Monday, March 25, 2013


Two months ago I posted this post, about how I was feeling like a failure as a mom because Rivers wasn't sleeping. I got great feedback from that post because, as it turns out, it's pretty damn hard to be a mom, and no matter how hard you try it's pretty damn easy to feel like you've messed up somewhere along the way. I'm pleased to report that this week I'm feeling like much less like a failure and my kid is sleeping much more.

After a particularly rough night two months ago Jus & I decided to make a big change. We moved Riv into the nursery and I got serious about this sleep business. Making Rivers cry it out wasn't an option for us so I looked into some other methods of getting babies to sleep.

I follow a lactation consultant & sleep expert on twitter (@nancyholtzman) and she mentioned trading down sleep associations. I watched a webinar on this method and decided to try it out. To trade down sleep associations you gradually modify the way your baby falls asleep. You start with a high comfort (how the baby has been falling asleep) and alternate it with a lower comfort until the baby falls asleep during the low comfort. Every five or so days you trade out the low comfort for a new low and your previous low becomes your high. Your baby is still being comforted but learning that bed is a safe place and even though it can be trying for the parents it is much easier than hearing your baby scream for hours.

Before we moved Rivers into his room I'd hold him, pat his bottom & sway until he was deep asleep, sometimes I'd end up swaying for 45 minutes and by the time he was asleep my back would be killing me. Obviously, this needed to change, I was worried I'd end up with a five year old that wanted to be swayed to sleep and wasn't sure how I could physically muster it.

The night before Rivers turned 7 months old we moved him into his room and began a serious routine. Between 7:30-8 Rivers & I headed up to his room where I changed his diaper & got him in his jammies. I then nursed him and we read a story, when the book is done we said goodnight to his dog bank, Curious George & the birdies on his mobile. I put him in his sleep sack, turned on the sound machine, told him I love him & to sleep well and offered his pacifier (which he normally rejected because he decided he's too old for one).

I turned out the light and put Rivers into his crib, I sang two rounds of You are My Sunshine while patting his hip and counted to a hundred. If he was crying or fussing at that point I'd pick him up, pat his back & sway until I counted to a hundred. I continued this laying down & picking up routine until it was clear that he was almost asleep and then I'd pop him into his crib and pat him until he fell asleep.

There were times when I thought I was going to give up and bring Rivers to bed with me, but then I'd remember that I didn't want to be doing this with a two year old and that even when Rivers was in our bed he wouldn't sleep well.

I stuck with trading down and now, two months later, Rivers is putting himself to sleep in his crib without me patting or holding him.

Our current routine starts at 7:30 with bath time, around 8 comes my favorite part of our day, Rivers gives me a huge hug as I carry him upstairs in his towel. A clean diaper & jammies are followed by nursing and a book. When the book is done we say good night to his stuffed animals, doggy bank & he gives the birdies on his mobile a pat. Sleep sack, sound machine and kisses lead up to rivers being put in his crib. Two rounds of You are My Sunshine and then I sit in silence as I wait for Rivers to fall asleep.

We're still dealing with more middle of the night wake ups than I'd like but the fact that he is able to put himself to sleep has changed the game. I know that teething or a growth spurt or a holiday will most likely mess his sleep up again but for we are a happier, more rested household.

For more information about trading down check out Isis Parenting's webinar, and if you're on twitter be sure to follow @nancyholtzman, she's beyond helpful and she knows what she's talking about.

Friday, January 25, 2013

On Feeling Like a Failure of a Mom

Last night I tweeted the following.

I had just gotten out of the shower where I had spent half of my time leaning against the wall crying because my kid doesn't sleep.

Technically, he'll sleep but he prefers to do it in my arms or laying next to me in bed. The fact that I can barely spend any grown up time downstairs at night is frustrating. We've been working to make his sleep better but first we went on vacation then we had the holidays after which Rivers and then I got sick, so long story short we are way off base when it comes to sleeping.

Two nights ago Rivers woke up an hour after I put him to bed, I went up to our room (yes, our 6 month old sleeps in our room still) settled him and made it to the kitchen before he woke up again. I went back up, got him to sleep & made it to the kitchen again only to hear him crying. Jus offered to take the third wakeup and I sat on the sofa and listened to Rivers cry and scream for twenty minutes until he finally fell asleep in Jus's arms. A couple of hours later he was back up and instead of fighting him I brought him to bed with me where he slept pretty well.

I've been working to trade down Rivers's sleep associations. This takes a lot of time and a lot of patience and some nights I don't feel like I have the energy but it works to make the baby feel comfortable in their crib gradually while getting support from their parents. Some nights I think leaving Riv to cry it out would be easier but I know that I'm not strong enough to have my baby cry for hours, I can barely handle the twenty minutes it takes him to fall back asleep in Jus's arms.

So anyways, back to the shower, back to me exhausted & crying because I feel like a total failure. What 6 month old can't take naps on his own? I think back and I can pinpoint the time when I started this mess, when Rivers wasn't gaining a lot of weight so I'd nurse him every time he'd wake up.

How I wish I hadn't done that, how I wish I hadn't discovered the joys of nursing laying down and realized that it would be easier for me to bring Riv to bed rather than fall asleep while rocking him back to sleep. It's all my fault. Sure, I'm not a great sleeper so there's a chance it could be hereditary but I know I created the problem. Even though I hate how often he wakes up I love that every time I pick him up he sighs and snuggles in, he was crying because he wanted his mommy and I'm his mommy.

I have never had anything be so rewarding and wonderful as being a mom. In the middle of the night when I'm beyond exhausted and Rivers won't stop crying I still smile because when he falls asleep his face is so precious that I could scream. I want to wake him up just so I can smooch his baby cheeks but I let him sleep because I know he'll be back up in a couple of hours, because, inevitably, he'll be back up.

As a mom, especially a new mom, it's hard to let yourself off the hook and acknowledge that being a mom is tough. I read What to Expect, learned about labor & tried to figure out how breastfeeding would work once LBL arrived. I had such high hopes that once LBL arrived I'd do everything that was best, but here I am 6 months later, crying in the shower.

Rivers is well loved, happy & healthy, he is the friendliest, happiest baby I've ever met and is a joy to be around. He's growing well & learning to eat food. His sleeping isn't perfect, Jus & I are tired but instead of stressing over this fact isn't getting me anywhere. I need to acknowledge that I'm doing the best I can. Comparing myself to the moms that have everything together is silly because chances are they've struggled before too.

If you're sitting there, reading this, and nodding your head feel free to share.

Go ahead, I've gone first, this mama stuff is hard but having someone to talk to helps.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cloth Diapering

Like many moms before me I decided to use cloth diapers.

My mom cloth diapered my sister & me and once I saw the adorable colors & patterns used for modern cloth diapers I was excited about the possibilities. Jus has super sensitive skin so I figured LBL would as well and knew cloth diapers would be gentler. Add the fact that it's far cheaper in the long run & I was sold.

While I was pregnant I spent a fair amount of time researching cloth diapers online and talking to the few moms I knew that cloth diapered. I decided that bumGenius 4.0s would be the way to go. Some moms recommend getting a wide variety of diapers & deciding which you like once baby is here  then ditching the rest, but I knew I wanted pocket diapers and everything I heard about bumGenius 4.0s was wonderful.

My cute baby in his cute cloth diaper

Our currents stash includes:
27 bumGenius 4.0 (with snaps)
14 bumGenius 3.0 (with Velcro bought used at Goodwill for $15 total)
2 Lotus Bumz (bought on
2 Flip Systems (I use cloth inserts but you can also get disposible inserts, a good option for day care)
1 Tots Bots (bought for the cute pattern, this is an all in one diaper so there's no insert to wash seperately)

The bumGenius 4.0s are my favorite and fit Rivers best, but the Lotus Bumz have nice fleecey insides & the Flips keep Rivers very dry. With the number of diapers we have I only have to do laundry about every 3 days (I often do it every 2).

We also have about 60 cloth wipes. I had read that using cloth wipes with cloth diapers is easier but I underestimated how much better they are. We started with about 20 cheap baby washcloths but have since added 6 Swaddlebees, 10 Charlie Banana wipes,  & I cut three flannel receiving blankets into wipes. We keep a spray bottle with 1/2 water & 1/2 California Diaper Area Wash next to the changing pad and spray the wipes. Then we can toss the wipes in the diapers and toss both in the diaper pail.

When I'm out & about I use disposable wipes but I often toss them in the wet bag with the diapers and usually end up washing them. I really dislike the disposable wipes, they fall apart in the wash & don't smell nearly as good as our solution.

Our diaper pail is a lidded trash can that I've tossed some Munchkin Arm & Hammer Nursery Fresheners into. I have 2 Kissa Antibacterial Liners that fit in the trash can we use as a diaper pail. When the bag gets full I empty it into the wash & toss the bag in too. (Yay! I don't have to touch poop!)

A cold rinse is followed by a hot wash with 2.5 tablespoons of Rockin Green Detergent then a hot rinse. I pull covers out to hang on the line and toss the liners & wipes in the dryer. Once Rivers starts eating solids we'll have to get the poop out of the diapers before washing them but I'm planning on getting a sprayer & Potty Pail to distance myself from my darling son's poop.

I'm not lying to you when I say that the whole process is super easy & a little fun. I was a little worried Jus would complain about the extra steps but he swears cloth is easier than disposible & willing changes Rivers' diapers.

I learned a lot from following Oh! Apostrophe's posts on cloth diapering but if you have any questions feel free to ask me! Below I've listed some of the helpful hints I've learned along the way.

-Diapers with snaps last longer than diapers with velcro closures (also, velcro gets stuck to the rest of the laundry)
-Cloth wipes, cloth wipes, cloth wipes (seriously, do it)
-When prepping your diapers for the first wash toss the covers in the dryer too, this will help tighten the weave & make them more waterproof
-Pick up some hemp inserts for night time use, we have two and they're so absorbant that I'm planning to get some more
-You can often get bumGenius 4.0s as buy 5 get 1 free and Cotton Babies will give you another 4.0 if your order is over $75 (which the 5 are)
-Your diapers will get stained (newborn poop is funky!) but if you lay them in the sun the stains will fade
-Make sure to have at least 2 wet bags for your diaper bag, unless you want to dig the dirty diaper out (I just toss the wet bag in the wash, too)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Two Months

I apologize for all but disappearing over the past two months but I have been enjoying my time with Rivers way too much.

I knew our life would change when LBL arrived but I didn't know how wonderful our life would become and how difficult it would be to get anything done when the option of snuggling my baby was here.

I've got some posts in the wings but for now here's Rivers' two month update.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Today has consisted of errands while baby wearing, catching up with a good friend & enough bouncer seat entertainment for mommy to cook a quick lunch.

We're all adjusting to being a family of three (5 if you ask the dogs, but they don't count the cat), Rivers has been growing like crazy (2 lbs 12oz in 5 weeks & 4 days) which means we're pretty tied to the sofa.

Motherhood is so much more than I could've hoped for or dreamed about. And I'm off to snuggle my boy in front of the Olympics.

And just because I'm an obnoxious mom here are the gratuitous pictures.

Also, Rivers' nursery is on Apartment Therapy today, check it out!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

One Month

The past month was the longest & shortest in my life. I've spent a lot of time on the sofa interspersing feedings with lots of kisses & coos.

I promise to post Rivers's birth story but for now here is our sweet boy at one month.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Going Natural

I wrote this post a couple of months ago and I feel I must share my initial feelings about LBL's birth and desires to have a natural birth at a birth center before sharing Rivers' birth story.

I've mentioned a couple of times that we're planning to have a natural birth and I've promised to share how we came to that decision and what it means for Jus, me & LBL.

A few weeks before we decided to remove my birth control I was browsing netflix when I came upon Pregnant in America. I had heard about this documentary and thought it would be interesting to watch. Little did I know that it would influence my own desires for birth and help me see that a natural birth would be best for me. I let the movie float to the back of my mind until the second pink line showed up on the pregnancy test.

The morning after I got my positive pregnancy test I called my OB office to schedule my first prenatal appointment. I've been going to the same practice since I was 13, first to a Nurse Practitioner, then to an OB/GYN. I knew I would stay with this practice when I was pregnant but was unsure if I would stay with my OB/GYN or begin seeing a midwife.

While I was on the phone with the receptionist I mentioned that I was interested in the Birth Center attached to the practice. I didn't know if I would be a candidate for a birth at the Birth Center or if my OB/GYN delivered babies at the Birth Center but I knew I wanted more information. The receptionist scheduled me with a midwife and Jus & I got started reading What to Expect When You're Expecting, watched The Business of Being Born & rewatched Pregnant in America.

The more I thought about birth the more I knew that I would be able to have a natural birth. Yes, it is going to hurt but millions of women have gone before me and I was fully confident I could have a natural birth. I believe that the pain associated with labor is a different type of pain as it has the best ultimate result. I know that an unmedicated birth is best for babies as they are able to respond to the mother right away. Bonding and breastfeeding both happen easier with an unmedicated birth and having a natural birth will give LBL the best start in life possible.

We had a tour of the birth center, a building built like a home that has three rooms which each include a birthing tub. After discussing the plan with our families we knew this was the place for us. We could labor naturally, I could eat lightly and move around during labor, our families would wait in the "living room," and I could labor and birth in the tub. Jus & I are following the Bradley Method of natural, husband led childbirth.

Following the birth I will have an herbal bath and fresh bread with the baby and after 4-8 hours we will be released to go home. This worried me at first as I wasn't confident I could handle being at home with such a young baby but I love the fact that I'll be getting my support from our families rather than nurses that I didn't know.

There were a few downsides of the Birth Center. The biggest being that if a complication arose we'll have to be transferred to the hospital. The staff at the birth center was fully confident that a transfer needed to happen it would be safe. Normally when women or babies are transferred from the Birth Center they are done so by car, before the situation gets serious. If a dangerous situation arises an ambulance will be called but our midwives were sure to let us know they always err on the side of caution and if it looks like something serious is happening we will make the 5 minute trip to the hospital.

Additionally the birth center doesn't have any medicine so if labor stalls and pitocin is needed to speed up contractions we'll have to go to the hospital. This also means no epidural, which is fine by me as I have no interest in an epidural. Six years ago I had a staph bacteria infection (MRSA) in my spine that resulted in the fusion of two of my vertebrae and the thought of having a needle placed in my spine brought memories of that illness and fears of a potential complication. I have talked to my midwives about my concerns just in case I end up in the situation where I need a c section. The midwives consulted with the head of anesthesiology and he confirmed that I will be fine to have an epidural as my staph infection was in different part of my back.

Also, since we'll be going home so early after labor we'll have to go to a pediatrician for all shots, a potential circumcision, and routine tests. Since a newborns first appointment is usually two weeks after the birth this wasn't a big deal, we just need to schedule an additional hearing test and we'll be good to go.

Jus and I love that the Birth Center offers an option for a relaxed, natural birth and that we'll spend the birth of our child surrounded by those who love us. We're confident in the abilities of our midwives and have fallen in love with the Birth Center even more now that we've gone through our birthing classes there.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Announcing LBL

Saturday night at 10:52 we were blessed with LBL's arrival.

After 42 weeks and 2 days it was surreal to finally welcome our little boy to this world.

Rivers Boyd Lehman
Born June 30 at 10:52 PM
Weighing 7 lbs 3 oz
Height 18 1/2 in

I'll be back later with my birth story as in the end Rivers' birth was the exact opposite of what we had hoped & planned for, but we couldn't be more in love with our smoochy little boy.

For now if you need your Rivers fill follow my on Instagram or Twitter where both of my usernames are Colekbl.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Bump Update: Week 41

Well, I never thought I'd end up at this point. As I sit & write this I'm technically 41 weeks & 4 days which means I'm running out of time to have LBL naturally.

I know I have yet to write about why we chose a birth center & why I feel strongly about having a natural birth but I'm going to try & collect my thoughts and share them soon. Last week we had two appointments (a milestone I didn't realize you met when you hit 40 weeks), the second of which included a non stress test. I got hooked up to two monitors, one checking LBL's heart rate & one checking contraction action, sat in a comfy chair for 40 minutes & pressed a buzzer whenever I felt LBL move.

Luckily LBL passed the test with flying colors (every time I felt LBL move the heart rate went up & came back down but never dipped). I still hadn't made great progress, which was discouraging, but the midwife was quick to remind me that statistically most babies are born before 42 weeks, so chances are LBL will be joining us before Thursday.

It's actually pretty important that LBL joins us before 11:59 PM Wednesday night, as that is the cut off for being able to go to our birth center. If Thursday arrives & LBL is still being shy we'll talk induction, which has me worried, as I know that induction is a good way to insure that some kind of medical intervention will be needed later on during the birth. (I also know several women that were induced & had bad births).

My next appointment is this afternoon & I plan on asking/begging the midwife to consider letting me go until Monday to try and give LBL a little more time to hurry it's booty up!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Bump Update: Week 40

Holy Cow!

As I hung up the 40/40 this week I couldn't quite believe that we had made it. I've been trying to play it cool but knowing that LBL could join us any day now is too exciting.

At this week's appointment our midwife said that she likes to tell first time moms that you're pregnant for 41 weeks. No matter how many times I hear this and despite the fact that I know that's how it works, I can't help but be super antsy and eager to meet our baby.

To know that at any moment labor can start and we will be meeting our LBL so soon is exciting and overwhelming. When I envision our first moments with LBL I don't even think about the fact that I'll finally know if our baby is a girl or a boy, instead I think about kissing that sweet little head and looking at Jus and knowing that we created something new.

As part of the wedding vows I wrote to Jus I spoke about how on our wedding day we were creating something new that had never before existed in the world and had all of the potential in the world. I find this to be even more true as we count the hours until we meet LBL. The love Jus & I share has created a family and when LBL arrives we'll have the opportunity to continue to spread our love by teaching LBL how to love. I can't tell you how happy this makes my heart, we're so blessed to be beginning this journey.

PS If you want to see the video tour of LBL's nursery you can check it out here!