Sleep is a really charged issue for new moms. It is the topic of conversation 90% of the time when I'm with others: how to get your baby to sleep more, and how to get more sleep yourself. While I think there are other important subjects to address, I do my fair share of worrying on this subject too.
As I have mentioned, I've been very nervous about Lyla's transition to sleeping in her crib. She has taken naps in her swing and spends nights in a bassinet next to our bed. Our first step was to move the swing from the living room to her room. This change was accepted easily and she continued to take naps peacefully in her room.
Bedtime continued to be rocky with much crying and soothing. These evening meltdowns occupied much of my mind as I tried to figure out why she was so upset and how to alleviate the stress for both of us. I decided it was time to begin the regular bedtime routine that we will continue from now on. The process starts about the same time every night: jammies, a book, swaddling from the waist down (for warmth as opposed to soothing), songs, and rocking. The goal is to put her down very drowsy but awake so she can learn to put herself to sleep. Lyla still cried but maybe for not as long- the rocking could even make her more agitated some nights. So I added one more component to the routine- nursing.
I had some reservations about nursing to sleep, mostly because it could mean I would be the only one who could put her to bed. A peaceful bedtime is more important to me than that freedom, so after swaddling I sat down in the yellow chair (which is finally getting used a lot!) and nursed her. After a few minutes her sucking would become light and faint and eventually she'd spit out my nipple. I would sit with her for a few more minutes, until I thought she was more firmly asleep. Getting up with her like this is the trickiest part; it must be smooth and gentle so as to not disturb her so much that she wakes. I'd place her in the swing and she might cry out once or twice before settling down again for good. We are continuing to do this and it is going very well as far as making bedtime predictable and less stressful.
Meanwhile, Lyla has outgrown the newborn napper attachment to her bassinet- her feet were starting to stick out on the end! So two weeks ago I removed the cushion from the newborn napper and placed it on the floor of the pack n play in our room- one more step towards the actual crib.
Then, we had our first overnight- Lyla and I stayed at my parents' house for two days while Ray had an event at our house. That meant no swing, no crib, no bassinet. I was nervous but didn't need to be because she slept just fine! I brought the napper cushion and she slept in it on the floor next to my bed. I learned a lesson in diving into your own fears, because the results can really surprise you.
But the best is yet to come.
Since we went two days without the swing, I put Lyla to sleep in the crib when we got home, attempting to continue the streak. After our routine, I carefully placed Lyla in her crib. I intended to move her to the bassinet in our room when she woke up for a feeding that night.
Except. . . she didn't wake up! I could hardly believe it, Lyla slept from 7:30pm until just before 6:00am. Without eating. Without crying out. She no longer needs to eat in the middle of the night physically, and it's possible we were disrupting her sleep with snoring, rolling over, etc.
She has now slept through the night 3 nights in a row (in her crib!), from around 7:30pm until 6:00am. I'm pretty engorged and leaky when I wake up in the morning, but I know my milk supply will sort itself out soon.
So we've made the transition to sleeping in the crib in her room! Mission accomplished! We will leave the swing and bassinet where they are for a little while longer but soon they will get packed up and stored. I know that I am VERY lucky to have a baby that sleeps so well. What a difference from waking 4 times a night just a few short months ago!
*Amendment- I should add that while the bedtime process has really improved, it's still very imperfect and some nights are easier than others and there are a number of factors that impact it. I don't believe it will ever be perfect and easy, but it can get better as it already has. Lyla goes to bed on the early side but this is dictated more by her than by me. She is also a pretty good sleeper in general, we are lucky. Each baby has their own trials and getting Lyla to actually sleep is not one of hers.
The name Waiting for Grace comes from a poem I wrote about having a baby a few years ago. Grace would have been the name of my sister, if I ever had one. Beyond that, there was no meaning to it other than I thought it was pretty. So when I started this blog, it seemed like a great name.
But its meaning does get a lot of questions, so I've decided to tuck it away and rename with something more appropriate. Goodbye Waiting for Grace, hello Raising Lyla.
....who is hollering to be taken out of the johnny-jump-up, so away I go.....
Lyla was baptised this Sunday at the noon mass at St. Gregory's Church in San Mateo. Both of our families- my parents and brothers, Ray's parents and sister- attended. It took a lot of preparation, but it was well worth it and the day was memorable and happy.
My Mom sewed the beautiful gown she wore. We chose the simple pattern together and she selected a beautiful silk fabric. The day was cold so Lyla wore a little sweater over it. And initially, a bib to keep her clean for as long as possible. :)
After mass everyone came to our house for lunch. I put the whole thing together myself with a little help from my mom and mother-in-law. We had three kinds of sandwiches, salad, fruit, and these beautiful mini cupcakes from Sibby's Cupcakery.
This was only Lyla's second time in church, but she was quiet and very well behaved. She made faces at my oldest brother Chris and played with her favorite toys.
Chris and Ray's sister Jackie stood up as her godparents.
She was calm the whole time we were standing before the congregation, despite the sea of faces staring back at her. And no tears, even when I tipped her back and Father Mark poured the holy water on her head.
Just a look on her face that said, "what the heck is going on?!"
I wanted to give Lyla something from the Greek Orthodox side of my family, so she wore the cross my grandmother brought me from Cyprus. Now it belongs to my daughter.