Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sleep...why hast thou forsaken me?!?

So we brought home our little bundle of joy from the hospital and reveled in the joy that he would actually sleep at night.  For the first 2 months of his little life, he'd wake to be fed and changed and immediately go back to sleep.  Then, for TWO WHOLE MONTHS, he slept through the night.  Yes, that's right, all the way from bedtime (10pm or so) until at least 5am, sometimes as late as 9am.

But then...somewhere around 4.5 months...it was all over.  Our precious little sleeper turned into a nighttime nightmare.  We couldn't figure it out.  Nothing changed.  Maybe teething?  Maybe he was getting too heavy for his bassinet thingy?  Maybe pay backs for 4 months of great sleeping when he should have been killing me?  He would sleep for a good few solid hours in the morning in bed with me and then in our bed after I got up.  Nights that started with a dose of Tylenol and an amber necklace wrapped around his leg didn't go any better than nights without.

We decided to forgo the bassinet thingy and rig up his crib to be a giant co-sleeper.  We took the front off the crib and pushed it up against our bed.  The slight height difference meant he could get from our bed back into the crib but couldn't get from the crib into our bed...perfect!  With a real mattress and closer proximity to me, we figured it'd go better.....But it didn't.  In fact, it seemed to back fire.  He was now spending progressively MORE time each night in bed with me.  I'm all for co-sleeping (he was in our bed for the first month of his life), but I need the space to sleep myself.  Kudos to you moms who can do it.  I'm quite happy with close proximity.  We got to the point where he was in bed with me, ATTACHED to me ALL NIGHT LONG!  No bueno.

Then Squirmy got sick and I just kept him in bed with me all night for a few nights.  It was just easier and more comforting to him.  Again, attached all night long and snuggled close when he wasn't attached.

Now I'm back to trying to get him to sleep in his crib.  Last night he'd wake up after an hour of being in his crib.  I finally just brought him into bed with me out of desperation and exhaustion.

I'm at a loss.  I don't know what to try next.  Do I just forget about sleep and let him sleep with us and pray that he transitions to his crib eventually?  (I know DH is going to start pushing for him to be in his crib, possibly in his own room at some point...just don't know when)  Do I try putting the front back on the crib and leaving it pushed up to the bed so that he's still close, but doesn't have direct access to me?  Do I put the crib back together and move it away from the bed?

We do have a bedtime routine, now.  That has made bedtime a million times better, but the constant waking and wanting to nurse is driving me insane.  And it's not full on nursing, it's the flutter nursing, the comfort/pacifier sucking.  It feels wrong to let him cry if I can fix it, but yet I'd really like him to sleep independently.

Soooo....what do you suggest?  I'm open to suggestions from any side (except the CIO camp).  HELP!!  and Thanks!


Meaghan said...

LOL. sorry that I laugh. it was the last one "except the CIO camp". We have done that too, and in the end although it wasnt the answer to the large problem of my terrible sleeper from day 1, it does get us thru the times when he just starts doing it out of habit, when he realized he could wake at midnite, scream for us, and end up in our bed. that had to stop. he knew what he was doing. but aside from CIO under the right circumstances I also had to supplement #bfing early on and then we stopped completely by 6 mos. He just wasn't satsified enough. not saying to stop (is he eating baby food yet?). Maybe start by moving him away from you, then out of the room. (Ours started in co-sleeper, moved to crib in our room, then to his own room by about 3 mos. and eventually part-time co-sleeper which we are just about done with now, except that he wakes up early 5/6am and he comes to our bed for a couple hrs of extra sleep). Your LO is getting old enough tht he should be able to "learn" some things (he knows what he is doing to some extent and he is taking advantage of the situation IMO) and "learn" he doesnt need you all nite long. i dont think there is any real "cure" . we have battled it for the entire 10 mos my son has been outside my belly. He HATES sleep, is our conclusion.

I do hope you find something you are comfortable with that will help everyone sleep better. Time may be the only answer though, but you should try other methods.

Erin Patrick said...

Aww, I understand how exhausting getting up and down all night nursing can be! Until my son was 5 months old he woke up every 2-3 hours. At 5 months I read a book (not sure which one, I read a lot of them! lol) and it suggested having someone other than the mom put him to sleep. So my husband started rocking him to sleep at night. That really helped believe it or not. Within a few days he started just waking up once a night to nurse.
Then when my son was 6 months old I had to go on a work trip for 4 nights. My husband got up with my son and tried to give him a bottle of pumped milk when he woke up. My son wanted nothing to do with it and cried and cried. However, the second night he woke up again and my husband tried to give him a bottle again and he cried, but just for a minute or two. And then by the third night he didn't wake up! He is now 1 year old and still doesn't wake up at night. I joked that I should have went on a work trip when he was 2 weeks old. lol.
I know all children are different and what works for one won't work for all - but I thought I would share our experience. Good luck!!

Nathan M McTague said...

Hey Tina,
I say DOWN with CIO!

Seriously, though, your baby isn't trying to pull a fast one. He is just being a baby, doing what he does as a baby.

But oh, how I can empathize with the prayer for sleep. We need it so much don't we? And you mamas especially. You're making milk, and being your son's first home (both inside and, now, out), and riding the hormone roller-coaster. Having your sleep messed with can feel so debilitating.

I remember with my eldest, who is about to be 10, her mother would nurse her and nurse her, and still she would need to be rocked, and because she was colicky, even whole hours would drag by with her unhappy in the middle of the night. And I just cried and cried trying to help her and feeling like such a total failure and at such a loss. I am here to tell you (as I prepare to go to bed and get kicked and prodded all night by our 3 year old who still sleeps with us): This too shall pass.

You will survive, Tina! And this part of your life with your son will be a romantic and nostalgic story you tell yourself for many years, and then maybe even also tell your grandkids -- "I remember, your Dad used to keep me up all night..."

So, experiment. Trust your gut. Put on your inner Neanderthal and let your raw Mama intuition out. Do what resonates with you. And keep being creative with your coping mechanisms. You will know what is right for your family.

Be well,
Nathan M

Karen said...

May I suggest "The No Cry Sleep Solution." It has some great ideas for getting your baby to sleep in all kinds of situations. You just look at all the suggestions and make your own plan. I got it out of the library, and it was a huge help for getting our little guy to sleep. The best part is the author acknowledges that babies have feelings, and you have needs. And that is also addressed.