Somebody got their first haircut! Wanna see?
She is just as cute as can be! Those bangs! Ah! I love them!
Have a happy, happy weekend!
It’s plaid season! Although I feel like this was the only day of layering season… No such thing as shorts in this chilly weather anymore. But it’s finally the right temperature for our campfires! We’ve been making them all summer, even on days it was a bit warm, but now it’s perfect. I think it’s about time to start pulling out the hot cider and pumpkin spice cream too!
I’ve been debating on sharing our journey with getting Anabelle to sleep on her own on here for a while. On the one hand, in the wee hours of the night when Anabelle was screaming for hours and we were so helpless, yet we couldn’t find any constructive, helpful stories similar to ours, I want to share what finally worked for us. Yet, on the other hand, I hesitate to actually share our story because I feel like it opens the air for criticism.
Having a blog is hard in that way. How personal should I get? Will people think I did it wrong? Will people get upset? Can it be used against me? Or will this turn into a constructive space to share stories? I typically like to keep it carefree around here and just share photos and outings with us as a family. Nobody judges and nobody criticizes. There’s just a lot of “Ooooo’s” and “Aaaaaah’s”. However, as Anabelle gets older and we are challenged with sleeping habits, eating habits, and overall behavior as her personality and sometimes moments of stubbornness shows through, I think I want to start sharing a little more.
I feel like mothers in particular can be very critical of other mothers. However, I think that every child and family is different. There are a lot of different ways to raise a little person, and in the end, we all grow up into the adult we are meant to be. Our way is not the only way, and our way is not the way for everyone, however, our way worked for us, and I personally wouldn’t have it any other way. I want to share it in case anyone else is ever in our position. And I want everyone to feel free to leave comments and start conversations on what worked for you!
So without further adieu…
We weren’t those typical newborn parents. You know the parents that have bags under their eyes, can’t focus on a conversation, and walk around like zombies. We didn’t have that problem. First of all, Anabelle slept fantastic in the hospital. When we came home, that first night she slept in two 4-hour shifts next to our bed. The second night she slept in one 5-hour shift and then one 3-hour shift still next to our bed. We were on a good track and were really excited about it. The third night was when things changed.
Anabelle started waking up more frequently. She’d wake up, I’d nurse her, she’d fall asleep, and I’d put her down. Thirty minutes later…… It turned into a pattern. After a few times, I realized she wasn’t even hungry anymore. As soon as she latched on, she would immediately fall asleep. She just wanted me to hold her! Eventually I slumped down in our bed and carefully cradled her between us, kept the covers down by my hips, and fell asleep. She didn’t wake up thirty minutes later… The next night, I decided to go with it. She was in my belly for 9 months, how was she supposed to sleep anywhere but right next to me? I laid down again with her right in between Kevin and I. (Kevin got really used to hugging the edge of the bed since we still only have a full size…) The covers were right over my hips and my arm was around the baby just to make sure that nothing would invade her space. I found that although I would sleep lightly, since my protective nature would wake me up every time Kevin tried to pull the covers up or he’d fidget, I still got a lot of sleep! At first I would wake up to nurse her and then lay her carefully back down, but as she got bigger and could use her arms more, I started laying on my side, with one arm still guarding her, and I’d fall back to sleep while she was nursing. After several months, I finally just started propping her head on my arm while she nursed and then slept. I’d stay asleep unless I was helping her latch on or switching sides. None of us were necessarily sleeping through the night, but we were all getting plenty of sleep. Anabelle and I would sleep less than Kevin, but I had the luxury of being able to stay in bed a couple hours more after Kevin left for work.
It’s certainly not what the nurses told me to do. In fact, one of the nurses stressed not to sleep with the baby right before she discharged us. But my mom had 6 kids and co slept with half of us, and the more articles and studies I read, the more I really thought that this was how it was meant to be. In fact, was it actually beneficial for the child?!
Somewhere between 4-5 months, we started to wonder how we were ever going to start having Anabelle sleep in her own crib. So we decided to start with nap time. When we start a new habit, we typically started it on a Monday. We were always motivated for the week and usually we’d establish the habit by the end of the week so that we could actually enjoy our weekend. We also had to fill my family in on the plan since my sisters and Mom would babysit quite often. The more consistent EVERYONE was, the quicker we could establish the habit.
So for nap time, I would nurse her, or everyone else would walk and bounce her to sleep, but when she fell asleep, we had to lay her in the crib. Easier said than done. It took so many tries, but eventually we did it. And it worked for a while… Until we decided she really needed to get more comfortable falling to sleep in her bed rather than in our arm.
At this point she could pull up to standing. Big problem! We tried laying her back down, but she’d roll over and stand right back up. We tried leaving the room, but she would stand in the corner yelling at the door. We spent days, hours, weeks messing with what exactly to do about her stubbornness. But one thing was for sure: She wasn’t ever going to lay down herself and just go to sleep. Eventually we started laying her down and putting our hand on top of her. At first, it was just to hold her on her back as she flailed around to try to break free, but when she finally stopped squirming and crying, it would change into a comfortable touch to comfort her till she fell asleep.
At this point we were still co-sleeping with her at night. Difficult nap times were enough of a struggle for us, we didn’t even try at bedtime yet. About a month after we finally established a nice nap time routine, we finally started working on bedtime. I started nursing her in her bedroom instead of on the couch, and I’d set her down in her crib. Again we struggled with her rolling over, standing up, and screaming at the door, so we used the same method we had used for nap time. Some nights were harder than others, and teething never helped. But the nights when I got her to bed, and Kevin and I actually got an hour or two of alone time before we went to bed, were just wonderful. She’d typically wake up around 11 or midnight, Kevin would go get her and we’d take her to bed for the rest of the night.
Eventually though it got to the point when she wasn’t even sleeping very well with us. We used to co-sleep because we all got sleep, but that eventually shifted to the point when her and I started to not get any sleep. Every time Kevin or Anabelle would roll over or fidget, they would wake the other up and so I would lay in the middle of it all awake, unable to sleep. Anabelle would wake up and also want to nurse just because it was there and convenient. It was at this point that I started going up instead of Kevin and I’d nurse her back to sleep and put her back in her crib. Then, she’d wake up anywhere between 2-4 am (and sparingly at 5!) and Kevin would bring her to bed for the rest of the night.
Again, this was really working for us. Ideally we thought she would get over the phase of us having to hold her down. And we also assumed that she would eventually start cutting out those middle-of-the-night wake ups and actually start sleeping through the night. But progress was slow, and it wasn’t happening. A couple weeks before her first birthday, we finally decided it was time for her to be sleeping through the night in her crib, even though at this point, she was only coming to sleep with us for two or three hours. I had always been the one to go upstairs and put her down at night, since nursing was, by far, the easiest way to get her down and back to sleep and I was really the only one losing sleep now from co-sleeping. But I started cutting out the night time nurses so that Kevin could help me, and we would simply take turns, lay her down on her back, and hold her there till she fell back to sleep. I don’t know if it was just timing, or if it was cutting out the middle of the night nurses, but things finally started getting easier and eventually we were going up there even less!
Of course, don’t get used to anything, right? I remember when people would ask me about her sleeping when she was first born. I would chuckle and say she was sleeping well (although I’d leave out the fact that we were co-sleeping) but a I’d always tack on “for now…” to the end of my answer. Seriously, we’d have the best week ever one week and then the next, she’d start teething, or growing, or something that would turn it all upside down.
Anyways, one night she woke up and refused to go back to sleep for 2 hours. Midnight-2 in the morning. We were not pleased. We figured there were two possible explanations. First, that she was teething, although I still don’t think she was. And second, that her two 2-hour naps made it so that she was just wide awake randomly in the middle of the night. So I cut out a nap. It was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be, so I figured she was ready for it. One week later…. She was awake and crying from 2-4.
When I say she was awake and crying, I mean that I went up there like I usually did, laid her back down, put her blanket back on her and turned on her singing, glow-in-the-dark seahorse. Four seahorses later (Each time the seahorse would play for 5 minutes) I would be so frustrated that she was still quietly laying there staring at me, instead of closing her eyes, that I’d try to walk out of the room and she’d immediately roll over, stand up and scream at the door. I eventually was too frustrated, so Kevin gave it a try. Same thing. I would hear peaceful quietness until he obviously stepped out of the room and she’d do the same thing to him. Five seahorses later, he was frustrated back in bed with me. That day, she had only taken one 30 minute nap. She had no reason to be awake except for the pure fact that she wanted to make sure we didn’t leave. After 15 minutes of laying in our bed, with her still screaming in her crib, trying to figure out what to do we decided there’s only one thing left to do…
We had to teach her to fall asleep without us in the room. It had been an hour at this point, but we took a new approach that night. I went in her room, said “NO! Lay down.” I laid her down. Covered her with a blanket. “Go to Sleep.” And I walked out. I of course immediately had to walk right back in and repeat it, being more firm as the time went on. Sometimes she’d be standing before I could even get out of the room so I would start over right then and there, and sometimes I would walk out anyway. After a few minutes of this, I would sit outside her room for about 5 minutes while she stood and cried. Then, I’d go back in and repeat “No! Lay down! Go to sleep!” Of course I knew it wouldn’t be easy to start this in the middle of the night, but obviously our current method just wasn’t working. After 20 minutes, Kevin went back up there and did the same thing. I can’t remember which one of us finally got her back to sleep, but it finally worked.
The next day, I carried on the new lesson during nap time. Sometimes I just gave just a couple seconds before walking back in there, and sometimes I gave 5, 10, or 15 minutes. It didn’t take very long. That night we continued with it and in the middle of the night, it only took us 30 minutes to get her back to sleep. It was hard to walk away and leave her crying, but it was doing two important things that we didn’t know how to do otherwise. 1. It was teaching her to stay laying down when we are out of the room, while letting her know we are still coming back for her. And 2. it was exhausting her! Yelling is a lot more exhausting than staring at mommy and daddy. I remember being super nervous for that weekend. Although we could clearly notice improvement in her sleeping, it was hard and exhausting on us, and that weekend we were going to stay at Kevin’s parents’ house. Not only would Anabelle be in a pack-n-play instead of her own bed, but I didn’t want to keep Kevin’s parents up for two hours in the middle of the night. Everything, however, went pretty great. The first night was slightly hard, but it was almost like it showed her that she needed to lay down and go to sleep no matter where she was. The second night was ten times easier and when we came home, it was like we never had any problems in the first place.
Teaching Anabelle to lay down and go to sleep on her own was by far the hardest step in the whole parenthood process for us! Up till this point though, we had simply introduced one step at a time hoping to lead into her sleeping on her own. And it would have worked, had it not been for Anabelle’s pure stubbornness in insisting that we stand there as she sleeps. Hindsight, we would have done it all the same all over again. Adding one step at a time was a nice way for her and us to ease into the crib. We were never too sleep deprived and we never bit each other’s heads off from being too tired. (Except for maybe those two hour periods in the middle of the night…) However, we probably should have established her falling asleep without us standing by her sooner. Although, I’m not sure when we should have done it…
Now, Anabelle is sleeping great. She is 14 months old and is taking 1 nap a day. At first we still had to go in there once or twice, but we just have to lay her back down, turn on her seahorse and go back to bed. No standing there. No walking back in there a million times. Just reassurance that we are still there and that she is ok. But now, nothing. She eventually cut out the soothing nurse at bed time, so I started just rocking her to sleep. And now sometimes she doesn’t even want that. She lets me just lay her down, kiss her goodnight, and she stays there till morning.
Oh and just one last side note. When Anabelle was a newborn, one of the first questions we would get asked was “Is she sleeping through the night yet?” Did you know that there are studies showing that when a baby wakes up to nurse in the middle of the night, the mother is less likely to start her cycle again for the first 6 months? It’s a natural form of family planning. And it can last as long as a year too… Just food for thought. I found it funny the one question everyone asked, was actually a question that I wanted to answer “No” to as long as a I could, but then I’d receive sympathy when I actually gave my answer…
Sunday morning pancakes is turning into our little weekly ritual and you won’t find anyone over here complaining! Whether it’s in pj’s before church or dressed up after, we love sitting down for breakfast just the three of us to eat something that makes us so happy!
After Anabelle finished her pancakes, she begged for a banana. Yes, begged. So of course we obliged because how cute is she holding her own?!
She’s been going through this hilarious phase when anything that she can hold up to her head, she will pretend like it’s a phone and say her toddler version of “hello?” Of course she had banana in her hair, but it cracks me up every time! How did she learn to do that? I mean I’m pretty sure I text way more than I talk… But she’s also used a shoe, a spoon, and any of her toys… We finally bought her a toy cell phone last week haha.
We were absolutely thrilled when Instantly Framed offered us a framed photo for our anniversary! I take so many photos, over half of them on my phone, and am obsessed with sharing them on Instagram! My Instagram tends to be different than the photos I take on my actual camera, usually more within the most natural and miscellaneous moments, and they never come out with the same clarity. No matter the quality, I still have special moments that I wish I would print out and frame, but it never seems that simple. It is though! And this picture of Anabelle was one of those pictures. I absolutely adored it from the moment I snapped it! I instantly knew that this was the photo to order!
This company was fantastic and they make ordering beautifully framed photos so easy! All you have to do it download the app, connect to your photos (I chose to connect straight to my Instagram), pick out the photo you wish to frame, select the size photo you want within your 12×12 walnut frame, and order! They even take into consideration the quality of your photo so that you don’t order a photo too large and receive a pixelated image! Just remember that the more filters and editing you do to your images, the more the image quality tends to go away. But it’s just that easy! Instantly and beautifully Framed! Three days later, you receive your beautifully framed photo in the mail!
Today I am absolutely excited because I have teamed up with Instantly Framed to offer a chance to win your own framed photo! That’s a $65 value! To enter, just follow Instantly Framed (username: @InstantlyFramed) and Laughing Latte (username: @luvvleighb) on Instagram! Then, share the giveaway with your own followers and use #InstantlyLaughingGiveaway! For extra entries, follow us on facebook too! Verify your entries below! Giveaway ends 9/18.
Also, you can get $10 off your first purchase by using the code CILaughing10! It’s good through the 9/22! So hurry Go check out the Instantly Framed App!