Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Reality check.

i used to brag that i had the best sleeper on the planet. c has slept through the night to the tune of 9+ hours straight since she was 3 weeks old. yay us! clearly it was due to our superb parenting skills. clearly.

friends would tell me not to get used to anything. "babies sleep patterns change", they would say. "uh huh", i would say ... all the while thinking "yeah right! not my perfect baby."

well guess what? my ego has been handed to me on a shiny, silver platter and c has kicked my freaking butt.

goodbye 9+ glorious hours of uninterrupted sleep. i will miss you dearly.

as of december c stopped sleeping through the night. at first it was once a night. no biggie. i'd cuddle her next to me in bed, feed her and then put her back in her crib. once a night turned into twice a night. and twice turned into every 2 hours. and every so often every 2 hours would turn into ENTIRE nights where she never went to sleep.

i called our pediatrician who suggested that perhaps c was hungry and it was time to introduce solids. {we had been holding off for as long as we could due to b's food allergies - hoping that c would be allergy free from solely breastfeeding her for longer.}

introducing solids made no difference. she continued to wake in the night. we decided to blame teething. sure enough, two little baby teefs eventually poked through and lo and behold...we got about 3 good nights of sleep. and now, we are right back to the waking. some nights once or twice, some nights she is awake for 5 hours straight {have mercy}.

so advice time most genius mommies out there...

i know it's time to let her cry it out. c is 6 months old. our pediatrician said to go for it. we need some sleep before we lose our minds. and i know our bedtime routine is not ideal. we get ready for bed, i swaddle her, feed her until she's asleep and then b bounces her to make sure she is completely asleep. i would like to be able to feed her and lay her down. BUT...

is it pointless to start that process in the midst of teething? anyone have any good tips or advice? any good suggestions for sleeping pills? or horse tranquilizers {for me, not c.}. i hope my heart can handle the pain of listening to my baby cry in the night. ouch. help! can just tell me how you are up all night, too. misery loves company right? :)


Ali said...

Before I start blabbing off my ideas, the best and most cliche advice I can offer is to pray for patience, ask for an increase of love and inspiration. You know her best.

Off I go.

Do you rock her to sleep?

If the answer is yes, I'd recommend that you continue to rock with her (keep up night routine, etc) but lay her in her crib while she is still awake (this applies to naps too). Make sure she is super sleepy, tell her goodnight, turn on a white noise machine (or lullaby's) if you think that might help, etc and walk out. If they are able to fall asleep on their own in their crib, that helps them learn to self soothe.

When she wakes up, wait five or ten minutes before you go to her. She might be able to put herself back to sleep. If you think/know she's been well fed, give her back her pacifier (if you use one) and walk back out.

The earlier they learn to self soothe, the better! The odds of needing to let them cry it out are reduced. In other words, solve it now because the older they are, the more difficult it is.

I've read zero books. I'm not familiar with the methods discussed on facebook, etc, but my two older kids are great sleepers. The most I ever had to let them "cry it out" was 15 minutes. I would go in, tell them I love them and walk back out. Some people would advise against any interaction, but it helped me tolerate those agonizing minutes.

I'm a stickler at bedtime. I would advise not sleeping with your baby. That's a quick fix that will be difficult to break. I have a sister in law with six kids who says she hasn't slept through night in 12+ years. Shoot me in the foot. I need to sleep. Figure it out now so you can have a lifetime of sleep filled nights.

And finally, there is the BEST episode of Super Nanny that addresses this issue on hulu. It's okay to laugh at me, but seriously let me know if you want the link. It applies more to an older child, but I'm on board with her idea.

Marcus and Amy said...

I agree with Ali, patience is key. But sometimes it just doesn't cut it when you are exhausted!

I was a book a holic on things like eating and sleeping. I found out that I was stressing myself out more by reading what my baby "should" be doing. So I don't reccomend that. Cause really its just a guideline and EVERY BABY IS DIFFERENT.

With that said, she is your baby and you know what is best. If she is really in the midst of teething, then I would not try any new changes just yet, but that is just me. Addie runs high high fevers and wakes all the time and is super cranky when she is teething and while I am so tired, its a hard time for them. So I understand. (I envy those who have kids that can teeth with a breeze!)

But when you do try something, try it for 3 days atleast (our doc reccomended that when we had our nights with Addie), if it doesn't work then try something else.

We did everything from rocking, to making naps shorter during the day and crying it out, which can be heart wrenching - but sometimes you get to a point that YOU need sleep. Addie cried one night for 2 1/2 hours. Not non stop hard core crying, but on and off tears. When we first started it, we went in every 15 min and made sure she had her bink and rubbed her tummy and talked softly to her and reasurred her that we love her and that she was ok. It was hard, but in the end I think it was what really worked. I think its helpful to remember that they are still learning what to do themselves, just 6 months ago her world got rocked and so she is still learning how things "work" and you are too! :)

So do what you think will work for YOU and YOUR BABY, and remember that this too shall pass. Life won't always be like this. That was helpful for me to keep in my mind through all the stages that babies go through. And I still have to remind myself that!

Those are my thoughts - good luck!

kl said...

They follow your lead. Unfortunately and fortunately. That being said - - if you don't make a big deal of things, neither will they. I would wait for her teeth to come through (you know do the baby orajel/tylenol thing), then let her cry the night.
Just blog or watch a few movies! She will be fine. You will be fine. A couple nights or just one and you'll be sleeping like babes again! Good luck! Consistency is the key (to everything, right??)!!

Melissa Stringham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katie A. said...

Read BABYWISE (I read it in one day). No joke. Seriously. Saved our lives. Amen.

Chris and Annalisa said...

Yikes. Sleep issues are SO HARD. I also read Baby Wise, and I liked it because everything they said in there was intuitive -- sort of like, duh. It makes a good case for having structure and consistency, which can help their sleep patterns.

However, the teething thing really sucks. We did orajel faithfully at night, and also tylenol at bedtime. Tylenol was our lifesaver.

But the best advice I ever got was not to do something easy now that will form bad habits in the future. (This one is especially hard for us with Emme's picky eating habits, so it is literally a daily battle at our house.) But it's good advice.

Good luck! I hope baby c cuts those teeth quick so you can all get some good rest.

Caitlin said...

no advice... obviously... but, hang in there. I become a zombie brat when I don't sleep, and I bet you're better than me, but I wish you the best of luck :)

Barb @ getupandplay said...

First of all, you can do it. And this phase will pass, I promise. I loved the advice to pray because that seriously was the answer for me. I read so many books on sleep and tried lots of different things, called my pediatrician in tears, etc. but I didn't ever feel peace until I turned to the Lord. I finally felt confidant in my choices and more open to inspiration for what worked for my baby.

Whether or not you do the typical "cry it out" method, a consistent bedtime routine really helps. Like, starting to quiet and darken her environment about an hour before bedtime and making sure that bedtime is early and consistent (like 7 pm). It means saying goodbye to your social life for a few weeks until that routine is established. That, and making sure that she's getting good naps (she's not overtired).

For what it's worth, Charlie didn't stop night waking to nurse until I weaned him at about 11 months. BUT I don't consider that abnormal. It was one maybe two wakings a night. We did go through a period of several night wakings and that's when I started to implement a bedtime routine and it really helped.

Love you! You WILL get through this! Try a few things for a few days and if they aren't working for you, try something else.

Tyler and Megan said...

I would suggest bringing her to Portland. I think that would help.

aimee said...

If if makes you feel any better I have had about 8-9 hours of total sleep in 48 hours. Sick babies are the worst.

Good luck. Would love any tips you find work :)

You're not alone in the wee hours of the morning. I am out here too.

aimee said...

PS Is Katie A - Katie Anderson? It is a small world. We have known each other since we were little wee children not sleeping through the night. :)

Marcus and Amy said...

I just thought of this, this morning...maybe it will help. When Addie was still breastfeeding and we were trying to get her to go longer then 3 hours at night, our dr told us that if she woke up before it had been 3 hours to hand her off to her dad! Cause she can smell the milk on you and think its time to eat or that keeps her from falling asleep. (Addie NEVER fell asleep in my arms while I breastfeed her.) If nothing else you can use that as an excuse to hand her off to B and you go to sleep your self!! ;)

Melissa Stringham said...

I realized later that what I said did not make sense. The truth is that I don't get any sleep, and therefore my mind doesn't function at full capacity.

But what it comes down to is that you have to let them cry it out when you are ready, it is the only way. It takes about three days. Don't do it when they are sick or teething or you will just feel guilty the whole time. If you know she is fed and her diaper is dry and she is not in pain then you can feel good (sort-of) about letting her cry.

After the third night or so she should sleep well and you will wonder why you didn't try it before.

I know because I did it with my daughter and it worked and now I need to do it with my son and I don't know what is stopping me because I am really tired.

But as much as I hate waking up in the night, I know my baby will soon no longer be a baby and he will sleep through the night for the rest of his life, so I am not sure if I am ready to give up his babyness yet - even if it means waking up 2 - 5 times (!) each night.

Good luck!

I'm A. said...

You girls are all so awesome. Seriously. You make me feel better and I know what I have to do. But I won't do it until I know C is done teething and is not in pain. In the meantime I will snuggle her precious little self at horrendous hours of the night and enjoy this time with her because I know it won't last long.

Trav and Lizzie said...

My advice is...
Who am I kidding. This is scary territory I am reading about with wide eyes. I'm just the friend who likes the humor, for example I died laughing that you called them "teefs". Cause that's awesome.
And I know I will use words like "beebee" and the like.

Heather Harman said...

Claire did the same thing!!! She was a great sleeper until about 4 months then she started getting up every three hours or so to eat. There have been nights that she wakes up and whimpers and cries every hour or two. This I am sure is due to teething, Last night I finally gave her some tylenol. Don't know why I haven't tried it before, but she woke up twice at about 3 and about 6:45. I can handle that! I haven't tried the crying it out thing, but I just don't think I have the heart. Maybe one of these days I will try some sort of sleep training thing, but for me I am just going to try to follow her lead a little bit longer. Her naps have suddenly become very very consistent so I am hoping that will maybe start helping out with nighttime. I guess we will see. Snuggling with her (even if it is in the middle of the night) is one of my favorite things so yeah I too am just going to enjoy this time because it's definitely won't last forever!
Good Luck my dear!