Genetics or Parenting? How Our Daughter Slept Through the Night at 2 Months

There’s no other way to say it: We are blessed. Blessed with a baby who, like her momma, loves sleeping. Blessed to have had full restful nights of sleep starting when she was around 2 months old. 

Y’all, I don’t claim to have had any influence in this phenomenon. I think she’s just an enigma of infancy. However, if anything we have done in our parenting thus far has actually caused her to sleep like an angel, I suppose I should document our sleep regimen here so I know how to try it again next time around.

No doubt about it, the newborn phase was rough. And we were realistic going in to it. We fully accepted that most parents turn into zombies when they have a newborn. We expected sleepless nights for several months. We expected our marriage to struggle under the weight of new responsibilities. We expected it to be … much harder than it turned out to be. So in a lot of ways, our harsh expectations made it easier to cope when the newborn phase was upon us.

The first week, we were shocked when Adelaide slept for a 5-6 hour chunk at night. They say a number of factors can cause that – she had thrush, she was jaundiced, she had an average birth weight but lost nearly a pound her first week, and breastfeeding was taking a little bit to get going. It wasn’t until the doctor told me I should be waking her up to nurse that I thought I was doing anything wrong.

But she didn’t like being woken up. She wouldn’t nurse well, she was more fussy, it just didn’t make sense to her. Plus she was gaining her weight back just fine. So I followed my wise mother’s advice and chose to just follow her cues. I let her sleep till she woke up, then we nursed. She took a nap every couple hours during the day, and had a nice 5-6 hour chunk of sleep at night. Now, there were some nights, probably during her growth spurt periods, where she was waking up every 2-3 hours, and those were hard. But they never lasted long.

We started a regimen from day one that worked for her. We swaddled her tight, arms in, in a Halo Sleepsack, and rocked/swayed/pat/sang/danced/walked/paced/bounced whatever we could do to get those eyes to close and the paci to fall out. Many nights, I would walk in circles around the house until the furnace kicked on in the laundry room, and I’d go sway with her in there because the loud noise soothed her. We also always had a white noise machine next to where she slept. So once she was paci-out asleep, we would lay her down in the Fisher Price Rock-n-Play, and tuck another blanket around her (the day she was born, it was 8 degrees outside, the girl needed some warmth). Sometimes she would get jostled awake in the transition from arms to bed, so I’d rock the Rock-n-Play for a bit till those eyes closed again.

That was how she slept till she was about 3 1/2 months old. I know a lot of people would scoff that I didn’t crib-transition her sooner, but I’ve been staying with my family out of town while my husband has been deployed these last few months and I couldn’t very well move her entire crib out here with us. Plus with all that transition, I felt the Rock-n-Play was the most comfortable for her at the time, it’s how she slept the soundest.

Forgive me for boasting, but the results speak for themselves. At around 2 months of age, Adelaide was sleeping for 8-9 hours straight, waking to nurse and play for 1 hour, then going back down for another 3-4 hours. 

At 3 1/2 months, she started being able to roll from back to tummy and tummy to back. We noticed she was starting to drift off to sleep while laying flat on her back a couple times. Again, following her cues, we then decided to transition her to sleeping flat in her Pack-n-Play. After about 2 weeks of learning what worked best, we’ve figured out that her best sleep now is swaddled in a Halo Sleepsack, arms out, in the Pack-n-Play – we start her out laying on her back, but she almost instantly rolls to her side or her tummy to sleep. I don’t correct her anymore. Now that she is coordinated enough to get herself turned back if she needs to, I don’t worry about suffocation or discomfort. She puts herself in that position and sleeps. 

So. For people who need lists. Here are our sure-fire sleep-inducers for Adelaide:

1) White Noise – hair dryer, vacuum, car, clothes dryer, furnace, TV, white noise machine, anything loud and consistent keeps her down through the little creaks and squeaks of houses and everyday life (and dogs with loud tails). We even had a portable noise machine for on-the-go white noise to keep her asleep on grocery or car trips.

2) Halo Sleepsack – we tried other brands that people had bought us, but she was always able to get her arms loose and then she’d wake up. Not with the Halo. It is the essential swaddle for dummies. Zip, tuck, tuck, done. The first one we had was the newborn fleece one, nice and thick for winter. Once she outgrew that we got the next size up in the thinner material, works like magic. Until she got through that flailing arms phase, she just needed having the arms tucked tight to sleep.

3) Fisher Price Rock n Play Sleeper – I liked that it was angled and cradled her in. We have a happy-spitter baby, so it put me at ease to know she wasn’t going to choke on her spit while she was sleeping. We also enjoyed that if she woke up fussy, I could often just rock it by hand and she would coax back down. Plus this was a much cheaper newborn sleep option than a proper “bassinet.”

4) Swaying – our girl almost always needs some movement when going to sleep. Whether it’s in momma’s arms (preferable) or in her Mamaroo (which she enjoys about 50% of the time), she just likes being moved. She likes being pat on the tushy and swayed back and forth, sometimes bounced lightly too. During the day, I would sometimes “wear” her in a Baby K’Tan wrap (again, only liked this about 50% of the time) so I could get chores done. The rocking and swaying of moving against me almost always put her to sleep.

The only advice I could give that I believe would work for any baby is to just be creative. If something doesn’t work, adapt and change it up. Try something different, don’t get flustered. If she’s having a day where she will only sleep in your arms, give her that day and try something new tomorrow. Remember, your arms are getting crazy buff holding that little chunker all the time.

And now a video of my absolute favorite part of the day, waking up in the morning to this sweet, warm, heavenly-smelling angel. I’ve never been a morning person in my life, but I can’t wait for this moment every morning with her.



Since we found out our little nugget is a-brewin’, days seem to be passing slower and I’ve become irrationally aware of my body. It’s both a blessing and a curse that we have resources these days to predict and track symptoms of pregnancy. I feel the slightest twinge of nausea and OH GOD NO THE MORNING SICKNESS IS STARTI- no… wait… yep it’s gone. False alarm.

Not that I’m exactly looking forward to the morning sickness days, but the one upside is that when you get to feeling strong symptoms like that its like a dead-certainty that you’re (still) pregnant. So for a neurotic dork like me, it will be oddly relaxing the first time I’m coiled over in the fetal position nibbling on saltines and screaming at my poor husband to get me some ice chips.

So morning sickness hasn’t set in yet. Today I’m appx 4 weeks and 4 days pregnant, according to my last menstrual cycle.  I have been experiencing light cramping for about a week, and I weirdly love it. Every time I feel something it’s just a reminder that something good is cooking down there. I haven’t felt a … presence … of anything/anyone yet, so those little physical reminders are about all I have to latch onto atm. I’m a bit of a loony, so I believe that when the heart starts beating and the “soul,” “spirit,” what-have-you is there, I’ll know it. I’m no crunchy-granola mom (yet) but I do have some weird aura-sensing mom-brain stuff going on. Everyone’s different.

Along with cramping, there’s been the appetite 180. For the past few months since I came off my birth control, I’ve been gaining weight like crazy (15 lbs in 2 months. Not kidding.). They say sometimes you can get a raise in appetite coming off bc that can do that. Why did no one warn me of this?! I feel like a beached whale already and now I’m pregnant?! Thankfully according to my mother, I’ll lose that weight and then some once the morning sickness kicks in. Hoo-rah.

So yeah, since I got pregnant my appetite is like…gone. I can eat maybe half of the amount I was eating before. And food either sounds ABSOLUTELY AMAZING to me or just … blah. Hubs and I pretty much never eat the same thing at the same time anymore. I’m having to snack inbetween my mini-meals which I almost never did before. I start feeling nauseous when I get hungry so I’m eating something every couple hours. I’m having aversions to most foods but I can’t even say what they are specifically because it changes every freakin’ day. All I can tell you, without a shadow of a doubt, is that I would pay $50 for a Chipotle burrito right now. Mexican… is like the new holy grail of foods. And of course we’re at the end of the month with no money in our bank account and we don’t have any mexican in the house. My mom sent me $20 in the mail yesterday and I literally started crying at the prospect of maybe going to Chipotle today.

Oh yeah, so emotions…

So pregnancy hormone levels are fuh-reeking insane. Yesterday in the span of an hour I went from fuming mad at Hubs for not helping with the dishes … to sobbing on the phone with my mom about the fact that he will be deployed for 3 months of my late pregnancy and I’ll be all alone here in corn land … to feeling absolutely nothing and not knowing what to do with myself … to laughing and goofing around with Hubs on his lunch break like nothing was wrong at all. It’s less like a rollercoaster and more like a gat-dang Tilt-o-Whirl (nausea included). And I’m barely pregnant … what is this going to be like when I’m in my 2nd and 3rd trimesters?! My POOR husband! I’m gonna run him off! He’s gonna flee for his life and leave me and little fetus alone to fend for ourselves! (Well, I’m pretty sure he would never do that. But a sane man would.)

As far as guessing the gender goes, Hubs and I are pretty open to either possibility. Our close friends and family that we’ve told are split about 50/50 so far. We’re hoping to be able to find out by at least 13 weeks because we’ll be visiting home on the 4th of July and would love to have a fireworks gender reveal. The 4th of July is my and Hubs’ favorite holiday, and we’re so excited that we have a new reason to celebrate.

I’m a nut-bar and have already purchased some baby clothes and gear on clearance and used here and there over the last couple months. My mom is a bargain-shopping superhero and has gotten us quite a lot of stuff too. Notable purchases so far:

Diaper Genie for $5.95
Aden & Anais swaddles for $19.95 (originally $35-$40)Evenflo electric breast pump – $8
Various Target & Old Navy maternity clothes on clearance for dirt-cheap prices

I’m proud of us. This is probably how we will accumulate much of baby’s things – clearance racks, consignment shops and gifts from the registry. While there are certain items I wont accept used or not on the registry (infant car seat, etc) I’m not squeamish when it comes to consignment shopping. There’s a store down the street from our house that has onesies and baby outfits starting at $0.50. Why wouldn’t you?

We call our growing fetus “Stormageddon.” If you don’t know the reference, do something good for yourself and just watch Doctor Who. Stop telling yourself it’s too nerdy for you. You played Pokemon as a kid like the rest of us, nerd, just accept the lifestyle.

Stormy is due on January 1st, 2016 – keeping us on edge about which tax return we get to write him off on. We’re hoping for 2015. Really, really hoping.


How soon after finding out you’re pregnant are you supposed to fully believe that you’re pregnant?

I’m lounging in our art room with the window open, watching my neighbors across the street having a triple family playdate with at least 5 kids ages infant to 6 years or so. And I’m thinking to myself this is going to be me soon. It’s finally happening. A real baby is growing inside me RIGHT NOW! But for whatever reason, it’s not really sinking in. Like every 15 minutes or so I have to remind myself that I’m pregnant.

Part of it has to be that it was unexpected. Yeah we’re actively trying but between getting a new job, drama in the family, my best friend coming to visit and some weird left pelvic pain I was having a couple weeks ago I had pretty much decided it wasn’t going to happen this month. And for the first time since we started trying to conceive, I was calm. I had absolutely no anxiety about timing, about “the plan,” about not being pregnant… nothing. I was so chill. I had even decided I wasn’t even going to think about taking a pregnancy test unless I missed my period by more than one day.

Yet yesterday morning as I was laying in bed half awake half asleep, the inkling creeped into my head that I should just take a test that morning. I brushed it off initially like a ladybug crawling on my shoulder. But I kept feeling the urge to take one; void of any anxiety or worry, not even curiousity really. Just an inkling. So I peed on a stick, went to take my dogs outside and came back to the bathroom nonchalant and unexpecting as could be.

I swear it took me 30 seconds to even see there were two pink lines. And even when I saw the two pink lines, I looked at the dang directions to make sure I wasn’t kidding myself. My eyes darted from the test to the directions and back for a good bit while my brain played catch-up. To this moment I only like 83% believe this is happening. And even though I started hyperventalating and bawling my eyes out, it still hadn’t hit me. I’m pregnant!

I tried to take a video of my reaction on my phone, and its just sobby gibberish. I’m sure my child will find it horrifyingly embarrassing someday. I calmed down somewhat and tried to figure out what I needed to do. I planned how I would do a surprise reveal to my husband weeks ago, so I went about getting everything I needed ready for when he came home later that day.

Time seemed to go by incredibly slow, and I kept feeling like there was something I needed to text my friends/family, so I would instinctively reach for my phone but then realize I had to wait. Hubs needed to find out first, then we could decide when and how to tell family.

Hubs’ mom told his dad she was pregnant with a rubber duck back in the day, and it’s been the iconic symbol for their family and becoming pregnant. So I knew I would need to incorporate that into his reveal somehow. I got this inflatable duck baby bath at Target and put it in the bathtub with balloons attached to it, the pregnancy test inside, a note for daddy-to-be and a pair of little baby booties with duckies on them that my mom found on clearance ages ago. On his card on the front was a word cloud of all his nicknames over the years, and inside it said “Da-da… new nickname activates January 2016!” Pretty clever on my part I must say.

So when he got home, there was a note by the front door (and the garage door too just in case and would you know it? that’s how he came in, go figure) that said “rub a dub dub.” When he came inside I started playing Knocked Up by the Kings of Leon from the bathroom so he’d know to go in there, and I hid in the room adjacent to it. I set up the ipad to catch his face when he opened the shower curtain, and I videoed from my phone as well, coming in behind him.

Hubs’ reaction was priceless. He screamed, and started laughing – he got his huge smile on his face that I don’t think has left it since. “Really?! Really?! You’re serious!? AHHHAAA!” Got it all on video, so precious.

I think because I was so caught up in making the surprise work, I didn’t really let his reaction sink in and let it hit me that I’m pregnant and this is my baby’s daddy. Even then, it still hadn’t hit me. After the initial OH MY GOD moment had worn off, we had no idea what to do with our day other than call family and important friends and spill the beans. I knew we wouldnt be able to wait, it’s our first pregnancy.

It was fun to hear everyone’s reactions. Some people were more like “Am I supposed to be surprised?” while others were (thankfully) more “Oh my GOD. OH my God. This is AWESOME!” You’ll get the full gambit from the people you tell, everyone is different. Most people just don’t know how to react, so they will react poorly. One thing I learned from yesterday is to not let your own happiness and excitement be dictated by your friends’ and family’s reaction.

So now I’m over a day later and still trying to convince myself there’s a rapidly-growing zygote in my uterus that will likely develop into an infant. It’s kind of one of the biggest things in life I’ve been looking forward to, and it still hasn’t hit me. A friend of mine said it will sink in once I start vomiting in a couple weeks. I think that’s probably true.

So far I’ve just had pretty consistent light cramping, breast pain and some food aversions. I am craving ice cream and pickles, though I don’t know if that’s any different from non-pregnant me. I’m also craving mexican food, yogurt and ice water. I actually dreamt about ice water last night haha. I should start a dream journal.

So when is it supposed to sink in? When will this hit me? It hit my husband the first time he said “I’m gonna be a dad!” I think it is hitting me lightly in small spaced-out doses. Like when I took a second test and the pink line was even darker. Or when I calculated that my due date will be January 1, 2016 (please come early! We need the tax break!) Or when my dad told me “You’re going to be a great mom.” And maybe that is just how it will come to me, in small significant moments over the next 9 months of my life. It will come in faint quick little heart beats on my first ultrasound. In peppermint tea when I’m too nauseous to stand. In stretch marks on my tummy and lower back pain. In tiny kicks on my ribcage. In choosing a name for my first born child.

I’m honored. That’s a much better way to describe this feeling than “excited.” I am so honored.

~Baby Tolar~
eta January 1st, 2016