Naps and Nighttime Nonsese

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013
So I debated about sharing this for a bit, no one likes to talk about ugly days or weeks in my case but then I realized it was an amazing blog post that lifted my spirits and helped me have a better understanding of sleep. Which you can read here. Be prepared this is a long post!

I knew that sleep was going to be sparse as a mother, heck I knew I would have some sleepless nights it's kinda part of being a mom with a baby who is learning constantly. The newborn days passed and somewhere around when M was 2.5 maybe 3 months old we stopped feeling like zombies and could function "normally" or whatever that means haha.

At 4.5 months M went through a sleep regression, uummmmm where was this info that babies sleep regresses? We came out winners after 2 weeks of this regression and by 5 months M settled into his own nap/sleep schedule. NOT in my arms :) I've talked about needed to hold him for naps and sleeping in shifts many times. I had this new found freedom in the middle of the day and a very well rested baby and I liked it, like a lot.

But you see babies are forever growing and changing and what worked today, or what has worked for months, may not be what works anymore. Developmental milestones like rolling over, crawling, standing and teething all disrupt sleep as well as growth spurts. Plus the occasional sicky times which makes your heart hurt seeing your cutie not well.

5 weeks ago our amazing sleep arrangement was disrupted. Let me be real it's like a hurricane swept through our house and we were back to newborn like sleep. It started off with more night waking and so if baby is hungry feed him. Not so bad, at least he was still napping. Week two hit and M decided that he didn't want to go to bed at bedtime, well actually those teeth, (his first one finally broke through the day before Thanksgiving) started to bother him at night and the pain was keeping him up. I am not big on giving him medicine all the time I much prefer a homeopathic approach but after 3 hours I relized that this was beyond Hylands teething gel and cold teethers. So a few nights out of the week we had to give him Tylenol and hoped each morning that we would see the tooth that was causing trouble. All the while still waking up at night but napping.

Things escalated and those night wakings turned into 2 sometimes 3 hour sessions of a wakeful and very playful baby who screamed when put down, and not a scream of pain just a I want to be with you come back. I thought ok he needs some extra snuggles I will sacrifice what little sleep I'm getting because he needs this.

Week 3 hit and the sleep floodgates opened, NO naps, night waking + needing to be held and nursed/rocked until he was completely asleep. Yes I nurse my baby to sleep AND I don't mind and truthfully love it, but during week 3 I was pretty worn out and sleep deprived. I didn't feel like myself and was super emotional. I tried co-sleeping just so we could rest but M thought it was playtime and I finally called in the reinforcements (my mom) to help because I was losing my mind or at least felt like it. At this point he was also wide awake around 5am.

I was pretty adamant about not co-sleeping and no sleep training. Well let me let you in on a little secret, your ideas, plans and reasons for choosing a way to parent pre-baby are usually unrealistic at some point and you have to re-evaluate and find a better way if you are big on not doing something. Co-sleeping is not for us, it doesn't work, it did for a short time in the beginning but not now, my husband and I literally cannot sleep that way and M well he wakes up with every little noise even with being so close to his mama. That is the reason we transitioned him out of the pack and play and into his own room 4 months ago.

As for sleep training well I had to go there. You see M lost his ability to self-sooth and some point in those 3 weeks, maybe even before that because his mama over here would rush in to rescue him because he was crying. I would't take a moment to pause and see if he would settle again because I thought oh it's his teeth. I was determined to get out of my funk and get M back on track with sleeping, oh my goodness he was overtired!

I never want to make parenting decisions frustrated, my husband and I agreed that we exhausted all other options and sleep training is where we were at. My loving mother came over and sent me away for an hour while M was going to go down for a nap. He was fed, changed and not in any pain and oh so tired! I knew I couldn't stay to listed to the first cry and would feel the need to go in. Well she called after 35 minutes to let me know that my newly standing baby had stopped crying and was now rolling around and playing with a toy. He then took the longest nap in a week 1.5 hours! 2nd nap rolled around and we were out and he knocked out in the car for an hour. Bedtime came and he went right to sleep, at 7:30 and woke up around 9:30 and rolled around and I resisted going in his room and within 10 minutes he was back to sleep and slept through the night! Ummm mama's sanity restored and she even got some much needed sleep :)

It has been two weeks and I realized my sweet boy is a big sleep fighter. At least once a day we have to let him cry it out which has not lasted more than 25-30 minutes. I am not opposed to nursing him to sleep, we do this nightly and I am by no means ready to stop but sometimes he slaps himself to wake up then gets restless and is clearly done eating. He rubs his eyes until they are so red and I know there is nothing else I can do especially when he tries to bust out of my arms. His crying is truly not even really crying, it is more of a whine. Whining because he is so tired and does not know what to do with himself. He knows how to put himself to sleep he just doesn't want to miss out on life when he is sleepy. Now I am not at the point that I can let him cry for more than 25 minutes when I can see on the monitor he is not ready to sleep. I go back in and try again, but in most cases this actually makes it worse and we have to start over and he is even more tired. When he finally gives up and goes to sleep and wakes up a much happier baby and is ready to play more!!

I'm pretty sure the major disruption is sleep was due to all of the new things M can do. He is pulling himself up on everything, cruising and has mastered crawling no more army crawling for this boy, oh and the tooth, that cute little tooth. These milestones interrupt sleep big time! With this being said I still stand by my decision to do some mild sleep training. Self soothing is important, if he didn't relearn this I literally would be holding him for every sleepy moment. That doesn't work for us, it may for some but not us.

I don't have the answers to how to get your baby to sleep through the night, I'm not even looking for M to sleep through the night yet, miraculously he has been for the past two weeks and I know that this could change so I will not dare say he sleeps through the night just yet! I don't have a solution how to get your cutie to stop waking up, I can only offer my encouragement and tell you it happens AND you WILL get through it :) Do what works for you, your baby and your family. I know one day I will be on the opposite side of this sleep battle trying to find ways to wake my M up later in life. Until then I take each day one at a time and hope for the best :)
4 comments on "Naps and Nighttime Nonsese"
  1. Oh Mama, I feel for you!! We've been there (as you know, from reading my many sleep posts! Haha!) I'm glad you've found something that seems to have worked - hope he keeps sleeping well for you. I felt the same way about sleep training initially, but have found that it has worked fairly well for us too - I'm glad we gave it a shot. You're so right that we need to keep an open mind and be willing to change our approach or try something different if needed..."never say never" was one of the first important parenting lessons I learned very early on and it has served us well! :) I loved that article that you shared - really helped with my whole perspective on the issue, which has made a huge difference. Hang in there, and you're right that we WILL get through it!!

  2. :) Hope things continue to improve. I'm an open proponent of sleep training and CIO...but I think it is for sure depending on the personality of babe and child. If we didn't teach Ben how to sleep, he never would. He is going on 15 months and he will still occasionally get mad at bedtime. "Sorry kid, you're tired and you need to sleep." Haha! Hang in there I told Nancy before, someday they will be teenagers and we'll be rousing them out of bed! -Andrea

    1. *dependent on the personality of baby and parents.
      Sigh...mama brain.

  3. Great post and awesome article. Thanks for sharing. I'm currently working on a post where we're dealing with the same issues. My kid just refuses to sleep. Now that the 5th tooth is out and he's walking I sure hope it all stops or that he either shows more teeth or starts to talk because we just honestly don't understand why he fights his sleep every single night and wakes up at random times just to hang out and play. :-/


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