independent napping... please help! - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-22-2011, 10:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DD is 3.5 months old, my first. She does not nap on her own.  If I hold her for naps she will sleep a lovely 2-3 hours.  If I put her down, I get *maybe* 20 minutes.  I really really need a break in the day.  By the time DH gets home I am about ready to lose it.  I can't get anything done because I am holding the baby all.the.time.  

 

When she is awake I love holding her and interacting but when she is asleep I would really love to put her down, do the dishes, make dinner, maybe even take a shower!  I try wearing her but she doesn't sleep well in a wrap or sling.  She wakes up in the swing.  She does well with I lay down in bed with her and nap, but again, I am not getting anything done or any *me* time.  The horrible part is, she doesn't fuss, she is a wonderfully happy baby, she just doesn't nap on her own!  I feel awful for complaining because she is a easy baby for the most part.  It would help my mental health *so* much if I felt like I was being even mildly productive during the day. 

 

Is there any way I can help her become more independent in her napping?  

 

Any advice is very, very appreciated!!!

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Old 02-22-2011, 10:42 PM
 
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No help here, I'm on my second baby of this type (at least so far).  Mine have slept in wraps though, if I do it right.  I find with my new one, that it helps to walk around for awhile after I get her tied on until she's thoroughly asleep.  Then I can do more different things.  It's also better to have her on my back, since she's much more likely to wake up if I sit down or bend over if she's on my front, and it's certainly easier to do things that way.  With my son, I tried putting him in all sorts of different places, rocking, singing, etc...  Nothing worked, and I gave up until eventually (8 or 9 months?) I could nurse him down and slip away (before then slipping away always woke him).  This time I'm not trying to fight it.

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Old 02-22-2011, 11:22 PM
 
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It took my daughter time to be alright sleeping in the swing. At first she'd wake up right after I put her in it. Then, around 4 or so months she would sleep for 20 minutes or so. It gradually got better until she was taking all of her naps and starting her night sleep in the swing. So my advice is to keep trying but don't get discouraged yet about it not happening. She may just need to build up to it like my girl.


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Old 02-23-2011, 08:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the suggestions, ladies!

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Old 02-23-2011, 09:10 PM
 
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are you open to swaddling? When my ds was that age what worked for us was swaddling him (but not the legs as you need those free to buckle the swing) and putting him in the swing.

then we eventually graduated to still swaddled but not in the swing.

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Old 02-23-2011, 10:28 PM
 
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You can get a swaddle like the Woombie convertible with leggies that leaves the legs free- this is what my 10.5 month old daughter uses.


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Old 02-23-2011, 11:16 PM
 
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I would get help learning some new wrap carries from someone locally who really knows there stuff if possible. They could hopefully help you find a carry that your DD loves to sleep in so you can move around while she is sleeping as needed. Daytime babywearing has been shown to increase breastfeeding success rates and increase the quality of sleep for the family at night. Win win Sheepish.gif

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Old 02-26-2011, 12:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mckittre View Post

No help here, I'm on my second baby of this type (at least so far).  Mine have slept in wraps though, if I do it right.  I find with my new one, that it helps to walk around for awhile after I get her tied on until she's thoroughly asleep.  Then I can do more different things.  It's also better to have her on my back, since she's much more likely to wake up if I sit down or bend over if she's on my front, and it's certainly easier to do things that way.  With my son, I tried putting him in all sorts of different places, rocking, singing, etc...  Nothing worked, and I gave up until eventually (8 or 9 months?) I could nurse him down and slip away (before then slipping away always woke him).  This time I'm not trying to fight it.


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DS1 was just like that, too.  He NEVER let me put him down for anything- asleep or awake, I had to be within arms reach until he was... maybe 2 years, lol.  Honestly, I remember putting him down for bed when he was about 1.5, taking about 2 hours to get him down, and then I'd just run to my bed and crash as fast as I could because I KNEW that I only had an hour at the most to sleep alone before he'd wake and need me the rest of the night.  Forget naps- he was never asleep enough to delatch, much less be put down.  I got NO housework done (not that I'm a good housekeeper anyway).  I would occasionally strap him into the high chair or on my back and get one chore done while he screamed.  He had to be latched to the boob constantly until he weened, it seemed.  I'm afraid I don't have any great advice for you other than what other posters suggested:  try everything until you find a wrap/sling/mei tai/carrier that will allow you to go hands-free for a little while, and then just learn to ignore the dirty house.  If you have a friend who could hake her for a short time during the day, or if DH could come home for lunch a couple of times each week, that might help you get a little bit of personal time, but I'm afraid that's the life of an attachment parent.  Nobody said it was easy, but I promise it's worth it.  DS1 is 5 now, and he never fusses or complains about going anywhere.  He doesn't care if I leave him at a friend's or grandparents or a drop-in place.  He's VERY well attached, and secure in his place in the world.  I wouldn't trade it for all the alone-time and clean houses in the world.  :) 

 

Have heart, you're not alone, and remember: "This, too, shall pass."


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Old 02-26-2011, 12:30 PM
 
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At around 4-4.5 months DD2 (and I think DD1) will let me nurse to sleep in bed and roll away, although, naps are only 1 hour at most this way.  I prop a pillow behind her and arrange blankets to make it seem like I am still there.


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Old 02-28-2011, 02:32 PM
 
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My DS1 was like that too!  I couldn't put him down at all until he was around 3mths and gradually it got better from there.  By 5.5 mths he was sleeping on his own in his crib (before that I would have to sleep with him if I wanted him to sleep).  OMG I remember those days, I would get soooo frustrated because he was asleep and all I wanted to do was put him down so I could get things done!  Eventually I learned to substitute the Boppy for me.  I would hold him until he was asleep then slip the Boppy in place of me, even have him cuddle it and cradle it while he slept on his side and it worked!  He started napping on his own.  We still co-slept at night though.  So my advice, like the PP is try to substitue a pillow and blankets for you so she thinks you're still there.


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Old 02-28-2011, 06:58 PM
 
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For both my kids it took 6 mo before they could nap on their own. DD had to be held in my lap (she'd also sleep in the stroller or car) and this DS (now 8 mo) had to be held in my lap, or I'd have to sleep next to him with my arm around him. He'd also sleep in a sling or wrap too (still does sometimes.)

 

For them it was like some neurological switch that went off at 6 mo and they could stay asleep by themselves. Of course for both of them I'd have to nurse them into a coma - and this DS also takes a binky to boot.

 

It. Is. SOOO hard!!

 

I fought it for a while, spent hours trying to get him to nap solo. Then for a few months I honestly just gave up and napped with him. Two, 2-hr naps a day. It sucked that I didn't get a break but at the same time I felt better once I knew what I was in for. Plus I was actually getting a decent amount of sleep, given all the night waking we were doing. 

 

For us, I didn't start doing anything different than I did before. I nurse him till he's practically in a coma, stand up from the bed, roll him into his crib on his belly and cover him with a blanky and pat his back a little if he's not totally out. He usually naps for 1.5 to 2 hrs. I think his brain just had to settle down a little.


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Old 02-28-2011, 08:54 PM
 
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Just asking... why do you want them to sleep alone? Pls don't be annoyed at me, or say to get stuff done!... I need to get stuff done too... just asking as they are only little nursing napping bundles for so long. I treasure the years I spent cuddling up my sleeping nurslings! I mean treasure every minute of it... I can't even remember any of the 'yay I cleaned, acheived, did stuff' days... I know I had them, but its the naps and all the hours in bed or chairs or rockers I treasure now.... We seem to be given A+ in this country for every act of putting our child down to sleep alone, to nap 'independently', to stay with strangers.... its everywhere,  are you sure you want to put your LO down? How about a nap together,  a big easy chair a nice drink/snack a book and a nursing sleeping babe, or a call to a friend with your feet up and your babe asleep on your breast?Sometimes going with the flow is more fun for everyone.... just my two cents

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Old 02-28-2011, 09:05 PM
 
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You are AWESOME and SUPER PRODUCTIVE!!!!! You are raising a beautiful baby and giving your LO the greatest gifts your time and your love! The dishes will not grow up to be well rounded, loving individuals.... with your love and care you babe will!!

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Old 02-28-2011, 10:05 PM
 
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Four months is around the age that napping becomes more organized--it sounds like your DD may actually be a little early, if she'll nap for two hours while you hold her. I would keep trying to let her nap by lying down with her, then sneaking off after she falls asleep. In just a few weeks, she may nap longer on her own.

It's perfectly OK to need a few minutes every day when you're not holding the baby. My DH used to put DD in the sling and wear her around when he got home from work. I could cook dinner (or just sit by myself!) and he got to re-connect with DD. Once she could sit up, he would give her a bath when he got home, and start her night-time routine.

I would encourage you to let your DH have some time with the baby. At first, he may not be as good at soothing her, and it may really irritate you to listen if she's crying and he's doing it "wrong." But eventually, he will learn his own way to interact with her, and it will really build their relationship to have some "mom free" time to play and get to know each other. And you will get the break you need and deserve!
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Old 02-28-2011, 10:28 PM
 
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My now 6mo DS did this. He's taking much longer naps now that he's trying to consolidate them. I went from a total of 1hr a day to 2-3. it's great!

***First off I had not choice but to black out the window and have white noise playing. Consider that step one if you haven't already.

One to two naps a day he has by himself and once a day we snooze together. I soothe to sleep primarily by nursing. Sometimes he falls asleep on his own by car ride, swing, or pacifier. If I need to do something, as soon as he is done eating, and is drifting off to sleep, I put him to bed. If he woke right away, I would resort to a pacifier (this is the only thing that works for him). Once I committed to my method, my success rate got better.

I tried the sleep with him then roll away technique, but he is too mobile for that now. I also tried swaddling, and I still use it occasionally if he is overly fussy.

Best of luck!

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Old 03-01-2011, 05:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the replies, lots of good ideas!  Giving DH more opportunities to help would make a huge difference... but yeah, I run into the whole "you aren't doing that right" thing and then I just take her back so it doesn't really work out.  I will have to work on that one. And we did swaddle, but no she can get out of it in about 2 seconds, so I have kind of given up.  Maybe I need to give it another shot.

 

Skyewriter, for my own mental well being I *really* need at least a short break from being Mommy or Wifey and just be Laura.  I'm dealing with PPD and I really need a break during the day.  I often do take naps with her, and we co-sleep.  But an hour during the day to have my hands free and to shower, do the dishes or just mess around on the computer with both my hands really makes a huge difference in my outlook on life.  I realize DD will only be a little snugbug once, but if I the choice is to put her down for an hour or two a day or be so depressed and resentful that I don't enjoy any of it, I choose putting her down.

 

Thanks all!!!

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Old 03-01-2011, 10:56 AM
 
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I need that time as well, so I understand where you are coming from. When Cecilia was tiny, my husband would wear her and play with her, walk her around the backyard, and so on while I had me time. Nowadays, she and my husband go to bed before me, so that's when I get my me time.

 

As for the sleeping independently-- for us, that did not come until after 4 months, probably closer to 5. I posted about it earlier, talking about putting her in the swing and gradually she'd get better about sleeping in it for longer stretches. What I didn't mention is that she was, and still is at almost 11 months, swaddled. I wouldn't waste my time trying to perfect a swaddle with a regular blanket. I would go straight to trying the Velcro kind like the Swaddlme, or the Miracle blanket, or another similar one. We used a non-stretchy Swaddleme until 8-ish months, and then switched to a very stretchy Woombie convertible with legs. Her swaddle these days is more a security blanket than anything else, as she can straighten out completely and move her arms everywhere within the swaddle. But, it works so well as a cue that it's time for sleep. She used to get angry when she was wrapped up, but the minute she was latched on for milkies, she would relax. Now she doesn't fight it at all, she loves her swaddle.


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Old 03-01-2011, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Aimee! I will have to go shopping for a Swaddlme!

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Old 03-01-2011, 08:00 PM
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Swaddle!

My 7.5 mo. old is sleeping swaddled right this minute. It took me until she was about 6 months old to realize that she would take amazing naps by herself if I swaddled her. She naps for 3 hours every day around noon now that I figured it out. I use a big muslin swaddling blanket and basically tie her arms down with it, and I can put her down awake and walk away. It's the best thing ever. She's my third and I wish I'd figured this out a long time ago! 

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Old 03-01-2011, 10:14 PM
 
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Just asking... why do you want them to sleep alone? Pls don't be annoyed at me, or say to get stuff done!... I need to get stuff done too... just asking as they are only little nursing napping bundles for so long. I treasure the years I spent cuddling up my sleeping nurslings! I mean treasure every minute of it... I can't even remember any of the 'yay I cleaned, acheived, did stuff' days... I know I had them, but its the naps and all the hours in bed or chairs or rockers I treasure now.... We seem to be given A+ in this country for every act of putting our child down to sleep alone, to nap 'independently', to stay with strangers.... its everywhere,  are you sure you want to put your LO down? How about a nap together,  a big easy chair a nice drink/snack a book and a nursing sleeping babe, or a call to a friend with your feet up and your babe asleep on your breast?Sometimes going with the flow is more fun for everyone.... just my two cents

Just to give you some perspective on why it can be necessary to get a baby to sleep independantly in order to get stuff done, which you so disdainfully described, I'd like to explain to you that not everyone has the time to simply spend their day in a big easy chair with a napping babe chatting with friends. While I love my little bundle and he's so adorable when he sleeps, the only way I can afford my little sleeping boy wonder is to be a WAHM. In order to be the best mom I can be to him while he's AWAKE, I need to get my work done during his naps. Furthermore, the division of labor that allows for a mama to stay at home and nurse and lay in her easy chair often requires her partner to be at work all day supporting her. I know my husband would be pretty pissed to work a 10 hour day and come home to wash a sinkful of dishes, make his own dinner, and then clean up because I spent all day in an easy chair. Not every woman strives to be only a mama 24/7. Sometimes we need a break and a nap or two is not two much to ask. Perhaps it's my own working mother's guilt, but this post really rubbed me as insensitive.

 

OP, it is really important to get past the feeling that DH is never doing it just right. Babies are adaptable and they seem to recognize that they get different things from different caregivers, which is fantastic. For example, I am home all day with Daniel and my husband WOH. When he comes home, he is in charge of bathtime and bedtime. I put Daniel down for two naps a day and I have a very specific routine that I follow. My husband, on the other hand, has another very specific routine that HE follows. You know what? The baby still goes to sleep. Take some time away from the time you actually need him to put your LO to sleep and show him your needs and how you do things, and then once you've shown him, step out of the way. I think as mamas we forget that we didn't learn how to care for babies intuitively, we learned by DOING, and we need to allow our partners the same experience. Unless you're afraid your husband will employ  a method that you absolutely don't agree with (allowing the baby to CIO, being way too rough, etc.), you might even want to step out of earshot while he's working his magic. The temptation to go in and just do it yourself might be too strong, and then you're not accomplishing anything.

 

Swaddling. Is. Awesome. Buy a SwaddleMe and wrap your LO snug as a bug in a rug and watch the magic unfold. You might also try some white noise. These days we're really liking the sound of the humidifier.
 

 


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Old 03-02-2011, 07:31 AM
 
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Just asking... why do you want them to sleep alone? Pls don't be annoyed at me, or say to get stuff done!... I need to get stuff done too... just asking as they are only little nursing napping bundles for so long. <cut>Sometimes going with the flow is more fun for everyone.... just my two cents


While I understand where this advice is coming from, and wish we all had housekeepers or other help to make it happen, this was honestly some of the worst advice I received when DS was born.  Not the worst because it's bad, but the worst because it made me feel TERRIBLE.  Like there was something wrong with me that I couldn't just sit back and enjoy being with my new son 24/7.  I was constantly told 'enjoy it, the dishes/laundry/housework/etc will still be there'.  Well, yeah, that's the problem.  They WILL still be there and there will be so much more in a week or 2 or 3 (assuming I have enough clothes/dishes/whatever to last that long) and instead of taking an hour or 2 to get the house in order, it will take all day.  And we all know that as difficult as it can be to get an hour free, it is impossible to get the whole day free.  To me a very messy house is stressful, and yes, I have relaxed my standards (as hard as that was).  If I reach for a towel and there aren't any clean, and I want to put a dish in the sink but it's overflowing already, I start to get frustrated and my patience goes down with everyone.  How is that good for my son?

 

Also, while I didn't have PPD, I discovered I didn't actually like being the mom of an infant.  So that time when DP would take him was just as precious as the moments I watched his adorable face sleeping in my arms.  I agree with PPs, let him figure out his own routines etc.  It won't be the way you do things, but (unless he's harming the baby somehow) it will be fine.  When there are things that need to be addressed, address them in a light hearted way.  When DP wasn't washing behind baby ears at bathtime, one day I said in my little 'talking to baby' voice "oh no!  your ears are still dirty!  you need to tell daddy to wash behind them!"  Stuff like that.

 

Last - I just started reading The No Cry Sleep Solution.  DS is 7 months.  I wish I'd read it when he was 3 or 4 months.

 

Hang in there mama, it's rough but it does get better.


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Old 03-02-2011, 07:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Not the worst because it's bad, but the worst because it made me feel TERRIBLE.  Like there was something wrong with me that I couldn't just sit back and enjoy being with my new son 24/7. 

Thank you so much for saying that!!!  I hate hate hate feeling guitly for wanting to put DD down.  Of course I love her more than anything, but I cannot be "mommy" 24/7.  I just can't take it.  But I really do want to stay home.  I am with you in that the infant stage is just really hard for me.  I also just got the No Cry Sleep Solution but I haven't read past the first chapter... I will have to get back to it!

 

And the other post I wanted to quote is on the other page, so I don't know how to do that... but as a PP said, the post to just hold her and go with the flow rubbed me the wrong way too.  I don't think the poster meant anything bad by it, but some people just can't be happy sitting and holding an infant all.day.long.

 

 

On the plus side... DD is swaddled and sleeping on the couch by herself!!!!!!!!!! WhoooHooo!!!! So, I am going to go get stuff done!!! Thank you so much for all the great advice ladies! I REALLY appreciate it!!!! joy.gif

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Old 03-02-2011, 08:45 AM
 
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I have one I can't put down. I get my stuff done easier when he's awake, but happy, which is 100 times easier when he's had a good sleep. At that age he went in his bouncy seat or swing nearby, and I showered, cleaned, whatever. I know we all want to have some hands free time to be people, but if you are frustrating yourself by fighting what is real and true, you won't be any happier. It will not always be this way. Your baby will soon be sleeping on his/her own. It doesn't take long before they are off and independent. I hope swaddling works for you.


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Old 03-02-2011, 09:15 AM
 
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OP, do you have a good structured carrier like an Ergo? I had a Moby, ring sling, and an Ergo and by far, I found (and still do find) the Ergo to be the most helpful in terms of supporting my back while I wash dishes, etc. I forget how old you said your baby was, but if he's under 15lbs, you need an infant insert which can be a little bit more of a pain, but once you get past that point they're so easy to use. Also, you can put LO on your back and really get stuff done, like cooking or washing dishes in very hot water. The Ergo is great because it's flat and quilted so you can wear him to sleep and then just unclip him onto a bed with the Ergo underneith him.

 


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Old 03-02-2011, 09:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, SeattleRain!  I don't have an ergo but I really, really want one!  I do have a mei tie but I am just not very comfortable putting her on my back by myself- I'm not very coordinated and tend to drop things hide.gif. I just bought a Swaddle Me and am anxious to give that a try.   

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Old 03-02-2011, 11:39 PM
 
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Swaddle, swaddle swaddle :) Babies like to feel they are being held, and they work wonders! Also try a baby swing. That also worked for me, and all my babies slept long hours in their swings. Hey, sometimes dishes need to be done! and Laundry needs to be put away!


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Old 03-03-2011, 07:30 PM
 
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ouch... wasn't trying to come from anyplace judgmental..bag.gif,  but kinda like  Asraideven said, maybe your fighting the wrong battle? sometimes there are ways to do stuff together, wearing the babe or even while they sit in a chair or swing to watch and gnaw a toy, or whatever. I am a serious do everything in one giant huuuge long project type worker, and having my babies forced me to learn to do things in smaller runs, bit by bit.... a hard shift to make! But we developed a rythym together this way, I can do a lot with one hand, (bread was tough), he will sit happily in a chair long enough  to do some kitchen stuff, and now I feel like we work together through the day... anyway I wonder if society actually valued mothering... would any of us feel we weren't doing enough during the short (in the bigger scheme of things) but mom intensive period of infanthood? of course the question is silly, cuz if motherhood were honored and valued... we'd probably have help like in some indigenous societies!! Anyway I only meant to say that preconceived ways of doing things don't always fit what makes us happy... not if we make ourselves nuts getting there. I hope the swaddling works for you... if not or even in  addition to, you can try and find those together ways of filling in some of the chores a few minutes here and there. 

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Old 03-03-2011, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Skyewriter!  Sorry if I was really snarky... sensitive subject I guess shy.gif

 

The Swaddle Me seems to be helping.  Also, I got a Bumbo today (yay for craigslist!) that DD *loves* which gave me a lot more awaking-getting-stuff-done time joy.gif. Really, I think maybe she just isn't quite old enough, but each day since posting this has been better than the day before, so that is amazing!  I really appreciate the support and suggestions! 

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Old 03-03-2011, 07:48 PM
 
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Just be careful with that Bumbo, mama. She shouldn't be in it for very long if she's not already sitting independently. smile.gif


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Old 03-04-2011, 09:43 AM
 
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And it seems obvious, but don't put her up on a raised surface. My son decided to lean forward and pretty much propel himself out of it and he was on the floor. He might have gotten really hurt on a raised surface.

 

Your LO is right around the age for an exersaucer or jumperoo. At 8 months, my LO loves the exersaucer and it provides a great place for me to put him in the kitchen while I wash dishes and make dinner in the afternoon. I know some people on here don't love them for a lot of their own reasons, but I love them. You can often find them on Craigslist. You could also try to put your LO in a highchair in the kitchen with some toys on the tray, or they even make special toys that suction to the tray to keep baby occupied better while they're awake. I love the highchair in the kitchen. I give Daniel some giant stalks of celery to play with and a wooden spoon and he goes nuts and loves to watch me cook.


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