my arms:

IMG_5707_Magic

I’m totally enjoying the snuggles, but…. Sometimes I want my hands back, sometimes I want to pee without holding my baby, sometimes I want to watch RHOBH and not wake my baby with my hilariously snarky remarks. This girl’s got needs.

The most magical part about the sleep suit is that he stays asleep for almost an hour. Which is very, very important for Lord Fussington.  My goal right now is to get him sleeping long enough each day, and I found this chart very helpful:

Baby_Sleep_Chart

Source: Precious Little Sleep

MY LITTLE ASTRONAUT

IMG_3825_Magic

So what is it? Besides making my baby look like he’s getting ready for space exploration, this puffy little outfit helps to muffle a baby’s reflexes while they sleep so they don’t wake themselves up. It is exactly the same reason why babies sleep better being swaddled, but (as we all know) babies love to break out of their swaddles- which makes them very, very annoyed. This is meant to be used as the transition from a swaddle to sleeping soundly on their own (hopefully!).

A WORD FROM THE LADIES

I’ve discovered three things about being a mama:

  1. We love consuming massive amounts of sugar during our weeks/months/years of breastfeeding (I can put away a whole batch of cookies in a single sitting right now).
  2. We love giving advice.
  3. What works wonders for your friend’s kid, is not guaranteed to work for yours.

Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit was recommended to me by one of my clients when I was still pregnant. She told me that if I ever needed something to help sleep train my baby, this worked for her and she thought it was one of the most valuable things she had in her arsenal.

So when asked, “What do/did you do to get your baby to sleep?” This is a sample of what other mamas said:

Mama RP. said: “The bouncy seat that has the vibration mode.  Or we would strap him into his car seat and put it on the dryer then turn it on. Then if those didn’t work I would take him for a drive or put him in the ergo carrier.”

Mama EB. said: (My first) baby liked sleeping on my lap, face down, head toward my knees while I gently bound her up and down on said knees. (My second baby) liked face down, on my arm, while I was standing. Her crotch was at my elbow, face at my hand, my elbow was bent so the forearm she rested on was parallel to the floor. Then I twisted at the waist.”

Mama RS. said: “…first the hairdryer goes from high to low (pause for 2 minutes), then I open the bathroom door since it’s so hot I don’t want to move out to the cooler hallway to startle her, then I stop my bouncing (but keep swinging), then i shut the hairdryer off and all that’s (left) on is the heat fan and my hairdryer white noise app, then I slowly stop swinging, then the fan shuts off and it’s just me and the white noise app, and I creep like a robber VERY slowly to the bed or the swing.  It’s absurd, so we have to laugh at it!”

Lord Fussington was not impressed with the blowdryer.

IMG_5727_Magic

He just cried and looked at me like, “Yeah, it’s a blowdryer… What am I supposed to do with that?  Now, get me out of this carrier!”.  So alas when I have failed at getting him out of my arms I fall back to the gold standard of baby sleep… Swaying and bouncing to music.

BEST SONGS FOR NAPTIME BABY BOUNCING

“Work Song”, Hozier 

“Thinking out loud”, Ed shereen

“Emmy Lou”, Vance Joy

Sway on, sweet mamas.

Lord Fussington.

I slowly and silently tiptoe through my bedroom toward the slightly open door that leads into the bathroom. I push the door open only an inch further to peek my head in and see what waits for me.  To an onlooker it would appear that I was terrified, as if something was about to attack me.  What has made me so cautious in my own house? 

lord_fussington_bathroom

Well, my newborn baby is sleeping and it’s the first time he’s ever slept longer than 30 minutes for a nap. It’s a miracle. Why in the bathroom?  Who knows?! It’s dark, it’s warm, he’s asleep- It’s a winner!  Gone are the dreams of my baby sleeping in his beautiful crib.  This is the real world.

LORD FUSSINGTON HAS ARRIVED

Baby Heatherland checks every box of a “high needs baby.”, so much that for this post I will refer to him lovingly by his new nickname: Lord Fussington.  Since both Mr. Heatherland and I can be described as *INTENSE* peoplethis should come as no surprise that our child has a spirited personality.

Lord_fussington_crying

I’ve found Dr. Sears to be a great resource to navigate life with Lord Fussington.  Afterall, he’s the doc that coined the phrase “high needs baby” instead of “fussy baby”.  He also has this personality profile of a high needs baby into adulthood that I find particularly helpful:

BABY

alert
intense
draining
demanding
cries impressively
loud
unconsolable
supersensitive
high-touch

 TODDLER/CHILD

busy
high-strung
exhausting
spunky
energetic
stubborn
impatient
strong-willed
obstinate
discerning
challenging
expressive
tantrum-prone
interesting
tender

 TEEN/ADULT

enthusiastic
deep
passionate
resourceful
dominating
opinionated
determined
persistent
insightful
fair
sociable
compassionate
empathetic
caring
affectionate

In general, and no exaggeration, Lord Fussington is not happy unless he’s being held and moved around constantly.  As long as we play by those rules he’s the sweetest, happiest baby.  This is why I still need my affirmations.  It’s also the reason getting back to my pre-pregnancy weight has not been a problem, every day is like a 12 hour Zumba class with nonstop bouncing and dancing with my baby (he’s strapped to my chest in a carrier right now as I stand, rock, and type this post).
During my research about high needs babies I started to realize Lord Fussington was actually displaying the symptoms of being overtired.

HOW TO SPOT AN OVERTIRED BABY

  • appears to fight going to sleep
  • is easily woken by even the slightest noise, eg, doors opening, talking
  • sleeps very little during the day most days – day-time naps are typically very brief, eg, 20–30 minutes
  • appears uncomfortable during feeds or periodically refuses to feed during the day, while feeding well during the night
  • wakes excessively or sleeps unusually long periods during the night without waking for feeds
  • often has a worried expression
  • is generally more content in the mornings than in the afternoons
  • finds it increasingly more difficult to fall asleep as the day progresses
  • cries often, ranging from whining to vigorous, inconsolable cries
  • requires constant attention from you when awake
  • wants to be held continuously, fusses in your arms, but cries whenever you put her down
  • resists going into a pram, high chair, crib or car seat
  • likes to be jiggled or rocked endlessly
  • startles often
  • experiences extreme separation anxiety
  • displays frequent physical or crying outbursts
  • has an insatiable appetite (these babies are often described as ‘hungry babies’)
  • may feed briefly or fall asleep before the feed is completed
With Lord Fussington, naps have been a total failure for the last 10 weeks, which supports my over-tired baby theory.  In general, he sleeps in my arms like this:  IMG_5658_lord_fussington

LORD FUSSINGTON’S SLEEP CRITERIA

1. He only wants sleep on a human body
2. He can’t sleep flat on his back because he has reflux
3. He needs constant motion to stay asleep
4. He hears everything and wakes up at the slightest noise

DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC?

So… How did I finally get Lord Fussington to sleep longer than 10 minute naps? With this winning 3 part combination:

IMG_5645_Lord_fussington

  1. Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit (wearing only a diaper under it)
  2. Baby Bjorn Bouncer (with soft blanket behind him)
  3. Sound Sleeper APP (playing “Shhh” next to him On iPad… Loud.)
And, drumroll please….  Lord Fussington slept for over 50 minutes without being held in my arms!  I had two free hands again!

Lord_fussington_sleeping

Unfortunately, the baby bjorn bouncer is not automatic so I had to bounce it with my foot for those 50 minutes, but the point is this is progress! I could give the lady that invented the Magic Sleep Suit a big, sloppy, open mouth kiss- but I won’t because she lives too far away.
Lord_fussington_sleeping_2
Other parents of high needs baby’s will understand this: You never really have it figured out. Lord Fussington is like a terminator… He quickly becoming self aware. Just because something worked one time, doesn’t mean it will always work.  The day I wrote this he decided he wanted to fall asleep in the bathroom, so there you have it.
So what the heck is a magic sleep suit, anyway?  More on that tomorrow.

Affirmation Nation

I have a 10 week old baby boy. How is that even possible? Holy crap. I never thought being a mom, especially to a newborn, would take so much strength. I have eaten humble pie for the last 10 weeks and taken back everything I ever said before I was a mother.

My friends and family keep asking me how it’s going and I don’t even know where to begin and how to sum it up.  Every day has more ups and downs than I could have ever anticipated. My observation is this: Women and babies are highly emotional beings, get them together and at any given time someone is going to be crying.  Mr. Heatherland has gotten used to seeing my happy tears, my sad tears, my tired tears, and my proud tears.

I think back to the copious amounts of advice I received while I was pregnant, and I think only a fraction of those women were forthright in telling me how hard it would be in the beginning. Most people just told me about the love. And yes, the love I have for this baby is overwhelming, but so are the day’s follies and failures.

GET INSPIRED

If I could offer one piece of advice to a soon-to-be-mom, I would urge them to find inspiration for the journey.  When I was getting prepared for the birth, I knew I really needed to get mentally ready for the labor. So to get my head in the game I collected about thirty phrases I could use as affirmations from every possible source.  I didn’t want them to just be labor related, I wanted affirmations that spoke to me on my deepest level. I looked at those phrases every day on my iPad before I got out of bed in the morning.
Birth_Affirmations

Then as my due date approached, I printed them out and made a collage to stare at during labor, and you know what? It really helped me.

BEST BIRTH AFFIRMATIONS

BEST MOTHERING AFFIRMATIONS

I fully expected never to look at those affirmations again.  But in the last 10 weeks they have continued to help me in this new role I’m in.  These are the ones I still flip through in the morning before the day gets going.

My hat truly goes off to all the other mamas out there… Because man, this ain’t easy.  The best advice I got still rings in my head:  “Tomorrow is a new day.”  Because no matter what happened today, tomorrow always holds promise, and a chance to try to do it a little better.

Every day I learn something about myself, about my son, and about life.

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