Rhett is just days away from turning six months old! What!? The other day Ryan said, “We’re halfway there!” and I knew immediately what he meant
With our boys, one year has typically marked better sleep and feeling semi-normal again so in one breath we feel like we’ve made it halfway on our journey back to normalcy. In another breath, I am finding myself emotional when I think about how fast these baby days are flying by. I mentioned this in an Instagram post a couple of weeks ago, but I read somewhere that your baby is only a baby for a year and it really stuck with me.
These baby days are hard and exhausting… but truly wonderful and so sweet and the knowledge that you never get to repeat them hits me hard. I know the days of walking into Rhett’s room after naptime only to be greeted with the biggest gummy smile and wide, adoring eyes are limited and man oh man if that doesn’t just feel like a punch in the gut. Hearing Rhett’s high-pitched coos and zipping him into footie jammies as his “outfit” every day and feeling his teeny fingers reach for my face and pinch at my skin and cheeks as he snuggles in and nurses… ugh it all just turns my mama heart to mush.
There’s so much we love about Rhett and we love him more and more as we see his little personality develop. He loves being outside, watching his big brothers, bouncing in his jumper, his crinkle paper toys and, of course, Mom’s milk. He has this amazing deep belly giggle that comes out when we lightly tickle or kiss under his chin or entertain him with silly facial expressions and everyone in our family loves trying to make him laugh.
Rhett now has two teeth (the bottom middle two) and loves chewing on his fingers and basically anything he can get his hands on these days.
Ever since we brought Rhett home from the hospital, he’s received a lot of attention. His big brothers are his biggest fans and always want to hold, kiss, hug and “help” him. They love performing concerts for him and get just as excited as we do about any little milestone — his first tooth, first roll, first night in his own crib… we celebrated all of them!
Chase talks about Rhett with everyone and I can tell he’s so proud to be a “double big brother.” He lights up when we ask him to “help” us with anything related to Rhett’s needs and really is quite helpful a lot of the time. He is constantly on a mission to entertain Rhett in new ways and Rhett is often quite the captivated little audience.
Ryder’s nurturing side has very recently emerged through his role as a big brother (once he fully grasped the concept of “gentle touches,” that is) and he will sprint over with Rhett’s pacifier when he cries, calling out, “Baby Rhett, I love you sooooo much,” to try to make him happy again. He also insists on kissing Rhett’s face if Rhett is really losing his mind which is adorable even though it very rarely works to actually stop any of Rhett’s tears. Pushing Rhett in his stroller is also one of Ryder’s favorite things to do!
The Big Brother Crazy Show is Rhett’s favorite thing to watch in our house and I have a feeling the minute he has the ability to join in the chaos, he’ll be all about it!
In terms of struggles, our biggest struggle right now is the same one I mentioned in my blog post about the transition from 2 to 3 kids. Moments when everyone is melting down simultaneously and everyone needs mom at the same moment are hard, plain and simple. This blog post is more about Rhett than sibling dynamics, though, so check out that post and know I’m still feeling every bit of those stressors in daily life with three kids.
After months and months of some pretty horrendous naps — we’re talking 30-40 minute increments — we made huge strides in the nap department right after Christmas. I was tired, frustrated and feeling desperate because there was zero predictability in my life surrounding Rhett’s sleep. His naps were so awful and he was constantly fussy and it was just really, really hard to manage with two older kids in the mix. It felt like I would put him down to sleep and just begin to eat something or help Chase or Ryder with something they needed and he’d be up again.
My friend Cara is an infant and toddler sleep consultant and I reached out to her in a moment of desperation. Part of me was embarrassed — I’m a mom of 3, shouldn’t I get this by now? — but a bigger part of me just needed help.
Cara helped me a ton in a few key ways and I give her all the credit for helping us through our naptime nightmare. First, she told me to darken Rhett’s room after I sent her a pic and it was dark but not super dark. Now we have quilts up on the windows and it’s MUCH darker! I also paid attention to his wake windows in the day (keeping him up for 1.5-2 hours and then attempting a nap) and let him fuss for 10 minutes or so when he woke up from his naps for a few days. If I went into his room, it was only to replace his pacifier and he fairly quickly learned to self-soothe. Now Rhett is really, really good about falling asleep on his own and getting himself back to sleep with the help of his pacifier which he can replace himself as long as he doesn’t throw it out of reach. This has been a game changer! Oh and we dropped the swaddle! In retrospect, I think Rhett was VERY ready to drop the swaddle earlier than he did because the minute we put him in his Merlin Magic Sleepsuit, he was much happier.
Up until a week ago, for Rhett’s entire life since birth, nighttime has been a beast. Part of me thought we didn’t have much good sleep to regress from when the four month sleep regression hit since I was still up every few hours with him but then a solid month of finding ourselves up for hours in the middle of the night with Rhett who just wanted to party after nursing came along and knocked us off our feet in a whole new way.
To be honest, part of me was just like “well, this is how it is sometimes” since sleep challenges are all too familiar over here. Chase didn’t consistently sleep through the night until I weaned him when he was over a year old and SO much of Rhett reminds me of baby Chase. They’re both little guys (Ryder was almost 2 pounds more than his brothers at birth and instantly a better sleeper) and my completely unprofessional opinion formed from my own experiences leads me to believe Chase and Rhett’s smaller size made it harder for them to sleep longer durations at night from an earlier age.
As I mentioned above, sleep got to a point right after Christmas when I was so incredibly exhausted and didn’t know how I could function with three kids to care for all day every day. I talked with my pediatrician about transferring Rhett to his own room right around 5 months and he was ALL for it and encouraged me to do so ASAP. It instantly improved sleep for everyone.
(Check out Rhett’s teeny teeth in the above pic! Love!)
Though Rhett still woke up several times a night, at least I wasn’t on the edge of my bed listening to every last coo and staring at his bassinet for hours on end. We used the Owlet Smart Sock Baby Monitor like we did with Ryder and that thing is worth its weight in gold for me and my peace of mind, especially once our babies are no longer in our room with us. Having Rhett in his own room also seemed to help him learn how to soothe himself back to sleep a little bit in the middle of the night and we got to the point where I could nurse him and put him back down without spending hours holding a baby who couldn’t fall asleep on his own without some rocking and cuddling. A big-time win all around!
Once Rhett learned how to successfully replace his own pacifier on a consistent basis, it was go-time for eliminating our nighttime nursing sessions and beginning nighttime sleep training. Since a pacifier is key for Rhett’s ability to self-soothe, I wanted him to be able to have the ability to replace it himself before we kicked off sleep training.
Prior to sleep training, Rhett would go to bed around 6:30 p.m. and then wake up around 10 p.m. for his first feeding. He’d then wake again around 1-2 a.m. and again at 4 a.m. I had stopped feeding him at 4 a.m. because the way he was nursing was obviously more for soothing purposes and not hunger. He adjusted well to this and took his paci and went back to sleep on his own so this gave me hope for sleep training success.
When it came to actually implementing a sleep training technique, my plan was to follow the Gentle Cry It Out Method I used with Ryder but with some tips from my friend Cara (aka Well Rested Mama) added in for flexibility. My main game plan was to let Rhett cry as long as he had his pacifiers in his hand for 10 minutes if it was just some fussy cries (aka not “real” tears) but 3 minutes if it was big tears… but even then when we went into his room the plan was no holding, no nursing, no soothing other than pacifiers and placing a hand on his chest if he was really upset and waiting for him to calm before leaving his room.
Beginning on night one, Rhett never even got to the big tears which really, really surprised me. He only ever really fussed for 5-10 minutes or so and always calmed down when he found his pacifier or when we went into his room to give him his pacifier if it was out of his reach. When I say Rhett was shockingly easy to sleep train, I mean shockingly easy. I say this only because I was fully anticipating some big tears but they never came. It was weird but I was totally psyched. He awoke during all of his typical times when he’d usually nurse but Ryan and I took turns heading into his room when his pacifiers were out of reach to give him his paci and he seemed to get that he wasn’t getting any milk anymore when he got pacifier in his mouth and always calmed rather quickly. Last night marked our fourth night of sleep training and our first night where we didn’t have to go into Rhett’s room at all. I think a huge part of our success came from working through Rhett’s naptime struggles before tackling nighttime since he got used to relying only on his pacifier for naptime soothing when I worked with him to get him over the 30-40 minute nap hurdle a couple of weeks prior.
One important note: There is zero part of me that thinks we’re completely out of the woods in the baby sleep department because we’re only four days in and I know all too well that things can change in a hot second… but if we can keep going on our current sleep progress path, I’ll take it!
I am currently exclusively breastfeeding and it’s going well! I truly enjoy nursing and feel very fortunate to have had a relatively easy experience this time around. The pain I felt when I nursed our first baby was gone (tougher nipples?) and even though Rhett had a posterior tongue tie, it somehow didn’t impact breastfeeding at he’s been able to nurse well from the very beginning. I’m counting my blessings big-time on that one.
One major change this time around is the fact that I am pumping more consistently and we’re trying to give Rhett a bottle of fresh breastmilk a couple of times a week so I’m not the only one who can feed him. I was awful about pumping with Chase and Ryder for a myriad of reasons, with the most glaring reason being the fact that my breastmilk has an excess of the enzyme lipase in it so it tastes awful/metallic to our babies once it’s been frozen. (Yes, you can scald the milk before storing it to salvage it but it’s a lot of work and just plain annoying and we just weren’t interested in regularly doing this to save my milk so I almost exclusively nursed.) Rhett takes a bottle fairly well which is wonderful and makes me feel like I can leave him for more than two hours if I need to from time to time.
As far as beginning solid food, that’s on our radar in the coming weeks! In case you’re wondering how I’m planning to approach solids, here’s a post I wrote about beginning solids with Ryder and I’ll be approaching them similarly with Rhett.
Tongue Tie Revision
One last thing worth mentioning in this post is the fact that we finally got to the bottom of Rhett’s reflux issues! I already mentioned this briefly on the blog and Instagram so I won’t spend to much time addressing it here, but Rhett had a posterior tongue tie and after months of feeling like something was off and not knowing what was wrong, it felt like a major relief to get some answers.
Once we had his revision completed last month, his spit up definitely decreased. It took him about 24 hours after his revision to adjust and latch well and comfortably suck on his pacifier but once he got the hang of it, nursing went well and our lives got a little easier. He still spits up but typically in much smaller amounts and overall seems a lot more comfortable. Thank goodness!
And now that I’ve typed up no less than a million words about our youngest little dude, I think I should wrap things up for today! I am also considering writing a postpartum update addressing how things are going on my end from a mother’s perspective, so if that is of interest as well, please let me know and I’ll get on it!
The post Rhett: (Almost) 6 Month Check In appeared first on Peanut Butter Fingers.
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