9.16.2010

The Sleep Solution Continues

Day 6

Has it only been 6 days?

The first few days of this were a nightmare.  Isaac went from sleeping for 3 to 4 hours when I first put him down, to sleeping 40 minutes if I was lucky.  He went from waking up, eating, and going back to sleep peacefully for at least an hour, to waking up, eating, and then needing to be swaddled/rocked/bounced/patted for at least ten minutes before he would fall asleep again.  After he finally fell asleep, I would slowly try to put him back in his crib (rocking him just inches over the mattress, putting his feet down first, with my hand still underneath his little bum, all the while still moving his head back and forth with the hand that was cradling it, slowly removing my hand from under his bum and putting his head down slowly and then gingerly removing my hand from under his head...............) only to have him start crying like a crazy man again.

The first night, I literally got out of bed 15 times.  I know this because I kept track.  There were times when I would lay down for only 30 seconds before I had to get up again.  I think Sunday night was the worst (we started this on Friday) because I had gone through 2 nights of this, and 2 days of Isaac sleeping 40 minutes, six times a day.  One night I even tried to let him cry.  I let him cry for 2 minutes.  He was hoarse by the time I picked him up, chocking on his saliva - and when I picked him up he barfed all over me.

Monday morning I woke up, after sleeping for 20 minutes, and was sick as a dog.  My body just gave out on me.  I was throwing up, I had body aches, my head ached, I felt like a train had hit me.  Luckily I don't work on Mondays.  Grandma took Isaac (thank God!) because I was in no shape to take care of him, and dad couldn't take off work.  As soon as I was able to see Isaac safely on his way to grandma's with dad, I took 2 Tylenol PM (at 7 am) and crashed.  My body won't let me sleep for more than an hour and a half at a time, even with drugs.  So, I woke up at 8:30.  But I think that I was able to go back to sleep for at least a little while.  I stayed in bed until 12:30.  After resting, taking a 20 minute shower, and eating lunch without woofing it down, I felt much better.

Whatever I had done to change Isaac's schedule, which really wasn't much, turned his (and my) whole world upside down for a few days.  I'm happy to report that things slowly seem to be getting better.  Last night we put him to bed around 8.  I heard him stirring in the monitor at 8:45 ish, and was devastated that he might not sleep for more than 40 minute stretches again.  But, after a few coos and whimpers, he went back to sleep!  I think he's starting, slowly, to learn how to fall back to sleep on his own.  He slept for 3 hours!  Then ate, then 2 1/2 more hours!  Then 1 1/2, then 2, then 1 1/2.  4 wake ups is a HUGE improvement.  Tonight was our best bed time yet, I think.  He was pretty content this time - when before he would fuss and cry and give us heck for a long time just before he went to bed.  Tonight he sat in his bouncy seat staring at dad for a long time, let me change him into something cooler for night time (since we swaddle him), put him in a night time diaper (best discovery I ever made...thank you to whoever bought me those pampers diapers for my baby shower!) and nurse him without any complaints.  I laid him down, swaddled him, and he closed his eyes.  Before I nursed him I had a good long talk with him.  It went something like this:

"I love you so much.  I'm here for you.  I will wake up with you 15 times if that's what it takes, because I know that you need me.  But I want you to know that it's ok for you to sleep for long stretches at a time.  Your crib is a safe place.  Dad and I are just across the hall, and we will come anytime you need us.  You'll feel better if you sleep longer, I promise.  I know from experience.  I also know that I'll be a better mom for you if I'm not exhausted.  You don't have to sleep through the night right now, you can take your time.  But it's ok for you to start sleeping longer now. "

So, it's getting better.  It might take a long time, but it'll happen eventually.  I didn't really get anything new from the book, as far as tactics to try.  I tried them for a few days but ditched them when they weren't working.  We do things pretty much the same way that we did before, but we have a better attitude about it.  We're more patient, more understanding, more, whatever.  So even though I haven't used that many methods from the book, it helped me have a better outlook on the whole situation.

9.12.2010

Reluctant to Go to Sleep

If I'm typing , that must mean that my baby is asleep. He is. Why then, you might ask, am I not asleep? Well, I'm afraid to go to sleep. Not afraid like a little kid is afraid of a monster hiding under her bed, more like reluctant. As soon as I fall asleep, I'm sure that my son will wake up and need me. I love being needed by him, don't get me wrong. There is nothing like knowing that someone, especially someone so little and adorable, needs me. But when I got to sleep and get woken up, a lot of times very suddenly, out of a deep sleep, my brain is clouded by a thick fog, and it's impossible not to be frustrated. Just now Isaac woke up and I was level headed. I knew just what to do to calm him down and get him back to sleep quickly. When I experience one if the rude awakenings, however , I am not level headed, and everything feels impossible.

So you see, I am reluctant to got to sleep - even though my eyes are heavy and every muscle in my body aches.

Sleep training isn't going well, but it's only day 2. I refuse to give up. I'm going to give it awhile. If it doesn't seem to be helping after a few weeks, I'll try something else.

In the meantime, I enjoy watching my son grow and learn. He's so curious, and it's thrilling to see him take everything in. I find myself wondering what he's going to like. What is he going to do? What kind of music will he like? Will he play sports, be in a band, be a world traveller? Will be hyper, relaxed, outgoing, shy? What things will he learn from me and his dad? Will he grow up strong , healthy, happy?

Then I return to the present, and realize, with a smile, that all I need to think about right now is being here for him and loving him. The biggest blessing of all is that for now, he's still small enough to fit perfectly in my arms.

9.10.2010

No-Cry Sleep Solution

Day 1 - following Elizabeth Pantley's No-Cry Sleep Solution 
Visit her website:


After keeping a few nights of sleep logs, and then keeping a nap log today, we're heading into our first night of trying to get longer/better sleep without Isaac having to 'crying it out.'  A few things I did differently today:

1) Came up with some key words that I will say to Isaac when he is calm and peaceful and near sleep.  Once he gets used to hearing those words, they can be used as a cue to help calm him down, and even help him settle down for sleep.

2) Watched closely for signs that Isaac was sleepy.  A good friend told me to try to put him to sleep before I even start seeing the signs, or it might be too late.  Babies that are overly tired have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep - they don't know that sleep is what they need to make them feel better.  Isaac starts getting sleepy when he's been awake for close to 2 hours, especially in the mornings.  Although I'm not a big fan of watching the clock, it can be helpful when trying to get your baby down for a nap before he gets past the point of no return and is too tired.  When I start seeing signs - glazed over eyes, slow blinking, eyes drooping, hands moving up towards to face, yawning - I know I better try to get him to bed immediately.

3)  I love holding my sleeping baby, but when I hold him and he's asleep, he gets used to sleeping in my arms. I think there are times, special occasions, for holding him when he's asleep, but I think that it's important to put him down in crib most of the time so that he gets used to sleeping there.  Today, when I noticed that it was around the time for him to have a nap or saw any signs that he was tired, I gave him his pacifier and bounced him for awhile.  When I felt his body start to droop and his breathing became more slow and even, I put him in his crib.  He is still awake at this point, sucking away on his pacifier.  I still swaddle him (I kept him un-swaddled tonight just to try it out, and he lasted 5 minutes in his crib until he was awake again) so I did that tightly.  His eyes slowly closed.

4) The next thing I did was take out his pacifier.  I think pacifiers are great, but I want Isaac to be able to sleep without it.  If he goes to sleep with it, and it falls out, and then he wakes up without it, he might have a hard time falling back to sleep.  So I'm going to try to use it to help him fall asleep, but then before he is asleep take it out.  The first couple times he didn't like being without it, but I used Pantley's guide to help remove it.  Take it out, give it back, take it out, give it back...and eventually when I took it out, he was ok and fell to sleep.  I was able to do this 3 times successfully.

5) We started a bedtime routine.  We have always kind of done the same thing before bed anyway, but now it's more a conscious thing.  Bath, jammies, nursery time (play with toys, read books, listen to stuffed animal ducks that play the same tune over and over and over), family time (with dad, too), nurse, bounce, sleep. The book suggests that it be an hour routine, so I started at 6:45, hoping to end with Isaac going to sleep around 7:45 or 8.  By the time I was done with everything it was only 7:15.  I noticed that Isaac was already exhibiting signs of fatigue...so I put him to sleep early.  By 7:30 he was sleeping.

Tonight I will start using the different phases in the book to help Isaac sleep better/longer in his crib.  I will also try to feed him less at night.  Instead of every time he wakes up, it will be more like twice or three times in the night.  I will also keep his wake up times and bed times as consistent as I can.

The point is not to be rigid, but have some structure while at the same time being flexible.  (Babies, after all, are often unpredictable!)

I'll report back now and then to let you know how it's going.  Sweet dreams!

9.06.2010

Cat Naps

Isaac doesn't take long naps.  Or sleep for long stretches at night.  That's what's going on right now.  I guess I was under the impression that babies started sleeping long as they got older, but that's not the case with my son. For awhile there he was sleeping 4-6 hour stretches when we first put him down at night.  But now, it's 3 hours (if I'm lucky) and then almost every hour after that throughout the night.  A few nights of this doesn't bother me that much, I am tired but I feel like I can deal with it.  But after 2 weeks of this, I'm starting to lose my mind.

I'm not a fan of the "cry-it-out" method.  For some reason the thought of that almost brings me to tears.  I can't stand to see Isaac cry...especially the desperate kind of crying.  I'm looking into the no-tears method of sleep training.  I wish I didn't have to train him at all, and maybe by the time I get the book and make up my mind to do it I won't have to, but at this point I feel ready to start researching the whole process.

Gotta go, I hear cooing sounds in the monitor.
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