Showing posts with label sleep. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sleep. Show all posts

Monday, August 29, 2016

Stop and Smell the Roses Baby

Before we had our baby 11 months ago I couldn’t really imagine how much I could love this little creature.  He is a delightful ball of light ricocheting through the house illuminating our lives.  It is a joy to watch him become a person, and each day I love him more.  But in a dual doctor household, it sometimes feels like we fit him into our lives, not the other way around.

Ever since we started our baby in daycare he’s had a routine.  He always falls asleep on the drive home, and we leave him asleep for the next hour.  And I regard this time as my own adult time.  I know I know, if I was a Good Mom I would be spending this time blending homemade organic baby food or decorating the nursery from some Pinterest inspired ideas, but evidently I’m selfish so I use this time to work out, veg out, or occasionally make dinner.  

So yesterday I finished work early, and on my long drive home I started thinking about everything I was going to get done with the extra hour of time. I was going to pick up the baby from daycare, jog on the treadmill while he slept, and then maybe veg out a bit with my laptop with the afternoon sun streaming through the windows, all before the telltale whimper from the carseat told me it was baby-time again.  It was going to be sublime.

But babies don’t really understand plans.

I picked up baby...check. He fell asleep in the car...check. He stayed asleep when we got to the house...check.  I changed into my workout clothes, and just as I picked up my running shoes I heard that little whimper coming from the car seat.  I was annoyed and disappointed.  But I also felt guilty about being disappointed.  I don’t see my baby that much during the weekdays -- just a few hours in the evening and then it’s time for bed.  I sat down on the couch with him and offered him a bottle.  He was so cranky and tired.  He didn’t want milk, he just wanted to be held.  He curled up on my chest with his chubby marshmallow cheeks pressed against my skin.  His lips opened slightly, inhaling and exhaling warm breath.  I nuzzled his silky hair and smelled his sweet baby scent.  And I thought about how there wasn’t really anything else more important than this moment.  I thought about how now that he’s almost one he doesn’t really sleep in our arms much.  How comforting it must feel for him to sleep wrapped in warm arms, listening to that familiar heart beat again.  The birds chirped outside, and dust floated through sunbeams lengthening on the floor.   The treadmill sat quietly in the corner.  The room slowly darkened.  And we sat in silence, inhaling and exhaling together, doing the only thing that mattered that evening.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Update On Baby Not Sleeping: Baby Is Sleeping!

Alternative title for this post: I Take Back Every Negative Thing I Ever Said Or Felt About The Cry-It-Out Method.

A month or so ago, I had written about our thirteen months of sleep deprivation, as our Babygirl was waking up one, two, three times a night for feedings. It was getting so, so hard for me to get up and get through my clinic. We were perplexed by her behavior, as our two-and-a-half-year-old son has been sleeping through the night since he was about three months old. We were becoming pretty desperate in our quest to get her to sleep through the night.  So, I reached out to all of you!

I had asked for advice, but clearly rejected any remote suggestion to let her cry. I had made a feeble attempt at letting her cry once, and she had not only woken up Babyboy, but also vomited, requiring a two a.m. crib change. Also, I hated letting her cry... It felt awful to me.

I resented my friends who said things like, "Well, when you're desperate enough, you'll try letting her cry again," or, "When you guys are ready to really do it, cry-it-out really works."

I had secret conversations with other moms who were also suffering from frequent baby awakenings, talking about how we couldn't understand those parents who could let their kids cry. "How could they be so callous?" we would wonder, sort of smugly.

Hubby and I soldiered on. We tried stuffing her with food and milk before bedtime, in hope that if she was only full enough, she might sleep. We tried wrapping her really snugly. We tried not wrapping her.

Hubby had a few longer work trips. I was on solo baby duty. And with some of my long afternoon commutes,  I found myself even starting to nod off in traffic.

But what finally changed our minds was the concept that as bad as the disrupted sleep was for us, it was just as bad for Babygirl.

I finally got really serious about the sleep issue and started to read about it. I asked our pediatrician, who was pretty matter-of-fact that Cry-it-out was the only thing that was going to work. I searched online, and did not immediately avoid all advice regarding the Cry-it-out method. I actually read that Weissbluth book, Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child, which is terribly organized, but actually full of good information.

It finally registered with us that we were not doing our toddler any favors by running to her and feeding her multiple times a night. HER sleep was disrupted, too. SHE was not sleeping through the night. SHE was not learning the skill of soothing herself to sleep, which could lead to endless sleep problems, and even anxiety.

THAT did it. I could suffer endlessly if I thought it was for the benefit of my child. But the idea that we were messing her up? No way.

I decided to man up and extinguish these nighttime awakenings.

And so on a random weeknight two weeks ago, after we got her down to sleep, we simply did not go to her when she cried. This was a few days after she had hurt her finger, and she even had stitches. It didn't seem to bother her, so we went ahead with the sleep training.

It wasn't that bad. I thought of it as the same as when she wants something she can't have because it's bad for her, like toddling out into the road, or trying to pet my mom's mean old cat. She cries when we hold her back from those things, but we don't feel bad about it, because we're keeping her safe from harm.

That's how it was that first night. Sort of, oh well, she's crying, but this is what's good and right for her, and so we can tolerate it.

She only cried for about twenty minutes: hard and angry at first, then sporadically, then just a little occasional yell, and then she was back alseep. She didn't vomit, either. She woke up twice more that night, and cried less and less each time.

The next night hubby was gone, and I was determined to continue the training. Unfortunately, she did vomit on her first awakening, and I had to use great skills to get her out of the bed still sleeping, strap her onto her changing table, change the whole crib, and her, and put her back to bed. That sucked, and she still kind of reeked, but hey, she was asleep. She didn't wake up again, either. Nor the next night. Or the next.

We're solidly into a week of full nights' sleep. TWELVE hours. She's sleeping great! We're so proud, of her and ourselves. I'm on an energy high. I feel like I'm on antidepressants.

Thanks to all the advice you all gave me, and:

I Take Back Every Negative Thing I Ever Said Or Felt About The Cry-It-Out Method.

Next step? We need to clean up the bedtime routine for the both of them. Future post: When Your Kid's Bedtime Routine Takes Two Hours, And You've Got Work To Do. Or something like that... I suspect that it's going to involve more crying-it-out. Any advice welcome....

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

When Baby Is Not Sleeping....

When Baby is not sleeping, Mommy is not sleeping.

We need a sleep consultation!

Everyone with kids can relate to this issue, and I'm sure there's good advice out there. I'm open to hearing almost all of it.

The data:

Our Babygirl is 13 months old, perfectly healthy, and very happy. She's a chatty, impish little creature, with great dark eyes, so dark brown they're like Little Orphan Annie eyes- you can't see the pupils. She's adorable; we marvel at her cuteness multiple times a day. She laughs, giggles, babbles and imitates, playing to her fans like a pro. She's starting to toddle, and is so excited about walking, that's pretty much all she wants to do. That, and whatever it is big brother Babyboy (2.5 years old) is doing. She's a great napper, consistently and easily napping 2 hours around midday.

She'll go to bed around 6:30 if we have our act together. If I'm late home from work, or Hubby is late home from traveling, then the whole bedtime routine is delayed and/or fragmented, and sometimes, she's up until 9 p.m. Regardless of when she falls asleep, she's up many times a night, and then up for the day around 6:30 a.m., cheerful, chirpy, and ready to roam.

Lately, she seems to be waking up more then she ever has: one, two, three, sometimes four times a night. She cries until she has a bottle of warm milk. Then, she falls back to sleep, pretty easily.

If we don't go get her, she cries and cries until she throws up, not only requiring a crib change, but also  waking up Babyboy, who then needs to be comforted and rocked back to sleep, and sometimes also wants a sippy cup of juice... in short, total late-night messy disaster.

That is just not Okay.

Though it means sleep disruption, we would extremely prefer the usual (getting up to her crying, taking her downstairs where she will not wake Babyboy, warming up a bottle, sitting downstairs with her while she drinks it, and then putting her back to bed), to the cry-it-out, which results in unacceptable disaster and even more sleep deprivation.

We are, however, becoming very, very tired. I'm wondering if my patients and colleagues can tell how exhausted I am... A few seem to sense it and ask how I'm doing, and Is the baby sleeping yet? I get lots of free advice there too! Meantime, for the first time in my life, I'm drinking coffee in the mornings and the afternoons.

I am grateful to my hubby that he shares the overnight duties... when he is home. He travels a fair amount, and when he is away, I'm on baby-bottle call... This is hard, of course, when I have to be up at 5:30 a.m. three days a week to commute to the Big City to see my clinic patients. When he is home, and I have to be up early, he is on baby-bottle call... though I wake up anyways, as we moms all do when baby cries.

I am also grateful to my mom, who will keep Babygirl overnight sometimes, when Hubby is away, so I can get caught up on sleep.

Despite all that help, I can count on one hand the number of nights I've slept a continuous six hours over the past 13 months. 

I don't know how we got here, as Babyboy was magically sleeping through the night at 3 months of age. Somehow, we have a 13 month old girl who just wakes up alot.

I keep hearing from friends that cry-it-out is the ONLY way to get a baby to sleep through the night. Even if we have to line the bed with newspapers to catch the puke, and even if I have to sleep somewhere else, and even if we will all need therapy, that's the only thing that is going to work...

BUT, the people I know who have done cry-it-out with their own kids recall "those awful nights" with a shiver and some horror, like they're reliving physical pain. My aunt describes doing cry-it-out with her then-toddler son: they padded the walls with mattresses so as not to let his screams wake the neighbors, and then she cried, herself... she says she's still traumatized, and that was 30 years ago....

I just don't buy cry-it-out. We're not going to let Babygirl cry, puke, wake up the whole house, and then end up in therapy ourselves, or at minimum, reliving the horror every time someone else is going through the same thing....

There has got to be a better way.

So, making it clear that cry-it-out is not a viable option for us, I still put our baby sleep issue out there, to see what experiences, and even what advice, others have.