Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sleep Saga

Every new parent hopes for the baby who will "sleep through the night" within a few weeks of birth, and brags about it proudly (as if they had any control over it anyway) when they do. I was one of those hopeful parents, but alas, my dear baby gives me very little to "brag" about in the sleep department. It always baffles me that the #1 question I get in public is, "Does she sleep through the night yet?" or " How's she sleeping?" I've decided to just lie...because those who ask don't have the time to hear the saga of Maggie's short sleep history.

At this point, when it comes to sleep, my baby...

----sleeps well in arms, a sling, sometimes a swing, sometimes the car, and always well with a nipple (my nipple) in her mouth

----REFUSES to be "pacified" with a paci, even though she LOVES to suck

----Cry it out? oh....she will......for hours if you let her...but ofcourse, we have only learned this via long car trips, we cave in after 2 minutes whenever she cries at home. I'm sick and tired of hearing the cry it out method as the only advice for those of us with finicky sleepers. It's NOT an option for me at this point.

---Maggie naps long as I am pushing her in a stroller (which makes for LONG walks for me), wearing her in the sling, and moving.... I can't complain, at least she naps...

---we bought a "Cocoon Sleeper" (like the Amby bed) a few weeks ago. It worked well for a couple weeks, but now she wakes up the INSTANT we put her in it, and WAILS if we put her in it awake. Some say there is a 4-month-old sleep regression that happens due to brain development, and that could be part of the change in her sleeping.

----as of late, Maggie sleeps CONNECTED to me at night, which means she doesn't go to bed until I do.....uuuuggh!

At this point, I'm starting to look at some of the sleep books out there, but there are thousands, and they all recommend something different, but usually agree on the CRY it OUT method...which I don't want to do. The Baby Whisperer makes me feel like a horrible parent, so I don't read her much these days. I'm kind of at the point where I'll do ANYTHING that works, which means she is nursing half the night. UUGH!

Anyone have any NON-cry it out advice? I realize part of it is if your kids have always been heavy sleepers who could crash anywhere, anytime....don't give me any advice :) I want to hear from those of you who had finicky sleepers. How did things turn out for you? I know there is light at the end of the tunnel, but I am SOO confused about the different theories out there. Will doing "whatever works" right now screw her up for life? I don' t think it will, but some books make me feel like that. Was I supposed to be doing something different from day one? Did I miss the sleep training train? AAGH.

Well, we'll keep on keepin on. At least I'm getting enough's just not the most comfortable to sleep with a babe in the crook of my arms all night. We'll keep trying to put her in her bed, but for now, she's not having it. I just feel so down sometimes when EVERY other mom tells me how their baby sleeps 7-8 hours in a row, then goes back to sleep for 4 more. I know there are other moms out there with babies like just feels like I am the only one sometimes. It's hard because I do EVERYTHING for Maggie all day to keep her happy, and i need a break at night. It is physically demanding to have walk for 2 hours to give her a good nap, and then wear her in the sling for the second nap of the day. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy walking, and it's great for losing baby weight, but there are days when I don't have the energy for it. I long for the days when she peacefully sleeps in her crib, so I can get something done around the house!

Oh well...enought complaining. I really just want some encouragement and suggestions from ANYONE out there who has been through this with a baby like Mags.



katbat said...

hi! has a video showing the sears method - I like it in theory. Natasha is 5 months and wakes 3 times a night. I am happy if I get a 3 hrs stretch! but - natasha is my third non sleeper. I know some day she will sleepthrough the night. I dont really have any advice except to put her to nap where you want her to sleep at night, even if she wakes up, soothe her and put her back - at some point she will learn that the crib is for sleeping. I can sometimes get natasha back to sleep without picking her up and nursing -I wrap her, roll her onto her side, pat her back kinda hard and shhhh her - or sing - hang in there!

Christina said...

I was going to suggest asking my sister but she already left a comment:) The most important thing, I think, is that she won't be a five year old attached to you at night:) Hang in there... I don't have any advice- Petros could only sleep with me and did not like the crib. Once he moved to a big boy bed in Pavlos' room, his sleep totally changed. I think he didn't like to be alone!

Iconography Girl said...

You sound really frustrated and understandably so.

By your definition, I'm not qualified to give advice in this area ;) but, I can say that when you find the thing that works, it usually doesn't take long to realize it. I encourage you to have faith and confidence in your intuition about what works for you and your baby. You were absolutely right: personality accounts for A LOT, both the baby's and the parents'.

And if something isn't working for one of you, then it isn't really working.

For what it is worth, I don't think people are "bragging" so much as rejoicing and asking you hoping for your sake the answer be "yes." It is not so they can judge you as a parent, but so they can commiserate, just like you will when you can one day say, "Maggie is FINALLY sleeping through the night. Is your baby? Don't worry. It will happen. This is what worked for us..."

Susan said...

I too was going to mention Katherine, but lo and behold!!Natasha is the best of her 3. Pavel was still getting up at 2 years old. He, like Petros, liked the big boy bed.
I dont believe in letting babies cry it out. I tried that on Katherine when she was 3 months old. When I went to get her after about 20 minutes she had ruptured a blood vessel in her eye:)
Just hang in...this to shall pass!

Xenia Kathryn said...

Vasi was that way. When she was about 9 months or so, I bought a $5 "ipod" (a small radio with tiny earphones) at ROSS. I would lay with Vasi at 1:00 and listen to Dr. Laura on my headphones for 20 minutes while nursing her to sleep. After 20 minutes, Vasi would finally be asleep. Listening to the radio sort of helped me feel like I was doing "something", you know? I think I needed the soothing mechanism/distraction, because I would get so frustrated while waiting for her to finally be asleep. Even to this day, she still just needs someone to lay with her until she falls asleep. I thought I was "ruining" her, but then I realized: that's what our mom did to us, and I have so many good memories of her putting us to sleep, singing, cuddling, praying...

I love you! You're getting lots of great advice, here!

Christy Sumerfield said...

You're absolutely right, Rachel, most moms aren't bragging about their babies as much as they are rejoicing (and hoping you have reason to rejoice as well). It was wrong of me to put it that way. I hope NONE of my friends think I think they are bragging when they tell me their babes sleep well...I was referring more to internet sites where mom's share about their babies. Either way, I shouldn't have put it that way! Forgive me fellow bloggers (especially those with good-sleeping babies).

Thanks for all the encouragement ladies!!! It's not so bad as I make it out to is just frustrating sometimes.

Chelsy said...

Sounds frustrating. :( Just remember - it will get better! I remember feeling just like you - so guilty that I wasn't doing the right thing with establishing good sleep habits with Damian early on. I worried that he would always need to be nursed to sleep. But even if you continue with what works now, habits can be changed later when you and Maggie are ready. I think the cry it out thing has it's place, but not necessarily for little ones like Maggie. We finally tried it with Damian when he was just over a year. We went into him after 5 minutes, then 10, then 15 etc to reassure him and check to make sure he was ok. After 3 nights he just whimpered a bit and fell asleep and after that he suddenly started sleeping through the night because he knew how to fall back to sleep on his own if he woke up in the night. I wouldn't have felt comfortable doing that at 4 months either, but keep that technique in mind later on. If you can get past those 3 nights, it's worth it! With the second time around, I did some things a little differently from the beginning, which seemed to help significantly. Hang in there, Christy!!!

Iconography Girl said...

Oh, golly! I wasn't at all offended by what you said and I am sure no one reading this would have been!

While I think there is a lot of great information and advice out there, I feel it is often missing a "live and let live" attitude toward those who might not agree 100%. It can make it feel -- especially to new parents -- like there is a right and a wrong way to doing things. Instead of us supporting each other to make the best individual decisions we can, we tend to let our personal choices on behalf of our kids separate us and judge each other: vaccinate/not vaccinate? cry it out/hold to sleep? naturopathic /allopathic? home school/public school? spank /time outs/ consequences?

I totally agree about internet sites or books purporting their perfect parenting techniques. I remember one tearful night I wanted to "tear a new one" into Dr. Sears for going on and on about how wonderful exclusively breast feeding was and all the reasons why you shouldn't supplement, implying (in my mind) that those who chose not to exclusively nurse were bad moms. I simply couldn't make enough milk for my babies no matter what I tried, and I knew other friends who because of life-dependent medications could not let their babies nurse at all or even those who supplemented at night so everyone could get some sleep after a long colicky day. So did we love our children any less? NO!! But the books and websites don't always, or often, make allowances for that.

For my part, I know it is my insecurity as a parent that makes me resent "the other way" of doing something: what if the other way is right and what I am doing is wrong? Easier to turn "the other way" into something bad so what I am doing seems right.

Forgive my rant. I'm not implying anything here about you or anyone else. Just confessing my own weaknesses and black and white thinking! :)

And, quite frankly, this is YOUR blog and you can, and should, express whatever you want, however you want! ;)

Helenrr said...

Christy, I just want to encourage you, you are doing a great job. Mike was the same way, so I slept with Pat and it helped me get the sleep I needed to not become a raving maniac :) I wish I had done that with Mike, he cried all night long. When he was older though, it was as though you turned off a light-wham, he was asleep. So it does change! You have gotten a lot of good advice-keep what works, and let the rest go. You will find something that works.
Much love and ((Hugs))
Aunt Helen

Sandy DP said...

Oh my dearest Christy! I have so much to say to you, but not the time now. You are describing my life with Samuel. For now know you are a great mom for seeking advice and you are not screwing her up! I will try and email you or facebook or call or something. I know where you are in this because I was there. love you