Oh, I do not know how you stay at home Mamas handle baby care and blogging. I am still struggling to find my rhythm. I miss writing daily SO MUCH but find it nearly impossible to make time. Much of this is because it is incredibly difficult to get Sabine to sleep. And to keep her asleep.
I jinxed things a few weeks back when I boasted on Facebook about what an awesome sleeper my kid was. Since my last sleep post Sabine has made one very promising step towards good sleep, given me a handful of great nights and a pile of bad nights. Let’s praise her first: Sabine has transitioned from the Rock ‘n Play to the crib!
You guys, the initial sleep trouble was caused largely by her not wanting to be in the Rock ‘n Play in our room! She prefers sleeping swaddled in her crib at night. She will take some naps in the crib and occasionally conks out in the Rock ‘n Play or in the swing I caved into buying. Most naps, though, are taken in mama’s arms, which is sweet, but really does not allow me to nap, or blog, or clean, or cook, or pee, or anything. But nights are in the crib and THAT feels like a huge accomplishment.
Now the bad. This week has been the worst yet. For four nights in a row we were up every 1 to 2 hours. By yesterday I was a desperate, sleep deprived nut and called the pediatrician to rule out any potential sickness.
The good news is that Sabs is healthy AND growing like a rock star (more on breast feeding soon) and is up to 11 pounds 6 ounces so she is clearly not losing sleep due to hunger. She also does not show any signs of reflux.
I gotta take a minute to say that it gives me ridiculous pride to announce my baby is no longer lighter than my cat… at least my Maine Coon. Fermi is still tremendously fat and has Sabine beat by quite a bit! 🙂
Anyways, the doctor and I analyzed the past few nights. I get Sabine down by nursing her to sleep, meaning she spends anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes swaddled up and chewing on my boob, occasionally chugging some milk and fighting sleep like it were a demon. When I finally get her down she is back up in an hour or two, needing comfort boob. Only once during the night does she eat well. The rest of the time she just nibbles at the breast, clearly using it to fall back asleep and not as nourishment.
We both agreed that it sounds like she could be hitting the 4 month sleep regression a little early, which while the doctor said was unusual is not unheard of. From what I understand in the Wonder Weeks and Troublesome Tots, at about four months babies develop “object permanence,” meaning they wake up and realize the Mama that had put them to sleep is no longer there. Nor is her boob. Cue frantic crying and writhing in bed. This fits Sabine pretty darn well the past few days. She sees me and smiles, I walk away and she cries. She falls asleep in Mama’s loving arms with happy boob in her mouth and wakes up all alone in a crib without a boob in sight. I’d cry too.
So what are my options? Sleep training or waiting it out. Neither of which sound good to me. Personally, I feel that for my high-need baby major Cry It Out sleep training is too harsh. I also don’t think I have what it takes to do the no cry methods, which seem painfully slow and require an attention to detail that no sleep deprived Mama should be expected to maintain. And I’m too Type A to play the wait it out game.
So Sabine’s awesome doctor and I drafted a gentle starter sleep training program. First we are starting a bedtime routine – bath with play time (Sabine LOVES her baths), jammies and book (if she wants a book, sometimes she wants to skip that step) and then boob. I’m going to work on putting Sabine to bed while drowsy but awake. Some nights it might work really well, and others it might backfire royally and we will let her nurse to sleep. If she wakes up 1-2 hours after I put her down either myself or the Professor will offer comfort in the crib with belly rubs, head rubs and gentle talking. If she keeps crying I will offer her the breast. I don’t want to deprive a potentially hungry baby, but I also don’t want to jump to the boob right off the bat.
Naps will focus heavily on putting her down awake, using swaddles, loud white noise and at times her swing. I want her to learn how to nap on her own and hope that in time that new skill will trickle down to learning how to put herself back to sleep when she wakes up at night.
We will see how this goes for the next few months. If we get to six months or so and are still having terrible nights I will look into a more rigorous sleep training program and reevaluate my feelings on Cry It Out.
Last night was our first night of new techniques and we had some success and some failure. She went to bed drowsy but awake and after some minor fussing fell asleep. WIN! She woke up three hours later and nursed and I put her back down drowsy but awake. She lasted 15 minutes and started crying. The Professor went in and offered comfort and she fell asleep almost instantly. WIN!
Then she continued to wake up every 2.5 to 3 hours and would not settle without a little comfort boob. But you know what? I’m proud of the wins while am prepared for more bad nights. Hopefully in time we will find a nice happy medium of waking only once a night to feed – something I’m happy to do for as long as she needs it.
So there you have it, an update on my poor sleeper 🙂 How are your babies sleeping? For those still seeking their babies, how do you feel about baby sleep? What wise words have you heard from your grandmothers that you plan to try with your babies?