Sunday, March 6, 2011

Babies and sleep

Both of my girls started out as decent sleepers. Delia came home sleeping decent stretches and worked her way up to 8 hours stretches. I was feeling pretty lucky with Delia then a week or so before she turned 4 months it all ended. She was waking every two hours and I wasn't sure what happened and how long it would last. For the next ten months sleep was hit or miss. Sometime she did nice long stretches and sometimes she was wakeful. She would always have a bad night right before I felt a tooth. She also slept bad from milestones and growth spurts and who knows what else. I was going to a hospital group for new parents at the time that starts with non mobile babies and transisitioned to a mobile baby group when your baby learns to crawl. I saw that for both groups for all different type of parents from the ultra crunchy to the more mainstream the focus was sleep. Some babies slept good in both categories but there were plenty of babies that didn't. Some parents tried CIO and sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. Usually the ones it worked for would eventually be talking about sleep again.

Delia sleeping



Teddy started waking very frequently right from the start. He was a newborn so I wasn't too worried. As time went on it became clear he wasn't going to be having good periods and I became sleep deprived. He got very fidgety and wakeful next to me and refused the co sleeper so I tried many different arrangements to start the night including a swing, a hammock in a pack in play, a hammock hanging from the ceiling and eventually the crib. He kept up the frequent waking and I tried all the tricks. I taught him to fall alseep by himself slowly one step at a time without leaving him to CIO. I did have my nights where I just begged him to go to sleep or where I gave him a moment to work it out himself but I never left him to cry. I was quick and to the point with his wake ups and only nursed him when he was hungry not at every wake up. I tried white noise and when he was younger swaddling. I taught him to take better naps by catching him just as he woke from his cat naps and getting back to sleep and soon he was napping good on his own. I used a version of the shh pat from the baby wisperer I modified. I had a good consistent routine.

 A little after he turned 1 I night weaned him by comforting him by patting and singing also to no avail. He mostly night weaned except for his early morning feed with no problem but it didn't stop the waking. By this time he was in the crib full time in Delia's room and I went to him for the wake ups. As often as he woke Delia slept through it all. I was beginning to feel dejected and like something else was going on. Teddy was always a fussy baby. He didn't have colic or scream for hours but he fussed a lot and wanted to nurse 24/7. When he woke he was all out screaming.

 I went to one of my birth group meetings that was leaded by a chiropractor and the talk was on how it helps babies who are fussy. I knew that people took their babies there but I didn't think they really did help much. After listening to the talk I decided to give it a try. I tried everything else and had nothing to lose. I took him to the appointment and she said he was really out of alignment and she buzzed him with a little buzzer. That night he only woke twice. A huge improvement on the 6+ he usually wakes. I brought him a few more times and his sleep continued to get better. The around 14 or 15 months he jumped out of the crib. I made sure to get to him faster after that but it happened again so I switched him to the full size bed with Delia. I was afraid he would wander and not go to sleep since he was a get into everything toddler but he did great with the transition. He had one last chiro adjustment that night and has been sleeping through the night ever since.


Teddy in the pack and play hammock


Fast foward to Cora. Cora started out as ok sleeper unlike her brother. She suprised me and got up to 9-11 hour stretches by 2 months. I knew from Delia it might not last so I enjoyed it while it did. She hit 4 months when Delia's sleep fell apart and was still sleeping .I was hopeful that she would be my good sleeper.  Eventually she did become more wakeful. At 5.5 months she has her good nights and her bad nights. Last night was a bad night. She slept to about 1. I couldn't get her back to sleep without nursing and then she was very wakeful. So it begins again. I don't enjoy the wakefulness and not getting a restful night sleep. It wears on me. I remembering though that this too shall pass and she will sleep again. It might not be consistently until a little after 1 but it will happen. In the meantime I will complain about it and take steps gently to work towards independently sleeping through the night. For now I use the no cry techniques and encourage her to put herself to sleep and to get to sleep without nursing but if she needs help or to nurse I do so.

Cora sleeping


Delia and Teddy now put themselves to sleep every night, don't fight going to sleep at bed time and sleep all night. When they do wake I get them to sleep with a firm it is bed time. I know Cora will eventually do the same. I know that she will not wake forever. I know I am not creating bad habits and things change so fast at this stage. I know in the long run responding to her needs and not letting her cry herself to sleep she will gain independence and confidence faster. I know you can do things to encourage it but you can't force it and despite what some books say it is normal for babies even older babies and toddlers to wake. In many cultures they don't worry about sleeping through the night early. It will happen and in the mean time I am pretty tired after a bad night from Cora.

No comments:

Post a Comment