Posts Tagged ‘Baby Development’

March 25, 2013

Carrot Nose

At Nicki’s last dr’s appointment her pediatrician commented that Nicki must “liked the orange vegetables”. Domingo thought that meant she was still wearing some of breakfast. (Confession Time: It wouldn’t have been the first time we had purees up the nose.) It wasn’t until I was taking photos of Nicki a few days later that I realized what the doctor was saying: Nicki is turning orange!


The recommendation when starting solid food is typically to stick with the orange veggies first, since they tend to be the most universally liked. The green veggies come next, followed by fruits, meats & yogurts. Gerber’s state 2 veggie options are: Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Squash, Sweet Potatoes and Corn, Mixed Vegetable, Garden Vegetables, Green beans, and Peas. Mixed Vegetable? First ingredient is carrots. Garden Vegetables Mix? Second ingredient is carrots (and the third and final ingredient, Spinach, has beta carotene as well). That only leaves 2 non-orange options out of 9. Thinking about a meat puree? Unless it’s chicken apple, the first ingredient besides water is either sweet potatoes or… wait for it… carrots! There’s even beta carotene in breastmilk!

In other words, unless your child only eats fruits (and yogurt), there’s a good chance baby is getting a fair amount of beta carotene.

Nicki gets one vegetable, one fruit, one yogurt and rice cereal daily. We mix up the vegetables so she gets a pretty even mix. The orange veggies have lots of good nutrients necessary for her health, including beta-carotene, so I don’t really want to skimp on them in favor of more peas and green beans. Changing her diet for cosmetic reasons is beyond silly. The amount of beta carotene in her diet will decrease when she gets table food, but she’s not quite ready yet (my guess is next month) so we’re going to have to live with the orange hue a little while longer.

It’s not really noticeable. That is, until I get out the camera. The kind of lighting that brings out her beautiful dark eyes apparently also brings out that orange nose. With Easter and spring rapidly approaching, I know will be taking some more photos. I won’t have much time to do a lot of detailed work editing them (not that I know how to anyway), so I was on the hunt for a quick fix.

In the above photo the color of her nose is R:173 G:118 B:93. Her check is R:153 G:121 B:106. The Red/Blue ratio in her nose is nearly 2:1 where it’s 3:2 in her check. Green is also similarly way off. I need to add more blue and green to tone down the red. I created a second layer for the image, set my brush to R:192 G:255 B:255 and colored her nose. (I picked this color because it’s one of the 48 basic colors on my pallet. No real rhyme or reason there, just going for quick and simple.)


Next I decreased the opacity of the second layar down to 16%. Wallah! Just enough blue/green added so the red/blue and red/green ratios were not crazy off. It’s not perfect, but I think it’s pretty darn good quick fix.


As a side note, I’ve only done this to one other photo on my blog. Brownie points if you guess which one!

January 7, 2013

Crying it out

Sleep Training is Hard. I know, I know, Tautology is tautology (geek speak for “duh”.)

Good morning, Mama! I haven’t seen you since last night!

Our wait and see approach was going well, but slowly. Nicki was up to 5 hours (longer than a sleep cycle!) continuous sleep in the crib. She was learning to stay asleep in the crib. I thought we were going to go all the way – to learn to sleep in the crib the full night through sans tears.

Then we went back east for the holidays. The sleeping routine wasn’t well established and Nicki didn’t like the port-a-crib. She ended up sleeping on us a lot, which of course she loved. Once we got back home, she still preferred sleeping on people and thought it was now an option. She was no longer trying to sleep in the crib. Once she started to stir, she realized she wasn’t in our arms and would wake herself up fully. There was no way our wait and see approach would work.

So we started sleep training.

Nicki had just recently added ‘ma’ and ‘da’ to her jabbering lexicon. (She smacks her lips when she wants purees, and it’s the sound you make through smacking lips.) I kept hearing ‘mama ma da dada mama’ between wails. I felt like the Worst.Mom.Ever. Ever time I went in to reassure her that first night, she’d scream louder than before. But 25 minutes into it? She was out cold, like someone had just flipped a switch. I checked on again a a little while later and she sounded like she was whimpering in her sleep. Worst.Mom.Ever.

But Nicki slept through the night. And she was in such a good mood the next day. She’s been a pretty amazing kid, even sick with the sniffles she was all smiles, but on a full night of uninterrupted sleep? Wow. I’ve never seen her have so many gigglefits, or be so adventurous with her play. That’s when I realized how much the night time wakings must have been affecting her. She may have been in bed for the same number of hours, but it was clearly not the same amount of rest. I figured the few minutes of crying up front was worth it so she would have a much better day. It gave me the courage to continue, and now she is doing much better with it.

Could we have cried it out sooner? Maybe. I still think it was important to have a gradual transition to the crib.

December 14, 2012

Why not just Cry-It-Out?

Crib training, for lack of a better phrase, is going about as well as to be expected. Which is to say, not particularly well. For the past couple nights, Nicki has been up just about every 90 minutes (the length of a typical baby sleep cycle.). I turned to Facebook to vent/commiserate with fellow parents, but most of the suggestions were to try cry-it-out, and specifically to let her cry. It’s not that I have a problem with cry-it-out; I expect to be employing that technique in the next month or so. I just don’t think it will work for us now, at this point in time.

The point of cry-it-out is to give babies the chance to develop a new skill, that of falling asleep on their own. That way, when baby inevitably stirs or starts to wakes up in the night he or she can put him or herself back to sleep. That may seem like our problem, but it’s actually not.

Nicki knows how to go back to sleep in her rock-n-play. Both Domingo and I have seen her do this on the video baby monitor many times.

Diagram of Rock n’ Play Sleep Position

The problem is the rock-n-play is very different from the crib and she hasn’t been able to transfer that skill to the crib yet. When she starts to stir in the crib she tries to get back in a position that she’s familiar sleeping in, the pike position from the rock-n-play. When she starts to wake up, she sticks her feet up in the air.

Rock n’ play sleep position does not work in the crib!

Of course this method, despite being very cute, doesn’t work. Nicki wakes up and becomes very frustrated and upset. She wakes up fully and breaks down.

The second, and much larger issue is that Nicki has never slept we’ll in the crib, even despite our nap time efforts. In terms of nighttime, it’s a different room, different way of sleeping and she’s alone for the first time ever. That’s a lot of change for a baby! If she doesn’t yet associate the crib with sleep, I don’t feel we can put her down “drowsy but awake” and hope she can figure it out.

So our first goal is to teach her that she can sleep in the crib. Then we’ll work on falling asleep on her own.

Our bed time routine is the same, right down to rocking her to sleep. When she wakes up we let her fuss. Unless the light turns red on the baby monitor for a sustained period of time, we let her be. Once she starts crying, however, we go get her, regardless of how long (or short) she’s been up.

There is a silver lining. Nicki tends to wake up more when she’s on her back than when she’s on her side. (I always put her down on her back per AAP’s recommendation.) I’ve noticed Nicki sleeping on her side from time to time. Last night she did go back to sleep once on her own. Maybe she’s learning after all?

Aside: there are lots of different cry-it-out strategies. The phrase uses the term ‘cry’ because crying is often inevitable, but that is obviously not the goal. Our wait-and-see approach is similar, but not a standard cry-it-out approach that I’ve seen.

December 11, 2012

Ode to the Rock N’ Play

It’s time. We made the decision today to move Nicki to the crib from the rock n’ play tonight. I had been holding off because she was sleeping through the night so well, and because she hasn’t been napping well in the crib. (And because I wasn’t ready.)

Nicki hasn’t been sleeping well lately. She’s now waking up two to three times a night. I think that part of that could be that she’s outgrown her rock n’ play. Her feet have been dangling out of the rock n’ play when she stretches out, and when she gets excited she kicks the frame.

The rock n’ play has been so incredibly useful these past five months. Being able to rock her without getting out of bed? Priceless. The incline let us zoom in on her face more easily with the baby monitor, which made for some adorable photos as well as gave me peace of mind while I was downstairs doing chores. Our birth announcement photo was even Nicki in the rock n’ play.

The Rock N’ Play was without a doubt one of our best baby purchases.

First night home (2 days old)

Birth Anoucement Photo (9 days old)

One month old

Nicki TV

Night Time Vision

Morning smiles. I loved waking up to this face!

Today, last time in the rock n’ play. I’m getting teary eyed just thinking about it.

Tonight’s going to be hard. Waking up (assuming we get any sleep) without her next to me will also be hard. I know the goal is to have them grow into happy, healthy, well adjusted adults, but why can’t they stay babies forever?

November 2, 2012

A New Sleeping Arrangement

A long time ago I read a fellow mommy blogger’s post about how difficult it was to adjust her to move her 5 month old from sleeping in the pack n’ play to the crib. I swore that wouldn’t be me. The pack n’ play is more similar to a crib than the rock n’ play, and I knew it would be even more difficult if I waited too long. I was going to do it early.

The baby book said to begin the process at two months, but I wasn’t ready for the change. It felt too soon. At three months Nicki got sick and needed to sleep at an incline. For two and a half weeks! Here we are at four months and still in the rock n’ play. Oops.

This week we decided all naps were going to be in the crib. I knew that meant they wouldn’t be long, but I figured she’d tire herself out enough to sleep eventually. I thought she would get used to the crib and today would be “eventually” and we could transition her night time sleeping to the crib. Wrong.

We’ve had 7 attempts to nap today. She was still asleep after I put her down in the crib in 4.

Right after morning feeding (still in pjs). Asleep for 5 minutes.

Second attempt. Asleep for 19 minutes.

Third and forth attempts she woke up instantly after putting her down.

Fifth attempt, I get desperate and try a swaddle even though she’s hated them for a few months now. Success, she slept 23 minutes. Note the bed head from all the napping attempts.

Sixth attempt. I got the camera looked back and saw this.

She was getting frustrated so I decided to do a little tummy time hoping it would tire her out. It did. Too well.

I gave in. I needed a nap too. Now we have matching bed head.

It’s going to be a long weekend. Hopefully by Monday we will be successfully napping in the crib.

September 25, 2012

On sleep

As a first time mom I don’t always know what’s normal. I thought 30 to 45 minute cat naps were too short and Nicki wasn’t getting enough sleep throughout the day, until my mommy friends set me straight. One thing I’ve always known is that Nicki is an unusually good night time sleeper.

My champion sleeper

She slept from midnight to six am without waking starting at around three weeks. She’d usually go down for four hours again around 7/7:30. At two weeks she slept five to six hours, and prior to two weeks we would wake her up to eat after four or five hours.

With the exception of one day since she has been five weeks old she has been getting at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Lately it’s been 10 hours. She will stir during the night, and sometimes appears to wake up, but she settles down on her own.


Your guess is as good as mine. She didn’t have day night reversal and she doesn’t appear to need or want night time feedings which makes me think it might have something to do with the way we feed her. When I nurse she usually gets hungry again quickly. She appears to get more from the bottle, so I always give her a bottle before bed. (We often nurse before bed too, but I make sure she has had plenty from the bottle first.) It could also be the amount she eats. She can pound down 4oz like a champ. My other theory is the rock n’ play. She’s might comfortable sleeping it. Most likely, though, we just got lucky in this aspect.

What about engorgement overnight?

My body adapted pretty quickly to Nicki’s schedule. Sure the first time she went from 6 to 8 hours, or 8 to 10, and even the day she slept 12 (!!) I woke up pretty engorged. But for the most part it hasn’t been a problem. I think most working moms also experience this. Their supply adapts to match their pumping schedule.

Keep in mind just because Nicki gets 10 hours of sleep a night doesn’t mean I do. I pump more then I nurse. Whenever she’s napping I need to devote time to pumping. I have quite a bit of chores pile up in the evening. After she goes to bed, I stay up for another couple of hours doing chores. I then pump right before I got to bed.

Do you get up in the middle of the night to pump?

No. I always pump/nurse when I wake up, but I never set an alarm or anything to wake up in order to pump. I have woken up once or twice from being engorged and pumped then.

Aren’t you worried about your supply? I heard you shouldn’t go more then 5 hours without pumping/nursing.

Sure, in that same new-mom way I worry about everything. But every parenting choice comes with its pluses and minuses. We found I’m a very different mom with sleep then without. Even an hour or two can make a difference. Without, I’m very mechanical, just going through the motions. I have to constantly remind myself to interact with her while changing her or feeding her. With sleep I do a much better job at stimulating her. To us, the risk to my supply is worth it.

Then again, adequate rest is supposed to help production. So maybe it’s six of one, half a dozen of the other?

What about growth and development? I heard you shouldn’t let the baby sleep too long without eating

According to our pediatrician, once baby has regained her birth weight it’s safe to let her sleep as long as she wants. She regained her birth weight and then some by one week. She’s reaching all her milestones and the pediatrician is happy with her development, so we don’t worry about it.

September 23, 2012

So Much for her Batting Average

Looks like we skipped the batting stage. Or at least we’re breezing right by it. Nicki’s hands have been open for awhile and she has been ‘holding’ her bottle and binky. So when Domingo and I encouraged her to reach for a toy it shouldn’t have surprised us that she’d go straight to grabbing.

And then, of course, the toy went straight in the mouth.

Toys, it’s what’s for dinner!

We realized it was time to break out the activity gym. This kid never ceases to amaze me.


Got it!

Nom, nom, nom

She really likes that red rocket. It’s low enough that she can get it, usually by the tail. Her second favorite is the monkey with the helmet, but she can’t really reach it or grasp on to it. We’re going to go to the store later and look for toys that will be easier for her little fingers to grasp. Domingo has been looking forward to this day since we brought her home from the hospital.

September 17, 2012

Too Many Changes

I know the goal is to raise healthy, well adjusted kids, but I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by all these changes. My little newborn is growing so quickly.

According to the baby books, the 2-4 month time is critical for establishing good sleep habits. On the list:
* Establish a bed time routine (check!)
* Create a modified bed time routine for naps
* Get on a nap schedule
* Transition to the crib
* Stop rocking the baby to sleep
* Loose the binky for a night time sleep aid

Our bed time routine currently is bath, pjs, milk, bed. We won’t be replicating a bath before every nap (although I am thinking about washing our face and hairline with a warm wash cloth). I’m also not going to put her down immediately after every feeding. That doesn’t leave much to work with for a nap time routine. We’re thinking about incorporating reading as the final step in the routine. We’ve been trying to read to her for a couple of weeks, but she is only now becoming interested in the pictures.

We’ll begin transitioning Nicki to the crib when Domingo gets back from his business trip. It’ll be easier if we’re in an established schedule. I don’t want to implement too many changes at once and disrupt her night time sleeping!

As for the last too, well I’m hesitant. The argument is that as baby becomes more aware of her surroundings, she will disoriented if she goes to sleep in mom’s arms with her Binky, and awakes somewhere else without it. She’ll need mom’s arms to fall asleep again. But the book also says no infant sleeps through the night constantly. We’re already the exception to that rule. In fact, last night Nicki sleep 10 hours, and the night before that 9. More to the point, I’ve seen Nicki on the video monitor wake up and put herself back to sleep. (I fully credit my amazing daughter with this skill, and not anything we did. Domingo and I got lucky with her!). Waking up somewhere other than moms arms has not been a problem. For all I know she expects to wake up in the rock n’ play, like a respawn place in a video game.

Still, this advice is coming from doctors and experts who study sleep. I am certainly no infant sleep expert, and just because something isn’t a problem yet doesn’t mean it won’t become one. I wouldn’t want to set us back because I wasn’t ready to (and making excuses not to) stop rocking her to sleep. Once on a schedule, we’ll stop rocking her to sleep. Next month.

The other change this week is day care. Today was Nicki’s first day. Well, it was a visit day. Nicki and I went together. It was rough. There were tears and they weren’t coming from Nicki.

In a perfect world, I’d stay home with her until she reaches two or so. That way she’d get the best of both worlds in my estimation – individualized attention, and social interaction. But, alas, I need to graduate. As much as I would love to be a stay at home mom now, I know it isn’t for me long term. In the tech world a couple year hiatus makes you obsolete.

I’m nervous about daycare and full of guilt.

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