Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kiddie Products That Work

I'm pretty critical of hoitie-toitie baby magazines that promote hoitie-toitie baby products which are oftem unnecessary and grossly overexpensive. I tend to weed through the bunch and decide what's worth my money. Typically that's anything I don't think is overpriced, which will make my life easier. I'm so excited to share one such product with you.

Custom Bumpy Name Orbit Labels from http://www.inchbug.com/bumpyname-orbit-labels-custom-bumpyname-orbit-labels.html are fantastic! They can be customzied with baby's name and any other details thought necessary (there are also pre-printed labels for common names)and fit bottles, sippy cups and most other drinking apparatuses. They're great for identifying your kid's bottle/sippycup/whatever and hopefully will aide more sanitary practices at daycare. (When picking up my kids one day, a daycare aid began feeding one baby from another baby's bottle. In the germ-laden world that is the daycare nursery, that's a big no-no. At least for me.)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Potty Time

My son is afraid to go potty. Shame really because he started out so well. Thanks to Elmo's Potty Time DVD, he proudly and loudly exclaims 'wee wee' and 'woo woo' either as he's doing it or about to do it. Great. So we bought training pants, a.k.a. pull-ups, which our little prodigy quickly grasped the concept of. So what went wrong? Overzealous parents!

About three weeks ago, my son yelled 'woo woo' and had a pained expression on his face. My husband and I grabbed him up and whisked him away to the bathroom, stripped him of pants, pull-ups and probably decency as we waited for him to do his thing. Five minutes later he emerges with an 'all done'. The three of us lean over to examine his specimen and found one exceptionally large woo woo for such a wee little kid covered in blood. Constipation fears smoothed with the decision to administer prunes asap, my husband and I were so proud. Our son went woo woo in the potty for the very first time.

After that episode, whenever our kid so much as indicated with a raised leg that he had to go potty, I would yell for my husband and we'd both run to our kid and whisk him away. However, he refused to sit on the potty. What gives? I think we scared the bejesus out of him, but my husband thinks the really hard woo woo kind of scarred him temporarily. Who knows?

So we're giving it a while before we attempt to promote the potty again. He's taken to pull-ups again fairly recently, which is progress, because he even refused to wear those. And you bet next round, we'll be a lot less eager. At least in front of him.

Letting Baby Cry It Out a.k.a. The Ferber Method

My son (nearly two) did not sleep through the night until he was seven months old. As new parents (rarely exposed to little ones), my husband and I had no clue that just because a baby wakes through the night is not an invitation to feed him. Who knew?

So there we were, very weary parents when my husband decided he had enough. "We're going to let him cry it out tonight" came the proclamation shortly after my son turned seven months. I freaked out, but as always, my DH was prepared, and had obviously been thinking about this for a while. Equipped with noise cancelling headphones, I was instructed to turn away from the monitor while my husband periodically patted our son on the bum to let him know everything was ok. After a few minutes, my son would fall asleep. But our (mainly my) nerves were still raw from listening to him scream.This went on for five nights. Then magically, on the sixth night, my son effortlessly slept through the night. He was 'ferberized'.

The Ferber Method refers to the practice of letting babies cry it out at night and enabling them to learn to soothe themselves back to sleep. See
http://www.professorshouse.com/family/children/the-ferber-method.aspx
Like everything else however, it is not without criticism e.g. appropriate age for 'ferberizing', long-term psychological effects, etc. My husband and I however are staunch supporters. After being 'ferberized', our son's overall well-being improved. He was not as cranky in the daytime, he was more energetic, more social, and he is still our loving, gentle child. Obviously this process is harder on parents than it is on children.

Around month three, my husband and I started looking to our daughter for cues that she was ready to sleep through the night. E.g. not taking (or not completing) the breast or bottle through the night, and sleeping for at least six-hour blocks. After these consistent cues, we attempted to 'ferberize' her in the fourth month.

With our daughter, the process was a bit slower. Several weeks to be exact. But we were aiming for perfection. She began sleeping from 10pm - 5am. This didn't quite suit our schedule, so at 5am, we would take her from her crib and place her in the pack-and-play in our bedroom. In the comfort of her parents' presence, she fell back asleep for another hour and a half, which was more to our liking. We eventually phased that out by placing two of our worn shirts near her crib to surround her in the comfort of our scent. Guess what? It worked! Thankfully, our daughter now sleeps as well as our son in her own crib.

The point of this novel is don't be afraid to try something new to bring a little peace and harmony to parents and baby. Letting babies cry it out is perfectly acceptable. The process is very brief and baby won't be scarred. Baby won't even remember. More importantly, well-rested, happy parents are better prepared to take care of their offspring than their sleep-deprived counterparts. And with all the peace and quiet and sleep you'll get to enjoy, you may even find the time to make another one. :)

Kiddie Health Update

It's been quite a while since my last post, but I'm happy to report both kids are doing well. My son was suffering from teething (four molars breaking simultaneously) and persistent sinusitis. Thankfully, both have cleared up and (for now anyway), no more fights with inhalers.

My daughter, now five months, is the picture of health and patience. She's eating well, sleeping well (finally!!!) and limits her fussy time to my son's nap time. It's amazing how quiet and observant she will be when my nearly two-year old throws tantrums. My husband and I almost have to remind ourselves she's right over there. Of course, she makes up for this later, through insisting on being held and bounced. We don't mind at all.

Her spit-up is getting better, but still here. We weren't sure the Zantac was working until we ran out and the pharmacy refused to refill the prescription for another two days (yes, two days...don't they account for spillage when the little monkey pins her lips shut!?!?!). Anyway, now we know it works and have since begain putting her medicine in her milk. When she's thirsty enough, she ignores the added flavor.

All in all, it's been a great few months. No complaints. Amen.