Today’s post is actually an email that a friend of our family sent as a newsletter about what God is doing in his life. I asked him if it was ok if I could share it with you on our blog. With a quick reply of yes, I hope you are challenged, that you would identify with his fear and that you would pray for all that God is doing in the lives of so many because this normal guy said “yes” to God’s plan for him and his family. Send Jake some love by checking out www.acts2collective.org and seeing if there are ways you can practically help this vision God has brought to fruition.
I heard this song for the first time last year on Pandora. I ran over to my phone, hit the thumbs up and Googled the artist…All Sons and Daughters. I played this song on repeat probably 15 times that day. I fell in love with this song. The title is “Called Me Higher”. This is sort of the theme song for my season of life. Here’s the lyrics:
I could just sit and wait for all your goodness
Hope to feel your presence
And I could just stay
I could just stay right where I am and hope to feel you
Hope to feel something againAnd I could hold on
I could hold on to who I am and never let You change me from the inside
And I could be safe
I could be safe here in Your arms and never leave home
Never let these walls downBut you have called me higher
You have called me deeper
And I will go where you will lead me Lord
You have called me higher
You have called me deeper
And I will go where you lead me Lord
Where you lead me
Where you lead me LordAnd I will be Yours
I will be Yours for all my life
So let Your mercy light the path before me
David urged us to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8), and that’s what has happened for me.
Yes, in your best OLAF voice . . . all together now “In Summer . . . .!!!!”
The days can pass quickly if we aren’t prepared and purposeful. This is a great opportunity to make the most of your days with kiddos at home and great weather to enjoy.
My friends at The Village Church have put together a Summer Fun Activity Book. It gives AWESOME ideas of things to do with your kids and ways to point them to Jesus through the days ahead. They have a downloadable version for anyone and everyone to access.
So, download, read and enjoy!
If you decide to tackle the routine idea in order to bring some “new normal” to your days, here are a couple of things you should do before you start:
You and your spouse need to make a commitment to do this for at least 4 weeks before you give up.
Get a small notebook dedicated to writing down the day (believe me there were many days I forgot what time they slept, what time it was, or what day it was!)
Have a good friend you can call on that can be encouraging to you to help you stick with your commitment.
Another thing to keep in mind is that your baby will experience growth spurts. Typically you will see increased eating and number of times they want to feed increase around these times:
Typical Growth Spurt Periods: Although growth spurts can happen anytime during the first year, your baby will most likely have his initial spurt between one and three weeks; and another between six and eight weeks. After that, you can expect more at three months, six months, and nine months. The good news: A baby’s growth spurts usually last only a couple days, so your baby (and your life) should get back to normal soon. (whattoexpect.com)
For me, my babes mostly wanted to nurse more often during their growth spurts. So when the time frame of their age was around one of these typical growth spurt times I would simply nurse more often, if they gave me those cues or if they woke up earlier etc., to accommodate for that. So this may mean they will eat closer to 2-2.5 hours for a day or two. (See the flexibility here?) This is yet another good reason to write things down as well as knowing how old your babe is in order to be even more flexible with feeding during growth spurts.
Benefits of feeding baby on a flexible routine:
One huge benefit to regular feeding times is this will boost your milk supply. If nursing, your body is on a supply and demand type of system. God in His infinite wisdom designed it this way. The amount your baby eats is the amount your body will produce in order to meet his or her needs. If you go long periods of time without nursing your body may think “Oh no need to make that much today, so I will slow down in production.” If you keep to a regular routine, your body will know what the baby needs. Remember, I am not a medical doctor nor am I lactation consultant. This is simple supply and demand logic and experience that I am speaking from.
A few other benefits:
1. I noticed less crying from my babe. Giving small amounts of nourishment on a consistent time table decreases their need to cry to let you know they are needing to eat. Think about it. When your stomach growls you know you need food now! It is the same for tiny babes. When that hunger cue goes from tummy to brain they need food NOW! And they let you know! So think logically: its better to get good amounts on a regular increment of time rather that wait for babe to scream…and often screaming is an “its too late” signal!
2. Less overeating. When babe is starving he or she will do anything they can to get milk as fast as they can. If babe is NOT eating at irregular intervals of time there will be more overeating due to the brain thinking it is going to starve. We’ve all done it as adults. Skip a meal here and there and we overeat the next. It’s no different for babes. You can google that research.
3. Predictability. Any parent will testify to “the fog.” You know those very hazy, not really coherent first couple of months after having a baby? You think you will never be “normal” again. Well, you won’t return to your “old” normal again but its a “new normal” that you now have as a parent. Having predictability and a little more sense of control over feeding and sleeping will help you gain your sense of self back as a person. Babies do not have the ability to know what’s logical. They certainly have needs and they will let you know by crying, and your job as mom is to respond to those needs. But when food and sleep (basic needs every baby has) are being given to them at regular intervals, the baby begins to understand that you, the parent, are trustworthy and things can tend to be less chaotic.
4. A routine can help you know when something else besides hunger is wrong. If I just fed my babe 30 minutes ago and he is crying, and I know that he’s not in a growth spurt, I can go down the general list of some other need that must be met: dirty/wet diaper, burping, too hot/cold, needs some cuddles etc. I have had many parents share with me how grateful they were for this knowledge because usually when their babe cried it usually tipped them off that they were teething or about to get sick!
5. Establishing a routine in your babe’s life will help you establish your authority over your children as their parents. This is more of a biblical principle that YOU, the parent, are in charge, not this tiny human that does not have the Holy Spirit or logical thinking.
We would love your comments and experiences about routine. If you have any questions feel free to make a comment and we will get back to you as soon as we can!Thank you for returning to our blog this week!
I would like to share with you some principles that I have learned about implementing routine in your infant’s day. I have gathered these principles mostly from books I have read, my own experience as a mom, and my interactions with other moms. I am not a medical doctor nor have any special professional training. But one thing I know . . . routine can help you survive when you think you are at your wits’ end.
Consistency is key!
If you are not consistent with anything you want to train and establish, then there is really no point in even beginning to try and implement it. With any new habit you need to be determined and always have the big picture in mind. In this case when deciding on implementing a “routine,” especially with small babes who sometimes can have an agenda all their own!
When you have a newborn you have to remember, for 9 months they were cradled tight in momma’s womb most likely being rocked most of the day by movement. They enter the world expecting that same general cadence – sleeping during the day and what seems like being awake most of the night. Someone has to help them get that cadence turned around – for the good of the parents and baby.
During the first 3 to 4 months: I am on a pretty flexible routine as far as timing but I always kept an order of wake baby, feed baby, awake time if any (depending on age) , allow babe to sleep then start over again at next feeding time.
I always fed babe when they showed hunger cues no matter what time that was: crying, fist to mouth, rooting etc. and was well aware of growth spurt times. But one big difference was, during momma’s wake-time hours, I never allowed the babes to sleep longer than 2.5 to 3 hours without a feeding.
I would wake my baby up, during my daytime/evening hours, to feed them if they had NOT woken up on their own by the next feeding.
Did I say WAKE them?
YOU need to wake them in order for this flipping of day and night to happen.
I know, I know . . . waking a sleeping babe is frowned upon and argued against. However, for all four of my children (and the countless numbers of new parents who followed this feeding philosophy), this specific parent-led action, has been helpful for parents to organize their babe’s days and nights. As well as allow parents to reclaim what their new normal will be without being a slave to this new family member.
I nursed all of my children; however, these principles can be used for bottle fed infants as well.
I am going to give you an example of an average day for one of my own at 1 month old.
(I kept a journal – nerdy, huh?)
L, R – indicates which side baby fed from
“Held up” – this is a digestion trick, holding them upright helps keep babies from getting too gassy, and gives good face time if they are awake too.
5:15a baby woke fed-L, ate 5 min, held up 40 min., fell back to sleep
7:45 I woke, fed-R, ate 7 min, held up 35 min., fell back to sleep
8:40 baby woke, I rocked back to sleep, we slept together in chair
10:45 I woke, fed-L, ate 7 min, held up 30 min., awake for 15 min., fell asleep in car seat
12:15p baby woke, burped him, rocked back to sleep, whimpered on/off slept
1:30 I woke, fed-R, ate 8 min, held up 45 min., fell right back to sleep, laid down@2:30 in crib slept
4 baby woke, fed-L, ate 8 min, held up 30 min., awake, rocked back to sleep
5:00 baby woke, held him in front pack, fell asleep
6:30 I woke, fed-R, ate 5 min., held up 30 min., awake 20 min., fell back to sleep laid in crib
8:15 baby woke, fed-L, ate 5 min., held up 45 min., asleep, laid in crib @915 asleep
10:30 I woke, fed-R, ate 6 min., held up 35 min., laid in crib @11:20 asleep
3a baby woke, fed-L, ate 7 min., held up 45 min., laid in crib @4 asleep
5:30a baby woke, fed-R, ate 6 min., slept in rocker w/him
8:30 I woke, fed-L, ate 7 min., held up 30 min., fell back to sleep, laid in crib @925
So on, so on…
Each of my days, during the first 3 to 4 months of my babe’s lives, did NOT look exactly the same. What stayed consistent was the order of their day.
We fed, we were awake or fell asleep, then fed again. This cadence was what I did over and over again throughout my awake hours. During what would be my sleeptime hours I allowed my babe to wake me on their own when they needed to be fed. Or another option would be to set your alarm to wake you at a four hour mark to wake them to feed in the middle of the night. I would actually suggest this if:
you and babe are still figuring out nursing,
you have a lazy nursing babe,
or if you breasts are uncomfortably full and you need to nurse.
There was never a time during the my awake hours when I allowed babe to sleep longer than 3 hours. Now during the early evening (5ishpm to 8ish pm) babes like to “cluster-feed” or “gear-up”, so to speak, for the night. They want that nourishment to sleep a long stretch. This will happen especially if you have trained them to flip their day/night. So eating every two hours during this early evening time frame is not unusual for babes.
Now, as you saw, during the bedtime hours I did not wake babe up at all. I allowed him to wake me. Believe me your baby will not go hungry! They will wake you by making noises, sucking, lip smacking and whimpers at first, which if left too long will eventually lead to louder crying.
Read on tomorrow for more tips as you begin to think about routine in your infant’s day.