Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why I'm OK with MCADD - ammended

I tried to write a few days ago about coming to terms with the MCADD diagnosis, and it came out wrong.  I'm not a writer, so sometimes I share whatever is in my head and don't realize until days later how much like a jackass I sound.  You live, you learn.

I'm not glad Cupcake has MCADD, I'm so glad and thankful that she was diagnosed.  Thanks to that we will be able to hopefully have a healthy life, with minimal hospital visits, and keeping her disorder under control through careful food monitoring.  Because we know about it, she will be able to avoid fasting and hopefully lead a perfectly normal life, free of medical interventions, physical disabilities, and developmental delays. We want this to be but one of the many things that describes her.

I struggle a lot with how to deal with her diagnosis.  And I've reached a zen point where I am good with it.  Of course I wish she was completely healthy, free of genetic deficiencies.  But I'm realizing more and more that everyone has something wrong with them.  It could be MCAD, it could be allergies, chemical imbalances, weak immune systems, asthma, you name it.  Going through all this, specially the initial doctors appointments, has been a learning experience that's made me appreciate many things I used to take for granted.

It would be nicer if my internal realization didn't come at the expense of my child having a life long medical issue.  I am aware of that.  But nevertheless I am humbled by this situation, and thankful that I'm going through the process.  I think it's part of not believing in God, it makes me struggle sometimes with how I word my internal narrative into recognizable terms.

Today's musing

There's a tenuous five minute period, when the baby falls asleep on her crib, I take my hand off her chest (she likes to hold my hand to fall asleep), I gently step back to leave the room, slowly humming softer.  During this window, if someone drops a pin two blocks away, she will hear it.

Once this magical time is over, a marching band can be tuning up outside her window and she will sleep through it.

How does that work?

Can I leave my baby with a sitter

Since Cupcake is now almost 7 months, my defenses are relaxing enough to leave her with others for care.  Not that I've actually done it yet, but it's the intention that counts.

Now, before we all go crazy and assume I've had this child attached to my hip for the last 6 months (after having her attached to my stomach via umbilical cord, no less), I have to make a caveat that my parents have stayed with her several times.  Every time my mother has visited, Nate and I have taken the opportunity to go out as a couple.  When we've gone back home, we've left Cupcake with them while we grabbed dinner/ caught a movie/ etc.

So we've actually done pretty good for ourselves in terms of having frequent "date nights".  Of course my parents don't live in the same state as us, so although we've left cupcake with them on several occasions, it's still something associated with visits and travel.

But now I'm debating finding a drop-in daycare place to leave Cupcake an afternoon per week or so.  I have some licensing exams to take, and I would like to get them done before returning to work.  I don't know how long it will take until I go back into the work world; might be 6 more months, maybe another year, or more depending on when we have another kid.  Nevertheless, when the kid(s) eventually go to preschool there will be no reason for me to be home all day, and at that point I would like to be done with all my 7 exams to be a licensed professional. 

Of course I have trepidations.  I'm convinced that Cupcake will freak out, since she's largely a shy little girl who needs to be in constant contact with me when we go to social events, be they adult gatherings or mom&baby play-dates.   So I worry that if I leave her with someone else, there will be screaming tears.  And though I understand that a bit of crying never killed anyone, I think it would really hurt me.  In my sensitive little heart.

I need a bit of a break though.  I'm running myself thin trying to keep up with baby, house, marriage, self, and now adding the abstract concept of my career.  But will I actually trust my Cupcake with a total stranger?

I have no family nearby, so cousins, aunts and grandmas aren't an option.  And I'm a bit weary of one-on-one nannies that I don't "know", because really, what will they be doing at my house while I'm not there?  Maybe I need to have someone come over and take cupcake out to the playground while I stay home and study.  My neighborhood is full of nannies, how did everyone else figure it out?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

On getting more hours of sleep

Last night she slept for 5.5 hours!  Or rather, we also got 5.5 hours of sleep.  Now that the doctors have cleared us for 5 hours, we seem to be having trouble getting Cupcake to also want to sleep for that long.  And we haven't pushed too much on it because she's been teething, then had a stuffy nose, and then had to adjust to having grandma visit for a few days.

That last one was a particular adjustment, as we took the opportunity to go out for three nights in a row and have my mom put Cupcake to sleep.  During those evenings, she drank from my pumped reserves, so it seemed cruel to keep her from getting the boob in the middle of the night if that's what she actually needed.

Also, I have no idea how much she nurses each sitting.  Really, I have no idea.  I left my mom with 4 oz bottles, but I don't know if that was enough or not.  So if she woke up at night, I fed her.

Last night, for some inexplicable reason, she slept for 5.5 hours, and then another 4 after nursing.  Could she just be maturing in her sleep patterns?  She's done something similar 4 times since we got the approval from her doctor.  I don't want to jinx it by being excited, but I totally am.  Excited, that is.  I know with MCADD and sleep the first year is the hardest, and we are over halfway through.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Why I'm ok with Cupcake having MCADD

I am strangely thankful that my child has MCADD.

It's a weird thing to say, but I think without this diagnosis I would not be as appreciative of all the positive things about my baby.  As I sit there frustrated some nights because Cupcake has woken up a fourth time to nurse, I can stop and be happy that I can hold her and nurse her.  I know that not everyone can do that, and I'm grateful for every moment I can spend wit her (yes, even those in the middle of the night).

Getting this diagnosis has exposed us to a world of families dealing with rare diseases, most of them much more debilitating and symptomatic than MCAD.  It's scary what's out there, and people cope with it the best they can.  Before MCADD was included in the New Born Screening, it had up to a 25% mortality rate, and was to blame for some SIDS cases.  Reading about all the parents who have lost a child is a sobering moment, and my heart goes out to them.

If Cupcake hadn't been diagnosed at birth, I couldn't possibly appreciate just how lucky we are to have a healthy child.  I marvel at the fact that she responds to me, that we don't need daily medications, that her future physical and mental development is not compromised, that she's not in current pain.  These are things that I would have taken for granted if she didn't have MCAD disorder. 

I know I complain about her sleeping habits, her foul smelling poops, her crankiness when I'm trying to get things done.  And I understand that being frustrated about these petty issues is a luxury.

Sometimes, when I look at how well she's doing, I am overcome with gratitude to all the people that fought (and are still fighting) for mandatory newborn screenings.  We've kept her from going into fasting, and are extra attentive during bouts of illness, and I'm not sure if we would have been so cautious had we not known about her condition.  She's going to be just fine, thanks to all those who paved the way.  I hope, as she gets older and I have more flexibility on my schedule, to give time and energy to the cause as well.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Telling a 6 month old baby to cry it out so they can learn to fall asleep by themselves feels misguided. 

What's next, telling Cupcake to change her own diaper?  I wipe her butt after every bowel movement, and gently put her butt paste to prevent diaper rash.  Do I do this lovingly? Yes.  Do I find it gross and smelly?  Of course, I mean, have you ever changed a baby's diaper after they've had bananas or sweet potatoes?

But it would seem ludicrous to leave the little baby to cry until they learn to change the diaper themselves.  So why do we do it with sleep?

I know it's probably a bad analogy, because potty training does happen, and for many it's a frustrating and complex process.  But that's when they are older,  when they understand the concept of what they're doing.  And the current thought is to let the kid lead their potty training process, to make sure they are committed and ready.

Why isn't sleeping handled the same way?

I know, the easy answer is that wiping Cupcake's butt takes me all of 3 minutes, and thanks to disposable wipes and diaper genies we are hardly in contact with the actual poop.  While waking in the middle of the night is exhausting, debilitating and affects the whole family's sense of well being.

But to the baby it's all the same.  They're not doing it to annoy us.  This isn't a competition over who's in control.  Because we both are.  I am the mother and as such am in "control" of my child, in that she eats, has a roof over her head, and doesn't fall out the window.  My child is in control because most of her needs are immediate, and basic.  Actually, I don't think Cupcake is in actual control of anything here, she's just trying to figure out how to exist.

And unfortunately for me and Nate, sometimes those struggles happen at 3 am.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Dear Cupcake,

I know it must be painful.  The mere idea of having a jagged tooth literally break through your gums sounds horrifying.  And because of this, I know you're not being  obnoxious on purpose.

Seriously, when a baby gets a tooth, the whole family suffers.  We were all up several times a night to sooth you.  We rocked you and sang, and nursed you when you'd start crying as if you were in pain and still looked half asleep.  Should we have let you sort it out yourself? I don't know, but seeing that we can see the bump in your gum, I think we're just going to indulge you as you go through this process.

I hope it ends soon.  I love you and want you to feel right again, but this is exhausting.  We can't have too many more night like this.  Or else soon we're going to stop being receptive to your cries, and none of us want that.

We're so happy you have a tooth and are working on another.  Really, we are.  I know you had little control over it, but I can't help but feel proud of how well you're growing.  I just wish it would get here, you know, faster, and without so much fuss.

There's only so much Motrin we can give you before it just gets ridiculous.  So we've decided that a bit of painkillers at night are probably good for you too (I really think you're happier when you sleep well at night), and during the day I'll just tough it out.  During the day we can play and distract you.  We'll be fine.

Just please, don't be one of those babies that is teething for three months straight.  We'll love you matter what, but I really want to like you the whole time too.

Love,  Mama

Sunday, April 17, 2011

First words

Cupcake keeps on babbling.  She now says something to the effect of Ma ma ma ma ma ma ma, which I usually interpret as her being hungry. 

She also will say Agua, the Spanish word for water. 

Also, as a good Arrested Development fan, she'll say to herself Bob Loblaw's Law Blog.

And finally, our other favorite word she keeps saying... Abba.  At this I feel compelled to serenade her with my best rendition of Dancing Queen.  Thus far this does not impress her.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

To supplement with formula, or not? That is the question

I've been having some serious thoughts of adding formula to Cupcake's diet.  Which is difficult for me, because I've been staunchly against it. The La Leche League people really did a number on me.

The thing is, a few days ago she had her first bottle of formula ever, and the world didn't collapse like I expected it to. I've run out of pumped reserves.  I'm at a loss.  My milk supply has stabilized to the point that the only times I have extra milk to spare is in the middle of the night.  So a couple of nights per week, I get up after Cupcake's 2 am and 6 am feeds and pump the other side.  Not a sustainable system, I know.

We've managed to only consume what I was storing until the last migraine.  (I should share at this point that my migraine medication is not compatible with breastfeeding.  So for 12 hours, I have to give Cupcake bottles, while I pump-n-dump.)  So the other day, when I was feeling like doodoo and had to take my meds, we had no choice but to give Cupcake some of the emergency formula we had stashed around. 

To my utter surprise, I was okay with this decision.  I think it's because I made it to to 6 months exclusively breastfeeding.  And a pat in the back to me, it was no easy task.  I am so glad we struggled through it, as it's been an incredibly rewarding experience.  At this point the weaning process has already started, because she's exploring solids.  So while I want to keep breastfeeding for a year, the idea of giving her formula here and there doesn't feel as tragic. 

Lo and behold, Cupcake took it with no problem.  I'm lucky that if  I'm gonna have an FOD child, at least she's one of those kids that seems to eat whatever is in front of her.  And heartily.  Formula, bottled breast milk, mashed bananas, pureed veggies, they are all good. 

So now I'm at the weird place where I'm wondering if we should start giving her a bottle of formula for her 3 am feed. It would be easier for all of us to just give her a dream-feed bottle while she's still in her crib. (Yes, her oral hygiene be damn*d, at this point we have more important metabolic things to worry about.)  And it would take some of the pressure away from me, as Nate could give her milk half the nights.

I struggle with this, because I know that giving formula on a regular basis can affect my milk supply.   And I love breastfeeding.  I really do.  I cherish being able to provide for my own kid, and feel very lucky that we were successful with it.  What if I end up compromising my supply?  What if she ends up weaning to formula against my wishes?

I don't want to sabotage my breastfeeding.  I also need a break. Then again, it's only a few more months until she's drinking cow's milk, so maybe I should just tough it out for 5 more months.  I have a feeling that I'm going to go back and forth with this, and by the time I make a decision, it'll be almost the 1 year mark and it will be a non-issue.  Or so I hope, at least.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dropping the 4th nap

I feel so silly that it didn't occur to us sooner, but dropping the 4th nap has made our nighttime routine so much better!  She used to have a nap about 2 - 1.5 hours before her final bedtime.  We needed it, without it she would get overtired and she was just very unhappy during her bath and nighttime routine.  But then when she turned about 5 months we began to have problems going to bed at night (it would take about 40 minutes).  And waking through the night too, but I now realize that those are probably unrelated.

And after reading/skimming through 3 different sleep books, and talking to some fellow moms, I began to realize that Cupcake probably wasn't very sleepy at the end of the day.  She was tired, because she'd been "up" for 12 hours, but she wasn't "sleepy" because it had only been 1.5 hours since she woke up from her last nap.  And this was a problem.  So we dropped the last nap, and moved her 3rd nap to about an hour later.  Ha ha, I say this as if she actually follows her baby-led nap schedule, but at least now I have a better idea of what I'm aiming for.

The first couple of days it was tough to keep her up at the end of the day, since she was getting fussy.  But she quickly got used to the idea.  Now she takes her  last nap at 6 pm, wakes at 7 pm and is up until she goes to bed between 9:30 - 10 pm.  She's great at her bath, super active, and as we dry her, do massage and put on pajamas, she gets a bit cranky, so I nurse her.  She's happy again, and we read a couple of books.  And by the time the books are done she's pretty tired, and it's been taking Nate no longer than 10 minutes or so to put her to bed.  It's lovely.  No crying, minimal fussing, and by 10 she's usually out and we have 2 whole hours to ourselves to spend together.  Yes, we're night owls, I don't even get tired before 11:30 and if I try to go to bed before midnight I just sit awake for a long long time. 

I'm just glad we realized that her sleep needs were shifting.  And thanks to all our sleep info, I feel like we are a bit more in control of her naps.  Right now, for example, she's napping in her crib again, after pretty much refusing to do it for a week there.  It's so nice to have some time off.

6 month MCADD appointment

I'm not a fan of doctors offices, in particular with specialists that tend to overreact and make my life dramatic.  But I couldn't be happier with Cupcake's metabolic team at Mt Sinai, though.  They are easy going, warm, and very reassuring. 

Cupcake is 6 months now, and she went for her mid-year appointment.  She's doing great!  No metabolic crisis so far (which we don't know if it's because she's asymptomatic, or because we've been diligent with her feedings; in either case, yay!!).  She weighs almost 18 lbs, and is tall for her age.  Which is unrelated to MCADD, but it's reassuring to know that she's growing rapidly.  Then the doctor played with Cupcake a bit, to get a sense if she could respond, babble, sit on her own, had a good grip, etc.  And of course she can do all those things!  So to our immense relief, they decided they didn't need blood samples.  Cupcake is hitting her physical milestones well, and is fat and growing, so there's no point in getting a metabolic breakdown at this point.

Also, we've been cleared to have her go 5 HOURS without feeding.  And another hour every month until we hit the 8 hour mark.  Our doctors here don't feel comfortable having her go longer than 8 hours until she's about two, mostly because her initial C8/C10 numbers as a newborn were really high (or was it low? whatever it was, it was not the desired amount, lol).  So now we have the luxury of sleeping one whole hour longer, and a baby that probably will not cooperate.  Whatever, I'm just excited to join the throng of parents that can complain about normal night wakings. And isn't 5-6 hours technically considered sleeping through the night?  Music to my ears.

The older cupcake gets, the less MCADD scares me.  She's 6 months now, she's eating solids and still breastfeeding wonderfully.  Her body is strong, and she's getting more and more antibodies as she's exposed to the world.  She's up to date with her vaccines.  She'll have stronger defenses to fight disease.  I know that with an FOD you're never out of the woods, but as she gets bigger and older it feels much more manageable.  My heart goes out to all my fellow mamas that had to take their weeks-old babies to the ER.  It must be very scary and you have my utmost admiration.

So now we are diving into solid foods, and our doctor told us not stress over it too much.  Keep nursing Cupcake at our normal times, and she will naturally take less milk as she eats more food.  It's easy during the day, when we can observe if anything is different.  The danger is at night, when we wouldn't notice if she's lethargic because she's sleeping, and we are too tired.  We were even told to not worry about her diet too much at this point, since she'll still be nursing and getting all her proteins from me.  We'll go back to see them in 3-4 months, once Cupcake starts taking protein and her eating habits shift to solid food.  At that point, we'll meet with a nutritionist to give us some tips.  But even then, it seems that as long as she's not fasting, MCADD doesn't require a strict diet.  Just make sure it's low fat, but that's what ALL of us should be eating anyway.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sleep issues II - reading Weissbluth

Since cupcake started having nighttime issues, I'm becoming well versed on sleep literature.  Something I thought I'd never do.  I really dislike parenting books, specially those that offer a one-size-fits-all solution to your "problems."

Another friend gave me the Weissbluth book, Healthy Sleep Habits: Happy child.  She didn't recommend it, she just gave me three parenting books because she now has two kids and she is DONE, and she will never need these books again.  Works for me.  I have no issue in reading these book so long as I don't actually have to pay for them.

My apologies if the Weissbluth method worked for you, but I hated everything about this book.  He is the type of author that makes me hate parenting gurus: sarcastic, condescending, alarmist, and narrow minded.  In contrast to the new Ferber book, which allows for different parenting styles, Weissbluth declares one solution, and goes so far as to admonish those parents who don't follow his directives.

For starters, he states that bad sleeping habits in infancy can result in a lifetime of stress, mental problems, ADD, etc.  Seriously?  I know for a fact that my parents weren't very consistent with my sleep schedule as a baby, and so far my only big problem is that I like to read to sleep.  Big whoopdee deal.  Also, his advice is to put the child to sleep earlier and earlier.  Well, its 7 pm now, and my Cupcake is taking a nap, like she always does.  She'll be up for another 3 hours playing with her dad (who's just getting home from work), and then will be down at 10.  No, I will not put her to bed at 6:30. Yes, I want to sleep, but I also want us to have time as a family.  You see, we wanted to have kids, and thus we want to spend time with them.  I understand that it's  late bedtime, but that concept is such a cultural one.  What to do you care if Cupcake goes to bed a 10, if she then wakes up at 9 am.  And to further suggest that a parent is keeping their baby up late at night in order to avoid spending time with the other parent is preposterous.  And beside the point, really.  Because I do want to spend time with my husband.  But if I didn't, that's neither here nor there.

Furthermore, she has MCAD.  She needs to eat every certain number of hours.  So shut your holier than thou trap about how feeding during the night can have terrible long term consequences.  If I wanted a guilt trip, I could just call my grandmother.

Ugh.  I got so annoyed trying to read this book.  I just totally vented into the Internet.  We'll keep our sleep problems, Mr W, regardless of what you think.  We''ll mess her up, maybe as bad as my parents did to me.  Somehow, despite not having a regular nap schedule, or going through rigorous sleep training as a baby, I managed to have a happy, fulfilling and successful life.  How do you explain that?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Diapers and solids

I might be having second thoughts about this whole "solids" business.  I mean, Cupcake is obviously ready and she looooooves having her food, but the diapers are the scariest thing I've ever seen.  I swear she will never eat banana again for the rest of her life, or at least until she's potty trained and in high school.

Today she ate carrots, hopefully it'll agree better with her stomach.  We also got apples, avocados, and a sweet potato.  I'm incredibly excited to try them, mostly because she seems to enjoy food so much.  Obviously other parents have survived diapers, but how?  How can I deal with 2 more years of this?  

She also had a couple of blowouts our her back.  Maybe it's time to move to a bigger size?  She's currently using size 3s, and she weighs almost 18 lbs, but I've always heard that if you're having blowouts, its best to go up a size.  Then again, I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle, that I'm asking for the impossible. She'll go through a phase of explosive poops, then her digestive system will re-stabilize and then life will go back to normal again.  Or at least I hope our laundry will be slightly more... poop free.  It has to be.  I don't see 1 year-olds having every outfit washed because they keep pooping on them.  Or is this another of those dark secrets no one tells you about, like sleep regression and nail scratching.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Letter to my baby: 6 months

Dear Cupcake,

You are 6 months old today, and I am amazed at how much you've grown and how we can't even remember what life was like before you made us a family.  Seriously, how did we spend our evenings?  It feels like we always gave you carrots, played with you, and did your night time routine.  Its so nice.

You're getting really big, and according to your pediatrician, you are still on the 95+ % for height.  Since a couple of days ago, you can sit by yourself for long periods of time.  Today you spent long stretches sitting on your activity gym playing with your toys.  I couldn't be prouder of how strong your muscles are.  You like rolling over from your back to your belly, but you haven't figured out how to roll back.  Why is that?  Specially since you don't really enjoy tummy time that much.  It's a curious thing.

We think you are teething, because you were waking up a lot a few nights ago.  Mama & Dad are tired, little one, so please be nice to us. Then last night you slept wonderful, only waking for your scheduled feeds, so who knows what's going on with your biological clock.  I've even acquired a bunch of sleep books from friends to help you sleep better.  Do you need them?  I just want you to be getting the rest that you need to grow and be happy.

You have started eating some solid foods.  So far you really like bananas, though I am terrified of what they are doing to your diapers.  In the next few days we are going to embrace solids full throttle, so get ready for lots of fun tastes and textures.

Recently, you have also discovered our faces, and we keep getting poked and prodded by your adorable fingers.  Do you know that you are super strong?  I am amazed how hard you can pull hair, or scratch my nose.  Your nails also grow incredibly fast, it must be a good sign.  Maybe your got my fingernails after all, and you'll enjoy an adulthood of super strong unbreakable nails.

Last weekend we took you to play on the swings for the first time.  You had so much fun, and I hope this is the beginning of lots of trips to the play ground.   I can't wait to take you to the Zoo, so you'll finally get what all these animals and sounds are about.  Or the botanical gardens, or Times Square, or the beach.

For your half birthday, we got your a gift.  You now have a Sophie Giraffe.  Please don't think we are cliches, it just looked so cute at the store, and we wanted to give you something special.  Because we love you sooooo soooo much.  You have no idea.  You probably think it's totally normal to be part of our family.  But before you were born, we weren't a full family yet.  We are still getting used to it.  There are mornings when I wake up and I stare at you and your dad sleeping next to each other and I'm so happy you came into our lives.

Keep growing, my little cupcake.  Life is wonderful, and I'm so glad you are getting to enjoy it.



Sunday, April 3, 2011

Fun with solids

Cupcake has been starting slowly on solids for about a week now.  She's just so into it!  Since she was about 4 months old, she would stare at us as we ate and reach out for our food, so we'd give her little tasters, a carrot to play with, let her gnaw on pita bread or something similar.  But it was very sporadic and just for fun.

Now, once she got over her cold, we decided that she was overdue to try actually eating.  Our plan was to try to feed her some carrots, see if she'd like it, and take it from there.  We actually expected her to be interested in the concept of food, but not it's actual delivery.  We weren't going to force solids on her, she'd start when she was ready.

I steamed some baby carrots, and then ground them with a little manual grinder we bought just for this.  And fed it to her with a baby spoon.

The first spoonful she kinda made a face, put the food in her mouth, and then slowly spit it out.  No biggie, we let her play with the spoon, it was all good.  We were having our own dinner at the table too.  I tried giving her some again, and she just looked so happy, so expectant.  And after a couple of times she totally got the swallowing business down, and kept opening her mouth for more.  She'd eat, grab the spoon and put it in her mouth.   So awesome!

We fed her carrots for three days, she did great, and then last night, while I went out for a birthday dinner, Nate gave her some mashed banana. From the smells and surprises coming out of her diaper this morning, she really enjoyed and fully ate the piece of banana.

I'm so excited about my little girl growing, and embracing food, but this diaper?  It might have been the most horrifying thing I've ever seen come out of a butt.  I hear it only gets better !!  And I'm so excited by how happy she looks when she eats that I'm okay with the future poops.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sleep issues, reading Ferber

So against everything I believed, I've been reading the Ferber book, Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems.  A friend loaned it to me with glowing recommendations, after I confided in her how Cupcake has been waking up so many times at night.   She told me that she was adamantly against CIO (Cry It Out) too, but after actually reading the book, it's much different than the media makes it out to be, and she's been happy with the results.

That's a good recommendation as any, and while I was skeptical, there's no harm in reading a borrowed book.  I can read about how to solve sleep problems while in bed, right?  There's no irony there whatsoever.

It's strange, I was expecting to hate everything about Richard Ferber, but so far I'm just really interested in the entire theory of sleep patterns and how they mature and change as the baby gets older.  It really explains why Cupcake was such a great sleeper when she was younger, and how physiologically her body is changing and causing sleep disturbances.  I like the fact that he's an actual doctor citing her sleep research, and giving actual statistics and data.  One of the things I find frustrating about Parenting books is that they pretend to give you an overall parenting philosophy.   I mean, who are these authors?  Unless they have the credentials to back themselves up, then they are just citing circumstantial evidence and preaching it as facts.

One of the things I liked about Ferber is that he doesn't preach a parenting philosophy.  He shares his sleep research, gives his take on what patterns are emerging in a child's sleep and then gives his recommendation on a potential solution to the "problem."  He also explains which sleep behaviors are normal, which are "normal" but don't have to be, and which can be a cause of concern where parents should begin to look for underlying causes.  He has no opinions on feeding schedules, discipline issues, daytime parenting.. blah blah, he's merely interested in sleep and its patterns.  That's nice.

I'm still not sold on CIO as a viable solution for us.  But reading Ferber's book is making me realize that we have "sleep associations" for Cupcake.  And the rocking her to sleep thing had been working great so far, but it might be keeping her from settling back to sleep at night, now that her body has matured and stays longer times in the light sleep phase.  So we need to create a new sleep association that she can replicate on her own.

So far, we are going to transition slowly.  Rock her for shorter amounts of time, and then set her down when she's drowsy, and then patting her and singing.  There might be some crying, but we need to be there for her.  I can't just leave her on her own, not deliberately if I'm up for dealing with her.  (I've left her to cry before, but that's been on particularly hectic afternoons where I just couldn't handle her anymore and needed some time to regroup.  I can't see myself leaving her to cry alone as a methodology.  Not yet, at least).  Hopefully, this will help her fall asleep without needing to be rocked, so when she wakes at night, she can resettle without our help.  A girl can wish.

I should add that I've been reading the new edition of the Ferber book.  It's my understanding that the original 1985 version was much harsher and dogmatic.  In fact, he has an entire chapter in this book devoted to "explaining" himself and how his ideas were misunderstood.  The new edition is much warmer and caring, emphasizing a loving night time routine and a need for the baby to feel constantly loved and reassured by their parents.  It is also incredibly open to co-sleeping, bed sharing and all styles of parenting.  The book explains how to apply new sleep associations for every family arrangement, which is refreshing.  I don't like being told what to do, but I appreciate someone giving me the tools to apply my own solutions.

Who would've thought I'd be okay with Ferber?   More on our sleeping saga as it progresses.