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!


  1. We used the No Cry Sleep Solution and really liked it. If you just love reading sleep books, you could try that one next! :)

  2. Thanks, Erin! I'll have to look that one up! :-)

  3. hey shelley, i understand your opposition to cry it out. i do really. i tend that way myself. i think there is a middle ground though. i started by doing checks on KL. . . . would pick her up to calm her and then back down. you can still be there for her and still teach its time to sleep. I am CERTAINLY no expert as i am going through a LOT of the same stuff. But lately I can see when KL is overtired and unhappy. what she needs is sleep and sowmtimes the only way she can get that is by fussing a little. I never let it go on long. . it usually doesn;t take very long. but sometimes she has to fuss. or NONe of us sleep . . especialy not her. she may fall asleep on me but it is not restful sleep. she never goes into a deep sleep so i know she is not resting well. HSHHC really helped and is still helping us. Like i said i certainly don;t have all the answers but i'm right there with you . . learning as i go! hang in there!

  4. Thanks for the encouragement, Laura! I do know what you mean. Occasionally I will let Naomi fuss, but I can tell a huge difference from when she is fussing to when she's actually crying. From what I've read in the book so far, I really think Naomi has been overtired lately. I hope we can get her caught up and soon!