Why we chose sleep training for our little guy – part 2

Why we chose sleep training

In an effort to not write an essay, I have made this post in to a two-part series.  Part 1 will outline the more research-based elements of sleep training, whereas part 2 will focus on our personal experience with using a gentle sleep training method.

Part 2

Continuing from where I left off in part 1, here I want to talk about our personal experience in undertaking sleep training for Baby Mermy.  Although the research indicated to us the importance of sleep and guiding our little ones to sleep better through the night on their own, actually implementing the sleep training strategies necessary to do so was an extremely difficult decision to make.  It is one thing to read and research and it is another to actually carry it out.  Research, books, sleep experts on social media, bloggers, they can all speak to this topic with as much knowledge and conviction as they want, but how these strategies will actually play out in your own home with your own little one is a whole different ball game.  And it’s a scary game at that.

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Why we chose sleep training for our little guy

Sleep training - it sounds far more awful than it is. The importance of sleep for little ones cannot be overemphasized.

 

In an effort to not write an essay, I have made this post in to a two-part series.  Part 1 will outline the more research-based elements of sleep training, whereas part 2 will focus on our personal experience with using a gentle sleep training method.

Part 1

The one thing I had promised myself I would never do, I am now doing: sleep training.  Gasp! Shock! I know the arguments lash-outs moms putting other moms down because of the well-intentioned decisions they made about their own families debates surrounding sleep training and why it is good or not good.  This was most definitely one of the hardest decisions we have ever made.  I was always on the side of it not being good.  I just didn’t think it could fit with the attachment parenting lifestyle that we had adopted.  But, after 16 months of co-sleeping and nursing to sleep, with neither of us getting the quality of sleep we needed, something had to change.  I started doing research and as a family, Papa Mermy and I made the conscious decision that sleep training, or “sleep learning” as Alice Callahan, PhD, terms it over at “The Science of Mom” was the right way forward for us.  Knowing now what I know of sleep and sleep training in its various forms, I can honestly say that this was the best decision for my little guy.  Does it mean I get a bit more sleep? Sure, but that’s never been the driving force.  I am a research-oriented person and once I started learning more about sleep and its importance for little ones, I felt that it was my duty to ensure that I allowed my son to pursue independent, good quality sleep and thereby thrive in his development.  I know there will be those who will disagree, but to put it politely, our family, our rules #sorrynotsorry.  As our family motto states: This is a no-judgement zone.

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Happy FIRST birthday, Baby Mermy!

Happy FIRST birthday, Baby Mermy

 

So, this happened recently: a birthday! The first one, actually. Inevitably, through the predictable passage of time, my child has reached the milestone that I looked forward to and dreaded: his first birthday.  It all seems to have happened so suddenly! On his birthday, I remember looking up at the clock at random intervals and reminiscing on what I had been doing a year prior (oh, look! At this time, I was starting my contractions! Oh, look! At this time, I was pushing!).  Baby Mermy, on the other hand, did not care at all.  I thought that rather unfair: how could he not see how important this day was?! But that’s exactly the reason why we chose not to have a birthday party for him.  He was simply unaware of the significance of this day; for him, it was just another day when he could go to the community centre for a drop-in play group.  He ran around (on his knees, of course.  Why attempt to walk slowly when one can move so much faster while crawling?), visited all his “friends” and giggled at the joy of seeing beings like him (I.e. Tiny in height and moving about similarly).  He attempted to play with these friends by sitting and observing them; some mothers weren’t inviting, but many more were and he enjoyed their company.  To his curious little mind, this was a great opportunity to explore and learn about how this massive world works.  He sat and watched facial expressions, how moms played with their little ones, how the little ones themselves played, and the types of playful activity that he could potentially mimic.  He had a wonderful time!

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Lessons learned from family conflict

Lessons learned from family conflict - www.happilytiredmama.com

 

It has been a long while since I have been here, and I apologize for disappearing without a word.  It has been an incredibly intense few months and things are only now starting to assume some level of normalcy.  At first, Baby Mermy started to teeth and sleep went out the window for both of us.  It’s an understatement to say that I felt like a zombie those days, smiling and entertaining Baby Mermy while yawning.  Once those adorable little teeth poked through, sleep returned to normalcy and we were all feeling rather content.  Until the proverbial poop hit the fan.  As a consequence, we have moved from what we had once considered our forever-home and our city where Papa Mermy and I both grew up to a city five hours away.

I am not one to share dirty laundry; I firmly believe that certain tales of family conflict should stay within the confines of the family.  However, I have gleaned some insight from what has happened behind closed doors that I think are worth sharing.

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Bonding with baby: the first two weeks

Bonding with baby: The first two weeks. My experience immediately following the birth of my baby - over at the www.happilytiredmama.com

 

Papa Mermy and Baby Mermy have a beautiful bond.  When Papa Mermy comes home from work, Baby Mermy lights up with the biggest smile on his face and starts squirming in my arms, trying to escape to get to his papa! It’s the sweetest, most beautiful expression of love and it does a mama’s heart good to see her two favourite men being each other’s lovey-doveys.  But, it wasn’t always this way.  Not for me.  Bonding with the baby in those first two weeks was extremely difficult and seeing Papa Mermy do it with such ease made me feel really insecure as a mother.

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What’s in your breast milk?

What's in your breast milk?

 

So, it happened again. My breasts were engorged. This is the second time in a two-week period that this has happened, with each episode lasting a few days. Dealing with the pain, I turned to my own post, but also started to think about the formulation of breast milk since Baby Mermy wasn’t drinking properly from either breast. My concern was whether he was actually consuming the hind milk, often also referred to as the fatty milk. And then I did some research and learned some interesting facts about breast milk. So, what’s in your breast milk?

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5 tips to help with plugged milk ducts

5 tips to help unplug milk ducts
FreeImages.com/agastecheg

Baby Mermy has transformed breastfeeding into a most engaging activity.  For him.  For instance, he loves to blow air bubbles on my breast instead of drinking (having the added bonus of causing let down that he has absolutely no interest in drinking – cue milk sprays and milk-covered clothes).  Or he loses interest in drinking because other things are catching his eye and attention (damn you, shadows!) and doesn’t drain the breast completely.  As much as I love that he’s enjoying himself, the unfortunate side effect is that I sometimes end up with plugged milk ducts, and they are about as much fun as being jabbed in the nipple by a baby who screams bloody murder when you try to cut his nails.  Not exactly the way I would like to spend my days.  When you are in pain from plugged milk ducts (and believe me, they are quite uncomfortable), the last thing you want to do is undertake research on how to alleviate your pain.  Not to worry! I have listed some methods that have worked for me and I hope will help you too.  Keep this page bookmarked so that you can reference it quickly when in need! Continue reading

Why I’m breastfeeding in public

Breastfeeding baby

Breastfeeding is not always easy nor does it always come as naturally as one would hope.  As I said here, it took me a little while to adjust to breastfeeding, but I am so glad that I continued despite the pain and discomfort.  I have now been breastfeeding my son for over 9 months, and will continue to do so until Baby Mermy decides to wean himself off.  To celebrate World Breastfeeding Week and the pledge to breastfeed in public, I want to share my experiences and thoughts on breastfeeding in public.

Before and during pregnancy, I was very nervous about how I would breastfeed my baby in public.  How could I just pull my boob out to feed my little nursling?  How would I drape myself in the nursing cover?  What if I exposed my boob, side-boob, or any part thereof?  Should I get the one that allowed me to peek down at Baby Mermy or should I get the one that draped like a scarf?  Papa Mermy and I discussed bottle feeding breast milk when I started to feel overwhelmed (pregnancy hormones probably didn’t help), but that didn’t feel like the right solution for us either. Continue reading

Dealing with the parenting critiques and critics

Dealing with the parenting critics and critiques

 

When Baby Mermy was born, I asked my midwife if the manual on how to raise him had also come out along with him.  She laughed; I was only half-kidding.  Maybe not entirely a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of situation, raising a child is definitely an experimental process.

Oh so when you are crabby, you want only this boob? Ok, got it.  

Ok, so this high-pitched wailing means you want your nappy changed, not that you are hungry, sleepy, tired, or gassy.  

Oh, so you are upset because the wipe is too cold? One warm wipe coming up (hastily rubbing wipe between hands to “warm” it up)!

You get the picture.   Continue reading

Why I’m saying NO to visitors next time

Saying NO to visitors with baby no 2

God willing, we will have a second baby.  It is our hope and prayer to be blessed with a second child.  Once that child makes his or her way into the world, however, there is one rule I will enforce that I had not even considered the first time around: no visitations right after the baby is born and, after the initial visit, I am saying no to all visitors for at least two weeks after.  Sound tough?  I’ll explain why.

 

Giving birth is an intense process, physically, emotionally, mentally.  The act of giving birth itself is not the be-all-end-all in this matter either.  After birth, the mother may need medical care (stitches, etc) or need recovery time from the effects of any pain relief taken during the labour process.  This recovery is not always easy.  In my case, I had to receive stitches without anaesthesia because my body does not respond well to it.  Suffice to say, it hurt and I was in pain. Continue reading