Motherhood 7

-I have been terrified of falling down the stairs while holding M. I go slowly and look where I’m going. But since he has been born, I have fallen down by myself TWICE (once enough to bruise my back!) and also dropped the top of a burger roll (covered in ketchup + mustard) down the stairs as well. Stairs are scary.

-I’m so glad M actually looks at the pages of stories now – makes the reading part so much more fun! Frog + Toad is our current favorite book because it was a favorite of mine when I was little.


-Sometimes when M is down for a nap I watch him closely waiting for him to wake up when I know it’s almost time to feed again. I love it when he opens his eyes and I swoop him up and put his snack in his mouth before he has a chance to cry for it. It’s the ultimate luxury to have your next meal ready and waiting!

-When do you stop swaddling? I wouldn’t say M loves being swaddled, but he does respond well to it and it calms him. He also loves his hands! He loves to put his fingers in his mouth. I wonder if we would have luck with self soothing if he had his hands free at night? I don’t really like the swaddling myself because I am obsessed with his cute hands and it makes diaper changes a pain, but I want to do what will help him sleep the best.

-The only thing sweeter than a sleeping baby is a smiling baby

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-We started working on a bedtime routine, including a bath. He loves his baths, but not sure they are doing their job getting him calm for bed! Speaking of sleep, Jess shared this baby sleep site and it is THE BEST I have found! Including all the sleep books.

-Matt, Karen and I have been making Maze talk in a teenage boy voice and saying funny things:

“Mom, can I borrow the car tomorrow”

“Dad, coach says I need an extra glass of milk at dinner.”

“KK, are you coming to my band concert tomorrow night?”

Hard to believe he will one day BE a teenager!

-But first he needs teeth, and I think lo and behold he is teething. We are experiencing massive amounts of drool, chewing on hands, some unexplained crying associated with chewing on hands (with a full tummy) and some sleep issues. I sure hope this doesn’t last a month!

70 thoughts on “Motherhood 7”

  1. Greetings from Lakeland, FL!
    I have been following your blog off and on during my own pregnancy & now after the birth of my daughter, Piper. What day exactly was Mazen born? Piper’s birthday is September 12th. Are Mazen and Piper very close in age? By the way, thanks for the mirror idea in your post a while back… took Piper to our mirror and she was smiling so huge and bashfully!! HAHA!!! I would send you a photo of her but don’t want to post it to the site… if you are interested, lemmie know!
    You seem like such a great mom and thanks again for the tips…

  2. I wasn’t crazy about that sleep sight (I’ve seen it before) because of all the heavy talk of Cry It Out methods. I much prefer The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantly. It’s respectful to all involved–even the baby 😉

    I know Dr Karp says some babies don’t like to be swaddled after about 4 months but that some like it longer. I think it’s just like most other baby issues–there is no right or wrong answer–the right answer is whatever is working (or not working) for your baby. I have 3 tween/teen boys and they all three could not have been more different babies–even though I parented them all the same. So that’s why I’m such a huge proponent of listening to your baby instead of a book…they’re all different and blanket statement or hard and fast “rules” don’t usually work for every baby.

    Judging by how happy and healthy Maze is–you’re doing an amazing job!

    1. I couldn’t agree more, I love the “No Cry Sleep Solution”. We’ve just started implementing a few things from that book (successfully) now that our baby’s a year old – old enough to physically handle a night without milk. We’ve successfully cut out a few nursing sessions a night in a loving way, while maintaining our great co-sleeping arrangement. I always wonder about the developing metabolisms of babies that are sleep-trained at an early age – there is so much research to show that children that are made to diet at a young age have long standing issues with their metabolisms throughout their lives. Can the same thing be said for babies that are forced to consume larger meals during the day and skipping all their nighttime meals before they are physiologically ready? I would think that, as well, could have long term effects on their relationship with food (introducing food scarcity at a few months of age). Kath, you’ve talked before about Ellyn Satter and “Child of Mine” – do you know anything about this?

      One of the main issues I have with sleep training is the implication that there’s something “wrong” with your baby that you need to “fix.” Babies have slept with their parents and nursed on demand until the ages of 2-3 for tens of thousands of years to no ill-effect – obviously for millennia these sleep habits have created healthy adults with healthy sleep habits. The whole “issue” of baby sleep is a new Western construct (along the same line of thinking that arose with the development of formula, where the “experts” told a generation of mothers that breastfeeding and breastmilk was inferior to formula – and only in the past few decades scientists have discovered how wrong-headed that was!).

      I know that you haven’t started sleep training yet (obviously, since Mazen is so young!), but these might be some things to consider as he gets older.

      1. Eh, I don’t think sleep training will damage your baby forever. Babies are all different. My first ate 7 times a day, well spaced. He slept four hours at four months, but didn’t hit eight hours until eight months. Once I knew he could go that long, I worked on sleep training. Wen he went through a growth spurt, I’d feed more often. Or if he was sick or teething. But then I’d get him back on schedule.

        Baby #2 started sleeping 10-11 hrs at a stretch at 12 weeks, on his own. He still nurses seven times a day. It’s heaven. Say what you want about the naturalness of cosleeping and frequent feelings, etc., but I’ve got a job and two kids. I need to function. It’s heaven. Coming from a pregnancy where I was awake for 1-2 hrs in the middle of the night every night…

  3. I thought Axel was really dependent on swaddling for sound sleep, but at around 8 – 10 weeks (when he really discovered his hands and likes sucking on them) We switched to a sleep sack. He slept just as well with it, to be honest! We went cold turkey, though we always take a miracle blanket with us when traveling just in case of emergencies (it helped when we flew across the country and he seemed confused with the time change.) After that first fussy night away, we went back to the sleep sack. In general though, I think its better to make the transition earlier so you don’t really have to wean off of it.

  4. We swaddled my daughter for sleep well until she was 5 months old, maybe even 6 months. Granted, she also slept in a nap nanny until that point because she had reflux, so we did a “half” swaddle where we left her legs out but her arms in so that we could strap her into the nap nanny. Once she started turning to the side, she went from the nap nanny into the bassinet, then to the crib.

  5. Two good indicators to stop swaddling are either when baby can roll over or when they try and break out of the swaddle and that wakes them. When we weaned from the swaddle, we started with just leaving one arm out and then a few nights later both arms and maybe a week after that switched to just a regular sleep sack. It took a bit of getting used to and my guy did wake more frequently.

    And unfortunately, my experience with teething is that what M is going through could last a couple days or upwards of a month, my guys first teeth (an subsequent ones) have all had weeks of drooling, hand biting, etc before the tooth actually pops. Hylands teething tablets helped us, as well as advilvor Tylenol before bed when it is really bad. Hang in there!!

  6. I know some people swaddle for awhile 7-8 months. Even longer? Can you swaddle him with just one arm out? I’ve heard of some people doing this. I think a lot of it just depends on the baby – like pretty much everything with parenting, right!

  7. i always stopped when the stopped responding to it (our daughter didn’t need it to sleep so i quit at 6 weeks) or when they start rolling over. we swaddled our son until he was about 3.5 months but i know plenty of people who did it until 6 months or more.

  8. I used to fear walking down the stairs while holding my son, too! I’m such a clutz and have fallen down them before so I’m extra careful while holding him.

    We swaddled for a long time! I think he was close to 6 months? For the last couple of those months he was in the rock n play though and couldn’t roll over. If they are flat in a crib you have to stop swaddling when they can turn themselves over. When we wanted to stop swaddling I gave him a “lovey” to hold on to. You know, one of those tiny blanket toys with a stuffed animal head. That helped him to have something to do with his hands.

  9. We stopped swaddling our guy when he started busting out every night (even from the Miracle Blanket!) and looked like he was ready to roll over–about 3 months. If he wasn’t doing that I would’ve kept swaddling as it helped his sleep so much! We started leaving his arms out (with the SwaddleMe) and also using a Sleep Sack with arms out for a time before we completely stopped.

    We just had our first tooth poke through (about 5 1/2 months), but it was obvious he was in some pain at night for about 3-4 weeks prior. We tried the Hyland’s tablets, a frozen washcloth to chew on, and also leaving a small lovey or chew blanket in the crib at night—not necessarily doctor-approved, but it allowed him to get back to sleep very well. There were times some Tylenol was in order for small fevers, and there were a few nights spent in the swing as well!

  10. My daughter liked being swaddled with her arms out. It worked well for her… I think we stopped swaddling at about 5 months.

  11. I am terrified of falling down the stairs with my girls, but as the months pass I’m less and less clumsy. I think its the body still getting used to not being pregnant and it just takes a while to get the groundings of balance back.

    Teething is pretty horrid, not gonna lie. My girls take for-freakin-ever to cut teeth too, but they usually do pretty good with just some motrin or busting out some ice in the mesh feeder. I’ve been leery of teething tablets since the ones I found at the store had belladonna in them, yikes! So just make sure to read labels 🙂

  12. We swaddled until 7/8ish months for bedtime, and until around 9ish months for naptime. We actually put them in a sleep wedge/positioner, so they couldn’t roll over. I found that they had to be able to soothe themselves by getting their pacifier, rolling over etc before we could even think about teaching them to get themselves to sleep. We never did CIO. I also like Elizabeth Pantley.

  13. We swaddled for a long time with both our boys. With our second, around 3-4 months I would try put him down without swaddling every so often and it never worked. Probably around 4 months I started leaving one arm out and then both arms out. I would give him a little lovey to hold on to and he transitioned pretty easily.

  14. Awww…Frog & Toad! Those were some of my favorites as a kid and Frog & Toad are Friends was the first book I read by myself 🙂

  15. the drooling may not be teeth related..i read that babies this age make more saliva than they can swallow. i thought my daughter ( 2 days younger than yours!) was teething too because of the same symptoms. who knows?! but im not quite ready for teeth, they still seem too young 😉

  16. We stopped swaddling at 10.5 weeks. It was the day Lyric discovered her hands! Funny how they are so in love with them at first. As am I. We used the aden & anais swaddle blankets and when we went through a horrid (HORRID!) sleep regression at 6 months I remember waking my husband at 3am asking if he remembered how to swaddle! He did and she broke free but she has made those blankets her “blankies” and sleeps with one every night.

    Oh and if he really is teething try the Hyland’s teething tablets. But almost all babies go through a drooling, gnawing stage around 3 months. Some pop a tooth out but it’s rare. Just put lots of bibs on M until he learns to swallow the extra saliva (he will learn, promise!).

  17. I used to fear falling down the stairs when carrying my daughter as a baby, too! I ALWAYS tried to take my time, and concentrate..and ouch on the falls that you really did have. Eeek, hope that’s done now 🙂

  18. I think if Maze likes swaddling and it works you’re doing just fine.
    As for teething, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I doubt it’s happening yet. Mouthing and drooliness is normal at this age. When he’s teething his gums will probably be red and soft and tender.
    He’s adorable. You’re blessed with a healthy, beautiful baby.

  19. Swaddling is one of those things…. 🙂 Every parent has an opinion. I am an infant nanny and the longest one of the infants I tended swaddled was 5 months.
    It’s important for their brain development and motor development to have their limbs free.There is a lot of evidence that swaddling over the age of 4.5 months causes developmental delays, i.e. their motor control is delayed and they tend to crawl much later. Our pediatrician recommends stopping between 3-4 months. Also… the sooner you move away from the swaddle, the easier it will be, discontinuing the swaddle as they get a little older is more difficult. 🙂 Moving away from the swaddle takes about 1 to 2 weeks… starting with just one arm out and so forth. It does make diaper changes much easier once they are no longer swaddled! 🙂
    Mazen is really blossoming into a little human being, he’s an adorable little boy! You are doing a great job Mama! 🙂

  20. I wouldn’t resort to teething tablets or tylenol yet…12 weeks is pretty early to be teething.
    It’s probably just another of the many phases/stages he’ll go through.

  21. Our daughter started teething right at 12 weeks. All of the signs were there: drooling, decreased appetite, increased fussiness, chewing on hands, etc. We know she was teething, but her first tooth didn’t pop up until 7 months! It can be a very long process, or maybe he’ll sprout some teeth soon. Like everything else, every baby is different 🙂

  22. Stairs terrify me, especially because we have two big clumsy dogs that love to tail me when I go up to the nursery (they love their little sister). So I always wait until they go all the way down and then I slowly walk down with baby, holding onto the rail for dear life.

  23. I love the Troublesome Tots website. Another really good one is They have some information/ebooks/personal sleep plan packages that cost money but they have A TON of really good free articles about sleep and even some sample schedules based on baby’s age. Check it out!

  24. Stairs! Ugh…yes. I have this bizarre (granted irrational) fear when I am home alone with my napping daughter. If I need to go to the basement to grab laundry, I feel like I am going to fall down the stairs, injure myself, and then not be able to get back to her when she wakes up and needs me. *Shudder*

  25. Have you considered that swaddle that you can put their arms out? My doc said to break the swaddle when they start to roll and chew on their hands. Is he rolling yet?

  26. Hi Kath,

    Our first baby is due in one month (on Christmas!) and I have a question for you regarding swaddling and sleeping at night. The plan is to have our baby girl sleep in the Rock N Play Sleeper next to our bed at night… but I don’t think we can swaddle her and buckle her into the sleeper. I *think* you mentioned at one point using the same sleeper with Mazen, and I was just wondering if you swaddle him and don’t buckle him in or do you guys somehow manage to still use the buckle? Or are you just using his crib nowadays?

    Thanks in advance :).

    1. To be honest we never buckled him in. He was so little and there was no way he was coming out of it. You could leave her legs out though and just swaddle her arms.

  27. I’m pretty sure Miss B was done witht he swaddle by now, or sson after. I think she started sleeping in her crib, unswaddled at 14 weeks. We never really did a tight swaddle with her anyways, mostly bc I used the Aden&Anais blankets and couldn’t get them tight enough- she would just wiggle out 🙂

    Surprisingly, Miss B has always set her own sleep schedule and its worked out fine for us. The first 2 nights in her crib by herself were a little tough, but now she falls asleep in my arms (Sometimes we sleep together for 1-2hours) and then I place her in the crib and she sleeps from 9-10pm until 630-7am. I never read any books or websites on sleeping, maybe we were lucky??

    We thought Miss B was teething for a long time- and the drolling/fussing would come and go, come ango. Then one day her 2 bottome teeth just popped out! I think they ‘teeth’ for awhile off and on before any visible teeth can been seen 🙂

    maze is getting cuter and cuter each day!

  28. The swaddling question was asked in my mom’s group this week. The leader’s answer is when they stop liking it. My 6 week old now only gets swaddled for naps during the day. At night we find she needs her hands to self soothe (and wow is she noisy about that, lots of smacking and sucking sounds). If I swaddle her at night I never get more than 3 hours. Free I get one 5-6 hour stretch. We have her sleep in a sleep sack, if it’s cold we loosely “swaddle” her in a blanket with her hands out.

    BTW stairs are terrifying especially when I’m drowsy at night.

  29. I swaddled my son until he was about 3 months old. My daughter though (almost 7 months) was not having it. I stopped swaddling her at around 3 weeks.

    Oh and as for the drooling and what I thought were sure “teething signs” (fussiness, chewing on everything, sleeplesness) it may not be. My baby girl has been at it for at least 2 months and still no teeth! At least the fussiness has gone away.

  30. My son is 6 months and has had all the same teething symptoms as Maze since he was 3 months old but has yet to cut a tooth. I still check every day for one. I’m going to miss his gummy smile so much when he does get his teeth.

  31. Thanks for sharing that website about sleep and babies. I am just a few weeks away from delivering, and was thinking I should do more reading about that. Also, I completely relate to your fear about falling on the stairs with Mazen. I know I am going to be walking SO CAREFULLY every time I take baby boy up and down our stairs. So sorry to hear about your falls, by the way! Ouch!!

  32. Hylands tablets work great but my sister uses an amber teething necklace. It warms and sooths teething babies like magic! I’m not sure of the name but its worth looking for.

    1. We use a Baltic amber teething necklace too. I think it works but of course there’s no way of knowing…at least it looks cute even if not effective. My daughter gets compliments on hers daily.

  33. If Maze is only about 12 weeks, it’s seems a bit early for teething. It could be something else like excess saliva. But if he is teething, it could be much longer than a month before he stops. Babies seem to be in a perpetual state of teething the first year of their life because the symptoms come on long before the tooth actually pops through. So just brace yourself for the long road ahead, lol.

  34. Yay, I’m so glad you are enjoying the Troublesome Tots blog! Not gonna lie, I feel kinda special for the shout out. 🙂

  35. In the adorable picture of Matt reading to Mazen, I noticed that Mazen is swaddled. Do you swaddle him often for things other than sleeping? I thought swaddle was just for sleeping but I have no idea. I’m due in February and my infant care class is next week so I can ask them too. Just curious to know about when Mazen likes to be swaddled.

  36. My third child has loved swaddling a lot more than my other two did. We were using a woombie to transition from the swaddle me so she had the ability to move her arms inside the woombie but not put them up by her mouth. That just seemed to wake her up after only an hour or so at night. When she began rolling over around 4.5 months, we started using a convertible woombie that I found on ebay. We started with 1 arm out for a couple nights and then both. Now at almost 7 months we still use it with arms out and she rolls back and forth at will during the night. You will discover the best method for Mazen 🙂

  37. I’ve always been scared I would fall down the stairs holding my babies too. As far as the swaddling goes…We stopped swaddling our first two when they were about 3-4 months old. Our third is 6 months old and still being swaddled. He loves it, and sleeps better when he’s nice and tight. He’s old enough/strong enough, that he can get him arms out when he wakes up.

  38. I have been following your blog since you were about 20 weeks pregnant – Mazen is so cute! I just had my first baby on Friday (a boy!), and we already love him so much. I looked back through previous posts but can’t find it – what app did you use to track feedings, diaper changes, etc.?

  39. I hope your teething goes quicker than ours. My son is almost 7mos and has been teething since he was 3 mos old and still doesn’t have a tooth through yet. Somedays are worse than other but plan on having a bib on permanently now. I love the little mesh bag on a handle and put in a frozen grape for him to chew on. It seems to help and keeps him entertained.

  40. It’s certainly possible that Mazen is teething. Babies can begin feeling the pain of teething long before a tooth comes to the surface. My son actually got his first tooth at 4 months! If you think it’s teething, it probably is!

  41. I’m due on Christmas but found out at last weeks appointment that I’m 4cm and 80% effaced! So all of the sudden I’m in a frenzy to pack all the info in before baby boy is here!! Off to read the sleep site – do you have a top breastfeeding read to recommend?

    1. Wow – great progress!

      I didn’t read the Motherly Art of Breastfeeding, but it seems to be the gold standard. I read Breastfeeding Made Simple and didn’t care for it at all.

  42. Hi Kath 🙂

    longtime blog follower here! I saw you commented on breastfeeding, I was wondering what your greatest struggles with breastfeeding were? I am due in 4 weeks and am trying to arm myself with information! Thanks so much 🙂

    1. Mostly the nipple pain, which lasted about a month. I’m not really sure what advice I’d have other than work your hardest to get the latch right. In our case though, I kind of think M just had to learn, so I wish I hadn’t spent so much time worrying about latch. It’s like no matter how hard I tried, he just wouldn’t open his mouth wide enough until he decided he felt like it at about 3.5 weeks!

  43. I love reading your blog, Mazen is sooo cute. You are a great Mom. The stairs are scary when carrying a baby, maybe you should carpet them, it would help. Also it will be good for when Mazen learns to go up and down.

  44. Everyone has an opinion on babies ;)….mine (after 4 babies) is that it’s best to not over analyze and stress about sleep. It ebbs and flows. Create a nice environment for sleep and the rest unfolds as it should.

  45. It was around 3 months that we stopped swaddling Levi. He also didn’t take to the sleep sacks. Wish he had because it would have made it more difficult for him to climb out of the crib at 12 months.

  46. Eek – scary. My mom actually *did* fall down the stairs while carrying my baby sister. They were the outside steps to our house – she slipped on a wet leaf. You know how sometimes when things like that happen, the world goes into slow motion? She said it all seemed to happen very slowly and she somehow – somehow – got herself turned around so that she landed on her back while still holding my sister tightly to her chest without letting go. She had huge bruises all over her back but was otherwise ok – and so was my sister. And then they got grippy stuff for the front steps.

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