My Two Cents: Sleep Gear in the Fourth Trimester

Like many new mothers, I can’t remember the last time I got a full night’s sleep (which I define as 8+ hours). It was probably sometime in my second trimester. That being said, I certainly don’t have it too bad. Since Jacob was about six weeks old I have gotten about six hours a night, give or take. I think, as my pediatrician puts it, “I have a sleeper.” For me, this is a mixed blessing. As one of the symptoms of hyperammonemia is lethargy, I still get anxious when Jacob is sleeping, and sometimes I feel the need to poke him and make sure he’s responsive. This goes directly against the Craft Household Rule #1, which is “Don’t disturb a happy baby.” But still, sometimes I just need to harass him a little bit to be sure he’s okay.

Anyway, I have been blessed with a great sleeper, but even great sleepers need to be set up for success. So, behold, my list of Sleep Stuff That May Save Your Sanity:

1. The Arms Reach Mini Co-Sleeper.  I bought this on recommendation from a friend. I like it because it slides right up next to my bed, essentially extending it to create a safe sleeping space for baby within (wait for it) arms reach. I also bought a soft organic mattress pad from Baby Turtledove on Etsy. In the first weeks Jacob wanted to be closer to me, so I did snuggle him in bed with me until he fell asleep, at which point I would move him to the co-sleeper. (I would occasionally fall asleep snuggling him between me and the co-sleeper, which scared me despite the fact that I have never once rolled onto my stomach while sleeping and am thus confident I wouldn’t smother him. But still.) Anyway, now he goes down by himself without any fuss. And I sleep better because I can simply reach out and soothe him during the night as necessary.

2. The Miracle Blanket and the Zipadee Zip. My mom sent me the miracle blanket when Jacob was born, and he used it for the first six weeks or so. If you use the miracle blanket, you have to get past the feeling that you’re putting your baby in a straightjacket. They don’t mind, really. Actually, I would say that he really liked it and found it comforting. However, I never swaddled him for naps, and I noticed around six weeks he started sleeping with his arms out – cactus arms, we call it in yoga class. So I thought he might be ready for a little more freedom and ordered a Zipadee Zip. The picture below of Jacob in his “zippy” is from his first nap. It looks a bit too big for him, but he has since grown into it. Regardless, he napped so well in it that I decided to try it at night. And just like that, I seem to have hit upon the magic formula (at least for now): footie pajamas, zipadee zip, muslin swaddle blanket on his lower half, standard-issue hospital beanie (also pictured but for some reason not on his head), and “soothie” pacifier (the only one he’ll sort of keep in his mouth for 5 minutes until he falls asleep).

3. The Sleeping Environment. Since I have yet to put Jacob down to sleep in his crib, his sleep environment is our bedroom. We sleep with a tower fan on for white noise and to circulate air. We also use this diffuser with lavender essential oil to create a calm environment for bedtime. Now I turn it on for Jacob before every nap as well. It seems to help him drift off more quickly.

Other places that Jacob enjoys sleeping include: in my arms after a particularly satisfying bottle, in the Baby K’Tan, in the car seat*, and on his Papaw’s chest. Peculiarly, he almost never falls asleep in his swing.

*Jacob only likes the car seat when the car is moving. When he is asleep in the car seat, I will go to great lengths to avoid red lights. I have been known to make an unnecessary right turn at a red light and drive around the block a few times just to avoid waking him. Jacob sleeps well in his car seat but holy cow does he get upset if he wakes up and can’t see me.

My Two Cents: Baby Bottles

baby bottle Breastflow First Years

Look Mommy, I’m using my hands!

First of all, fun history teacher fact. People were bottle feeding their children four thousand years ago! Of course, at the time there weren’t many bottle options. Today, there are 4000 options. I am easily overwhelmed with that many choices–you should see me in the dish soap aisle at Publix–so you should be very impressed that I was able to decide on five bottles to try. So, voila, my two cents on five brands of baby bottles. For each one, I will mention the price (important) and the number of pieces you have to wash between each feeding (even more important).

Continue reading

My Two Cents: My Button Buddies

IMG_2670Jacob’s pediatric surgeon recommended that we purchase MyButtonBuddies to protect the skin around his Mic-Key button and keep it from rocking too much while he does tummy time. Before, I was using IV gauze, which didn’t stay on and had to be replaced several times a day. MyButtonBuddies are so much better. They come in fun prints. They fit perfectly around the button. And they’re washable, which is right up my alley as a cloth diapering mom (more on that later). I did take several pictures with him looking less miserable, but I think the expression on his face here is hilarious. If he wanted me to use the one with the lion instead of the dinosaurs, he could have just asked. Really, he was angry because we were about two and a half minutes past his regularly scheduled second dinner.

My Two Cents: Babywearing

A 1986 study found that 6-week-old infants carried at least 3 hours a day cried and fussed 43% less than their less-frequently-held counterparts. Anecdotally, I have found that to be true for Jacob. In fact, he’s snuggled up in his carrier sleeping away as I write this post.

baby k'tan babywearing

Jacob in the Baby K’Tan

I have been wearing Jacob 4-5 hours a day for the last month or so, which clearly makes me an expert. Here is my two cents on babywearing.

I tried the Moby Wrap (takes too long to get on when Jacob wants in), this mei tai (too big for him right now, but I will go back to it when he’s bigger), and this sling (the most expensive option and I was in a world of hurt in the first five minutes). Finally, I discovered the Baby K’Tan, which was billed to me as the “Moby for Idiots.” (Sorry, Baby K’Tan – you are so much more than that.) It has all the awesomeness of a Moby Wrap, but it takes me only 2 minutes to get Jacob in it. Once in, he instantly goes to sleep. Unless it’s his witching hour, in which case all bets are off. The rest of the time, though, it’s like magic.

After the end of the Fourth Trimester (yes, it’s a thing), I’m going to have to start putting him down for at least one nap a day. For right now, though, I have a well-rested, happy little boy snuggled up against me. What’s not to love?

For more information on babywearing, check out Babywearing International or visit your local independent baby boutique, like my favorite: Growing Up in St. Petersburg.