Thursday, August 29, 2013

Baby schedules

I've been reading up on people's night time routines, wondering if and/or when babies have the ability to sleep through the night. Our night time schedule allows me to get plenty of sleep, as sometimes I don't even remember feeding Isa because she's so close and it's so easy to nurse her I barely wake up. Nevertheless, I was wondering if there might be a point in the future when I can put her in her crib late at night and not need to nurse her until the early morning. So I was looking into this and came across this whole parent-led versus child-led scheduling concept. I didn't even realize this was a thing.

Then I came to realize that what we're doing can be considered child-led scheduling, or in other words: no scheduling at all. Isa's sleeping, eating, and waking hours change each day just as mine do. Some days I get up at 7 am, some days 10 am. Some days I nap in the afternoon, most days I don't. Some days I eat lunch at noon and dinner at 7 pm, others I eat one big meal at 4 or 5 pm. The same is true of Isa. I guess I'm lucky in that I don't have to go to a 9 to 5 type job and therefore can care for Isa as she needs it and do my work in between. Am I missing the upside to getting on a better schedule? Is this something that will come more with time? I remember in Chicago people asking me what is her bedtime and I didn't even know how to answer that question. Bedtime? She sleeps when she's tired which, right now, is basically all day long. How often does she eat? Anywhere between every hour to every 4 or 5 hours, entirely dependent on what she needs at the time. Sometimes she wants to be closer to me or she's having a growth spurt so she eats little snacks all day long, other times she sleeps or plays for a good four hours or so before she needs to eat again. I just follow her lead. Should I be doing this differently? I don't know because I couldn't imagine it another way. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

7 weeks old

Isa is seven weeks old now and she's changing gradually but noticeably. She's smiling now! Real smiles! When she's in the right alert mood and we smile at her, she smiles back. The first time she did this for sure was at Grandma and Poppy's house in front of her Aunt Lindsey and Grandparents -- we all enjoyed seeing her huge grin.

She's spent the last two weeks or so in Chicago getting to know her extended family. She slept most of the way on both plane rides (there and back) and was an excellent traveler overall. We've figured out that as long and she's being held she will be happy and the main trouble we have with her is if she's stuck in a car seat or stroller without being picked up -- she can get majorly fussy.

She really enjoyed being held by everyone in Chicago, and everyone just fell in love with her. She also got to meet many other kids including Amelia Schultz, Charlotte Siefert, Stella Fry, Molly and Craig McShane, and Abby Kollpainter.

I have also been reading Jared Diamond's new book The World Until Yesterday, and in it there's a lot of information about how hunter-gatherer societies raise their children differently from us. I tend to look to the practices of hunter gatherers for information on so-called "natural" practices, only because human beings were nomadic hunter-gatherers for the vast majority of our history as a species, so it would only make sense that our bodies are set up to live our lives as hunter gatherers do. Many of the ailments of modern man are a result of getting away from those original practices. Obviously, I wouldn't want to return to the days of infanticide or average death at age 50 or so, but there are plenty of very healthy practices that hunter-gatherers do that I'd love to try to emulate. A few of the child rearing practices I'm going to try to incorporate include:

- Picking up the baby within 10 seconds of her beginning to cry (HG babies cry half as much as western babies)
- Holding the baby a lot, and/or wearing her when I can
- Nursing her on demand, not on a schedule
- Extended breastfeeding, at least beyond one year if not longer (the average age of weaning throughout the world is between 2 and 3 years old)
- Co-sleeping or sleeping with the baby in the bed with me at night (this is the norm throughout the world, including many European and East Asian countries)
- Having many different adults hold and care for the baby
- No physical punishment
- Having an environment available where the baby is free to explore without being told 'no' constantly
- Having the baby play in multi-age playgroups
- Letting her play be educational -- that is, not giving her toys made for children exclusively, but encouraging her to imagine and practice adult activities through play (this is also common in Montessori education)

We're hoping these things will help Isa to be a secure, imaginative and loved baby and person!

Monday, August 5, 2013

4 weeks old

Isabel is 4 weeks old and is growing well. She is 13 pounds 6 ounces today and is 23 and a quarter inches long! We are getting into the swing of breastfeeding, and have especially gotten good at nursing in the night. When she makes a noise in the night I just roll her close to me, latch her on and usually I fall back asleep. I know some people might have a problem with this, but there is more and more research showing that mom and baby's sleep cycles get in sync when they sleep together -- with mom sleeping lighter while baby is nursing so that there really is no danger of rolling onto the baby. From my experience, I sleep very lightly when she's next to me and scoot her away from me once she's done eating. It's made for a less fussy night for both of us!

I am getting more confident bringing her places and getting out of the house. She's a trooper -- easy to bring along, easily latches on to eat, easily sleeps -- we're so lucky to have such a happy baby!

We've also gotten a couple of smiles this week. We're still not sure if they're actually in response to our faces or just synapses firing in her brain, but either way we enjoy them a lot!

Friday, August 2, 2013

3 weeks old

Isabel is doing great. She's eating and sleeping well. Aunt Lindsey met her for the first time this week and was a wonderful help around the house.

Patrick is speaking Spanish to her often, so she's probably picking up the sounds of the language. We took a trip to the pool and tried to put her in the water, but she cried each time, we think because the water was too cold on her newborn skin.

Not to worry, though, we know she loves the water because she's so happy in the bath! We put her in the water nearly every night and she calms down instantly. She's a super strong girl, when we put her on our chest for what is called 'tummy time,' she holds her head up for anywhere between 5 and 15 seconds!
She's a super chill girl.