Thursday, June 3, 2010

Our sleep "routine" & products that work for us

Ha, that title cracks me up. We have no routine. Not, really. What we do have is a little method using various baby products that we've fine tuned over the last month of sleepless nights.

To recap, Asher was born with his nights and days seemingly mixed up. He'd be wide awake at night. Not crying, just looking around and eating and chilling. Well, and crying a little, too. Somehow, over time, we shifted and I think he maybe knows night from day now. During the day, all lights are on and tv is on and life is happening all around him. Around 7 pm feeding, lights go out, volumes lowered and bedtime begins. Now, he's very groggy at night and more active during the day. So, fingers crossed this means he really is on track to a better sleeping pattern.

Ok, so, on to our sleeping ritual. Here are the products that passed the Asher Test, and I'd highly recommend them to new mommies out there. Please note: All products were researched online, all reviews read and weighed according to my OCD ways.

Fisher Price Rock 'n Play Newborn Sleeper: Best $50 spent. This little bed meets the criteria for bassinets (whatever that means, I'm assuming something safe) and keeps Asher at a nice angle, while being snuggled by the sides. This is what he sleeps in at night because he (so far) isn't a fan of sleeping flat on his back. (Much to my dismay, this means the adorable bassinet/convertible toy box in our room has not been used except for storage.) When he was in his swaddle days, we'd just swaddle him up and plop him in. It scoots right up to the side of the bed, and sits just a little lower, so I can peep over the side to check on him as often as my paranoia requires. It rocks, manually. So, I just reach over and touch it with my fingers to rock it, or if we are elsewhere in the house, I'll rock it with my foot while doing something else. It's awesome.

Halo Swaddle Sleepsack: I don't know where I've been hiding, but it was news to me that I'm not supposed to put Asher to sleep with a blanket. There are suffocation and SIDS risks, they say. And while I know some of these things are getting a little ridiculous, as a mom I hear them and obey as best I can for my sanity's sake. So, off I went to Babies R Us for a sleepsack and swaddle. (Asher was too big to be swaddled in the hospital blankets and kicked his way out of all of our blankets here.) This product is two in one. In the first few weeks, we used the swaddle addition. Now, he sleeps in the sleepsack portion with a long-sleeved oneside underneath. Make sure when you get one that it zips open from the bottom up for easy middle of the night diaper changes. The velcro on this one holds up well despite multiple washes and the fabric is oh-so-cozy. (We also like the Kiddopotamus velcro swaddler.)

White noise maker: We use our iPhones (shocking, I know) for this. The Happiest Baby on the Block (a must read or must watch DVD if you are too busy to read like us) says white noise helps to calm a baby. And darn, he's right! We use our noise makers when he's fussy or when he's settling down for sleep. I prop it up on the edge of the cradle and turn it off after he's nice and sound asleep. My iPhone app wasn't free, but it came with noises like blow dryer and vaccum which I think work better than Rusty's free rain iPhone app. But, I think I'm just making excuses for my fancy app purchase. :) Lesson here - find a white noise, rain, blow dryer, something noise maker. A lot of the bouncers and swings come with sounds, but none work as well with Asher and the sound works better when it's right next to his sweet head (as opposed to on the top of the swing or the bottom of the bouncer).

Mylicon/Little Tummys Gas Relief Drops: We've got a gassy baby, poor guy. He'll get bubbles in there and be un-soothable. We lie him on his back and bring his knees to his belly. We make his little legs do the bicycle motion to help work that gas out. And we use the gas drops. At night, when he's gassiest, we'll often give him the gas drops before each feeding. The doctor says it's safe, and while it doesn't fix it all, I do think it helps. Asher likes the flavor and takes the few drops happily smacking his little lips.

Baby Bliss Gripe Water: Again, doctor approved. I give him this when he's just fussier than normal. It seems to calm him down, really. Not kidding. We use this every day or so, mostly around nap times and late afternoon fussy times. This stuff requires more than just a few drops and Asher and I both were not thrilled with the syringe approach. So, I went to Babies R Us and got some fancy medicine-givers for babies. Seriously - awesome. Go get them. (I cannot easily find a link online and Asher is having a mini-meltdown. So this is the best I can do - go to the health and medicine section at BRU. There is a little paci medicine dispenser and a bottle version, too. We have both, but so far use the bottle version and it works great!)

There you go, mommies. That's what works for us (for now, anyway), after many trips to the store, lots of online research and (sadly) not-so-successful products sitting around unused in our house.

As for our routine - Because Asher is high maintenance, we split our nights. I go to bed early and Rusty is the primary caregiver (well, and I do the nursing). Then, around 3 am, I become the primary soother and Rusty gets some solid sleep before work. There's never a predictable night and I'm sure we'll change this approach at some point. But, given that Asher doesn't usually just eat and sleep like newborns typically do, one of us has to be awake and ready to care for him throughout the night. And yes, this means most of my days start somewhere around 3 or 4 am. Exhaustion.

But, Asher sure is cute and adorable. And totally worth it. :)

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