Hayden Eliza – 9 months.

Hayden turned 9 months old last Monday. Lots of changes in the last three months! Before I know it this baby is going to be a toddler! We’re already seeing signs of what’s to come.IMG_0392

Personality: Where to begin? Hayden takes on different personas with different people. For instance, at home with just Garrett and me, she is wild. This kid can’t sit still. She’s playful and loud and insistent on getting our attention. She’s easy with smiles and giggles and just wants to play, preferably with someone. She is also very stubborn. She’s learned the word “no” to some degree and gets a kick out of disobeying me. I can see that being super fun in the future!

When I take her to playgroups or morning coffees with adults, she’s much more reserved. Everyone comments on how curious and perceptive she must be because she will just stare at whoever is talking, like she’s taking it all in. If it’s a smaller group of people, she’ll relax sooner and start babbling and smiling, trying to get attention per usual. She is fascinated by people, and she’s happy to let anyone hold her. I have to say, she’s on her best behavior in social settings.

She can be needy and sometimes we struggle to get her to play independently. There are days when she follows me around the apartment whining until I pick her up. But other times she is happy to roam around on her own and explore. I think that’s pretty typical.

Mobility: Hayden is on the move. She’s been crawling for over a month now but her latest trick is pulling herself to stand. She will do this anywhere. She’s not so much cruising yet, just pulling herself up and practicing standing for periods of time. She gets a huge grin on her face like she’s super proud of herself too. She’s come close to standing unassisted a few times, but then she’ll fall on her butt. Soon enough though.IMG_0387

IMG_0388It’s becoming more of a workout keeping her out of trouble. She wants to get into the litter box, the cat bowls, any wires or outlets, lamps, etc. I spend a lot of my day chasing after her and saying “Hayden, NO!” to which she turns around, smiles, and goes right back to doing what she was doing. We’re working on that…

Speaking of chasing, she is all about the cat. I feel sorry for both Hayden and Stella. Stella for obvious reasons, her quality of life has definitely gone down a few notches since the kid arrived – less attention, not enough quiet time, “why’s the baby in my spot? Why’s the baby eating my chicken?” And I feel sorry for Hayden because the cat will not cut her a break. Hayden desperately wants to play with Stella, or just give her a little pet (ha, yeah right, more like a tug!) and Stella vanishes the minute Hayden gets within a few feet. I’m sure one day they’ll be best friends.

Food: Food is going much better! We have Hayden eating 3 “meals” a day, how much she eats varies day to day. We’ve found some new favorites including oatmeal, greek yogurt, chicken and black beans. She loves to eat strawberries whole and little “fingers” of toast with hummus. Her appetite is definitely improving. Veggies are still a struggle. This week I pureed some zucchini and mixed it with apple and she loved that. Whatever works!

I love that Hayden is eating real food and we’ve started weaning, but this new stage has come with all sorts of challenges. There’s prep time involved in making baby food, and a new thought process at the grocery store. I don’t want to give her the same thing every day for every meal. I also don’t want to puree a whole bunch of stuff and have half of it go to waste because she doesn’t like it. And then I have to consider her nutritional need too!

We do a variety of finger food and purees. At 9 months, I’m trying to be mindful that she’s getting not just veggies and fruit but also protein, some grains, and healthy fats. As with most things in motherhood, some days I’m more successful than others.

Hayden continues to get a lot of her nutrition from breastmilk. I never thought I would be nursing this long, but here we are. At this point, I’ll continue until she’s a year old. I would like to be done by then, but we’ll see how it goes. Right now I think we’re at a good place, I’ve decreased her milk feeds and in place she’s getting more into food. That’s the direction we want to go, gently and gradually, so that the weaning process is pretty smooth for both of us. She never warmed up to a bottle, so it’s just been me for 9 months! She loooooves her sippy cup with water, but does not want to take milk from it. And frankly, I gave up on pumping all together. It’s really funny how much she likes water though, she must get that from her mom and dad.

Sleep: We had a break through with sleep when we got back from Italy. I know this might not sound good to you, but Hayden is only waking once a night now. I still go in and nurse her right back to sleep. We’ve tried other methods and we can’t stick with anything long enough for it to work. But, I’m willing to try again! I’m so tired at 1am or what time ever she wakes up, that I just want to get her back to sleep as fast as possible.

Recently, Hayden’s been getting up super early. Some mornings she barely makes 6am. Oof. But, her naps are better now. We do still have days where she doesn’t want to nap or takes short 40 minute naps, but usually she will take two longish naps a day.

Sleep is a funny thing because it changes a lot. Every time I think we are in a good rhythm, she changes it up again. I’ve never been able to say, “Hayden naps at 10 and 2″ or whatever set times people have in mind. I desperately try to give her two solid naps a day but some days she fights them soooo hard.

Bed time is another inconsistency where we desperately try to stay consistent. My child really has a mind of her own. She does not like to be away from the action. These days, we shoot for a bed time between 7:30 and 8pm, but realistically she hasn’t fallen asleep until more like 8:30pm the last few nights. It use to be 7pm! I think summer daylight has something to do with it.

And I think that’s Miss Hayden in a nut shell. Next week she takes her first big road trip (wish us luck!) to France to meet my in-laws for a few days. Then the five of us head to Switzerland for a week. Can’t wait!

 

 

 

 

Cinque Terre

Where was I? Yes, heading to Cinque Terre. We had a two and half hour drive ahead of us, so we decided to stop in Lucca to split up the car time. Hayden had not been a fan of the car unless she was sleeping, so we planned accordingly around her naps.IMG_0314

IMG_0316Lucca is a charming, little town in Tuscany. We spent an hour or two walking around exploring the market and shops, stopping for lunch plus a pastry and cappuccino, before heading back to our car.IMG_0318

It was raining as we left Lucca but it quickly cleared up to be a gorgeous, hot day. When we made it to Levanto, the town where we stayed, Hayden was awake and very ready to be out of the car. Eventually, Garrett found our street (no idea how because it was not marked!) and we got into our place.IMG_0322

The set up of our apartment was great. The owner provided a cot for Hayden and there was a door blocking off the bedroom from the kitchen and terrace. We could put Hayden to bed, cook dinner and eat outside without disturbing her.IMG_0325IMG_0324

I can’t say we really knew what to expect vacationing with a baby and still planning our trip to include our regular activities, like hiking and driving. Luckily, at this point in the vacation we felt like we had gotten into a decent rhythm. Our first full day we hiked from our town to Monterosso and then continued onto Vernazzo, two of the Cingue Terre towns. Hayden was a trooper. She slept in the pack and was pretty happy the rest of the time. I highly recommend the osprey pack for other moms, it was a lifesaver.

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But, every activity has a time limit with her. If Garrett and I were alone, we would have hiked for longer and gone to another town. Hayden was done after two or so hours in the pack and ready for a proper nap. Hey, we still got to see a few cool towns and soak in a beautiful day.IMG_0336 IMG_0341

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That night we went out to dinner, which something we don’t typically do at home with Hayden. I know people take their babies to restaurants all the time, but the idea kind of stresses me out. We went with it anyway and had a nice time! Afterwards, gelato. Always and forever.
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The next day we went for another hike. Besides getting very lost (another story for another day), we also picked a path that was hardly cleared. We spent a lot of time whacking branches, ducking or climbing over tree trunks, brushing spiders webs out of our hair, tripping over stumps, and getting tangled in prickly plants (all with a baby on G’s back). Our legs looked like we had been through battle afterwards. Hayden made it out untouched, the osprey has a nice sun shield that covers the face.

Back in Levanto we had some incredible foccasia pizza for lunch on the street, beers in plastic cups… and more gelato. Worth it!

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And that was pretty much it! We left the next morning, drove back to Florence and boarded the plane. I was absolutely exhausted. IMG_0367Traveling with a baby seriously drains you! Or maybe it’s just me. This was our first go round, so I’m hoping it gets easier. In any case, I’m proud of the way we sort of figured it all out, worked together as a team, and stayed flexible. Slowly but surely we are getting a grasp on this parenting thing!

 

 

 

Tuscany trip (continued)

As I was saying, our villa in Tuscany was amazing. But there was no walking into  town to check out the market or go to lunch. Every destination required us to make the bumpy drive out into civilization. The town we could walk to was tiny and sleepy, so we either spent the day at the villa (Garrett, Hayden and I did that one day due to major teething) or made one trip out for the day.IMG_0280

The villa is advertised to sleep 11, but it could sleep more. Two stories, plus a loft, and a separate little guest house that has a gym and a bedroom attached. Complete with a pool and lots of green outdoor space. If you have to be stuck someone all day, this is the place to be! Not to mention that there are hiking trails around the property, which we took advantage of the day we stayed home.1797436_865932940088665_2548025315324283420_n

Our hosts live in house connected to ours. We would see them coming and going and often stop and chat about what we did that day. They have a little boy too, probably about five years old, who was always playing in the yard or picking cherries from the tree. One especially memorable night, they made dinner for us. Six courses of pure, rustic, Tuscan deliciousness. Every ingredient in season, every dish prepared with love. It was, by far, the best meal of our entire trip.FWM32E6QGd7odpM-NSdsjEhY557v69wKRRFxm5rRdKc

The house was huge and surprisingly every room was decorated head to toe. Beautiful paintings hung on the wall, large book shelves or cool armoires in every room, lots of Tuscan pottery and other unique, rustic decor. There are so many details I must have passed over. The kitchen was fully equipped and good thing because we ate in every night. There was a large dining room table and a fully stocked wine rack (you leave 10 euro for every bottle you drink) and another large table on the back porch. The nights were chilly but we always started cocktail hour out back enjoying our gorgeous view.10452313_865933870088572_846195801217389888_n

We visited Siena for a day, which was lovely, but touristy as expected. Parking took FOREVER, but lunch was great and there was a very pretty Cathedral. 10365767_865932676755358_4281300291396736776_nIMG_0290We went to a neat open market in Panzano our first day to load up on produce, cheese, meat, more wine, and olive oil. 10351256_865932566755369_5726209436995284565_n

We went to Greve for an afternoon of shopping. Garrett and I picked up olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar, fresh pasta, biscotti, two nice bottles of chianti and three small paintings from a talented local artists who was getting ready to shut down shop and move elsewhere. After some haggling, we walked away with a bargain.10308756_865933583421934_8603243149456266669_n

We visited a few small wine houses for tastings and saved our last day for visiting the Antinori Vineyard, which was enormous. That was the day we did all the “best of’s” according to Sylvia, our gracious hostess. We visited and tasted the best gelato in Castellina, and ordered takeout pizza in a nearby town (can’t remember the name) for dinner. Both the gelato and pizza lived up to their reputation.10341746_865933626755263_1679677116194071127_n

And after a wonderful week in beautiful Tuscany, it was time to say goodbye. Garrett, Hayden and I were the last to leave Saturday morning. We packed up the car and headed to Cinque Terre stopping at Lucca along the way. That’s next!

 

Our trip to Tuscany

I keep lying in bed at night thinking about writing this post, but never actually getting around to it in the morning. I have documented nearly all of our trips, big and small, on this site since starting it. Life is busier these days, but I definitely don’t want to stop writing about our travels. IMG_0268

A few weeks ago we returned from a twelve day trip that included a night in Florence, seven nights in Tuscany with my family, and three nights in Cinque Terre just Garrett, Hayden and I. It was an awesome trip. This was our first “European” vacation since having Hayden and I can tell you it is a different ball game with a baby. But, we made it work, learned a lot along the way, gained confidence in ourselves and Hayden, and had a killer time.

It started with a thirty minute car ride to the Brussels airport, a two hour flight to Florence, and then a fifteen minute bus ride to the train station where we would walk another fifteen or so to our hotel. Another ten minute walk to find another hotel because the one we booked cancelled our reservation when Garrett mistyped the last number of his credit card (the hotel failed to inform us of the cancellation). Thank God, there was an opening at a place nearby.

Florence was pretty much a pit stop on our way to Tuscany. Garrett and I have both been, seen the major museums and attractions, so we didn’t feel the need to do all that again with a baby in tow. Instead, we spent our day and a half walking around, visiting the market, snapping a few pictures and eating delicious food. A short 24 hours well spent.IMG_0270

After picking up our rental car (which is a story in itself after Garrett realized he left a crucial item in our car at the airport… his license) we headed out to the Chianti region of Tuscany where we would meet my parents, my brother and his fiancee who arrived in Rome from the U.S. early that morning. As expected, they were exhausted and in a jet lag fog.

We met my dad at a pizza place in the nearby village Lucolena, so we could then caravan to our villa, which we had been warned was not easy to get to. Fifteen or so stressful minutes later with a screaming baby in the back and a tense driver navigating tight, windy unpaved “roads” we arrived at the beautiful place we would call our homebase for the next week. And since this post is already too long, we’ll talk about that later.

That first night, after the folks from the U.S. woke up from their naps (I don’t know if my parents actually napped but my brother and Marcella were out until dinner) we put the baby to bed and had our first (of many) glasses of wine together. We sat out back of our villa, staring out over the green, rolling hills that surrounded us. The setting was picturesque, to say the least. Too tired to cook, we ordered takeout from the closest restaurant (per the villa owners recommendation) and enjoyed sharing our pastas, pizza and salad along with our delicious red wine. We were in Italy after all!10300709_865932476755378_4087101804918347470_n

The end of an era

Well… sort of. I guess the real end of the era will come when we leave Antwerp. But, leaving our apartment feels like the start of a wonderful chapter coming to an end. IMG_1127

This is the apartment we pretty much started our married life in. This is where we  stuck our claim on Antwerp, and this neighborhood in “de zuid” became our home. These bakeries, bars, shops, restaurants, and the people of them welcomed us (mostly) and made a foreign city comfortable and familiar. I will miss our little corner here.P1010001

This is the kitchen where I taught myself how to cook. I mean really cook, not just bake chicken, steam veggies and throw together salads. This is where I found inspiration, drive and passion when I was feeling that void after leaving a job. This is where we entertained countless guests, threw many dinner parties and even hosted two Thanksgivings!IMG_1738

This is where we stayed up late drinking beer on our terrace with friends or family in town. This is where we sipped wine, just us two, chatting about life and getting excited about our future.IMG_0760

This is where we brought home our baby girl. Our first child, the love of our lives. This is where my mom set up her nursery and made a rental apartment feel like home.IMG_0016 This is, perhaps, where we became adults?IMG_0051

And so while we aren’t leaving Antwerp yet (can’t imagine how sentimental I’ll get then!) we are leaving somewhere very special to me. But, onward we march! On to the next little chapter and a great new place for our last days in this fantastic city. For now, I’m lucky to still call Antwerp my home.

And a few more pics to remember Kronenburgstraat 27. IMG_0532

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A big, long catch up

So, I’ve been meaning to write this post for weeks but have been choosing to do things like shower, hang with Garrett, watch TV, browse the Web, etc. in the rare moments/hours/minutes that I get to myself. But, a lot has been going on…AGAIN!

Last weekend we had one of my best friends come visit us from London. What a treat it is to have her on this side of the world with me. She brought Hayden all sorts of goodies, and Easter candy for us, which has become my nemesis this week. :o)IMG_0228

In usual Bruno fashion, we hosted Easter dinner. We had two of our best friends in town from Garrett’s work, so they joined in the festivities. Slow roasted leg of lamb with loads of garlic and rosemary (crock pot style), crispy roasted potatoes with bacon, and green beans with slivered almonds were on the menu. And a massive homemade carrot cake at the end. A good time was had by all!

We’ve all been fighting colds for the last week and a half, but I think we’re getting over it. Recovery time is a lot longer when you don’t exactly get to rest. But, last night Hayden had one of her best nights of sleep in FOREEEVER. Feeling very grateful for that! Not holding my breath though.

And on to more about Hayden. Two teeth, possibly more coming soon. She has had quite the social calendar this month and has been happy being passed around and doted on. We’ve also started attending a parent/child group so she can interact with some other babies. And for me, it’s great to meet other moms!

She will be 7 months old next week. She really does seem like a little person to me now. Not to mention that she is growing, and I am feeling that in my back! She can’t quite decide whether she’s a serious baby, or a super silly one. Some days all she does is smile and laugh, other days she is very focussed and serious about any object or person in front of her. One thing is for sure, she is all about discovery: toys, her toes, household items, how to move her body. She is into everything! And once this kid is mobile, game over. We are going to be prying things out of her mouth and chasing her all over town.

She is getting much better at independent play (depending on the level of crankiness that day) and will sit in her baby Einstein saucer twirling around and pressing buttons. But give her an ounce of your attention, and she will milk you for all you’re worth! She would much rather play with mom and dad than be left to her own devices. Her current favorites: grabbing faces, making blowing sounds with her mouth, picking up everything on the counter, being tickled, rolling over onto all fours.

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Solid food is going better. She hates being strapped into her seat, so I have taken to feeding her while she’s strapped onto me, facing out in the baby bjorn. We’re trying to do purees twice a day, but she’s usually only interested around 5pm. So far, all she likes is fruit! That and baby rice cereal mixed with breast milk. I cannot get a vegetable in her to save my life. So, we’ll keep trying…

I won’t comment on sleep because that ALWAYS changes. As soon as I write something about her current schedule, that changes too. So, I’m not touching that one.

Okay, and on to other things. In one week we move into our new apartment. In three weeks, I am FINALLY going for a ladies night out. Maybe before that, Garrett and I will actually go on a date that doesn’t involve me cooking and us lighting candles in our own dining room. And in four weeks… ITALYYYYYYYYYYY!!! Can’t say I’m not excited about that one!

 

Fun with Nonie, and catching up.

IMG_0210Can I just say how nice it is to have my mom here? She leaves in two days and I don’t even want to think about saying goodbye. Hayden has loved every minute of it too!

We’ve been very busy. The weather has been great this past week, yesterday it was nearly 70 F. We spent the day at the coast in Knokke, and Hayden had her first Belgium cafe experience. She was most interested in Nonie’s sandwich and kept trying to grab it out of her hands. She was not nearly as enthusiastic for her first go round with pureed foods. Sweet potatoes and carrots were a bust, though she did better with bananas. I know it’s going to take time, so we’ll keep trying! It’s definitely fun to watch.

On Saturday, we hosted seven people for lunch. Man, it’s a lot easier to host with three people pitching in! My mom made all the food, helped refill drinks, etc. and Garrett and I were able to relax. Hayden was on her best behavior (she likes to show off for a crowd) and it was a gorgeous sunny day.

Other than that, we’ve been going on lots of long walks, making yummy dinners, watching basketball, playing with baby, and just enjoying our time together. It makes me all the more anxious for our trip to Tuscany. Only a few months away!

We finally decided on an apartment. We are lucky enough to have friends who are happy to rent their gorgeous, very spacious apartment out to us. It’s in a different part of town than we are accustomed to, but it’s all relative since Antwerp isn’t very big. The apartment overlooks the port, so waking up to that every morning is nothing to complain about. We’re excited for a change, even though moving for 5 months is a pain in the butt.

Remember how we were being so healthy and cutting back on dairy and sweets? I’ll come clean and say that lasted about two weeks. We’ve been in cheese heaven, and my sweet tooth has come back with vengeance. Good thing we’re walking a lot!

And I think that’s about it. We planned a trip for July with Garrett’s parents that I’m really looking forward to. We’re going to France for a few days to watch part of the Tour de France, and then we’re renting a place in Switzerland for a week. Hayden will have her first road trip (Lord, help us) and we’ll be breaking out the hiking pack a lot! Lots to look forward to in the coming months!

Almost 6 months.

I know everyone says that time flies and babies grow up so fast. On the one hand, I cannot believe Hayden will already be 6 months old next week. On the other hand, those first few days in the hospital with her seem like forever ago.

IMG_0031IMG_0038I mean, look at her now in comparison to then!IMG_0197
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What a difference!

What’s new with Hayden: Girlfriend definitely figured out her hands. She is into grabbing everything! Hair, noses, the glasses on your face, the cup of water in your hand, the sleeve of your sweater, the collar on your shirt, normal things like toys, hanging mobiles… pretty much anything within arms reach. She is curious and interested in it all. Lately, she’s really into examining faces. It’s pretty adorable, but I have to remember to keep her nails trimmed!

We’re also going through a vocal phase. Hayden loves to hear herself squeal, the higher the pitch, the better. She gets a total kick out of it. She’s also very amused with her reflection in the mirror, and ours. We spend a lot of time singing, dancing and talking to our own reflections. It’s a nut house around here, anything for a few giggles.

Hayden loves being on her tummy. She’s gone to sleeping on her stomach full-time. When we lay her on her back, whether for bed or to play, it’s inevitable that she’ll roll over. She has really started to extend her arms and lift her torso off the ground. She does this move we call “super baby” where she lifts her legs, head and arms and balances on her belly. Not crawling yet, but definitely wanting to move! And, to sit up. When she’s on her back, she strains to get her head off the ground, like she’s doing abdominal exercises. She can’t quite get the momentum to sit up on her own, but she loves when we grab her hands and pull her up onto her feet.

Hayden cut her first tooth last week! That would explain all the drooling, gnawing and suckling. Could be to blame for some whiney days and rough nights too? I have a feeling another one is on its way very soon.

This weekend we will start experimenting with solids! I am so excited to see how Hayden reacts to her first taste of food. The nurse recommended starting with pureed vegetables in the mid morning and pureed fruit in the late afternoon. I’m thinking sweet potatoes and maybe banana? I’ll have to look at my list of foods that are okay for this age. We’ll see if she actually keeps anything down, but I can’t wait to give it a try! Pictures to come, of course.

It’s been a really fun age. I think month 4 to 6 has been a period of huge developmental growth for Hayden. Our baby has turned into this little person with a personality! No longer just a helpless newborn. It’s so much fun watching her come into her own and discover new things. Tomorrow my mom gets here and I can’t wait for her to experience all these wonderful moments with Hayden that you can’t get from video chats. Lots of belly laughs, gummy smiles and baby cuddles are being saved just for Nonie!

 

 

Lately

It has been so lovely in Antwerp this week. Temperatures reaching 60 F, perfectly blue skies and lots of SUN! It feels like spring is really here.

The nice weather has made for some great stroller walks. We finally took the car seat adapter out of our BOB stroller and Hayden is in the big girl seat now. At first she still looked so tiny in there! But, I’m getting used to it. I think Hayden really loves being able to look out at everything, rather than stare at my face for the ride. And she still falls asleep in there like a champ. As I type, she’s going on over an hour nap in her stroller. I love the days where I bring her in from our walk and she continues to sleep! I’ve learned to NOT try to move her into her crib.IMG_0188

And speaking of sleep, I would say it’s better. She’s going down much easier ever since we did sleep training. We are still not sleeping through the night, and it takes me nursing her in order for her to go back to sleep without a lot of crying. We’ve tried Garrett going in to soothe her, it doesn’t help. But, I’m getting longer stretches of sleep, so I hope that continues and only gets better!

My mom is coming to visit in less than two weeks. I cannot wait! Hayden and I both need another distraction around here, and someone else to lighten the mood on the tough days. She’s only coming for a week, but we’ll see her again, plus my dad, my brother and his fiancé, in Tuscany at the end of May. I am dreaming of our fantastic villa, eating way too much delicious food (can you say gelato and PASTA!) and hopefully soaking up sun. And of course, savoring every single minute with my family.

The apartment search is still on and the ball has finally started to roll faster. We found two places through personal contacts, and an agent found a few more. I think we’re going to view two apartments next week and then we should be close to making a decision. May 1 with be here before we know it, and that’s our target move out date. I will have to write an entire post about leaving our current apartment. We’ve had so many great times in this place, I absolutely love everything about it and our location. Hopefully, we can find that same sense of home where we go next.

And with that, thank God it’s almost Friday! The weeks FLY by with Hayden, but I always look forward to getting Garrett home for the weekend. So far, it’s been a great week. Sunshine always helps!

Sleep Training Update.

I don’t know if I would consider sleep training an epic fail, but we haven’t exactly stuck to it either. Here’s what we did:

For five nights we followed the Sleep Easy Solution approach pretty strictly. During the day, I followed the approach for naps as well. How the method works: Following your bedtime routine, you put your baby down drowsy but awake. Of course, she’ll start to cry. You let her. Starting with five minutes, then ten and so on and so on, you check on her at marked intervals. You don’t pick her up, you just comfort her with your voice. Eventually, she will fall asleep. Same approach for middle of the night wakings and naps (for naps you obviously have less time to work with). If you are weaning night feedings, you go in an hour before her predicted wake time and feed her.

All the books talk about how consistency is key no matter what method you choose. I wish it were so black and white. I think sometimes you have to trust your gut and tailor a plan to fit the needs of YOU and your baby. That’s what we did after five nights. I’m sure if we had stuck with the plan, Hayden may be sleeping through the night by now, but there’s a certain amount of crying that I have to draw the line at. It’s my first baby!

Here’s where the sleep training did help us: Establishing a consistent bed time routine and bed time. Putting Hayden down in her crib drowsy, but awake (that’s the big one!). Not answering every cry with a feed, and giving her space and time to self soothe. Keeping a better feeding/napping schedule during the day. Putting her down for naps and bed before she gets overtired, or what we like to call “OT.”

Where we strayed from the plan: Once Hayden started getting back to only one or two night wakings rather than the five, I went back to nursing her on demand. If I were still following the method, I would pre empt those wakings by nursing her an hour before I predicted she would wake up and gradually wean those feedings by nursing for less time each night. But, her wake times are hard to predict! And for now, I’m okay with getting up twice in the night. I’m still holding out hope that she’ll drop the feedings on her own.

The other thing we did is set a limit with the crying. If she’s hysterical and not calming down after a set time, one of us goes in and picks her up to soothe her. Excessive crying only makes her more amped up, and it’s no fun for us either.IMG_0181

One of the benefits of our short stint with sleep training is it did teach Hayden how to self soothe, and it gave us the discipline to step back and let her do it. We use to spend a ridiculous amount of time rocking her to sleep and then gently placing her in her crib. At around four months, that stealth technique stopped working.

And that’s the update. Mostly, we have no idea what we’re doing. Ha! Are all first borns subjected to this type of trial and error? Because I feel like it’s only the beginning!