Monday, November 14, 2011

Night Weaning: Phase One and a Half

I’ve been pretty adamant about not wanting to implement any sort of sleep training with Abby, and just letting things progress at her pace.  Especially when she was still an infant, as I don’t believe any baby needs to sleep train a baby under a year old.  And while 14 months is still *little* in the grand scheme of things, she is definitely a full blown toddler in movement and in attitude, and no longer my squishy little infant baby anymore.  But, her night time nursing would suggest otherwise.

To be honest, I’m just plain tired of nursing her at night. Now, let me clarify….I am not tired of nursing all together.  In fact, I still enjoy watching her little eyes stare up at me when she nurses and, it’s even more cute now when she tries to identify body parts at the same time, but…I’m really tired of having a squirmy toddler attached to me all night.  So, while we are night weaning, we are not fully weaning.  I actually think that our daytime nursing sessions will be more important than ever once we stop the night time ones.  So, I will still let Abby continue to self-wean at her own pace (which, typically will happen after age 2).

After reading through one of my favorite breastfeeding related sites (The Leaky B@@b), I came across Dr. Jay Gordon’s article on sleep patterns and night weaning.  Now, I’ve read Elizabeth Pantley’s No Cry Sleep Solution, which has some great ideas, and actually helped us create a bedtime routine, but, her methods didn’t really have much impact on me when it came to night weaning.  Dr. Gordon’s recommendations seemed simple, and only required 10 days.  Now, of course, I don’t expect to go from 3-4 wakings a night to zero in 10 days, but, the shortened phases helped structure our plan, which was nice.  The gist of it is this: Pick the hours that mean the most to you at night (we chose 11pm-6am), Nights 1-3, shortened nursing sessions and no nursing until after baby falls asleep and reawakens.  Nights 4-6, no nursing, but use whatever soothing techniques you need that help. Nights 7-10, limit the degree of soothing techniques used (more back pats, less holding/rocking, etc).   

So, we’re on Night 5.
And, as a caveat….I don’t recommend doing this if you are going to be sick.  I picked up a virus from Miss A over the weekend, and the worst of it fell on the first night with no nursing, last night.  Terrible, really.  So much so I called in sick to work, and am typing this up from my bed (and plan to take a nap just after I post).  

Nights 1-3 were not that terrible.  Abby woke up at her typical times, and seemed to do ok with the shortened feeding sessions.  The first night, she fussed for about 15min after I unlatched her, but went back to sleep each time.  By the 3rd night, there was zero fussing after I would unlatch her. 

Then, Night 4 – by far the biggest change.  And, so far, the worst night.  The first time she woke up, it took her about 30-40min to finally settle down and go back to sleep.  She seemed to have taken up sleeping ON me.  She still really seems to want that constant contact with me even if she can’t nurse.  So, she climbed on top of me and tried to sleep.  At around 2:30am, she woke up again, and this time, she could not settle back into sleep.  She rolled around our king sized bed for a good 2 hours.  Climbing on me, rolling off me, sleeping on Ash at the foot of the bed, sleeping next to Steve, rolling back on top of me again.  Extremely exhausting.  Then, she woke up again at 5:30 (only about an hour after settling down), and then again at 6:15.  At 6:15, we nursed, and she stayed asleep until we had to wake her for school.

She has to be exhausted today.  But you’d never know it.  She’s as cheerful as she ever is in the morning, and has been in a great mood all weekend.  I just hope tonight isn’t as bad as last night…


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Once-A-Month Cooking: November

I’ve been digging a mommy blog lately called Mama and Baby Love, by a local Tallahassee mommy.  I mostly love it because her daughter, Penelope, is so stinking cute, and mostly because she posts delicious ideas from her favorite cookbook, Nourishing Traditions.  She recently inspired me to take on once-a-month cooking. 
The time between when Miss A and I get home and when Steve gets home always feels like a very hectic time.  Miss A is usually ready for dinner by 6-6:30, which leaves me anywhere from 20min to 40min to try and whip something up.  And, no matter how much prep or planning I do in advance, it always seems that the days in which I have a more “involved” meal planned are the days when Miss A demands my full attention.  I can’t really blame her, as she only gets about 20min of “mommy and daddy time” before school, and then after dinner we whisk her away for bath time and bedtime routine.  She’s typically in bed by 8pm (on a good day).   So really 5:30-6:30 is her best shot at having some one-on-one time with her parents in the evenings. 
So, in order to alleviate weeknight stress on my end (because, trying to cook ANYTHING with a toddler who can reach the stove knobs or wants to hang out by the oven because mommy is there is a HUGE struggle) and to give Abby some more of my attention (which she seems to really need these days), I took on the incredible stress of cooking up 16 days worth of meals in less than 24 hours.  And, it was actually less than that, because I started at about 6:30pm (well, 5pm if you count getting the chicken stock on the stove before we left for dinner) on Saturday, and finished up about 1pm on Sunday – which included sleeping 11pm-6:30am (time change accounted for), and then making/eating breakfast Sunday morning and then going out for lunch on Sunday.  Thankfully, Steve took Abby for a long walk on Sunday morning before lunch which really helped, and then she napped right on schedule which was also perfect for me to finish up the last of it and also get to take a rarely enjoyed weekend shower before the Bills game.
 The breakdown of meals I plan to make each month will include:
·         1 soup, 4 servings for a total of 2 meals.  Just need to pick up some salad mix on these nights.
·         3 crock pot meals, 2 nights each meal, for a total of 6 meals.  I bought buttermilk biscuits and quinoa to go along with these.
·         2 one-dish meals, double portions, for a total of 4 meals.
·         2 main-dish components, double portions, for 4 night’s worth of meals.  On these nights, I’ll have to cook up sides (a starch and a veg usually) so it shouldn’t be too bad to handle.
This month I made (follow links for recipes):
One-Dish Meals:  Chicken Enchiladas, Baked Rotini
Main-Dish Components:  Meatloaf, Chicken Nuggets
Now, technically the chicken enchiladas is a main-dish component, but, I really considered it a one-dish meal, as all I have to do is heat up the mix and open some tortillas and grate some cheese.  None of that I consider “cooking” so that’s why I considered it a one-dish meal.  The rest are garnishes.  J
The meatloaf is a recipe that came from an old issue of Men’s Health magazine.  Steve had a subscription back in the day, and would tear out pages of recipes he thought looked good.  So far, this recipe has held up for several years, and it always turns out great.  I made a double batch, and split the meat up into 4-mini loaf pans to help speed up the baking time needed.  Here is the recipe:
½ lb ground beef
½ lb ground turkey
½ onion, diced
1 egg
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup breadcrumbs
½ cup BBQ sauce (whichever is your favorite), plus extra for top of loaf
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried parsley
Salt & pepper as desired

Preheat oven to 375.  Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.  Transfer mix to a loaf pan (ungreased).  Spread the remaining BBQ sauce on top of loaf before cooking.  Cook in oven for approximately 45min-1hr.

The baked rotini recipe I made up myself.  I divided it up into 2 aluminum pans for freezing.  It’s basically a lasagna recipe:

1 box whole wheat rotini (or any other pasta)
1lb ground beef
2 cup shredded mozzarella
1 ½ jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce
15oz ricotta
1 egg
¼ cup parmesan
1 tbsp parsley

Cook noodles according to package directions.  Brown beef and drain.   Add spaghetti sauce and keep warm.  Mix ricotta, egg, parmesan and 1c. mozzarella together in a small bowl.  Mix noodles into beef and sauce mixture and pour into pan.  Add ricotta mixture, and mix up well.  Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees until hot & bubbly and cheese has melted.

Oh, and, since the chicken enchilada recipe called for meat from an already roasted chicken, I decided to take the time to make my own stock.  I used Mama and Baby Love’s recipe which she again took from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook.  It was super easy, and it just sat on the stove overnight.  The only thing I learned from this process is to NEVER skimp on Ziploc bags again.  I used a generic brand bag, and even though they were ‘snapped’ fully, they still leaked out the sides in the freezer.  So, I had to double bag them.  And STILL one of them leaked, again.  So, I am now on the hunt for the best freezer bags.  Anyone have any recommendations?  Maybe I need to stock up on the Lansinoh bags again!  Never had a problem with them!

These meals should last me til Thanksgiving (at least week nights).  I’m sure we’ll still eat out some on the weekends, as we’re almost always out & about.  But hopefully my week nights will be a lot less stressful.  Last night we had the Morroccan Lamb and it was delicious!  Tonight, I’m cooking up two of the meatloaves, and will be making mashed potatoes and probably some corn to go along with it.  Can’t wait to try the rest!