Monday, June 13, 2011

Sleep Wars...Episode IV: A New Hope

After sleeping til 9a.m. yesterday morning, Naomi skipped her typical morning nap. After church, she fell asleep in the car for her first afternoon nap at 1:30p.m. I successfully transferred her to her crib without waking her up, and she slept til 2:30p.m. She then was happily awake until about 4:45, when she went down for her evening nap. She slept 2 hours, and woke at 7:45, fussy as all get out. So her daytime sleep was 3 hours, better than the 1.5 hours of the day before.

When she woke up, she alternated between crying and fussing. I finally put on an episode of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution to quiet her down. . . it worked briefly. I needed to work on supper, so I put her in her high chair while I cooked my alfredo sauce. I gave her some green beans, which she fed herself. It was the first time she seemed happy since waking up cranky.

I knew she was tired and needed an earlier bedtime, so at 8p.m., we started our bedtime routine: brush teeth (well, gums at this point, but it's a good habit!), PJs and night-night diaper, read a story, and nurse. She went down with no complaints around 8:20p.m.

At 9:30p.m., she woke up crying. Great, I thought. Now I have to start some kind of technique again. But I was so sick of the techniques, feeling like a crappy mom because my daughter was crying alone in her room, and ensuing nightmares. So I decided to try something different. I soothed her, but didn't pick her up. I rubbed her tummy or back, depending on which side she'd flipped onto at the moment, and I kept trying to give her back her plug. (We call a pacifier a "plug".) After about 20 minutes of crying while I soothed her the whole time, she fell asleep!

At 11:30p.m., I braced myself. She had awoken this time of night for the last several nights, if not the last several weeks. Nothing. She kept on sleeping, and I went to bed myself.

At 1a.m., she cried twice. That's it. Just enough to wake me up, but not enough to get me up.

At 2:30a.m., she cried for 30 seconds. Enough for me to realize she was crying, and sit up in bed, ready to go soothe her again. But before I could stand up, she stopped.

At 4:40a.m., Naomi woke up for real. I happily went upstairs where she gratefully nursed. It was very efficient, and she fell asleep at the end. I put her back in her crib with no fussing!

At 6:45 a.m., She woke up happy. She talked to herself for about 10-15 minutes, until I could wake up enough and get upstairs to get her. She gave me all kinds of smiles when I came in her room. I now know for sure that a rested child is a happy child!

She did have some trouble going down for her morning nap today. I need to troubleshoot it and figure out if I put her down too late, since she got up so early, if there were just too many distractions in her room, or what. I tried to stay with her, but since she was fussing and not crying, I finally walked out of her room, and by the time I got downstairs, she was quietly sleeping. I think maybe I was a distraction to her somehow! Hmmm.

I give last night 7 stars out of 10. I'm very encouraged! Even though she woke 4 times, I only had to soothe her back to sleep once! She soothed herself twice and needed to eat the 4th time. If she'd soothed herself all 3 times I'd have given her 9 out of 10, and if she'd slept through (except for the feeding) I'd have given her a perfect score!

Conclusion: I like a lot of the science behind Dr. Weissbluth's methods, but I disagree with "extinction" and have problems personally with "graduated extinction". I think a lot of what I learned from him was about how many and how long Naomi's naps should be, and how early I should be putting her to bed. I had been putting her to bed around 10p.m., since that was when she'd seemed tired to me. But now, putting her down 8:15-8:45p.m. seems to work a lot better for her. I also see that she can be a lot happier when she's more well-rested. Another thing I appreciate about his book is that he says bedtimes should be flexible, not rigid. You should be willing to put your child to bed much earlier if she's short on naps that day, or if her nap schedule has been changing. Well, I learned a lot, but I think I learned as much about myself as I did about the science of sleep as demonstrated in children!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sleep Wars...Episode III: Revenge of the Vacation

Well, Dr. Weissbluth said that anything that happens to throw your schedule off will throw your sleep off, and he was right!

Daniel's family had a reunion about 2 hours away in Arkansas yesterday, which was wonderful. We got to see about 50 family members, and celebrate his uncle's 90th birthday, and that same uncle and his aunt's 50th wedding anniversary.

But for Naomi's sleep schedule, this meant problems. She took her 3 naps as usual, but each of them only lasted 1/2 an hour. I could go into more detail, but it was mostly because of schedule changes, car travel, and new environment that they only lasted that length.

So we put her in the car around 8:40 to head back home, and she was out within 5 minutes. We did stop to get gas, and that brought us home to Tulsa by 11p.m.

We changed her, put her in PJs, I nursed her and she went down in her crib with nary a fuss.

5:00a.m., she woke up. I let her cry 5 minutes (while I went to the bathroom), then went upstairs to feed her.

Dr. Weissbluth says that breastfed babies can continue to wake up once or twice a night to feed until 9 months old, around 11p.m. and around 5a.m. I'm ok with this, I just want to nix the 2a.m. waking (which she slept right through, thankfully!) and the early morning waking. I also want her to go down easily, with no crying/arching her back, etc.

She went right back to sleep around 5:20a.m. with NO problems! I began to think we were out of the woods. But, 6a.m. rolls around, and awake she came! I knew she wasn't hungry, but thought she might need a burp, so after 5 minutes of crying, I went upstairs and burped her. I put her down and she wailed some more, so I thought I'd have to wait 10 minutes, but she was asleep after 8 minutes.

Fifteen minutes later, she was crying again. After five minutes of it, I told Daniel it was his turn, and that she might need a fresh diaper. He changed her, then put her down to wail for 10 more minutes. At this point, it was close to 7a.m. (her new chosen wake-up time) and I told him to just bring her to bed with us. She slept peacefully in our bed (and so did we) until 9:15a.m. when she woke to nurse.

All in all, I think we're making progress. It's excruciatingly frustrating and exhausting sometimes, but hey, as a mommy you do what you have to to achieve the balance between your sanity and your baby's happiness. (Thanks, Jennifer, for this reminder!)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sleep Wars...Episode II: Attack of the Monitor

I read (and skimmed) about half of Dr. Weissbluth's book yesterday (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child) and became convinced that Naomi has been overtired. Typically, Naomi would get a short morning nap, one or two afternoon naps, (one lasting at least an hour and 1/2) and would go to bed around 9:30 or 10. She'd then wake up at 11, 1, 3, 5, and 6:45, all before her final wake-up time of 8. Yuck.

Most likely, she started waking up due to a growth spurt, then became accustomed to waking up multiple times a night. So I decided to try Dr. Weissbluth's Graduated Extinction method, which basically is when the baby wakes up, you let her cry 5 minutes, go comfort her, let her cry 10 minutes, go comfort her, let her cry 15 minutes, etc. That way the baby knows that when she cries, you will be there for her, but you are giving her the opportunity to learn how to settle herself down.

We also decided that she will only have her pacifier for naps and bedtime (sleeping). We may change this rule for long car rides, but we'll see. Yesterday turned out very different than usual!

In the morning, she woke up at 8 (after moving to my bed at 6:45 a.m.), nursed, ate some baby rice cereal (homemade from organic brown rice) then after some cleanup and about 2 minutes of cuddling, I put her down for her morning nap at 9:30. She went right to sleep with no complaints or fussing at all! Her morning nap lasted an hour and 1/2. She woke up perfectly content, without crying.

I tried to put her down for her afternoon nap at 12, but she wouldn't go. Daddy finally got her to sleep around 1:40, but she only slept 1/2 an hour, waking up hungry at 2:15.

She started her LONG afternoon nap at 4 p.m., waking at 5 to nurse and going immediately back to sleep until 7:30. She slept 3.5 hours!! She had to have been overtired. I'm thinking about trying to consolidate her afternoon naps into one long earlier nap.

I decided to try to put her down for the night at 9 p.m., 1/2 an hour earlier than usual (idea from the book) to see if she'd go to sleep so easily after waking so late. She did! I was so impressed. She went down without a fuss or fight.

I told myself that since she'd been so overtired, she probably would sleep through the night now, like she used to do. About 10:30, I told Daniel I was tired and going to bed to do some reading before I went to sleep. At 11:30, Naomi woke up. Grr. Time to start the "Graduated Extinction Method". As she fussed, Daniel, who had the baby monitor, said, "What do I do?" I told him to wait a couple minutes, then give her her pacifier. He did, then said, "Your turn". I let her fuss and talk to herself for 10 minutes (which seemed like an eternity), then went in to console her. I picked her up and cuddled her about 8 minutes, then put her back down. She started screaming. I walked downstairs and listened to her cries on the baby monitor for the next 10 minutes. I thought she might have been hungry, so before the 15 minutes was up, I went into her room and nursed her. She fell asleep while nursing, but when I set her down in her crib, she started screaming again. I came downstairs, and was crying myself as I waited out the next 15 minutes. Daniel heard me crying, came in the room and turned off the baby monitor. I distracted myself from watching the clock by reading more in Dr. Weissbluth's book. After 15 minutes, I turned on the monitor to the sound of...silence. I double-checked, turning up the monitor so loud I could hear every breath of Naomi's. Yup, she had finally fallen asleep.

I turned down the monitor just past where I could hear every breath and went to sleep. At this point, it was 1a.m. I dreamed that Daniel was slowly crushing bugs under his heel and I was crying at the inhumanity. I woke at 6 a.m. and stared at the baby monitor. Nothing. Not a peep. Sweet, I thought. It must be working. 7a.m., I woke up to the faintest sounds of a baby screaming. Not crying, screaming. Drat, when I'd turned the monitor down to not hear her breathing, I'd turned it down too far. I may have accidentally exposed my child to the "Extinction" method, otherwise known as "Cry It Out". I am NOT a fan of Cry It Out! I hope and pray this causes no serious harm to my child. But after nursing and eating breakfast, she went down at 8:40 for her morning nap with no serious crying. A whimper or two which was easily pacified by me rubbing her back.

We'll see how well she does tomorrow. In the meantime, the galaxy of dreams awaits...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sleep Wars...Episode I: The Sleeping Menace

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I used to get enough sleep. Here lately, though, Naomi has had trouble! In the last week or so, she has woken up 5 times a night on average. I wanted to give her some leeway, because I know babies go through a growth spurt around 6 months of age (she's 6-1/2 months old). But it's been a week, and it's not seeming to get any better. Last night, she only woke up 4 times. I nursed her 2 of those times, so I know that she's hungry some, but just fussy the other times. And it's so frustrating when I'm trying to put her down for the night, and she's sleepy in my arms, but as soon as I lay her down she writhes and cries, no matter whether I give her a pacifier or not.

I was telling my mom the other day that if I just knew what the trouble was, I would fix it. She could be having a growth spurt, or teething, or waking up when her pacifier falls out of her mouth, or waking up because she just now has gotten really comfortable flipping over front/back, back/front (and if she's sleeping while doing this it could be waking her up) or it could be ANY combination of these! Or even something else entirely.

I typically wind up bringing her in bed with me to finish the morning's sleep, after Daniel has left for work, since I'm so exhausted from the wakeful night that all I want to do is sleep in. I don't disagree with co-sleeping, but I haven't really enjoyed it since Naomi turned into a wriggling octopus at about 3 months of age. I sleep MUCH better when she's not in the bed with me. Unless I'm ridiculously exhausted, like I have been lately.

Some parents will say, just let them "cry it out". I don't believe in cry it out for our family, (not that it doesn't have its place for some families) but here's my personal reason: When I was about a year and 1/2 old, my mom put me down for the night in my crib. I'm sure I'd been 90% asleep before that. But I woke up, stood at the end of my crib, crying for just one more hug, and I watched her walk away. It broke my heart, and I felt abandoned. And I remember it to this day. It's one of my earliest memories. Now, don't get me wrong, my mom is a wonderful person, falling only below my husband and daughter in my Most Important People In My Life. But even wonderful people can create tragic memories. I don't believe that babies are too young to remember things. If it's traumatic enough, it can and will affect them and they will remember it. I am bound and determined that Naomi's first memory will be a happy one, so therefore, I don't believe in "cry it out".

Naomi (age 2 mo) demonstrates "sleeping like a baby"

So. Now that she's gone from being a wonderful sleeper to a spastic one, it's time to take some action. First up on my agenda is to pull out the sleep books I have and read through them. I'll be starting with Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, M.D. I can only hope it will provide some kind of pure gold magic so that soon Naomi will be *ahem*, sleeping like a baby!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

T-Shirt Baby Carrier

Today I created a YouTube account, recorded and uploaded my first ever YouTube video!

Not only am I proud of myself for doing all that, I'm also purty darn proud of the baby carrier I made in the video. :-)

I recorded this especially for my non-sewing friend Michelle, who's having a baby in July, but I thought many more moms might be able to benefit from it, so I'm now sharing it with you!