Friday, January 11, 2013

Lemon vs. Sleep

It's 9:43pm on Friday the 14th, right in the middle of the nap nanny saga.  The baby went to bed a half hour later than usual because every time I sat down to rock her, she farted and had a poopy diaper (for reals, I changed 3 diapers in 10 minutes).  So, down at 8, up at 8:45, down at 9, up at 9:15, down at 9:40, up at 9:43 and that leaves us where we are right now.  I'm wondering if she will eventually tire out or if we should just plan on being up all night.  Should we switch off shifts so one of us gets some sleep for a couple of hours or should we both stay up?  Come on little girl, I know you can do this, you need to sleep.

It is silent in the room again, will he put her back in the crib soon [after rocking]?  Is it my turn next?  Here we go . . .

I wrote that post on December 14th, the very first night we ditched the nap nanny, cold turkey, and put Lemon to sleep in her crib.  That night we left her swaddled but the next night we decided to ditch that too - and leaving those both behind made for a VERY exciting weekend.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday night were pretty much the same.  The baby was up every 45 minutes to 2 hours and we took turns going in and soothing her.  We would mostly take her out and rock her, try to put her back to sleep, and then plop her back in the crib.  It was just so tough for her because she loved being wrapped, so warm and secure, and then went right to being able to move around.  She actually found, the second night, that she could roll over on her belly and then sleep like that, something new but something comfy apparently.  So, ever since, we have a belly sleeper.  

At first we were really nervous about her being on her belly and Ian actually flipped her over a couple of times (during a nap) but I read somewhere that it was ok if babies slept on their bellies once they could roll their on their own, just to put them down on their backs and if they rolled - leave them.  So, that's her - every time we put her down she rolls.  I also read that sleeping flat on their backs makes them feel like they are falling and that's why they don't like it, makes sense.

Back to the nap nanny:  some background.  When Lemon was first born we had a co-sleeper that attached to our bed and tried putting her in it at night, flat on her back and swaddled, but she was SUCH a loud sleeper.  She would groan and grunt all night and I read that it was probably acid reflux (because of course it was paired with lots of spit up).  So, we put her in her bouncer to sleep and she seemed to sleep more comfortable in it.  The bouncer ended up going inside the co-sleeper and she slept like that until she was about 3 months old.  Then, my mom bough the nap nanny so that Lemon could nap at her house and we kept it at our house in the meantime.  The nap nanny then went inside the co-sleeper and she was in that for another month next to our bed.  When we moved her into her crib, in her room (before I went back to work), the nap nanny went with her (I just wasn't ready to do just the crib thing) and I propped pillows on the sides of it so that if she did roll out (she wasn't even rolling yet and was still strapped in) she wouldn't be stuck between the sides of the crib and the nanny (the reason it was recalled, twice).  She slept like that until the night of December 14th, and was such a great sleeper.  She was swaddled, strapped in and didn't move an inch or make a peep all night, only waking up once some time between 1-4am with a 7:30pm bedtime and 6:30am wake up (like clockwork).  Naps were still a struggle, always have been, and the few times we tried without the nap nanny, randomly, she would freak so we gave it up until we both were ready and up to the challenge. 

Previous blog pics that show our sleep transition:

 (The final nap nanny configuration so that Daddy wasn't scared she'd fall off of the side.  Guitar cases!)

So after that first weekend, those 3 horrible nights, both Ian and I returned to work on Monday and were afraid of how things would go while we were gone, and at night that week.  She napped ok for my mom, his mom and my dad (just ok) and at night things were getting better.  She was learning that the nap nanny wasn't coming back and she was just figuring it out.  Naps were on and off but bed time was getting bed.  She went from waking up every 45 minutes to every 2 hours then to every 5 hours and there were two nights in there, two glorious nights that she went to bed at 7:30 and didn't wake up until between 4-5am.  For reals.  Amazing.

This baby hates to sleep, just like her daddy (Ian says sleep is a waste of time).  I don't get it because when she was a newborn, actually up until the time we moved her to her own room, she slept great, she would even sleep from about 8:30 at night sometimes until 12 in the afternoon (with multiple wake-ups of course but always right back to bed).  Getting her to fall asleep was always tough, and I think it was because while we were both off, just after she was born, we put her to bed too late, she would cry and cry right before bed and then it would take an hour to put her to sleep, waving around lights to distract her - we tried everything.  Finally an earlier bed time worked so we stuck with it. 

Naps, ugh.  Naps have been a struggle since about 3.5 months.  Lemon used to take pretty long naps, first in the bouncer, then the swing, then the nap nanny in the co-sleeper.  Naps went out the window around the same time we moved her to her own room, which just so happened to be during her 4 month wakeful period (that lasted about 6 weeks and was CRAZY).  They haven't really gotten better and despite when I've read I still don't really know how to get her to take good naps.  Some days she does and some days she doesn't, most days she doesn't.  She naps the best on us (we do it sometimes on the weekends and during breaks) but have stopped this practice because I think it was hindering us when we couldn't do it, because she got used to it.  This baby is seriously tired all the time, or at least acts like it (yawning and eye-rubbing constantly throughout the day).  Even when she first wakes up she acts tired still, I never know if she's really up or if I should try to put her back to bed.  By the end of the day she is so worn out that it is super hard to get her to sleep, or she goes right to sleep and pops back up after an hour because she was over tired.  It's like she can't get through her sleep cycles.  She will be dead asleep, for reals, and after 45 minutes exactly she will just pop awake and not know how to go back to sleep.  But naps are when she mostly does it, at night time she knows how to transition, except for one wake up - usually.  (And yep, she has a sound machine and has slept with the ocean sound, as loud as a vacuum, just like they say, since she was 2 months old.) 

No one tells you, as a parent, that you will spend most of your time, with a baby, trying to get her to sleep.  Some days, when I was at home with her, all day would be devoted to napping.  Why did no one tell me this?! 

 "Just bring her in bed with you" everyone says.  That never works either!

 Napping on mom, twice in one day.  She even wakes up like this, I kind of have to spend the whole 1-2 hours patting her.

When Ian was home he adopted this technique - rocking her right in the nap nanny and then putting it back in the crib.  It worked but after it was ditched, we were back to square one.

I was so afraid to try sleeping without the nap nanny, to give her the freedom she needed, but she figured it out.  She now sleeps on her stomach and is doing pretty good at night.  A couple of weeks ago we would put her down awake and she would scream and yell (happy screams) for an hour (sometimes two) and then fall asleep.  That was really weird because I couldn't figure out why she was doing it but talked to my sis-in-law who said my nephew used to do that and she thinks he was just processing his day.  Then, a week or so ago, she started fussing and crying at night so we did a bit of the ferber method (we HAD to, this baby has willpower like no other, it was our last resort after trying EVERYTHING else!).  Like I said, sleep has always been tough around here, and Lemon is 6 months it is time for her to figure out how to go to sleep on her own (and she starts day care 1-3 days a week on Tuesday) so no one is going to rock her or pat her like we do.  So, we did 3 min, 5, min, 7 min, 10 min the first night and then 5 min, 7 min, 10 min, 13 min the second night and so on, for about 5 nights.  After the first 3 nights she got it and put herself to sleep pretty quickly and we didn't do it in the middle of the night, just to get her to go to bed.  We don't do it for naps although I've tried a couple of times and either she will fuss and just go back to bed or just cry and cry to the point of no return and I have to go and get her.

Lately, she is falling asleep on me and then I put her in her crib and she stays asleep.  Not good, I know, but she has had a stuffy nose so our ferberizing has kind of gone out the window since Sunday.  I also know that we should be doing it at night too, so that she starts to sleep through the night, something we know she is capable of, but I'm not really ready to give up our nightly cuddles so it's my fault she isn't learning faster.  And, I kind of thought that if she got it at night she'd get it for naps too, and we wouldn't have to do it for naps, but that isn't the case so far.  I know it may come down to sticking with the method for everything, even in the middle of the night, but I'm just not ready.  Why?  I have no idea but when I work and only get about 3 hours with my babe and an hour of cuddling in before bed, I like feeding her and falling asleep with her on me in the middle of the night.  A blog friend of mine pumps before bed and then has her husband get up and feed her babe, who also hates sleep, in the middle of the night and it actually has stopped her baby's nightly wake-ups.  I feel like that too, Lemon doesn't wake up because she's hungry, even though that's probably a motivator, but mostly does it, probably, because she wants to snuggle with me as well and knows she will get to if she wakes up.  Also lately, she is dead asleep, stays asleep for an hour or so then pops awake and we have to start the ferber technique or she wakes up when I try to put her back in her crib and I have to just rub her or pat her a bit so that she stays asleep (and then my arm feels like it is going to fall off leaning on the side of the crib!).

This baby has seriously never fallen asleep on her own, never.  Not playing, not bouncing, never - not since she was under 2 months old (and just then swinging).  I blame her daddy, mostly, for riling her up when he was off with her, and now I feel like we have a maniac on our hands that just fights sleep.  She sometimes can put herself to sleep at night and sometimes she can't.  Sometimes we pat her, not to sleep but to calm her, and sometimes we don't.  Sometimes I rub her head or put a pacifier in (but we have actually scattered a bunch around in her crib and I've watched her reach for one and put it in herself and go back to bed!).  At nap time, sometimes she can put herself back to sleep (or to sleep in the beginning) after fussing and sometimes we have to pat her for 10 minutes - and sometimes we do this multiple times during one nap!  (Oh but get this!  She spent the night at my mom's a couple of weekends ago and slept until 4:45am!  And fell asleep on her own while playing, face down on my mom's bed.  Why at her Nani's but not here?!)

And it seems like every week at something changes so next week it could be completely different.  Like I said she is starting day care next week and our friend Melissa is also watching her, one day in addition to my mom (who had her 4 days this week), so her schedule will be totally off and I'm nervous about what this means for bedtime.  We shall see.  I know it will come down to teaching her to go to sleep and stay asleep all night because, even though I am getting enough sleep, I still wake up super tired from waking up in the middle of the night with her and having to get up and put her back in her crib.  I think the 6 months of broken sleep is getting to me, just getting up early, that's the hardest.

So, if you are a new mama, or a mama of a 6 month old like us, and are having sleep issues, you are not alone.  If your baby sleeps in a bouncer or nap nanny, there is hope for crib sleeping, I promise.  I am sharing this sleep saga with you because no one shared it with me (and maybe not everyone has these issues), but I wish they would have told me ahead of time.  Although, every baby is different and I haven't found the answer yet on what works for us - but hope to one day, I have faith.  I had visions of cuddling with a sleeping baby for the first year of Lemon's life, while I was pregnant, and every day I am just struggling to get this tired, eye-rubbing girl to sleep.  I had no idea but am so lucky that I have this baby to struggle with, because I know that many aren't even that lucky.  (Even though I am a bit jealous of the mamas who don't have sleep issues with their little ones!)

As I sit her and watch her wiggling around on the monitor, wondering when she will wake up for the night (it's 9:23pm) - will it be 10pm like the past couple of nights?  Will I have to pat her?  Will I let her cry because I'm up?  Or will this be one of those rare nights she wakes at 4am?  It's funny because you just never know, they are so unpredictable and wait for no one - if you are tired in the morning they are still up at 6:30am (at least ours is) and sometimes at that time no matter what, even if she went to bed later.  This is my life and I had no idea it would be like this.  But, it is a good life, even though we are all tired.

On that same night that I wrote the text at the beginning of this post, I also wrote this:

Rocking Lemon tonight made me think of all of the mommies and daddies who are without their babies tonight, so close to Christmas, because of the shooting in Connecticut.  It made me think how dumb this nap nanny thing is and how if this is our biggest hurdle, we are so very lucky.  I hugged my baby tight and rocked her to sleep, probably for not the first time tonight (daddy has had the last two shifts) and remembered just how lucky I am to have her here in my arms.  My heart goes out to those families tonight, I am sure they are sad beyond belief and could not even imagine what they are feeling.  Christmas presents for their 6 and 7 year olds under their trees . . .

It really puts things into perspective.  Yes, this is/has been a struggle for us.  Probably one of the hardest things we've dealt with as parents yet.  But, is it worth it?  Of course it is.  And even on those days were it seems we spend all day trying to get her to sleep - it's still so lovely to have her around.  Even if she's sleepy.  :)

1 comment:

  1. Love the perspective at the end. Sometimes when SLEEP or the lack thereof seems a little too big for me to handle, I have a moment when everything seems to make sense. Like, duh---this will not last forever. Everything is a season. And you better hold on because it goes WAY too fast.

    You are doing a great job with her sleep, woman!! Go with your gut.