Baby vs. Television

Since becoming a SAHM I find myself watching (way) more television than I ever have in my life.  I’m talking like I can finish an entire season within two days while still watching other shows at night with Neil.  This is a bad habit and not one that I want Edith to get used to.

When Edith was younger she didn’t seem to really notice the TV and so although Neil and I said we would limit our TV watching from the start we let this slide and didn’t really think much of it when I spent 8 hours/day on the couch nursing and watching Private Practice.  Over time Edith has really started to notice the TV and if it is on she will watch it, even if all that is on the screen is the bouncing Roku logo.

However, last week things went from her just watching if she was facing the TV to her craning her neck to see the TV when you had her faced away from it.  This is when we decided that we could no longer get away with watching TV while she is awake.  We stopped watching TV during the day cold turkey and honestly it wasn’t as challenging as I thought it would be. Okay, I should be forthcoming about it and say that we are not super strict about absolutely no TV while she is awake but we have cut down by about 90% (so 1-2 episodes of a show per day while she is nursing).

So you might be asking yourself- why do you care if she watches the TV? Well we don’t want Edith to become a baby zombie.  We also don’t want her to become dependent on the TV for entertainment as she gets older.  On top of that

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television time for toddlers younger than 2, in large part because no studies have yet established that TV exposure improves babies’ learning. Read more.

Other Reasons:

  • Watching too much TV has been said to impair development of language and motor skills in infants and toddlers.
  • We want Edith to be more interested in books, nature, art, music and sports than television (or computers or smartphones).
  • There is no benefit to her watching TV.
  • We, the adults, also don’t need to watch as much TV as we do.
  • We want Edith to plaster photos of Ira Glass on her walls instead of the Jersey Shore cast.

What we aren’t saying:

  • We are NOT saying TV is bad, hell we LOVE our shows.
  • We are NOT saying that E will never watch TV but at this age she really has no need to.
  • Also we are not saying she can’t post photos of the Jersey Shore cast on her wall if that’s what she really wants but we are hoping that by surrounding her with music, NPR, books and nature that she will be more interested in Ira than Snooki.

 

Ups and Downs

This week has had it’s ups and downs but it is almost over and we made it through. Unfortunately with all that has been going on here we have not had a chance to post but don’t worry we will be back at it next week. Until then I leave you with this:

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i miss sleeping.

Over the past week there has been a huge change in Edie’s sleeping and it is hitting us hard over here.  Edith has been pretty consistent with her sleeping patterns since day one.  Around 80% of the time we spend 30-90 minutes getting her to sleep and then she sleeps 4-5 hours, nurses, sleeps 1.5-3 hours, nurses, 1.5-2.5 hours, nurses, lounges and sleeps 30 minutes -1.5 hours.  Don’t get me wrong we have had a few cluster feeding nights and a few lucky nights of 7-7.5 hours of straight sleeping but in the past week our routine has completely shifted.

Edith is still taking 30-90 minutes to get to sleep but now she is sleeping 2-4 hours then waking up and nursing but not going right back to sleep for 30-90 minutes and then sleeps 1.5-2 hours (if we’re lucky) and then is up for  1-2 hours and then sleeps for 1-3 hours and then is up again for the day with maybe a nap in the morning if I’m lucky.  On top of not sleeping as well she is having fussy, crying, screaming fits when she is awake during the night.  I nurse her, change her diaper, and burp her but nothing seems to help except a little bouncing or back patting and of course just when I think she has settled down and is back to sleep as soon as I put her down she is fussing and eventually wailing.

I know that she is still so young that sleeping is pretty unpredictable but during the first 9.5 weeks of her life  she has been pretty predictable and consistent.  Neil and I are the most exhausted that we have ever been with him working crazy hours and then being woken by a screaming baby just hours after going to bed and lately as soon as I go to bed (which is like 9:30) Edie is waking up and doesn’t want to go back to sleep.  Last night I went in to bed at 9:30 and spent an hour trying to nurse and sooth her back to sleep but eventually gave up and put her out in her swing in the living room where Neil was working  so that I could get a few hours of sleep since I didn’t get any when Neil was away this past weekend.

I spent the morning googling what might be going on and for the most part the responses I have found are:

Until babies are closer to four months their sleep schedules are unpredictable.

Could be sleep regression due to developmental changes. This could be a possibility however the generally timeline for developmental phases at this point is at 8 weeks and 12 weeks so she is right in the middle however from what I have learned babies don’t always fit the standard timelines.

Could be that she is not feeling well. This is very possible has she has been stuffy and we have been watching her temperature because it’s been between hovering around the high 98’s to low 99’s (doctor is to be called at 100.4F).

After a hectic weekend alone (which I’ll blog about soon) while Neil was away at a work conference this whole not sleeping thing is really exhausting me to the point where I have developed a bit of a cold and so has Neil.

Any suggestions or words of wisdom on how we can get back to a better sleeping situation? We are headed out of town for Neil’s 1/2 Marathon this weekend and I am really hoping that maybe Edie will sleep better before then because Neil is exhausted and now worried that he won’t do well at the race.

Our Weekend in Numbers

I’m currently trying to recover from a single parenting weekend so here is a highlight of Edith and my weekend in numbers:

Naps: 6 <—crazy!
Hours of sleep: 14 (My sleep between Friday, Saturday & Sunday)
Cups of coffee: 4
Showers: 3 (Friday, Saturday AND Sunday)
Baths Given: 1
Workouts: 2
Break downs (mine): 3
Diapers changed: 40 (or so)
Hours nursing: too many to count
Episodes of Gilmore Girls: 20
Photos Taken: 380

Officially a SAHM/WAHM

As of June 28, 2012 I officially left my job after 27 months as an administrative assistant to become a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom.  It was a decision that neither Neil nor I took lightly but in the end decided that it would be best for us and for our child.

Why?

  • Importance of being home with the baby
  • Cost of daycare versus my take home income
  • More time to focus on my health coaching and other freelance work

My Plans (tentative)

  • Continue with freelance work that I have already been doing and look into increasing the amount in the Fall
  • Taking a break from one-on-one health coaching and workshops until September- until that time I will be doing online only programs, working on the blog and creating/reworking my current program offerings

How:

  • Neil has a flexible work schedule that will allow me to have time at home to work throughout the week.  We are still working out the details regarding our schedule but the thought right now is that I will have time to work in the mornings on either Tuesday or Thursday and every Friday when Neil doesn’t have to go into work early. On all o the other days I plan to fit work in where I can. Once I get back to one-on-one coaching and doing workshops again these will be in the afternoons/evenings and Neil will watch the baby then but currently no set days or times yet we are going to see how things are come September.
  • I also plan on taking some outside help from friends and family when it comes to watching the baby.  Starting in the Fall I plan on taking my mom up on her offer to help out a few hours per week by having her come over and watch/play with the baby while I work in the office or meet with clients.
  • We also have discussed hiring outside help for 6-10 hours per week to watch the baby while I coach or do other work.

Budget:

  • Our budget has changed a little bit but not too much.  Luckily Neil received a promotion and a raise in May and it has really helped with offsetting the income that we will be losing now that I am not bringing in a consistent paycheck.
  • We have adjusted our budget to reflect only having Neil’s income and whatever I make each month in freelance work/coaching will be seen more as a bonus and a large portion will be put into savings and the other as a buffer for our checking accounts.
  • Things we have cut back on:
    • Groceries: We are still eating well but know that we can’t buy the more frivolous items that we once did such as special pre-made sauces, expensive chocolates or other non-essentials.
    • Dining Out: We both really enjoy getting out of the house for a meal once or so per week but we know how much this can add up so we have been cutting back and plan on cutting back even more when the baby arrives.  We have no set plan but know that dining out will be saved for more special occasions and less “I don’t feel like cooking” meals.
    • Travel: This is something that we have been reducing over the years. When we were first married we were constantly traveling and had an amazing time doing so but over the past two years we have reduced our travel and even more so in the last year.  We just can’t afford all of the trips we once made and are now more focused on planning ahead for trips rather than gallivanting off on a whim like we used to.
    • Entertainment: Again similar to dining out we are cutting back and focusing more on free/inexpensive forms of entertainment.  Luckily it’s summer and there is so much for us to do outside for free that we haven’t really been spending much money on entertainment.

Overall we feel like we made the best decision for us and that it was the right time.  We feel financially secure, have built up a great savings and it was the perfect time for me to leave my job so I could focus more on my passion of health coaching and our baby that is on the way.

SAHM/WAHM posts by other bloggers:

Attachment Parenting

During our Natural Baby Care Class one of the big topics that came up was Attachment Parenting. Attachment Parenting is based on forming and nurturing strong connections between parents and their children. We discussed Attachment Parenting International‘s (API) Eight Principles of Parenting*:

  1. Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting
    • Examples: Work through negative emotions surrounding pregnancy. Explore different types of healthcare providers and birthing options. Educated yourself about developmental stages of baby.
  2. Feed With Love and Respect
    • Examples: Breastfeeding and attachment. “Bottle Nursing”. Nurturing through feeding. Introducing solids. Nurturing a taste for nutritional foods. Gentle weaning.
  3. Respond With Sensitivity
    • Examples: Needs and the benefits of responding with sensitivity. Responding to tantrums and strong emotions. Responding to the old child.
  4. Using Nurturing Touch
    • Examples: Needs and the benefits of nurturing touch. How to provide nurturing touch. Nurturing touch and the older children.
  5. Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally
    • Examples: The case against solitary sleep.  What is Co-Sleeping (co-sleeping versus bed sharing).  Nighttime routines.
  6. Providing Consistent and Loving Care
    • Examples: Create schedules with baby in mind. Practical tips for short separations. Working and alternate caregivers.
  7. Practice Positive Discipline
    • Examples: The dangers of traditional discipline. A gentler approach to discipline. Tools for positive discipline.
  8. Strive For Balance in Your Personal and Family Life
    • Examples: Balance is the foundation upon which attachment grows. Practical tips for maintaining balance. Tips for supporting new mothers. Tips for balance and the older child. Tips for dealing with parent “burn-out”

*Information provided from Mother Rising Childbirth Services

The most important thing to remember about attachment parenting is that you don’t have to do it all or go to the extreme.  Finding what works best for you is most important.  We have done our best to prepare for pregnancy, I am planning to breastfeed, we will be co-sleeping for the first few months (not bed-sharing but rather sleeping in the same room) and are planning to keep all of these principles in mind as we begin our lives as a family of three.

Do you practice attachment parenting?